What are Open Meets?
Open meet competitions can be held over several sessions and days, they allow swimmers to have the opportunities to race at a range of distances and events in specific age groups categories.
- The swimmers may be from your club or from clubs all over the country.
- Swimmers compete individually as well as representing the club.
- The selection of events the swimmer chooses is decided by the swimmer with guidance from their coach.
- Chirk Dragons Swimming Club may select specific Open Meets that are appropriate for the swimmer’s level.
- To swim in Open meets the swimmer must hold WASA memberships.
- All swimmers should try open meets as there are levels for all abilities.
Should I take part in an open meet?
The Head Coach will offer you guidance on your suitability for a given Open Meet and help you choose which events to enter. This will depend on your personal best times (PB’s) and which type of Open Meet you wish to enter.
What types of Open Meets are there?
Licensed open meets (times are recorded by the ASA) at Levels 1, 2 or 3 & unlicensed open meets at the same levels (times are not recorded by the ASA) are held throughout the year. All have their own qualifying times for the various strokes/distances. If you have not already achieved the qualifying time for a given event then you are not eligible to enter.
Club Open Meets
Although these events do not have formal qualifying times its normal practice that you will already have registered a personal best time for the event you wish to enter. It is these events that will enable you to get experience of competition and to improve your times.
Club meets are generally graded A, B or C.
- A-Grade Meet: Swim meets which requires swimmers to have previously achieved an ‘A, time’ standard in the events they wish to enter.
- B-Grade Meet: Swim meets which sometimes requires swimmers to have previously achieved a ‘B’ time standard in the events they wish to enter, but which will not allow swimmers to win medals if they go faster than a certain time.
- C-Grade Meet: Swim meets which sometimes requires swimmers to have previously achieved a ‘C’ time standard in the events they wish to enter, but which will not allow swimmers to win medals if they go faster than a certain time.
Check out the club calendar for details of current competitions.
Where are Open Meets held?
Open Meets are held all over the country.
How can I take part in an Open Meet?
You may take part in any Open Meet as long as you meet the qualifying time if qualifying times are set. Chirk Dragons Swimming Club will supply the relevant information on the open meets that the club is supporting. If it is a non-club supported event, you will need to obtain the approval of your Head Coach & submit the information yourself.
Meet Packs are usually emailed to all swimmers followed by the swimmers proposed swims recommended by the Head Coach.
The swimmer then completes the Meet Entry Form with the swims they wish to enter along with the relevant information requested on the form.
In due course you’ll get confirmation of the swims you have successfully entered.
What events should I enter for?
The events you enter for are totally based on your choice, with helpful recommendations from your Coach. Before entering any Open Meet it is always best to see what your coach says. As for example he may change your training schedule to help you achieve the best results.
How old do I need to be?
Generally speaking, you need to be at least 9 years old. The age group you can enter can be confusing – it’s either:-
- your age as at the end of the year in which you compete
- or your actual age on the date of the meet
What should I take to an open meet?
All the normal kit you’d take to any gala, plus those all important entry cards. Take another towel, plenty to drink for the whole time you are away from home and some food (bananas are a favourite – you’re after something that will give you an energy boost without making you feel sick. High energy foods such as Jelly, Jelly Babies & Haribo Sweets are also good as poolside energy boosts. Fruit and pasta for lunch is recommended.
Open meets can be pretty long affairs, so you should also take something to keep you occupied (a book, music, – but probably not your school homework).
What happens when I arrive?
It’s unlikely that you’ll be the only person from the club there – so let the team manager know you’ve arrived. Your next priority is to “post” your entry cards – normally in a box or tray upon entrance to the pool. If you can’t find it – ask! The trays/boxes are normally marked by event number which corresponds to the event number that appears on your entry card. Open meets are normally run as sessions and it’s likely that you will only be able to post the cards for one session at a time. You are responsible for posting your cards (no-one else) – if you don’t post it by the specified time you won’t be swimming.
Who looks after the swimmers?
Team managers and coaches will attend club supported open meets. The team managers will ensure the swimmers are at the right place at the right time and be with the swimmers in between warm ups and their events.
What is a warm up?
The warm up is just like the warm up you do in every training session you attend & is usually split, either into boys and girls, or into age groups, (these will be specified by the organisers on the day). It is held at the very start of each session & is the period of time where you will be allowed to swim in order to prepare for your race & allows your muscles to warm up, allows you to get a feel of the pool before the race & to practice a few starts from the competition blocks. If you normally do 300 metres of freestyle or backstroke to warm up, then start with that. If you do drills try to do those. If you do a few 50s, then try to do those too, but be aware: Warm-up etiquette is to KEEP MOVING. So if you stop at each 50, make sure you stay out of the way of other swimmers. Use warm-ups to learn the pool. Don’t just swim during warm-up. Yes, you need to get your body warmed up, but this is your big opportunity to study the pool, pay attention to the pool marks and crosses on the bottom of the pool and how they relate to the walls. This can be useful in gauging when to turn it on at the end of a race. How do the turns look as you approach the walls? How do the touch pads affect your grip for turning? Learn your stroke count in THIS POOL from the flags into the wall.
Make stretching a part of the warm up. If your team has a time slot and limited warm up time, you can augment that with stretches before or after the water time. Develop a simple stretch routine well in advance of the meet, so that you know exactly what to do on race day. The idea is to have no surprises on race day. Plan ahead! Take two costumes. If there’s a big time gap between warm-ups and your first event, wear an older costume for warm-ups and then change into your racing costume. That way you’ll stay drier and warmer.
Don’t get rattled. Just remember that on race day, EVERYBODY is facing the same crowded warm-up conditions. If you come to the pool with a PLAN, you’ll be that much ahead of your competition !
How will I know when it is time for me to swim in my event?
Normally you are asked to report to a specific assembly area one event prior to the one in which you are competing. You’ll either get your entry card back in the assembly area or you’ll have to collect it from a specified point prior to you going to the assembly area. Either way, your card will now have been marked (by the officials running the open meet) with a heat number and a lane number and there will be an official in the assembly area who will ensure that you and the other swimmers in your heat arrive at the start at the appropriate time. There are some variations on this theme at different open meets, but the principles are the same wherever you go. If in doubt, ask the team manager who is fully familiar with the procedure.
What do I do when I have finished my race?
The idea of competing in an open meet is to gain experience, to learn and to hopefully do well. Make a beeline for the team manager or coach and talk your race over with him. Its rare to swim “the perfect race” so listen out for any advice on offer as it’s likely to help you out next time.
Do I have to stay on poolside after my race?
This depends on circumstances. If you have another race in that session, you should stay poolside and support the other swimmers from your club. If you are swimming in a later session you may face a wait of several hours in which case you may want to get changed. Perhaps you might want to visit your parents in the spectator area, or perhaps get some fresh air.
In any event, if you decide to leave poolside for any reason, you MUST inform the team manager/coach of where you are going.
Plenty of clubs hold annual open meets, some within an hours drive & others further away. Check out the fixtures list posted on the club website or the notice board, and see the team manager or coaching staff to discuss which one(s) you might enter.