So You’re in the Team – Now What?

You come along to the squad training sessions, working hard, you look at the notice board and see the team lists for the next Gala and …..your name is there!!
 
Firstly – well done! It takes hard work and dedication to make the team so you should feel proud. It is an honour to swim for the Club but you have earned your place by impressing the coaches.
 
But now what? Here is a brief guide to what it is all about, in terms of the organisation of the competition, team management, what you need to do and take, etc.

The Team Sheet

This lists all the swimmers in the Team for a Gala. The information on the list includes
 
  • The Team – A, B, C, Friendly, etc.
  • Swimmers in the team by age-group and sex
  • The Date of the Gala
  • The Location
  • Start time for the warm-up
  • Contact details for the Team Manager
Please check the date and find out if you are available as soon as possible. As soon as you know you can make the Gala, tick the box next to your name. If for any reason you can’t then make a cross in the same place so that the Team Manager has as much time as possible to seek a replacement.
 
Ticking the box is a commitment to the Team so make every effort to be there. Galas are hugely enjoyable, with a great team spirit, so you will be missing out if you can’t come. We really hope that everyone selected to swim for the Club is available so we post fixtures on the website under the Event Schedule as soon as possible. If you hope to make the team then look at the schedule for the next few months and keep those dates as free as possible!
 
It is an honour to be selected to represent Corsham and this is a real team sport with everyone working hard for the team. This does require commitment from all swimmers to the team, in terms of training hard and regularly, keeping available for Galas, and communicating closely with the Team Manager. Every Gala needs a minimum number of swimmers in the various age groups because of the relays so pulling out, especially at the last minute, lets down the whole team.
 
The exact locations of the Gala can be found from the Club website – if in any doubt please ask the Team Manager or one of the Coaches. There are often places available in lift shares that are organised by individual parents so if you have a friend in the same team see if you can travel together.
 
Getting closer to the date please make sure that you have the contact details for the Team Manager – if anything happens to prevent you swimming (such as illness) then please inform the Manager at the earliest opportunity.

How the Leagues Work

Corsham ASC enters teams into the Wiltshire ASA Moonraker Leagues for which there are 2 seasons – Summer and Winter. There are basic rules and similarities but the competition format is different for the Summer and Winter leagues which is explained below.
 
Corsham normally enter at least 2 teams, these being the “A” Team, “B” Team and where numbers permit the “C” Team. Swimmers are selected for the teams based on their ability within the age groups and the competition races.
 
The initial team lists must be submitted to Wiltshire ASA before the competition starts. It is possible to move swimmers between teams after that point but only in the upwards direction.
 
  • once a swimmer has been listed/competed for the “A” Team then they can only swim for the “A” Team
  • once a swimmer has been listed/competed for the “B” Team in a league season, then they can only swim for the “B” or “A” teams but not the “C” Team
  • once a swimmer has been listed/competed for the “C” Team in a league season, then they can swim for the “C” or “B” or “A” teams
Each competition has different age groups, e.g. 9-12 yrs, U16, etc. The age category for a swimmer is determined by their age on the date of the final Gala in the season.
 
  • For example, the final Gala for the 2015 Summer League is September 26th. If a swimmer has their 14th birthday on August 31st then they will swim the whole season in the U16 age group.
Swimmers compete in their own age group but may also swim up age groups (e.g. an U12 can compete in an U14 race) but not down. Therefore it is important that the team has a minimum of 4 swimmers in the youngest age groups.
 
At the start of each season the age groups are reassessed and any restrictions on Team membership reset.
 
The Club also takes part in Friendly Galas. These are termed “Friendly” because we enjoy good relationships with all the other clubs in Wiltshire, and the results of the Galas do not affect any League position but all teams still swim hard to win! These Galas do give the opportunity to swimmers other than those in the “A” or “B” teams to swim for the Club and show what they can do, often gaining good PBs.

What to Take

The basic equipment for swimming is essentially that – basic. Here are the recommendations for going to a Gala:
 
  • Swimming costume and a spare (just in case). There are regulations covering the costume which can be found on the ASA website. Note that only one costume can be worn during racing.
  • Goggles (plus spares if possible). Test and adjust these during training to ensure that they do not come off when diving.
  • Large towel, or two. There will be repeated drying-off required.
  • Polo shirt to wear between swims to keep warm. The Club Polo Shirt is ideal for this and can have the swimmers name embroidered on it.
  • Drink – swimming in an enclosed pool is very dehydrating. A large unbreakable drinks bottle containing water or possibly squash is needed
  • Bag – large backpack or sports bag to keep all kit and clothes in
  • Sustenance – energy levels can be maintained with simple sweets such as Haribo or jelly blocks. Known to keep swimmers happy too.

On the Night

So you know what team you are in, have confirmed with the Team Manager that you will be there, know the location and the start-time for the warm-up.
 
The warm-up time is exactly that, the time that swimmers are allowed into the pool area for a warm-up. This is typically 6:30pm leading to the racing starting at 7:00pm.
 
Please aim to arrive 15 minutes before the start of the warm-up as this will allow you time to
 
  1. Report to the Team Manager as present and correct
  2. Find out where everyone is, and where the changing rooms are
  3. Get changed (it can be very crowded in the changing rooms for a Gala)
  4. Report to the Team Manager at the poolside area for the team.
  5. Listen to the Team briefing
  6. Check the races that you have been entered for
The warm-up takes place in the lane drawn for the team. It is usually divided into short sessions for the age groups (e.g. all U14 swimmers, etc.) with no diving. Dives may be practised later when permitted by the Coach.

Poolside Behaviour

During the warm-up and Gala it is important to remember that this is a crowded, hot, noisy environment and everyone must cooperate to assist the smooth running of the team.
 
  • Be considerate of everyone else, including swimmers from all other teams
  • Keep quiet when races are being started
  • When not racing, keep to the team area unless authorised by the managers to be elsewhere
  • If you have to leave the poolside, such as a toilet break, always ask permission, and return as quickly as possible
  • Check what races you are in – don’t be afraid to ask the managers again if you forget in the excitement
  • Support, encourage and talk to each other
  • Cheer the Team!

Remember that as you are competing you must stay with the team and concentrate on your performance and support your team mates. This cannot be combined with any other duties such as officiating, training, etc.

Parents/Friends/Supporters

Having taken the swimmers to the Gala please stay to support the team – having friends and family there watching and cheering is a great boost to confidence and performance.
 
Once the swimmers have been let into the changing rooms then the spectators will be able to queue to go into the viewing area. The cost of the pool hire is effectively paid for by the entrance fee for all spectators. Entrance is typically £3-4 which includes the race programme, and there is often a raffle as well. This admission price is essential to the clubs’ finances or otherwise the Galas could not take place.

Summer League

There are a number of Divisions in the Summer League, each with 4 teams. Within each Division the teams all swim in each Gala, the Galas being held around the home pools of each Team making 4 Galas in all.
 
Each race is allocated points for finishing position (4 for first place, 3 for second place, etc.) the winner of each Gala being the Team with the most points. The winner of the Division is the Team with most points over the whole season, with promotion/relegation beckoning for the top/bottom teams respectively to form the Divisions for the next Summer League.
 
The format of this competition is a mixture of individual and relay events, these being
 
  • Freestyle
  • Backstroke
  • Breaststroke
  • Butterfly
  • Individual Medley (Open swimmers only)
  • Freestyle Relay (4 swimmers)
  • Medley Relay (4 swimmers)
These races are repeated for each age group, and for the boys and girls. The age groups are U12, U14, U16 and Open.
 
Full competition rules/details can be found on the Wiltshire ASA website.

Winter League

The Winter League is unique in that all teams compete at the same time on the same night in the same races (but in a number of pools!!!). To explain, all the teams in the Wiltshire ASA (23 last season) swim at a number of pools, teams grouped together by abilities based on the previous year’s results. The time for each team in each race is recorded and sent in to the Wiltshire ASA. The fastest team across the county in each race is awarded the number of points equal to the number of teams competing (e.g. 23 last season) then the second fastest team gets one less point and so on. Therefore the objective is not just to beat the other teams in the same Gala but to record as fast a time as possible to beat all the other teams across the county.
 
This is what happens for the first 3 rounds and it results in a ranking of all the teams in one table. The final Galas are the Winter League Finals. Teams are assigned by ranking, e.g. in 2010 the A Final had teams ranked 1-6, the B Final has teams 7-12, etc. The number of teams in a Gala depends on the capacity of lanes in the host swimming pools.
 
Each Final is its own competition with points awarded for the finishing position in each race on the Gala as per the Summer League. The Team with most points for finishing positions in each Final wins that Final.
 
The format of this competition is a mixture is all relay events, these being
 
  • Freestyle
  • Backstroke
  • Breaststroke
  • Medley
  • Squadron (one swimmer from each age group in a relay, one race each of breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly)
  • Cannon (the final race of the programme being a freestyle relay with one swimmer from each age group, boys and girls)
These races are repeated for each age group, and for the boys and girls. The age groups are 9-12, U15, U17 and Open. Full competition rules can be found on the Wiltshire ASA website.