Gala Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Q1. When does the swimming season run from/to?

The swimming season lasts a whole year with start date being 1st September running all the way through to late July/August the following year depending on when the Nationals finish.

Q2. Why do swimmers need to compete in galas?

Tynemouth ASC is a competitive swimming club and we encourage children to compete as we believe it is one of the key ways to help swimmers to become faster and better. It’s essential that swimmers make every effort to compete for several reasons:

  • It gives swimmers experience of competition
  • It provides swimmers with their times which are a clear marker of how they are progressing
  • It provides coaches with vital information to enable them to assist the swimmers to set goals and targets to work towards
  • It gives swimmers a sense of achievement
  • It shows the coaches how swimmers cope with a competitive environment
  • It assists with promotion through the clubs structure

Q3. What is the difference between short course and long course?

Short course is referring to events which take place in a 25m pool and long course is referring to events in a 50m pool.

Q4. What is a PB?

PB stands for personal best. It is the best time an individual has achieved for a particular stroke and distance. Swimmers are encouraged to keep a record of their PB’s. 

Q5. What does HDW mean?

HDW means heat declared winner. If the gala states this it means there are no finals. For example if you have 20 swimmers competing in a 50m freestyle race the winner will be the swimmer with the fastest time regardless of the heat they were in. 

Q6. How do I know which galas and events my child should enter?

Once the club decides to attend a gala eligibility reports are provided to the coaches the appropriate squads. The coaches will highlight the events they want each swimmer to compete in and provide this to the Squad Representatives. Swimmers will only be entered into galas if they have achieved the ASA competitive start award. You can see which galas the club is scheduled to enter in the event calendar.

Q7. When should gala entries be submitted?

The closing date for entries to be submitted to the Competition Secretary is always published on the notice board and on the competition calendar. Entries should be submitted and paid for via Squad Representatives as soon as possible as some clubs operate a first come first served basis. 

Q8. Why do some swimmers get rejected from for swims at some galas?

Some clubs operate a fastest time entry process. When the gala is over-subscribed the slowest swimmers in particular events are sometimes rejected. 

Q9. Can I submit a poolside entry for my child on the day of the gala?

Poolside entries should not be submitted without the authorisation of the swimmers squad coach. 

Q10. How do I know if my child has been entered for a team event?

The coach attending the gala will select the swimmers for team events. These will be posted on the notice board prior to the gala taking place.

Q11. Who pays for team events?

The club will pay for any team events entered.

Q12. What should a swimmer do to prepare for a gala?

Swimmers should prepare for galas and competitions by attending their training sessions, getting plenty of rest and eating a well balanced diet. Performance depends mostly on the foods a swimmer eats in the days and weeks leading up to an event. If a swimmer usually eats a well-balanced diet with plenty of carbohydrates, they will probably have enough energy (glycogen) stored in your body to perform well. The purpose of the "pre-competition" meal is to prevent hunger and to provide the water and energy a swimmer will need during their training or a competition.

There is no magic pre-exercise diet, so use your own experience to figure out which foods work best for each swimmer. Some general tips for eating before training or a competition are:

  • Eat a larger meal if there is 3-6 hours before training or a competition begins. Smaller "mini" meals are better if there is only an hour or two before. Meals that are high in complex carbohydrates are powerful because they give muscles the very best source of fuel. Whole grain pasta, bagels, baked potatoes, rice, and fresh fruit are all good sources of complex carbohydrates. 
  • Limit the amount of fatty foods such as fast food, eggs, meat, and cheese that are eaten for the pre-exercise meal. These foods take much longer to digest and may make a swimmer feel sluggish and tired. 
  • Avoid high-bulk (high-fiber), gas forming foods such as broccoli, baked beans, or bran cereal. These foods may cause gas pains during exercise. 
  • Avoid sugars and sweets, especially soft drinks and candy, less than 1 hour before training. High-sugar foods will give swimmers quick energy, but it won't last long. 
  • Do not try new foods before a competition. Swimmers may have trouble digesting a food they have never eaten before. Choose foods that they eat regularly and are familiar to them.

Q13. What should I do if my child can’t attend a gala they are entered for?

If you know in advance of the competition then you must advise the coach as soon as possible. In the event of a swimmer not being able to get to the competition on the day of the event then please advise the club as soon as possible and a message will be passed to the coach on poolside.

Alternately you could contact the venue that the competition is being held at and a message will hopefully be passed on.

Q14. What do swimmers need to bring with them to galas?

Swimmers should always ensure they bring appropriate clothing, swimming kit, food and drink to galas. Swimmers should not take mobile phones onto poolside at galas as many of these have camera attachments and there are strict rules regarding cameras on poolside at the majority of venues.

Q15. What costumes should be worn at galas?

Swimmers should wear a costume suitable for racing - in general they need something tight fitting to keep the water out.

Q16. What club kit should be worn at galas?

In accordance with the clubs rules swimmers should wear a TASC swimming hat (blue). A TASC t-shirt or polo shirt must also be worn. It is optional for swimmers to wear club track suits, hoodies and shorts but non-club versions of these should be worn to ensure the swimmers are warm between swims.

Q17. What food/drink should a swimmer take with them to galas?

Swimmers should take plenty of drinks and some light healthy snacks with them. 

Q18. What time should I arrive at a gala?

Warm up times vary at different galas, it is essential that you check the notice board or the clubs website prior to the event to ensure warm up times have not been changed. For all galas swimmers must arrive on poolside at least 15 minutes before a warm up and report to the coach. Failure to do so may result in your child being withdrawn from the competition.

Q19. Why do swimmers need to warm up?

The purpose of warm ups is to gradually increase the heart rate and blood flow of the swimmer preparing them for high intensity training or competition. Benefits of a good warm up allow for greater muscle contraction and improved muscle flexibility improving performance. An effective warm up can also reduce the risk of injury while swimming.

Q20. Why do swimmers need to swim down/cool down?

The purpose of swim downs is to gradually bring the heart rate and body back to a resting state. The swim down/ cool down will often be a lot greater than the race distance. Depending on age of swimmer and ability the swim down can be used to remove lactic acid from the muscles, without removing this performance in the next events will be affected. Straight after their race swimmers will be directed to the swim down pool by their coach. 

Q21. My childs name is on the result list but has DQ next to it. What does this mean?

Unfortunately competitive swimmers do get disqualified from an event and the DQ stands for this. The officials who attend galas which include timekeepers behind the block and judges on both sides of the pool have determined that a fault has taken place. Reason for DQ’s can range from a false start to not touching the wall with two hands on breaststroke or butterfly. 

Q22. Can my child sit with me during events at a gala?

Parents should refrain from encouraging swimmers to sit on the balcony during competitions. Not only is this practice a health and safety issue it has also caused swimmers to miss swims in the past. Coaches on poolside at galas do not have time to look for swimmers before their events and will not take responsibility for doing so.


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