Advice for Swimmers and Parents new to Competition and Galas

Swimmers should arrive at the event 10 -15 minutes before the first warm up as this is often the warm up for the younger swimmers (9-12). Even if you aren't racing until later in the session you must still attend warm up - unless you have permission from the coach. Do not presume there will be a cool down pool or a scheduled break as these facilities are often removed at the last minute.

When on poolside swimmers are supervised by Team Managers. Team Managers for external events are trained volunteers who have been DBS checked by Swim England, have done a Safeguarding course and have often completed Level 1 or Level 2 Team Manager courses. The team managers keep an eye on the swimmers, encourage them to keep hydrated and most importantly, send them to marshalling in preparation for their races. 

Whilst under the supervision of the team managers, if a swimmer needs to leave the pool deck they need to let the team manager know. This is for safety reasons (e.g. fire alarm) and so they know where swimmers are when it is time to race. It is not fair to the rest of the team if the team manager has to go to look for someone. (Swimmers need shoes/flip flops on to visit spectator areas.)

Swimmers are representing the club and are expected to behave responsibly whilst poolside. Swimmers are to do as they are asked by team managers and coaches. If swimmers do not follow instructions and requests they will be given 2 chances. On the third occasion they will be asked to go and sit with their parents/guardians and it will become the parents'/guardians' responsibility to ensure their swimmer gets to their races on time.

Parents are not allowed poolside. Gala and Swim England rules limit the number of people poolside and passes have to be purchased for the Team Managers and Coaches. This is for child protection reasons. Anyone without a pass on poolside will be asked to leave by meet officials.

Team Managers send swimmers to marshalling 5 - 8 races ahead of the race being swum, or as requested by the meet officials. On the way to marshalling the swimmer needs to see the coach for some last minute advice. Once they get to marshalling they must remain there until their race and follow any instructions from the officials.

After the race the swimmer must see the coach again, prior to any swim down (if available). The swim down pool is just for swim down, NOT for playing. 

Please ensure swimmers have sufficient hydration (water/Lucozade/juice/squash) for a full day. A minimum of one big bottle per session is recommended, but usually more is required. 

Poolside swimmers need a costume(!), 2 towels, 2 sets of Winsford hats (Winsford hats not required for Club Champs - just hats), 2 sets of goggles, snacks (no nuts) and lots of drinks. A book, cards or an electronic device of some kind are a good idea to pass the time but please ensure swimmers follow the instructions of the team manager so they get to races on time! Encourage swimmers to keep their things together to reduce lost property.

If you need to withdraw from an event, please follow the procedures outlined by the gala you are attending and (ideally) let the team managers know so they can follow it up. It can waste a lot of time for a team manager looking for a swimmer who isn't there. Please do not just not turn up! At the gala, let the team manager know before warm up if you wish to withdraw from a race. If you miss a race without withdrawing, you may not be allowed to do subsequent races in the session or even the whole gala!

Competing in a gala is enjoyable and rewarding, however they can be very long days and everyone must work together as a team and support one another for it to be a success.

For further information on what to bring to a gala, nutrition advice, competition swim wear and how to look after it and lots, lots more please see our FAQ section

If you still have questions please ask a parent representative or email wingalateam@gmail.com. They have lots of gala experience and have been poolside on many occasions with the swimmers.