How galas operate
Limerick Swimming Club participates in galas throughout the Munster region (Nenagh, Mallow, Askeaton etc…). A schedule of events for the Munster region is prepared at the beginning of the season by the Munster committee and is posted on the club website and Club Notice Board at UL. The galas are graded into:
- grade 3
- grade 2
- A grade
- Open or Invitation galas
- Division 2
- Division 1
Typically, galas take place every 6 weeks in the Munster region and the coach will select the events for each swimmer, approx. 3 or 4 events. Cost is approx. €15-€25 and it will be billed separately by the club. Swimmers are expected to attend galas and parents are expected to bring their swimmers to these events. They take place mostly on Saturdays (but occasionally Sundays) and are typically from 9am-5pm.
A coach and a team manager will be assigned for all galas. For graded galas, approx. 2 parents from each club are expected to do time-keeping duty – this is usually selected a few days prior to the gala and you will be notified.
A Grade 3 gala is usually a very enjoyable gala and a great opportunity for coming together as a team. There should be no pressure put on any child to get specific times. There may be some swimmers nervous, disqualified, or having a false start. The coach or team manager will offer support and an explanation at this stage.
Key Pointers for your 1st Gala
Warm-ups at most galas begin at 9am but swimmers should listen to the coach at training in order to be aware of any late changes. In general swimmers travel to the gala with their parent(s) and sit together as a team at the gala. On some (rare) occassions a bus may be booked to bring the swimmers, but, you will receive information on this in advance.
Items to bring:
- Bring 2 x swimwear minimum, 2 x goggles (good racing goggles are speedo speed socket-Elverys, Gleesons), pool shoes, club hat, club top, club hoodie, towel.
- Food/Drinks : Bring lots of drinks (water, squash – no fizzy drinks), pasta, sandwiches, sliced fruit, cereal bars, nuts/seeds). No external visits to shops. Swimmers should have a light snack between races and keep hydrated. At lunch-time they should ensure they have taken a sandwich and/or pasta.
- Wear a pair of shorts poolside (boardshorts with side pockets are great for holding hat/goggles between races). Flip flops or some type of clean pool shoes/crocs are essential. Club hat must be worn at each swim and put on with goggles as you near start area. Club top to be worn poolside and for medal presentations.
- A program is on sale at each gala, usually €3. It is a good idea to bring a pen or high-lighter and identify your swimmers races. That way you can help prepare them and ensure they have eaten etc.
- The coach picks the events the swimmers should swim in approx. 2 weeks before the gala day. If you cannot attend a gala tell the coach 2 weeks beforehand. On the day of the gala the coach may also choose relay teams. It is important that no swimmer goes away home without checking with the coach as they may be on a relay team.
- Invitation galas or Open galas differ from graded galas in that they are open to all grades. The coaches decide what swimmers will attend. At graded galas there are specific events swimmers must swim – the coach will advise the swimmer on this. Once the swimmer achieves the criteria within a graded gala (there are different options) they must progress to the next higest graded gala and can no longer take part in the other grade. These qualification times are on the website in Junior Squad section.
All new swimmers will be Grade C swimmers when the first start swimming competitevely. At the first gala new swimmers will have NT (no time) after each event until they get a time at their 1st or 2nd gala. NT swimmers swim first and then the swimmers with the slower times through to the fastest times– they are put into heats on the morning of the gala and the coach gets a copy of the heat order. Swimmers swim with swimmers of similar time, regardless of age.
Only afterwards are they grouped into age groups for results and medals.
- Results are posted on the window at poolside – take down their times. They will be put on club website at a later date also.
- Swimmers must be present for warm-up in the morning (so that coach knows swimmer is present). Swimmers should be aware what heat and lane they are in – ask the team manager or coach before each event.
- Please listen to the first few events for how races are started and get familiar with the starting whistle / beep etc
- Swimmers line up in a callroom area apporx 15mins prior to swim. When swimmers are instructed to go to their lane they should check with the timekeeper that they have your name – if not, you may be in the wrong lane or heat??
Qualification times to Move from
Grade 3 to Grade 2 Galas.
Once Grade A is achieved, swimmers should then be aiming to achieve IAG Division 2 National times and/or other National times for Irish short course / Dave McCullagh / Irish L.C. / IAG and Summer Championships.