When they are ready we like to enter our members in competitions which suit their ability level. Often the first gala to be entered will be: –
1. Graded Galas
These competitions have time restrictions to exclude the faster swimmers. So, for example, in a Certain Graded Gala an 11 year old boy who swims faster than 33 seconds for 50M Freestyle would not be allowed to enter (he would enter Open galas – see below) Those who are entered and then, on the day, swim faster than the set entry time will usually be given a ‘speeding certificate’ and will not be eligible for medals. So our 11 year old would get a medal if he did 33.10 in the gala but a speeding ticket if he went under 33 seconds. There are various levels of graded gala with differing entry time restrictions.
2. Open Galas
These galas are open to all competitive swimmers and are the next avenue for those who are too fast for the graded galas, There are no time restrictions on these galas.
3. Northumberland & Durham County Championships (N & D)
These galas have a qualifying time and only swimmers who have reached that time are allowed to enter. Any swimmer you see wearing a BLACK club hat has a County time and has been presented with it to show he/she has achieved a qualifying time. It is likely that you may qualify in some strokes or distances and not in others.
4. North Eastern Region Championships (NER)
This is a step further than N & D galas and the qualifying times are faster. They are swum in short course (25 Metre) & long course (50 Metre) pools throughout the year. Our swimmers who have achieved these qualifying times will be seen wearing a SILVER club hat.
5. National Championships
This is the pinnacle of performance for most swimmers. There is an entry ‘window’ of around 10 weeks in which to set a fast time after which the fastest 24 swimmers in each stroke/age group are invited to swim in the British Summer National competition. The next 20 swimmers are invited to attend the ASA English National competition (or Welsh / Scottish if they have those nationalities). If you reach these Galas you will have achieved a very high standard and be entitled to wear a, much prized, GOLD hat.
6. Annual Club Championships
Held at Loftus pool in November each year, this is open to all members who have 50% attendance in their training sessions. Trophies and medals are presented at the presentation evening held after the competition usually in Loftus Town Hall.