Participating in Galas

Here, you'll find everything you need to know about participating and attending swim galas!

We have 3 squads. 'Evolution' for new club swimmers. These swimmers will be invited to Imps and Fun Gala including our Club Champs which everyone must attend. 'Development' is the next squad up and these swimmers should consider swimming more than one weekly session. The top squad is County Development for swimmers reaching for County and Regional times.

There are two kinds of galas:

Imps or Fun galas

These are held against local clubs. We take a team of up to about 30 swimmers, up to 13 years of age. The competition is individual races in age groups and team relays. It's great fun, exciting and noisy! These galas are normally about two hours long.    

Team galas

Such as Arena League. Swimmers from age nine all the way up to Seniors and Masters can participate. Relay teams and individual racing – against teams from within the Southwest region.

And five levels of swim meets:

Level 4

One club entry (not open to other clubs), i.e., Club Championships. Qualifying times are not required to enter this level meet, but swimmers can gain official times for other meets. All our junior members are expected to compete in our yearly Club Champs.

Level 2

These are usually County Championships and Open Meets. They're always held in 25M pools and qualifying times are required. Times achieved at these meets can be used for regional and national qualification

Level 3

Can be a development meet for young and new swimmers. These meets usually require a qualifying time and have upper time limits (to keep all swimmers in the same range). Some meets will allow unlicensed times submitted by a coach during training. 


Level 1

These are the same as Level 2 but take place in a long form pool (50M).


Open Meets

Open Meets are usually licensed by Swim England (ASA).


Strokes and terminology:

Freestyle - means the swimmer can select the stroke. Front Crawl is fastest and swimmers usually pick it, so most people think they're the same thing, but they're not! In a Freestyle race any stroke is acceptable.

Individual Medley (IM) - a individual race where one swimmer swims all four strokes over equal distances totalling 100M, 200M or 400M; Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, Front Crawl.

Medley Relay - this is a team race where each of four swimmers swims one stroke. The strokes are in a different order to the IM; Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly, Front Crawl.

Short Course - races swum in 25M pools

Long Course - races swum in 50M pools

Splits - race times broken down over 25M and 50M

ASA Rankings - British swimming licensed meets are entered into a ranking system, so clubs can see how their swimmers rank at the country level, regionally, and nationally. If you train at two clubs you must choose which club is for rankings. You can do this by logging into your Swim England account.

County qualifying times - these are the minimum times needed to compete in the Devon County Championships held in January and February each year. Times must be achieved from 1 March in the preceding year (e.g., to enter the 2023 Championships you must have achieved a qualifying time after 1 March 2022).

Personal Best times (PBs) - these are personal measures of achievement, rather than against other swimmers.

What you need to bring to a gala:

- A suitable swimsuit, towel and waterproof bag
- Your club t-shirt and hat
- A water bottle and snacks
- Your energy and enthusiasm!

It is advisable to leave your towel in your waterproof bag. Bags and towels get wet straight away and then swimmers can be left sitting on cold wet towels. Our club kit is designed to dry quickly and keep swimmers warm whilst they are poolside.

Gala invites will be emailed out along with details of the meet. The meet info will also be on the club noticeboard in the viewing gallery of the Dartmouth Indoor Pool. Please read the invite carefully. Check what the race time and date is, as some meets take place over more than one day and are normally split into 2 sessions per day. Each session has a warm up time. Swimmers must be swim ready before the warm up time. Most swim meets charge per race. This money must be paid to Dartmouth Swimming Club on the same day you accept an invitation as we have to pay the meet providers. Any swimmer cancelling will not be refunded.

On joining Dartmouth Swimming Club. You will be charged a yearly Swim England fee for membership and insurance. Club Train is approx £13.65 a year. If you compete you will be charged a yearly Club Compete Fee of approx £30. All Swim England fees are renewed in January.


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