Guide to Galas

Beginner’s Guide to Galas

General Information

Generally most gala last between 2.5 and 3 hours and if the gala is some distance away or it is a final the Club will provide a coach (there is a small charge for this).

The address of the gala venue is usually on the notice board but if in doubt ask one of the coaches or other people that you see on poolside.

The Team selection list will also have a warm-up time on it and it is important to be there 15-30 minutes before warm up to get changed and get on poolside. Usually swimmers don’t have to wait in the queue outside a pool – the queue is for spectators and swimmers should get through to the front.

What to bring – swimmers

Swimmers should 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 T shirt – preferably a Bilston club T-shirt

  • A Bilston Swimming Hat

  • Poolside shoes – flip flops or similar

  • Plenty to drink – squash or water (nothing fizzy)

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

  • Tracksuit/shorts

  • Please remember all belongings are the swimmers responsibility so it is a good idea not to send anything valuable particularly with young swimmers. Swimmers are not allowed to take photographs/videos on poolside.


    Gala Preparation

    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 Bilston Swimming Club Poolside staff when they arrive so we know they are there


    What to bring – Parents

    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 depending on the level of meet and whether it is a league event of an Open Meeting. 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.