Beacon Swimming Club competes in numerous inter-club galas swimming against other clubs; these may be part of the Sussex League (held normally from May to June) or the National Arena League (normally held in October and November) or one off competitions with local clubs. These are competitions where we are entering as a club swimming in a dedicated lane against other clubs.
In these inter-club galas swimmers swim in individual races and relays and earn points for the team, with the final totals giving a finishing position for each club. League and one off inter-club galas are where the sport of swimming really becomes a team event and every point counts. It is possible that the coaches may select inexperienced swimmers for these competitions to expose them to new and higher levels of competition. A swimmer will not always be expected to win their events but they are expected to swim to the best of their ability – even if they know they are unlikely to win, even the point earned for finishing a race last is valuable and added to the team's total - as stated above every point counts!
Although it is nice to win these galas as a team, they are also one of the best tools the coaches have to expose swimmers to higher levels of competition. Our job as coaches is not to win galas, our job is to develop swimmers into the best and most competent athletes they can be, everybody has to start somewhere! As such, sometimes the fastest swimmer in an age group for a particular stroke may not be selected for that stroke, likewise any given swimmer may be required to swim a weaker stroke than they would usually swim. This is all part of an individual’s development and a swimmer should put just as much effort into their worst stroke as they would their best at these galas.
Gala teams are selected according to the aims of the club at any one particular event. Some Galas we will be attempting to win and therefore the selected team will be the fastest one available, however for other Galas our aims may not be to win but to give swimmers the experience of swimming competitively, the chance to get a time, to swim a stroke which is not their number one stroke, etc. Some galas also have 'time caps' meaning the fastest swimmer wont be chosen as they may be too fast. If a swimmer does go faster than the time cap - they will get a 'speeding ticket' and their points wont count.. however they will have hopefully gained a new PB time! We are attempting to increase the number of events we attend, however, too many galas can impact on training and we need to find volunteers to attend each gala as officials, timekeepers, team managers etc, so we do need to ensure an appropriate balance as to the number of galas.
When a swimmer is invited to a gala we would appreciate a swift reply as to whether they can attend or not so that a replacement can be invited. Also if a swimmer has to withdraw from a gala please give us as much notice as possible so we can find a replacement for the team.