Guide to Galas

UASC – A guide to Swimming Galas    

Secretary UASC, Feb 2018

Purpose: to explain the different types of gala that your swimmer may wish to enter and the rules governing them.  If you have any further questions please ask your child’s coach or email or

Level 4 Galas : Club Championships

These galas will be most swimmers’ first introduction to competitive swimming.  They are held at our own pool on a Sunday evening and usually comprise three events for 9 years/over swimmers plus two 25m events for our 8/under swimmers.  The age is based on the swimmer’s age at 31st December that year.

The Club Championships allows swimmers to collect points in their age group and awards are given at the end of the year for the swimmers with the most points.

Times achieved at the Club Championships for swimmers aged 9 and over are recorded on the Swim England website (formerly the ASA) and can be used for entry into Open and County Championship galas (see below) but not Regional Championships & above.

Level 3 Galas: “Open Galas”

These galas are arranged by individual clubs all over the country and can be entered by any swimmer aged 9 or over on the day with some restrictions. It is up to you to choose which galas to attend; the Club’s only expectation is that all swimmers 9/over attend our Open Gala at Kendal in March. Other local examples of this type of gala are the Workington President’s Gala in September and Copeland Graded gala in June.  These Cumbrian open galas are a great experience for young swimmers as they will be supported by their own coaches and will start to meet some swimmers from other clubs.  Times achieved at Level 3 Galas can be used for entry into any level of Gala including County, Regional and National Championships.

The entry requirements vary a great deal between galas but there is usually an Upper Limit Time (so swimmers can’t be faster than that time) and sometimes a “Lower Qualifying Time” which swimmers will need to have swum faster than in order to enter.

A programme of events for the gala will be published on our website along with the Terms and Conditions.  You need to check these carefully to decide which events you wish to enter and to ensure that your swimmer has the required time.  The cost is per event – usually around £4.50 or £5 for galas in 25m pools.

There will also be some “long course” galas advertised on our website.  These are galas swum in 50m pools further afield such as Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Sunderland and are more competitive to get into – there will always be Lower Qualifying Times and the events are £7+ to enter.  It is best to ask your child’s coach before considering these galas for your swimmer.  Frequently swimmers do not get into all the events they’ve entered at long course galas due to the gala being oversubscribed.

Level 2 and Level 1 Galas – County, Regional and National Championships

These galas have only Lower Qualifying or Consideration Times and are usually held annually – in the case of the Cumbria County Championships (also known as “Age Groups” in January / February each year.  The qualifying times for County Championships are displayed on our noticeboard. Ages are at 31st December in the year of the championships and start at age 10.   Entry arrangements are slightly different from other galas and will be advised pre-Christmas each year.  If your swimmer achieves qualifying times for County Championships they are expected to compete.

The next level of Gala is the Regional Age Groups and Championships where the Qualifying times are much harder to achieve, and so on up to National level.  Level 2 Championships are held in 25m pools and Level 1 in 50m pools.

Unlicenced Galas

There are various other galas during the year which are classed as “unlicenced”, such as the Diddy League series and our Club Challenge Galas.  These are run in a similar way to a licenced gala but it just means that the times that the swimmers achieve there cannot be used for entry into other galas and will not be listed on the Swim England website.