How do I know when I am swimming my race?
After you have arrived and changed, report to your Age Group Steward on poolside. There will be signs on the wall to show you where to go.
Your steward will have details of you and your race schedule. Your steward is there to answer all your questions and to make sure you are
in the right place at the right time. Once you have checked in with your steward you must follow their instructions.
What do I need to bring with me?
Swimming costume, hat, goggles, T-shirt, track suit bottoms, a bottle of plain water or juice (no fizzy drinks, no cans, no glass), energy
tablets (but no other food, sweets or gum), inhaler (for asthmatics), towel, poolside shoes (flip flops are best since trainers react with
the chlorine and smell horrible!). Bring your bag onto poolside with you don't leave it in the changing room.
Can I bring friends/family to watch?
Yes, but there is a limit on how many spectators we can allow in the pool for health and safety reasons. Your supporters must not wear outdoor
shoes inside the pool. It will be crowded, hot and noisy so they must be dressed appropriately to survive the "hostile" conditions.
Please don't bring babies, toddlers, animals or shopping bags! Spectators will not be allowed into the pool before the starting time if
there are classes going on before the races begin. There is no point turning up early in the hope of getting a ringside seat!
Do you need help?
Yes we always need parent helpers – please contact either Stuart Galvin or Chris Michael to volunteer your services
now. Roles include timekeeping, writing out certificates, handing out programmes, serving drinks to officials, keeping track of results,
announcements, stewarding and lots more!
How do I know if I have won a medal or an award?
You will swim your race in a heat (maximum of 6 swimmers) of similar ability but because other swimmers in your age group competition may be swimming
in other heats, the positions (1st, 2nd etc) in the heat won't tell you whether you have won your age group. You will only find this
out at the end of the session when all the heats have been swum. The results of your age group will be posted afterwards (on the wall)
this will record the official time of your swim. After the event the results will be posted on the website and if you were disqualified, it will give the reason why. You can work out if you have achieved
an ASA speed award by comparing your official time with the standards on the notice board or website.
How do I get my ASA speed award?
After each session, the event organisers take all the results away and prepare a results sheet for each event. This will be available on the
website within a few days. If you gain an official time (i.e. you are not disqualified) and it is faster than a previous time, the database of
personal best times on the website will be updated too. Once your result has been published you can purchase your speed award badge from the
How do I get my medal?
If there is sufficient time at the end of the last race in each session there will be a medal presentation ceremony. If not presented at this
time, the medals will be presented at the next session or next most suitable training session. If you are not there for the ceremony you won't
be presented with your medal and you won't get your photograph taken for the website winners gallery. However, your medal will be kept for you
to claim at a later time.
How do I know if I have won an Age Group cup?
Cups are only awarded for the Age Group Cup competition and are presentd at the annual awards ceremony.
How do I know if I have won one of the other annual club awards?
The Head Coach and the Chairman will
announce who has won the annual club awards at the awards ceremony. There are cups for each stroke and for improvement at all levels. These awards
take account of your work throughout the year, anyone from a beginner to an adult, may receive an award. You have to be there to find out!
I didn't win a medal or an award what do I get?
The Main aim of the Club Championship events is for swimmers to gain Personal Best times and they should be congratulated on achieving these.
Everyone who takes part in the Age Group Cup event receives a certificate of achievement. Certificates are presented at the awards ceremony and
record the stroke, distance and time of your swim(s). You may also have won a commendation prize but you need to be there to find out!
I think a mistake has been made with the results of my race?
If you think the results of a race are wrong you must wait until the last race in the whole session has been swum, then you must report your
concern to the Referee. Nobody else can amend the race results so do not ask the people on the recorders desk. The Referees decision is final.
If you need help explaining your concern to the Referee you should speak to a Coach (somewhere on poolside) and ask him/her to speak to the
Referee on your behalf. Only the swimmer or the Head Coach can appeal a result. (Parents,
please note, if you think a mistake has been made, don't tell your swimmer speak instead to a Coach (not to any other official on poolside
because they will be very busy with other tasks and the whole event will be held up if they are distracted). The coach will advise you and if
necessary talk to the Referee on your behalf. Be certain of things before you worry a swimmer (dare we say it but parents can sometimes be wrong!)
What is a disqualification?
The technical rules of swimming are there to ensure that competitions are fair. For example, different strokes are faster or slower than each
other therefore, it isn't fair if somebody swims frontcrawl in a breastroke race. Generally speaking, if a swimmer uses the correct stroke,
start and turn technique they will be faster than somebody who doesn't, therefore, success = technique plus speed. This is particularly so
over distances longer than 25m.
A young swimmer who is rewarded for speed only is being given a false expectation of their potential. Being disqualified can be upsetting to a
young swimmer but it is very important that they understand sooner rather than later about points of technique they have yet to master. It is
very difficult to correct a bad habit later in their swimming career.
Parents, your attitude towards disqualifications is very important to your swimmer. Swimmers need positive feedback - if they are disqualified
they need praise for taking part and doing their best and they need encouragement to then go and speak to their teacher/coach to ask what they
need to learn. Ask any senior swimmer and they will recount the story of their first disqualification and how beneficial it was to them in the
longer term! (Note: the skills of stroke, start and turns are taught continuously during training sessions; however, it is often only under race
conditions that we can tell as teachers/coaches whether or not a child has fully assimilated these skills).
What is the One Start Rule?
At the start of the race, on the preparatory command "Take your Marks" the swimmer shall immediately take up a starting position with
at least one foot at the front of the starting block (or poolside), when all swimmers are stationary, the starter gives the starting signal. For
a backstroke race the starting position is in the water but otherwise the same principal applies. If a swimmer is moving at the time the starting
signal is given they will be disqualified at the end of the race. Historically a swimmer was allowed one false start, this is no longer the case.
However, a race may still be recalled and restarted, if it was deemed to be an unfair start i.e. a problem occurred at the start that wasn't
the fault of a swimmer e.g. the signal equipment sounded incorrectly. Technically swimmers need to understand that they should get into position
quickly and then stay absolutely still until the signal is given. (Note: Ask any senior swimmer and they will tell you that when another swimmer
moves on the block adjacent to them it is very distracting - doing this deliberately to put off the opposition is the unfair practice that the
one start rule aims to stop!).
I can't yet dive off the block? I can't yet dive at all?
Don't worry - you can start your race from the side of the pool or in the water. When you go up for your race there will be a starter's
steward who will find out how you want to start and organise this for you with the Referee/Starter.
I've never swum this distance/stroke before?
Don't worry - the swimmers in your race are all at the same standard and level of experience as you, they may look bigger or smaller than
you but that's not important. You are there because your teacher/coach thinks you are ready to swim at the level of the heat. Remember you
are swimming to get your own time, it doesn't matter where anyone comes in the race - just have a go and surprise yourself!
How do I finish a breastroke or butterfly race?
You must touch the wall with both hands simultaneously. If there is a rail at the end of the pool, you must touch with both hands on the rail
OR both hands on the wall (not one hand on rail and one hand on wall).
How do I finish a backstroke race?
You must be on your back – don't turn over onto your front to touch the wall (because you would then be swimming frontcrawl in a
backcrawl race!). To help you know when the end of the pool is coming up there are flags across the pool. You should be looking out for these
flags and when you go under them you should start counting your arm pulls so you know where the wall is. You should have practiced this in your
training sessions and you should know your number of arm pulls to the finish. During the warm up before your backstroke race remember to check
your arm pull number (and then remember it).
Why are there so many rules for a breastroke or butterfly race?
These strokes are more technically demanding. In breastroke the elbows must be underwater all the time. Butterfly is the newest stroke and was
invented originally as a faster version of breastroke – in this stroke both arms must clear the water. The arms in both strokes must move
simultaneously. In breastroke, the legs must move simultaneously and be in the same plane as each other. The feet must be turned outwards in
the propulsive phase of the kick. In butterfly the legs must move up and down simultaneously, there must be no alternating kick (such as in
frontcrawl). In breastroke, it is allowed (for reasons of speed) for a swimmer to pull their arms back beyond the hip line at the first stroke
after the start and after each turn. It is also permitted for there to be one natural downbeat of the legs (dolphin kick) when the swimmer
leaves the wall after a turn. However, the swimmer is only allowed one normal kick to get them to the water surface. All these rules define
the stroke and to win medals in that stroke, it is self evident that the swimmer must perform the stroke correctly.
My race is longer than 25m so how do I turn?
You are allowed to touch the end of the pool and then set off again without doing a tumble turn. However, when turning this way you must not put
your feet down on the pool floor (this would be standing or walking not swimming), you should plant your feet on the wall to push off. Also when
you touch the wall with your hands it must in the same way as you would finish the race (on your back in backstroke, 2 hands for breastroke and
Why do some swimmers tumble turn?
In a frontcrawl or a backcrawl race a tumble turn is the fastest way to turn (that's why we teach it).
If a tumble turn is fastest why don't we practice it more in training?
We (the teacher's and coaches) make it possible for you to practice your tumble turns in every lane training session! The warm up consists
of frontcrawl and/or backcrawl, this is a continuous swim with turns. Most sessions include other sets of work on front or backcrawl – you
should tumble turn in these sets too. In every session there is a contrast activity towards the end, the skills you practice here all underpin
good starts and turns. The only way to get good at tumbling is to try it at every opportunity – that means every training session!
Can I be disqualified on a frontcrawl turn?
You will only get disqualified on a tumble turn if once you have tumbled you then don't touch the wall with at least one foot (called missing
Can I be disqualified on a backcrawl turn?
When doing a backcrawl turn you first turn onto your front, then you tumble. Because this is a backstroke race, once you have turned onto your
front you must not swim on your front, you must drop your head to roll immediately. If you use either your arms or your legs at this stage you
are swimming frontcrawl in a backcrawl race. If you turn onto your front too soon, you can't then glide towards the wall you must start
pulling your arm to initiate the turn straightaway. And finally, when you come out of the turn underwater and push off the wall you must be on
your back. As you can see this turn requires practice, practice, practice!!!
What is the secret to a good tumble turn?
Speed – most errors are caused by the swimmer slowing down during the approach, you should swim fast into a turn (and also out of the turn).
What is the Individual Medley Race?
In this race you swim each stroke in a set order – Butterfly, Backstroke, Breastroke, Frontcrawl. In a 100m IM you swim 25m of each stroke.
In a 200m IM you swim 50m of each stroke.
Does the IM race have any special rules?
No - you swim each stroke according to the rules for that stroke. However, there is a common mistake that swimmers make in IM races and that
concerns the turn at the end of the backstroke leg (going into the breastroke). You cannot do a backcrawl tumble turn here because you are
finishing the backstroke and so you must touch on your back (if you tumbled you would be on your front). In the 200 IM event, when you swim 50m
of backstroke you can do a tumble turn at the end of the first length but not at the end of the second length. (Note: there is a special turn
that you may see senior swimmers doing during the IM event, this is the back to breast turn, where the swimmer touches on their back and then
tumbles backwards. Some swimmers find this quicker, others do not, this is an advanced optional skill that is learnt only after a swimmer has
mastered the basic tumble turns).
What happens at the end of a race?
You are requested to stay in the water until the Referee blows the whistle to release you from their control. This is for reasons of safety and
checking results (e.g. a query about which swimmer is in a given lane). It is no longer the case that you will be disqualified for leaving the
water immediately the race has ended.
What other safety rules must I obey?
You must stay in your own lane when you are swimming your race. When you are not swimming your race, you must not sit on the edge of the pool
with your feet in the water, nor must you throw or drop anything into the water. You can also be disqualified for bad behaviour of any kind,
this is especially so if anything you do affects or is intended to affect another swimmer.
Can I go and see my parents when I've swum my race?
No – after your race you go back to your steward. Your steward must know where you are at all times. You must ask your steward before you
disappear for any reason. Parents, please make it very clear to your swimmer that the changing rooms are not play areas, your child will be asked
to leave the club if they are found to be involved in such practices as stuffing loo rolls into cisterns or hiding other swimmer's clothes
etc. Regrettably, this sort of thing happens. Make sure your child isn't responsible – we don't take sides, everyone caught in the
changing rooms during such an incident will be considered equally responsible because none of them should have been there in the first place!
What do I do if a disgruntled parent tells me that the club has treated them unfairly e.g. the swimmer in question missed out on winning the age cup or a medal due to being disqualified in one race?
Regrettably there is always one swimmer each year who makes a mistake which costs him or her a medal or cup. The swimmer will receive support and
feedback from the coaching team so that in time the experience becomes a positive learning process for the swimmer. Initially however the swimmer
will be very disappointed and this can be made considerably worse for the swimmer when parental expectations are inappropriate. We advise that you
do not become involved in such conversations as this only makes the situation worse for the swimmer. Instead please bring the matter to the
attention of the Referee on pool side or, if it is after the event, to the club welfare officer.