Personal Best Times
A PB is a Personal Best time and is a better measure of achievement than where a swimmer finishes in a race. Parents should keep a note of their child's times for future reference and to be able to show the child their progress. As the swimmer gets older, they should learn to keep their own times!
There is also a National Ranking List, and once your child is over 9 years of age and has competed in a licenced Open Meet they will appear on it! So check out http://www.swimmingresults.org/12months/ to see where your child is in relation to others in their age group, within the County, Region and Nation!
RADS enters swimmers in a variety of different competitions:
Most competitions are "Age on Day". This is simply the age of the swimmer on the day of the event - though for some competitions that span more than one date (Leagues, County Championships, etc) it will be the age of the swimmer on the last day's swimming.
The club takes part in a number of team and League galas. Swimmers from the age of 9 upwards can be selected to represent the club. Check for team lists to see if you have been selected. It is an honour to represent your club, so please make every effort to make yourself available if you have been selected. There is no entry fee for swimming in team or league galas, although spectators will be expected to pay an entrance fee.
From time to time RADS is expected to ‘host’ team or league galas. At this time we will request the assistance of parents to help with various hosting duties.
Essex Mini League
The Essex Mini League provides a framework for competition between amateur swimming clubs within the county of Essex. The league currently has 14 member clubs arranged in a single division. Each club swims in five galas each season, arranging and hosting one of them. Galas are swum on the second Saturday of each month from February to October (excluding August). The mini league is aimed at swimmers who have not achieved county qualifying times and operates on a series of time limits i.e. swimmers must swim slower than the time limits, or are issued with time faults. This may seem strange, but it is a mechanism to give less experienced swimmers a chance to represent their club.
The National Arena Swimming League – London
This is a prestigious national competition which is run in regional qualifying groups. RADS swim in the London region which currently operates 3 highly competitive divisions. Teams winning Division 1 have the opportunity to swim in the National finals in Ponds Forge, Sheffield.
The National Arena Junior M11 Swimming League
As with the Senior National Arena Swimming League this is a high profile competition. The league is aimed at swimmers between the ages of 9 and 12 inclusive and also holds a national final.
County, Regional & National Championships
To enter into these competitions, you will first need to achieve Qualifying Times.
At most inter-club galas, a swimmer will be selected by the Coach to swim just a few specific races for the team e.g. 50m Freestyle. By contrast, at an Open Meet, the swimmer competes as an individual and can therefore choose to compete in whichever events they wish. Open Meets - which are "open" to swimmers from any Club, hence the name - also provide an excellent opportunity for swimmers to compete in a wide range of different events at the same competition e.g. 50m Freestyle, 100m Backstroke, 200m Breaststroke, 400m Individual Medley, etc.
Details of all galas can be found on the RADS notice board and this website. Please keep a regular eye on these to see if your swimmer is on the Team Selection List in which case you will need to tick it to confirm that they are available to swim.
For full day Open Meets also bring packed lunch, spare set of clothes plus something to do (book, game, magazine, etc) Please remember all belongings are the swimmer's responsibility so it is a good idea not to send anything valuable, particularly with young swimmers. Remember that glass jars, bottles etc are not allowed on poolside.
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.
What to bring - Parents (yes there is a list for you too!)
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!
And Always Remember...
...It is 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. Don't get yourself labelled as a "pushy parent" - after all swimming is supposed to be fun; every swimmer will have a different potential and they will only reach this if they enjoy the sport. 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.