Licensed galas are those galas where the competitor is swimming for themselves to gain times and sometimes medals! The club will target some local meets of this type, suggesting to suitable swimmers that they enter. In these case’s all entry forms and fees should be made via the club. Details of these galas will be made available via email and coaches. The club will process the applications and will support the swimmers with poolside volunteers.

Swimmers can enter other Open meet galas if they choose to but the club will not be able to support them by sending a volunteer.


Meets do not have to be licensed, but where they are specific Swim England guidelines must be followed. Licensed meets are graded level 1-4. Electronic timing must be used on level 1-3 meets. Results from these are submitted to the Swim England for inclusion on the National Rankings database

Level One Meets are intended for qualifying for National Championships.

Minimum entry times apply. Pools must be either 25m or 50m long

Level Two Meets are intended for qualifying for Regional Championships.

Qualifying Times and Upper Limit times apply. Pools must be 25m or 50m long

Level Three Meets are intended for qualifying for County Championships,

Qualifying Times and Upper Limit times apply,.pools must be 25m, 33m or 50m long.

Level Four Meets are intended for swimmers beginning to enter individual open competition

Qualifying Times sometimes apply. Upper Limit times usually apply.

Pools must be at least 25m long

More details can be found on the Swim England website under Swimming Calendar and Competition information.

When you look at the details for an open gala they often state that they are Level 3, Level 2 etc. The Level indicates the standard of the meet, what the times can be used for in the future and what level of officials are used. Also higher level galas are more competitive – level 1 being the top galas . To qualify for county championships it is usually initially stated that qualifying times have to be achieved at a Level 3 gala or above. For regional championships qualification has be at Level 2 or above. As a result most level 2 galas have a large number of regional qualifying swimmers taking part. In other words the standard is very high!

For level 1, 2 and 3 meets the swimmer needs to have a Cat 2 Classification.

Gala entries usually cost between £4/£7 per event and this is paid when you submit your entry. There is also usually also a charge for parents to watch the Gala and for your programme of events.

N.B. We are very lucky that we have a great team who work hard to ensure our club galas (Summer & Winter) are licensed so that as soon as your child is ready to take part in a club gala they will have licensed times that appear on Swim England rankings(25m and above).

HowDo Open Galas Work?

How Do I Enter An Open Gala

The details of Open Galas sent by email and we are compiling a list of galas the club are looking to attend so we get the most swimmers at the same galas and create a club spirit, then up to the individual (with the parent’s knowledge) to enter if they wish.
The information will contain all the details of the various events including any time qualifications. Some galas specify a band of times that your child’s PB should fall between for each event. Some specify a time where your child’s PB must be equal to or faster and occasionally a time is specified where the swimmer’s time must be slower.
Most galas currently cost around £4/5 per event.
You can only enter open galas through your swimming club. The meet secretary will collect the forms and submit the entries. When the entries are confirmed the Gala Secretary will publish a list of accepted swimmers.
Sometimes if there are a lot of entries the organisers of the gala may not allow you all the swims that you requested.
Please ensure that Entries are handed to the gala secretary made before the closing date set by the club and NOT the date on the official forms. Our Gala Secretary needs to have some time to input all the requests and times before the official closing date.

Going to the Gala

It’s usually advisable to aim to get to an open gala about half an hour before the posted warm up time. This gives you time to park (some venues do not have very good parking, especially when 200 children with parents descend on them) and may get you near enough to the front of the queue to get in and get a seat!! Take lots to drink – it’s very hot in most swimming pools.

What To Take With You

For the swimmers make sure they have plenty to eat and especially to drink. Also, they need clothing and a pair of flip flops/sliders to put on between races and between sessions if you are attending more than one session.

At the Gala

On arrival the swimmer must report to poolside where the club volunteer will register their attendance. Don’t be late otherwise the swimmer may be excluded from their events.

Like team events parents are not allowed poolside – one or two people will have been nominated as coaches by the club and they will look after the swimmers while they are poolside. The swimmers have to go off and change by themselves.

The Swimming

Most open galas are split into 2 or more sessions (usually AM and PM) with a separate warm up for each session.

The warm up takes about an hour with the children split into older/younger boys and girls. Then it is into the races.

At most open galas, each event is ranked in the order of the swimmer’s entry time (their PB may have changed since the entry was made). The event is then swum in heats starting with the slowest times irrespective of age. As a result, it is unlikely that a swimmer will be completely outclassed (or completely out class the other swimmers) in their particular heat.

Once the event is complete, the recorded times are sorted out and the swimmers sorted into their age groups and the results posted – at which point you find out whether you have a medal winner.

Trophies/medals are awarded for anywhere between the top 3 and top six in each of the age groups. It varies with the gala as does the age groups.

So. at the end of a great days competition (lasting around 7 hours) you set off home having watched your swimmer competing for all of about 5 minutes (depending on the number of events) but hopefully clutching some medals and having recorded one or more PB’s