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Competitive Swimming in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire

Affiliated to Swim England

Our Beginner's Guide to Galas

Swimmers should ideally bring the following in their swimming bag:

2 towels – one for drying, one to sit on

2 swimming costumes/trunks

2 pairs of goggles (in case on pair gets lost or breaks)

A 4SSC Club T shirt [or a plain white t-shirt]

A 4SSC Swimming Hat

Poolside shoes – flip flops or similar

Plenty to drink – squash or water (nothing fizzy)

Snacks – fruit, nuts, pasta, rice (for full day gala bring packed lunch, spare set of clothes, something to do book, game, magazine)


Please remember all belongings are the swimmers responsibility so it is a good idea not to send anything valuable particularly with young swimmers.


Ideally swimmers should not have eaten a large meal two hours before they swim but they should have “stocked up” well throughout the day as swimming is hungry business.

Swimmers should do their normal activities throughout the day but try to have a bit of a rest before setting out for the gala.

Swimmers under 16 should be accompanied by a responsible adult who has the swimmers parents contact details if they are not the swimmers parent. Please note swimming club officials will not take responsibility for your child’s safety unless it has been agreed in advance.

Before leaving your child at the gala please make sure he/she is aware of:

Arrangements for getting home and meeting you

That they know that they should not leave the poolside UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES unless they have asked an adult poolside helper

That they know to make themselves known to the 4SSC Team Manager when they arrive so we know they are there

That they SHOULD STAY TO THE END OF THE GALA WHEREVER POSSIBLE. This is because 4SSC has a very strong team ethic which we want every swimmer to develop. We wait for the points and positions to be announced at the end of every gala and we cheer and clap every other club. Any parent wishing to take their child home early must speak to the coach for permission please.

Yes there is a list for you too!

Wear layers – swimming pools get very hot!

Bring plenty of drinks and comfort food! Your child will probably want more than you have packed and you will probably get hungry too – it’s all the shouting!

Pen, paper, highlighter and if you are very enthusiastic a stopwatch!

Cash – there is always an entrance fee which varies from club to club and can depend on the level of meet. There is also usually a raffle (difficult to say “no”) and sometimes (at open meets) you also have to pay for a programme. You will also end up paying for hot drinks, hot dogs and hot new swimming costumes if the Swim Shop is there!


and finally...

Many parents operate a “bribe” system for the children and reward them for each PB – there is no standard for this – just to say BEWARE – many a parent has been left nearly bankrupt after a long open meet where their child has had a particularly good day!

Remember – it’s the parent’s job to support and encourage – it never looks very good when a parent starts ranting at their child for not doing as well as the parent expects.

It is the Coaches job to point out where a swimmer could have done better and to get the maximum learning out of a race.

What to bring on the day - SWIMMERS

Gala Preparation

What to bring on the day - PARENTS