ASA – Amateur Swimming Association
PB – Personal Best
N&D – Northumberland and Durham
NER – North East Region
IM – Individual medley (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle)
Although at first the prospect of competitive swimming is confusing, it doesn’t need to be. Hopefully this guide will help clarify what on earth people are talking about!
This is often the first time swimmers experience competitive swimming, but not always.
The focus on these Team based competitions is FUN. They are an introduction to competitive swimming, teamwork and generally enjoying the sport of swimming. If swimmers have the option of travelling on the Team bus then that’s all part of the fun, and the build up to the event.
Although it is nice to win, winning is not the focus. Points are awarded to the teams so if your swimmer or Team finish first in a six lane event you score 6 points, second 5 points, third 4 points, etc. Parents, whether you like it or not, I know from experience that you will be watching and writing down all the Team scores to try and predict the results. It’s addictive, it’s fun, it’s loud and the kids love it!
There are generally 4 heats that the Team participates in and then a final for the top 6 scoring teams.
The league has divisions and teams can move up or down through the divisions depending upon where they finish in the league.
In this level of competition individual swim times are not recorded so these do not count towards personal best times, although they do give coaches an indication on how swimmers could perform at a licenced meet.
Galas organised, and licenced, by swimming clubs will have published Meet Information, and a Meet Schedule.
Some Meets will have upper cut off times i.e. swimmers cannot enter if they are faster than these times or lower cut off times i.e. swimmers cannot enter if they are slower than these times.
Links to this information will be on the Events Calendar on the website for all Galas we are participating in.
After a licenced meet has taken place results from the events will be uploaded onto British Rankings (generally within a week), a link to this can be found under Useful Links on the website. All swimmers PBs can be found on British Rankings for both Short Course and Long Course meets.
Meets are licenced at different “Levels” 1 being the highest.
Meets at this level include long course (50m pools) National, Regional and County Championships.
Meets at this level include short course (25m pools) National, Regional and County Championships.
To enable athletes to achieve times suitable for entry into Regional and County Championships and other Meets at Level 1 or Level 2.
For the development of inexperienced athletes and those seeking to compete outside their own club environment. Times recorded are suitable for entry into County Championships where acceptable to the County concerned, and Meets at Level 3.
Times are not acceptable for entry into Regional and National Events.
County championships are held each year in February over 2 weekends, these are known as the N&Ds and are held at Sunderland Aquatic Centre (although this might change for 2019 due to pool closure for repairs). There are also some Team events held at these championships which are generally on a Saturday on a separate date to the individual championships. Not every club enters the team events as they are by age group and Clubs may have insufficient swimmers in the specified groups.
To enter the N&Ds the swimmer must have achieved a minimum qualification time in each event. Once the time is met then the swimmer will be able to enter and the only reason for rejection from the event is if the times have not been met.
Qualification times for the next championship are generally published towards the end of September. These will be published on the Consett ASC website as soon as they are available. Swimmers need to note that these are Long Course (50m pool) times and therefore they will need to convert PBs from Short Course to Long Course Times to ensure that qualification times have been met.
A link to a swim time converter can be found on the Useful Links webpage.
Regional championships are held each year in May over 3 weekends, these are known as the NERs. They are split into Age Group (2 weekends, upto age 13) and Youth & Senior (1 weekend, age 14+).
These Championships are not always held locally, in the past they have been held at Sunderland Aquatic Centre, Ponds Forge Sheffield and John Charles Centre Leeds. The venue will be confirmed within the meet Information.
To enter the NERs the swimmer must have achieved a minimum qualification time in each event, entry times to NERs are faster than those at N&D level. Once the time is met then the swimmer will be able to enter and the only reason for rejection from the event is if the times have not been met.
Qualification times for the next championship are generally published in December/January. These will be published on the website as soon as they are available. Swimmers need to note that these are Long Course (50m pool) times and therefore they will need to convert PBs from Short Course to Long Course Times to ensure that qualification times have been met. Please note that PBs obtained at level 4 meets will not be accepted for entry into Regional meets.
A link to a swim time converter can be found on the Useful Links webpage.
Winter NERs are held in November and are generally a short course (25m) event, although it has been known for this meet to be Long Course prior to commonwealth games. They are generally held at a Long Course pool (50m) with the pool split into 2 x 25m pools with the Age Group events being held at one end and the Youth & Senior at the other. Essentially there are two competitions being held simultaneously at one pool!
Qualification times for the next championship are generally published in July. These will be published on the website as soon as they are available. Please note that PBs obtained at level 4 meets will not be accepted for entry into Regional meets.
National Meets (British Campionships and English Summer Championships)
National Meets are a whole new ballgame!
Each year there is a qualification window, this is generally from around the second week in March until the end of May.
Every Long Course event swum within this window will be count towards potential entry into the summer national events. PBs gained outside of the qualification window are excluded.
Summer Nationals are held at Ponds Forge, Sheffield during the last week in July to the end of the first week in August.
British Nationals are for swimmers who finish in the top 24 in their event, and entry is by invitation only i.e. individual swimmers will receive an email inviting them to enter the event in which they were ranked within the top 24 in Britain.
English Summer Championships are for swimmers who finish in the top 20 in England, excluding those who are within the top 24 in Britain. Entry is by invitation only i.e. individual swimmers will receive an email inviting them to enter the event they qualified in.
During the qualification window Swim England publish a weekly update on rankings for the Summer Championships, once the window closes a finalised list of qualifiers is generally published within a week.
To ensure qualifiers receive an email inviting them to swim competitors must ensure that they complete their BIOG data within Rankings, and that their photograph is no more than 12 months old. When attending National events swimmers will receive an “Athletes Pass” this will have their name, photograph and list the events they are competing in. Without this they will not gain entry to the event, or even the changing rooms.
A link to a BIOG data can be found on the Useful Links webpage.