“It is important that within the competitive programme individuals can compete in events which are appropriate to their stage of development and talents.”
Levels of Open Meets
There will be four tiers of structured competition. Open Meets will be licensed according to the purpose of their competition as Level 1, 2, 3 or 4.
Level 1 is aimed at National qualifiers, or Regional level swimmers close to National qualification, looking for opportunities to achieve National qualifying times. These meets will have qualifying times for entry, which will be just below the national times. (see Section on Qualifying Times and Upper Limit Times)
Level 2 is aimed at Regional / National qualifiers and will have qualifying times and upper limit times. Access to the ASA ranking information is used to enable meet organisers to verify that entry times submitted by swimmers fall within the stated range. Swimmers seeking Regional and National qualifying times should target level 2 and level 1 events for qualifying purposes.
Level 3 is for Club swimmers who looking for County qualifying times and level 3 meets will have qualifying and upper limit times set at an appropriate level. These meets would provide a programme throughout the year alongside key level 2 meets to support the requirements of swimmers up to County and Regional level . Note Nqts cannot be gained at level 3 meets . Regional qts can be gained at level 3 meets .
Qualifying Times and Upper Limit Times
These are times set by meet organisers for each event in the programme in order to control the number of entries in a meet. A qualifying time is the time that a swimmer must have already achieved in order to enter that level of competition. However, some meets will also have an upper limit time for each event, which means that swimmers who have previously achieved times faster than the upper limit time are not eligible for an event. The effect of having qualifying times and upper limit times for a meet is to target swimmers at a particular level to enable then to gain qualifying times for the next level . Qualifying times are set for National, Regional and most County competitions and these also provide a standard which coaches can use to indicate the level of their swimmers. For example, within a club, swimmers may be selected for particular training groups if they have County, Regional or National qualifying times.The requirement of having achieved a qualifying time in order to enter for an event relies significantly on the integrity of coaches, swimmers and parents to submit correct, truthful information. This is a clear expectation within the ASA Code of Conduct.
However, with electronic entry via club co ordinators now increasingly requested , club co ordinators have to submit club entries electronically , entry times submitted are checked against the National Ranking system . It is therefore important to make sure that swimmers gain the relevant qualifying times at the appropriate level of meets throughout the year to enable them to progress to the next level , a programme of meets should be planned by clubs and coaches to maximize their swimmers chances of qualifying for Counties, Regionals and National Championships ie a range of meets of appropriate levels for all their swimmers .
It is most important to keep a list of your personal best times . You should notify your coach of any pbs , so that the club and coordinators can make sure that you are entered for the appropriate meets for you.
You will be guided by your coach or Open meet secretary as to which level of meet you should be aiming for.
Each club will have a list of target meets , if you are given an entry form it is advised that you should be entering that meet , if you are unsure of what events to enter please see your coach or the Open meet secretary who will be able to advise you.
If you are unable to enter a given meet , you may be missing the chance of an important qualifying time .
Please bear this in mind. Meets are chosen to maximise swimmers chances of qualifying for Counties, Regionals or Nationals . It is all about improving and gaining qualifying times times , not necessarily winning medals.
The aim is to reach your potential , you should give yourself a realistic target and try to achieve it, by training hard , increasing your training sessions will enable you to increase performance and ultimately your results .
Competitive swimming requires dedication from the swimmer, their coaches and their parents.
It requires hours in the pool and the cost does not come cheaply, it also includes unsociable hours training including very early morning sessions and weekend swimming , dedicated parents are essential to help swimmers achieve their goals . Travelling to training and to open meets all over the country to gain qualifying times becomes a routine for our best swimmers. It may be over in seconds in an event , but it may take years of training and preparation to get there . The rewards are great , for those who have achieved a personal best time , a medal or a Regional or National qualifying time , the measure and the pride which is felt after a good swim , for swimmer, coach and parents makes it all worthwhile.
To be the best, is to compete with the best . You cant win it if you aren’t in it .
If you wish to be a competitive swimmer , you must want to train regularly and have the dedication to train to win. Competetive swimming requires a commitment from the swimmer , coach and parents . Support and commitment from parents is key .
Initial goals are County level qualifiying times , and hopefully then to be chosen to represent your County (as the best in the County at a specific event in your age group) , it is then to pursue a Regional Qualifying time and to swim at Regional Championships level. The highest level for club swimmers is to gain a National Qualifying time, this demands the utmost of training , dedication and hard work. For only a very few it could lead to International Team selection. The Olympic games and International Competition is the Ultimate aim of all swimmers . When you realise how many hours and years of training it takes to get a swimmer to that level , those swimmers and their parents and their coach deserve our ultimate respect .
But you can have a lot of fun in lower levels of competitive swimming and to gaining a medal or getting a personal best time is the best feeling in the world.
You get out of swimming what you put in and the best swimmers parents are nearly always there to watch their offspring train and achieve their goals .
Natural ability can only take you so far , training hard and teamwork with your coach and parents will get you to where you want to be. But you have to do the work in the pool and out of it … Training becomes a way of life . Those who train hard will be successful, but many just enjoy their swimming and the social side of training with their team mates , but to succeed you have to put in the hours . Your fellow swimmers help you train harder .
If asked to swim for your club , do so with pride and commitment . Swimming as part of a team is as rewarding if not more rewarding than swimming in an open meet for yourself. To be offered a team place is an honour , we are a club and every swim counts . It may not seem important or necessary to parents to have to travel miles to a team gala for maybe only one swim in one event , but just to swim 50m in a relay team for example is very important to your club , it is a team effort and if one person isn’t available to swim , it can affect the whole team.