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Swimmers QA's for Galas
How should we prepare for galas?Q & A

In the week before the meet, and at the end of each day of the meet, ensure that your swimmer refuels on top quality athlete's food containing complex carbohydrates. They should also be drinking plenty of fluids, to ensure their body's cells are fully hydrated. It can add to the nerves before a race if a swimmer is worrying about a new pair of goggles that have just been bought because their usual ones broke. Where possible swimmers should refrain from trying out new costumes or goggles for the first time in a race. It is best for new items to be "experienced" during a training session so that any problems can be resolved ahead of the competition.

What equipment will be needed?

Swimmers usually take their bag with equipment on to pool side. However at large events many items end up in lost property or go missing so ensure everything is well marked and encourage your swimmer to put everything away in their bag when not using it especially during warm up and races. This will also have the advantage that they can find their goggles/hat quickly when they are needed for the race! To enable identification of swimmers and to have a 'team' look, all swimmers are expected to wear a EDSC hat when swimming in external events. It is a good idea to bring several swimming costumes to a long meet so your swimmer can get changed after a race(if there is time) and stay warm. They should also have at least one spare (tried) pair of goggles or spare straps and clips.
All swimmers should wear a club swimming hat for races and have a spare available. Your swimmer will be in and out of the water all day, so make sure you bring more than one towel. You might find it useful to get a swimmer's chamois. It allows the swimmer to dry off most of the moisture without soaking their usual towel, and saves your laundry basket!

What clothing will be needed?

Some pools can be draughty and it is important to keep warm between events, so bring plenty of warm clothes. Club kit - t-shirts, rugby shirts or a club track suit - must be worn.
Don't forget a pair of pool shoes, or flip-flops or clean trainers & socks, as a lot of heat can be lost through bare feet on a cold poolside.
Don't forget, if they arrive in their poolside clothes, to make sure they have a dry set to go home in! It can also be useful to have a spare plastic bag for regular clothes and other belongings to keep them dry while the swim bag is on poolside.

What should the swimmer do when not swimming?

Swimmers are expected to stay on poolside during the each meet. They must not leave the poolside without a coaches express permission. Coaches & Team Managers need to speak to swimmers during the day for either race strategy advice or to send them up for marshalling to get ready for their race. If your swimmer wants to leave poolside, even if it's just to go to the toilet, they must let the Coach/Team Manager know to ensure that they don't miss their race. The Coach/Team Manager has a whole team to keep track of, which can be very difficult if swimmers keep "disappearing' at crucial moments. If a swimmer leaves poolside to spend some time with parents they must get back in plenty of time for their next race, and let the Coach/Team Manager know they are back.

After their swim it is vital that your swimmer immediately see the Coach, swim down and then if time permits visit with you. Please do not beckon your swimmer over to the spectator area after a race to discuss/congratulate their performance. There should be no messing about in the swim down pool...it is not play time!

Swimmers should be tidy and pick up all their litter. There are usually plenty of rubbish bags and bins at meets sodo encourage your swimmer to use them. Although swimmers are encouraged to support their team-mates it can be helpful, especially for open meets, for them to bring something, such as a book, magazine or computer game, to keep them occupied during quieter moments.

Do be aware that neither the club nor the venue can be held responsible for loss or damage to property so your swimmer should not bring valuables or things that can be damaged by being in a damp atmosphere.

What should the swimmer eat and drink?

On the day of the meet your swimmer may be on poolside for the whole day, so they need to be kept well stocked with small, easily digestible snacks, rather than having large meals. It is just as important to stay well hydrated, so provide plenty of fluids and encourage your swimmer to sip often at their drink during the day.
Although some venues have excellent catering facilities it is best not to rely on them, so bring a selection of food to keep your swimmer in top form throughout the day. For younger swimmers it is best to hand the food to them in small "doses' to avoid them eating it all within the first hour! To keep perishable food fresh we suggest you use a cool bag with an ice pack.

Food suggestions

Complex carbohydrates for "grazing' throughout the day,

e.g. small portions of:

• Pasta/Rice salad
• Muffins (sweet or savoury)
• Bread, Pitta bread, Bagels
• Pizza (but be careful of fatty toppings)
• Rice cakes
• Breakfast cereals or Cereal bars
• Bananas
• Popcorn Jacket potatoes are also suitable if available at the venue's catering outlet.

Drinks suggestions

• Water
• Sports drinks
• Weak squash Note: Fizzy drinks & glass containers of any kind are banned.

What do parents need to do?

You have to make sure that your swimmer gets an early night before the gala and arrives at the pool in plenty of time. In the rush to get your swimmer ready it can be easy to forget your own needs, so don't forget to pack items for yourself. You might want to bring a comfortable cushion (some venues have very hard spectator seating), something to read, a pen or pencil to mark up your programme, and a separate picnic with plenty to drink.
Some parents also like to bring a stopwatch but this is not essential as many venues have electronic time board and results will be printed and displayed at the venue during the sessions. It is worth noting your swimmers times for each event as DQ's will not get an official time recorded but praise for a PB, even with a disqualification, will help the disappointment.Then you have to be seen to be cheering, taking photos (remember spare batteries, memory sticks and sign child-protection form), and worrying!

How can we see the Results?

Each time the swimmer swims the results will be fed back to the club and EDSC swimmers times will be posted on the web site under "RESULTS'. Full results of external meets will be posted on the relevant hosting clubs/championship web site. This can take a few weeks so keep checking!

Are there trophies or medals?

The medal system and their quality will vary from event to event. Please see advice on individual events for guidance on awards.

What/Where are my PBs?

When the swimmer achieves a time that is better than their existing time for that stroke/distance it is recorded on the clubs PB database hosted by HYTEK. The "latest' PBs can be found under the pb tab. PBs are recorded separately for 25m,short course (SC) pools and 50m long course (LC) pools.These PBs should be used to check against qualifying times for Open Meets and Championships. PBs achieved in events where your swimmer is not representing EDSC i.e. schools galas, can be emailed to the competition secretary for inclusion in the PB database.

Club records

Rankings

What are BAGCATS?

British Age Group Categories or BAGCAT points are system of points which are awarded for different swims. When a swimmer competes in a BAGCAT event, their time is converted into points that take into account a swimmer's age and sex. A swimmer can take part in as many events in a season as they choose to, but only their highest points score in each swimming category will count towards their final BAGCAT total.
For an event the overall position of a swimmer is the sum of the BEST point score in each of the 5 categories (50mevents, 100m, FORM, Distance and IM (100IM for 9-11year olds and 200-400IM for older swimmers). It is therefore advisable to enter every category in the Age Groups if you can achieve the qualifying times. (N.B boys 12and below and girls 11 and below don't swim the 100m individual events).What are ASA Competitive Awards?