Gala Guide for Parents

Gala emails

Any gala your Squad rep sends you information about is appropriate for members of your squad. The information sent will include details about when, where, distances and strokes for events, qualifying times by age-group, cost per event etc. The Squad rep will also send through advice as to which events the Lead Coach would like your child to enter and what the aims of that gala may be. Unless the email states otherwise, use the online gala entry form. The key information that will be in the email is the date by which to submit the form. If you miss the closing date, your child cannot swim in the gala.

The entry process

It is up to you to enter your child for a gala, not to wait for the coach to advise you to do so. You complete the form online for your child. When you enter your child you should receive confirmation of the entry. We suggest you keep a copy of this confirmation otherwise, many months on, it’s easy to forget what they have been entered for.

Before the club’s entry is submitted, you will be asked to check the information registered for your child and advise of any errors. There is a very small window within which to do this so please respond promptly. Otherwise your child might miss an event, or be entered with the wrong time. If your child’s entry has been accepted by the Club holding the Gala you will be sent a Gala Statement via email from the Treasurer when payment should be made.

Qualifying times (QTs)

Your child’s time must be on the entry form or it can’t be submitted. Level 3 and above galas have lower and upper limits to make sure that swimmers are not too fast or too slow for the event. Getting the time right is important as swimmers race in time order so that they swim with others of the same standard. Level 4 galas (like our club champs) do not have limits, but you still need to enter a time or NT (no time). This, however, will mean that they race with any other NTs and with the slowest swimmers.

If you are unsure of your child’s time for an event then, ask your child’s coach for advice. Don’t be tempted to enter them with a faster time than they can do – it will leave them very demoralised at the end of the race. Once they have competed in a gala, your child’s times are logged on the ASA website, so you will be able to access their QTs for future gala entries without difficulty – all you do is enter your child’s ASA number or surname.

Every child in Bronze squad or above will automatically get an ASA number. It takes some time for these to come through, so please bear with us if you haven’t yet received one for your child.

Which galas to enter?

The Squad’s Lead Coach will inform you which events and which Galas your child is required to enter. There will be no training on Gala days as all squad members are expected to compete. The Galas are part of the Head Coach’s Training Plan – some galas will be “training” galas where it is all about practice and race technique and less about times and others will be galas where swimmers will be chasing PBs.

If you have a previous important commitment you should inform the coach beforehand. If the Gala allows non licenced times then you need to seek the advice of your child’s lead coach as to what time to enter.

At the gala

You will need to ensure your child arrives in time for the sign in. If your child doesn’t sign in for each event they will not be allowed to swim.

Facilities at galas vary hugely. See the gala guides on the Leander website (under the Parents and Swimmers tabs) for how to prepare and other information. Expect to pay for a programme for entry to each session as a spectator – it’s how the organising club pays for the pool etc. The only way to avoid this is to join the throng of trainee judges on poolside – no entry fee, free food and drink – and makes the time pass quickly.

Parents should ensure they are aware of the time needed to get to the event and the correct location. Don’t forget to pack food and drink for yourself and possibly a cushion for sitting on. Parents should ensure that swimmers get an early night before the gala and that they arrive in plenty of time.

Glossary of Terms

SC – Short Course – the pool is 25 metres long
LC – Long Course – the pool is 50 metres long

Sometimes you may need to convert a SC (25m) time to a LC (50m) time or vice versa. You can find a time converter at

HDW – Heat Declared Winner – there will be no final and the winner of the event is determined by times alone when all the heats have been swum.

DQ – indicates the swimmer has broken a swimming rule.

See a list of forthcoming galas