Learn to swim      Love to swim      Live to swim

whatever your ability, City of Milton Keynes Swim Club has a programme for you


Why enter a Gala?

• To see how much progress you have made.

• To put into practice what you have been learning in training.

• To stretch yourself to your limits.

• To improve your Personal Best times (PBs).

• To achieve qualifying times for other galas.

• To compete.

• To learn from watching better swimmers.

• To represent CMKSC.

• To meet new people.

• To have fun.

• To win!

Entry Procedures and Costs

Fixtures Secretary or Meet Manager gives or email’s swimmers an entry form - recommend parents turn children and bags upside down to retrieve often wet forms and check email!!

Enter the information asked for and return to person and address that is given on the form by the date also given.  If you need any help with filling in the swimmers times on the forms then speak to a coach, your squad manager or visit the help desk as they will be able to advise you on the best way to complete it.

Remember to enclose the money requested with the entry form when you return it to the appropriate person.  NB. Your child must be ASA registered.

Nearer the time the squad manager will give your child or the parent their entry cards.  Pink cards are for girls and blue cards are for boys. Note: some meets are now cardless, specific details normally are available on the club meet website.

You must take these cards with you on the day of the competition.  At the competition there is generally a posting box and a time deadline when you must post the card by.

Going to a Gala

Going to your first gala can be quite a daunting experience. If you are new to competing in galas, the following information should help you prepare.

Arriving at the gala

     .     Make sure you allow plenty of time to travel to the gala and find somewhere to park. Warm-ups usually start one hour before the gala start time.

     .     On arrival, at the competition venue, swimmers must post their cards.  Often the boxes (for posting the cards) are formally closed at the start of warm-up – please listen for announcements.  If the cards are not posted in time, swimmers may not be able to compete. Again, cardless meets will have a different rule, see the club meet website for details.

     .     Many swimmers like to arrive at galas in their club tracksuit, but it’s a good idea to have spare clothing to go home in, in case the tracksuit gets wet.

     .     All swimmers are normally allowed in to the changing rooms on arrival.

     .     Most changing rooms have lockers that can be used if you have the correct coin. You can leave some belongings in the locker, but take a bag with you on to the poolside containing things you will need (see checklist below.) 

     .     Having posted their cards or registered, swimmers get changed and wait on poolside for warm-up.  A coach will be present to supervise the event, but he or she may not be your squad's coach.  

     .     The coach will be on the poolside and the CMKSC swimmers should sit together.

     .     Spectators including parents must queue to enter and pay their entry fee and programme fee and will not be allowed on poolside.

During the Gala

     .     Warm up is held before each session and is usually for separate age groups, both girls and boys. Follow the warm-up instructions carefully.

     .     The coach will have a programme of events and swimmers will be made aware of their event(s).

     .     The coach will talk to each swimmer before their race and advise when to go to the marshalling area. After each race swimmers should first talk to their coach who will give them feedback on their swim and advise about swim down (if possible).

     .     If swimmers need to leave the poolside, they should ask permission from the coach before doing so. They should also check with the coach when they think their swims are finished, before leaving the gala.



     .     Club t-shirts/tracksuits/hoodies (if you have them)

     .     Swimming gear (it is advisable to have additional swimwear if competing both morning and afternoon to change into dry clothes at lunchtime and if changing after warm up)

     .     Club swimming hat

     .     Goggles (and a spare set)

     .     Drinks (water or juice), a packed lunch and snacks (fruit etc)

     .     Pool shoes (trainers or flip flops) and poolside clothing (t-shirt/t-bag)

     .     Something to keep you occupied during long galas (magazine, book, puzzle etc)


Swimmers are responsible for their own belongings. If they have been involved in packing their bags before the gala, it will help them not to forget to bring it all home with them. It is recommended that names be in clothing, footwear and bags.

Enjoy the Gala and Good Luck!


When you arrive at a swim competition you will usually be asked for payment to enter and watch the races plus a programme may be charged in addition to the entrance fee.

It is advisable to also to attend a competition with provisions for the day - some pools have a good cafeterias, but that can be expensive.  Some pools have very limited eating and drinking facilities, so it is advisable to go prepared.

You should be prepared for a long wait!  Often a session can be between 2-3 hours, during which your child may only be in the water for a couple of minutes.

You may be allowed to use a camera or video-camera at galas; however you will be expected to declare your intention to carry out any form of photography when you enter the pool and to provide your name and address.  This includes using mobile phones with in-built cameras.  This is primarily for child protection as well as Health and Safety reasons.

Supporting your child

Be prepared for your child not to swim their best.  Attending competitions is all part of the development process and is there as a learning experience for your child as well as providing opportunities to achieve qualifying times etc.

Supporting your child through a disappointing swim is as important as when they swim well.  Obviously any areas of concern should be discussed with your child's coach by arranging a meeting.

Problems at Galas

Lost Cards or late posting - in the event of either speak to the coach immediately.

Goggles break and hats tear! - Always carry spare goggles and hats as they may be needed at the last minute.

Disqualification - usually occurs if the swimmer does anything illegal e.g. incorrect turns, incorrect kick/arm action, false starts etc.  Don't worry; this happens to everyone at some point.

If a problem occurs during a race, such as losing goggles, then it is best to continue swimming the race.  However, clearly problems such as asthma attacks may require the swimmer to stop immediately and unless an emergency, the swimmer is expected to stay in the water at the end of their lane, until the race has finished and they are told to leave the pool.