FAQs for Swimming Meets


What are swimming meets and who runs them?


During the year there are a number of swimming meets (competitions) that are held by various swimming clubs. They are predominantly used as fund raising events for the club concerned. However, they involve a lot of hard work to set up! Some clubs have a regular meet that they hold at a similar time each year.

Meets can run at 4 different levels from 1-4 with a level 1 meet usually having the most difficult entry times. Meets can also be short course (SC) over 25m or long course (LC) over 50m.

In addition to meets that are run by individual clubs, there are also meets that are organised at County, Regional and National level. 

As a club we also compete at inter-club events namely The Winter Series (November time) and the Cotswolds (Jan-June). Teams are selected by Nicky the head coach.


How do you enter a meet?


If the club is able to cover the meet by sending a coach to attend with the swimmers, then we will email the meet details to parents (in the future this will go on the website). This will include information on the races that are being held and the qualifying times. You will then be asked complete a form with your child’s times for each event that you wish to enter and write a cheque to Wellington Swimming Club for the appropriate amount of money. The cost can vary from around £5 per event to £7.50 per event (although there is a County run development meet in October each year that only costs £1 per event!). The club will then submit all the entries together with one cheque before the meet deadline.

If the Club is not entering, you can still enter the meet as an individual by completing the appropriate form from the Club’s website (the club holding the meet). You would also need to apply for a chaperone pass to enable you to be poolside with your child. Chaperone passes will cost around £15 and you may need to be DBS checked to apply for one.

To find meets that are running you can use the following link.


With all meets, it is always best to check with head coach Di that the meet is appropriate for your child and what races they should enter. There is nothing worse than a child being entered for an event that they won’t be able to get through without being disqualified. You can also ask other parents of more experienced swimmers what meets they have attended in the past orif there are any good meets coming up.

Each meet will have different qualifying criteria that are usually in one of the following formats:-

  • No quicker than’ times – this means that your child cannot enter that particular event if their time is quicker than the published time
  • ‘No slower than’ times – this means that your child cannot enter that particular event if their time is slower than that time

Most meets have both the above. For some meets it is possible to enter with no times (NT’s)

As a general rule, the higher the level of the meet, the quicker the entry times will be.


How old do you need to be to enter a meet?


Swimmers need to be 9 years old to compete. Sometimes the age will be as at the last day of that particular meet, on other occasions it will be the age of the swimmer as at 31st December of that year (this is the case for County level and above).

For certain events there are age restrictions. Usually 100m events can only be swum by girls over 10 years old and boys over 11. Sometimes the 100IM race is restricted to under 12’s.


 What happens at a ‘typical’ meet?


A typical meet will run as follows:-

  • warmup - usually separated into boys/girls or different age groups
  • session 1 - a number of races run in boy/girl format
  • warmup – as above
  • session 2 - as above

The format is done so that swimmers can get rest between their races however, they still sometimes have several races per day.

Heats are set according to the entry times of the swimmer irrespective of their age. So, you may get heats where your child is swimming with older or younger swimmers. However, boys and girls swim separately (unless there is a mixed relay event) and the awards system will run according to age groups. This can vary so it may be separate ages e.g. 9, 10, 11 and so on, or it may be 9/10 , 11/12 etc. The slowest heats run first and the fastest last.

All licensed meets have a referee, starter and many officials who carry out a number of tasks including:-

  • Time-keeping
  • Checking starts and turns
  • Checking the stroke 
  • Checking the finishing positions

Swimmers may be disqualified if the start/turn/stroke is not as it should be performed.


Who will look after my child?


When swimmers attend a meet they usually need to be with a coach from the club who can talk them through what they need to do for each race. The difficulty that we have at Wellington is that being a small club, there are not many meets that can be covered by a coach. In addition to a coach, we also need 'helpers' or 'team managers' to ensure that the children are in the right place at the right time. These helpers need to be DBS checked.

This means that if the club is not attending the meet, you would need to be poolside with you child or arrange for another parent to look after them on poolside.


What meets are available during the year?


There are some very good meets for children competing for the first time and these are shown below:-

Chard/Clevedon Meet

This year this is a 2 day meet on the 20th and 21st of June. Wellington usually enters as a club.

Bristol North Meet

This meet runs over 2 weekends in September and is for under 12’s only.  It covers all the 50m events and swimmers do not need to have a specific entry time. Wellington usually enters as a club.

Somerset ASA County Development Meet

This meet is for younger/less experienced swimmers and therefore swimmers have to be slower than the published entry times. A number of events will run for swimmers over the course of one weekend, usually the first weekend in October at Millfield. Wellington usually enters as a club.

Tiverton Sparkler

This is usually the first Sunday in November. It runs over one day. Wellington usually enters as a club.


What should my child take to a swim meet?


Essential items include:-

  • 2 towels
  • Swimming kit – trunks/costume (and spare), goggles (and spare pair), T bag, 2 towels, club swimming hat (and spare) flip flops
  • Plenty of food and fluids (swimmers should drink plenty as the venues are usually very hot and should eat little and often throughout the day particularly after swimming an event. Typical food may include, sandwiches, pasta, fruit, jaffa cakes, cereal bars)


Any further queries? 


Please feel free to contact us via our contact page.