Competitions Explained

There are lots of reasons for entering galas, some of which are listed below:
Why Enter a Gala?
To see how much progress you have made
To put your training into practise
To stretch yourselves to the limit
To improve your Personal Best times
To achieve qualifying times for other galas
To compete
To learn from watching better swimmers
To represent Ilkley Swimming Club
To meet new people
To have fun
To win
The Club wishes to take a more active part in galas and will be offering a range of different events and venues to compete at.  It is not compulsory for swimmers to take part in galas but remember that everyone is good enough.  There are bound to be nerves at first, but we know from experience that, once through ‘the pain barrier’ of the first one or two galas a lot will be gained from these events.  Please don’t ‘duck out’ once committed, if at all possible! 
Please check the notice board when dropping off or picking up or check the newsletter carefully.
There is a lot of jargon associated with galas and hopefully this will help you get to terms with competitive swimming.
Entering Galas
For all galas (except the Club Championships) you will be required to complete an entry form.  You will find these attached to the newsletter and copies will be available on the notice board.  Your coach will give you advice as to which events to enter if you need help.  All galas have closing dates that are strictly enforced and your gala entry and payment must be handed in by the deadline otherwise it will not be processed.  The club holds your PB (Personal Best) times so there is no need to add these to the entry form unless you know them.  Many galas can be entered even if you have never competed before.
Types of Gala
Club Championships and Time Trials
Swimmers can be introduced to competitive swimming through the use of time trials or the club championships.  There is no formal entry procedure for these events.  The Club Championships take place on Tuesday 22 March 18:00-21:00hrs in 2016, subject to having volunteers to help out, and you can swim each stroke and 100IM.
The benefits of participating in time trials.
Introduce swimmers to the rules and regulations of competitive swimming
Allow swimmers to experience competitive swimming in their home environment before travelling to other venues.
Provides swimmers with an entry time for galas.
Local Meets
Bradford and District Galas (B&D)
B&D galas are held at Shipley swimming pool.  They are open to all clubs in the Bradford and District area only, such as Halifax SC, Bradford Dolphins SC, Bingley SC, and Bradford SC and of course Ilkley.
B&D galas are a series of events spread over the year.  You swim in the age group that you will be at the end of the series which is usually mid-May.  Each age group has the opportunity to swim each event throughout the year.  There are also open events which any age group can enter including master swimmers.  You swim in a heat and hopefully progress through to the final!  Medals are given to the top three swimmers and pennants to all finalists.  Swimmers gain points over the year and an award is made to the top boy and girl.
The final gala of the series is just relay races and we hope to enter a team for each event.
Rising Stars Gala
These galas are designed for 8-14 year olds who just train at Ilkley Swimming Club and those in the Rising Stars City of Bradford squad, meaning they are ideal for our younger less experienced swimmers.  The galas take place on a Sunday afternoon at Shipley Pool and only invited local clubs are allowed to swim.  You can swim as many or as few races as you wish.  Medals are awarded for each age group.  You can choose which events you swim and the coaches will give you advice if you need it.
Grassroots gala
These galas are again only open to local clubs only.  You need to be 9 years old to enter these galas, but there is no upper age limit.  This is a day long gala and therefore has more events to choose from.  You can swim as many or as few races as you wish.  Your time will be recorded electronically (just like the Olympics) and your times will be stored in the ASA Database.  The meet organisers set upper time limits so anyone with an electronic time faster than this will be rejected.
Open Meets
Ilkley Swimming Club offers several open meets a year.  We aim to enter one each per term but this is not always possible.  In order to compete you must have ASA Cat 2 membership (see page 13 for current prices), this can be arranged by Rachel Ashelford at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Open meets are more competitive as swimmers from any club can enter.  Meets are usually graded (see below) so that you will be competing with swimmers of similar standard.  In the past we have entered open meets organised by Doncaster Dartes, Spenborough SC, City of Sheffield SC, Middlesborough SC and Beverly Barracudas.
What is a graded meet?
AAA grade is approximately the same level as National Championships
AA grade is about Regional Level
A grade is about County Level
B grade is a good club swimmer
C grade is for all swimmers below B grade
Some galas are organised so that A, B and C grades all swim.  These are the galas that Ilkley SC tries to attend as it means that the whole club can compete together.  The organisers set a lower and upper entry qualifying time for each grade, each event and each age group.  Swimmers who have surpassed the upper entry times for the specific event will not be allowed to compete on that event.  Do not worry about this as your entry time will determine which grade you are entered for and the Gala Co-ordinator will contact you if there is a problem.
Yorkshire Championships
The Yorkshire Championship is a high level competition aimed at the best swimmers across the county.  There will be qualification times which swimmers must have achieved in the year prior to the event.  The Championships run in February and October.
NER Championships
This is a very high level competition aimed at the best swimmers in the North East region.  There will be a qualification times which swimmers must achieve in the year prior to entering the event.  There is a short course championship which takes place in November and a long course in May/June time.
Swimming Pools
There are two types of pool swimming competitions: long course and short course.
Long course (LC) events are held in a 50m pool e.g. Ponds Forge in Sheffield and John Charles in Leeds and short course events (SC) in a 25m pool.
The major difference is that a swimmer will turn more often in a SC competition and can therefore create more momentum from powering off the wall of the pool.
Your times can be converted between the two types of pool by going to
There are a range of events in a swimming programme.  Typically this will be 50m, 100m, and 200m races in each stroke (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle).  With freestyle there is also a 400m, 800m (women) and 1500m (men).
In order to encourage our swimmers to compete at all strokes, we are running a Pentathlon competition from Jan 2016-Dec 2016.  The swims have to be completed at local galas (B&Ds, Rising Stars and Grassroots) or open galas that ISC attend.
Those swimmers that swim all 5 of the following events will get an award:
50m or 100m fly
50m or 100m back
50m or 100m breast
50m or 100m freestyle
100m or 200m individual medley
Please show the coaches details of the dates and times of your swims to receive your award.
Master Swimmers who wish to compete must have ASA Cat 2 Membership (see page 13).  In 2016 Ilkley Swimming Club will be represented at the following Meets:
South East Crawley K2 Masters Meet (LC) 23-24 January 2016
Yorkshire Masters Championships held at John Charles in Leeds on Saturday 30 April 2016 (SC)
North East Region Masters Championships held in Blackpool on Saturday 20 February 2016 (SC)
Open National Long Course in Ponds Forge 1-3 April 2016 (LC)
European Masters Championships London 25-29 May 2016 (LC)
British Masters Short Course at Ponds Forge 28-30 October 2016 (SC)
South Yorkshire Masters Meet held at Ponds Forge date tbc. (SC)
In addition Masters/Tris and Smarter Swimmers will have the opportunity to swim the British Swimming T30 and the BLDSA T60
The Decathlon is a Masters competition. Masters have to swim the following to total 10 different events:
2 Sprint Front Crawl Events
2 Middle/Distance Events
2 Form Stroke Distances
50/100/200m of Back or Breast or Fly
1 Form Stroke Distance
50/100/200m of Back or Breast or Fly
1 Form Stroke Distance
50/100/200 of Back / Breast or Fly
2 Individual Medley Distances  
Results of this can be found on:
Other Competitions
British Masters Swimming T30
Ilkley Aquathon- Saturday 17 September 2016
Ilkley Triathlon – Sunday 18 September 2016
Great North Swim Series
More details can be found here