Types of Competition

When your child starts swimming in a club, it can be a little bit bamboozling when it comes to understanding competitions. Hopefully the following will help to make things a little clearer


Many Clubs hold open meets during the season. Age Groups are normally from 11 years upwards, age on day of meet. The club holding the meet will normally publish consideration times for all events in each age group.


Similar to open meets but for younger age groups, normally 8-12 yrs, age on day. Good first time meets.


The next stage on from mini meets, these meets help encourage swimmers of moderate ability by ensuring that the standards of entry are similar. This is achieved by publishing time bands (swimmers must achieve times between the published maximum and minimum times for each event) Any entrant who swims more than 3% faster will be disqualified ( and normally receive an “I swam too fast” ribbon)


Meets are accredited when 2 or more clubs compete & the referee is satisfied that the procedures set out in the SASA handbook are adhered to. The License level a meet is given will depend on the amount of Technical officials at the meet, with level 1 being the highest level


These are open meets either long course (50m) or short course (25) Swimmers can only be entered in these meets if they have achieved the qualifying times at accredited meets, normally Level 1 or Level 2


These are the maximum times for an event that will be considered by the organisers of the gala. However, achieving the consideration time does not guarantee acceptance of the entry. The number and quality of the other entrants will determine this.


These are held over 3 weekends, Distance Events in November (1500,800,400) 200’s all strokes in December and 100’s all strokes + 200 IM in January/Feb. Consideration times are required before swimmers can be entered


Normally swam over 4 days in Glasgow or Edinburgh. It is a long course meet and age groups are:-

Boys 10-13, 14,15,16/17, 18 + O

Girls 10-12,13,14,15/16,17 + O

Consideration times are normally published at the end of December/beginning of January. Achieving these times should be the goal of every swimmer, but the times are hard and “qualifying for the Scottish “ by gaining the consideration times  is a huge achievement in itself.


This is a team competition, competing against the other clubs in the Borders. Teams are selected by the coaches in order to gain points for the clubs, and as such your child may not always swim the stroke they want to, but in an event that will gain more points for the club. Sometimes, a swimmer may even have to swim up an age group in order to gain points.

Swimmers in stages 1 + 2  ( 7-10 ) should be swimming in local competitions where they should swim 25m’s + 50m’s in all strokes, with the latter end of stage 2 following the coaches advice for stages 3 + 4

Stages 3 + 4 ( 11 onwards ) should be giving priority to competitions that allow them to achieve accredited times for entering district & national events. Priority should also be given to Long course meets offering events of 200+. There is no point in neglecting important family, recovery and growth time, by travelling great distances to a meet offering only short distances. If you are entered in a short distance meet, then you should be competing in all strokes. It is important for swimmers to focus on certain events for the benefit of their long term development. If we get it right when the swimmers are young, they will have a greater chance of achieving success later on, when they are reaching the peak of their careers.

Obviously, during some periods, swimmers may have to compete at more than the recommended competitions ( 1-2/month ) Families must find the balance between these busy times and those periods that are less manic.


Scottish swimming’s aim is to produce results on the International Stage, and with this is mind they operate a squad system which consists of 3 squads  : ) Gold, Silver & Bronze  – These squads are then split into-  Youth Squad (Gold Squad ) Youth Development Squad ( Silver Squad )  DRP (Bronze Squad )  and Senior Gold, Silver & Bronze squads. Qualifying times depend on age/sex/stroke etc and can be found on the Scottish Swimming website in the swimming downloads section.