The Club is a competitive swimming club. Progress in a swimmer’s development is verified by obtaining times within competition. Focus for the swimmer should be on attempting to produce their personal best (PB) times to see if they improved since the last competition.
Swimmers should have an enquiring mind and open attitude to rectifying faults, exploring how best to improve with the help of their coach.
In addition to Club Championships and Time Trials there are frequent opportunities to take part in local Open Meets and the following information should assist you in how these work.
An Open Meet takes place over a whole day or weekend and is generally ‘age on day’, so the age of the swimmer on the last day of the event. Any swimmer who is aged 9 or older can enter provided they meet the entry qualification time for their age. It is the parent/guardians responsibility to take the swimmer to the event. A nominated Club Representative will be in attendance on poolside to coach and support the swimmers at the meet.
Open Meets are graded with levels, either 1, 2 or 3.
Level 2 or 3:-
These can have upper & lower qualifying times. Swimmers must have times that fall between the qualifying times. These meets are usually suitable for children trying to qualify for county/regional championships.
These are the highest level meets and only have lower qualification times; i.e. the swimmer must have faster times. Top swimmers enter these meets to try and obtain regional and national times.
For the swimmer, it is a great opportunity to compete in a wide range of strokes/distances against swimmers from many other clubs. It is also a chance to get new ‘Personal Best’ times.
All entries to Open Meets must be made via the Club Open Meet Co-ordinator. This ensures all appropriate administration to support the meet entry is done correctly and only one entrance form for all swimmers from the Club competing at the Open Meet. This also enables the Club to keep track of swimmers progress and successes.
Details of the meet, such as the entry form and qualification times are located on the Club notice board. Open Meet events are in ‘sessions’. Details can also usually be found on the host clubs website. If you are not sure which events to enter, speak to the swimmer’s coach for advice. With inexperienced swimmers it is advisable to choose events whereby it does not involve, a long day, long gaps in between or too many races in one session.
All Open Meets have a closing date, if you miss the closing date the swimmer will be unable to participate. Where an Open Meet is oversubscribed the swimmer may be unable to swim some events.
On the Day
Most meets have a swimmer sign in procedure, usually simply to sign a ‘Sign In Sheet’, but this can vary depending on the event. These sheets are usually found by the changing rooms and have one sheet per event, printed with entry names in alphabetical order. Make sure you sign each event sheet. Often sheets for later sessions will be put out during the earlier session or just before the session starts. If swimmers do not ‘sign in’ in time they may not be able to swim.
Warm up is usually 30 minutes to one hour before the start of the competition and usually separate for boys/girls. It is important that parents and swimmers are aware of warm up times before the day by confirming with the Open Meet Co-ordinator or checking the host club’s website. There is no diving during the warm up, however towards the end there will be an announcement, stating which lines are dedicated for sprints, whereby the swimmers can dive in and sprint one length and then climb out.
When the events start the Club Coach will send the swimmers for the relevant event down to the marshalling area. Here they will be lined up in their heat order. Once behind the lane the timekeeper will confirm the swimmers name.
After the swimmers last event they may go home, although it is advisable to tell the coach. It may be necessary to wait to the end of the event if there is a possibility that the swimmer maybe taking part in a final. Some events are ‘HDW’ – Heat Declared Winner and others have finals. This varies from meet to meet.
When the events have been swum, the times and positions of the swimmers are printed out and displayed near poolside.
For some Level 2/3 Open Meets with cut off times, if a swimmer swims faster than the Upper Qualifying Time (UQT) then they are issued with a ‘Speeding Ticket’. Getting a speeding ticket means that the swimmer is not eligible for medals, but is a very positive indicator of a good time for that race, in that age group.