This is a guide to swim galas, with information based on advice from Swim England.
You can download and print our ‘Guide to Galas’ document here
Guide to the four levels of licensed meets
Licensed Meets are swimming events licensed by Swim England. This means they have to meet certain standards to ensure fair competition.
All licensed meets are subject to Swim England Regulations and the Swim England Technical Rules of Racing. They are graded into four levels.
Long and Short Course: Long Course (LC) is a gala swam in a 50-metre pool. A short course (SC) event is usually swum in a 25-metre pool. If you do not have a 50m (LC) qualifying time, you can usually use the ASA standard 25m>50m conversion, found here (make sure you select ‘ASA Tables’).
Meets are long course (50m) only and cover national, regional and county championships. Their purpose is to enable athletes to achieve qualifying times for entry into national, regional and county championships.
Level 2 meets are short course (25m) only and cover National, Regional and County Championships. Their purpose is to enable athletes to achieve qualifying times for entry into National, Regional and County Championships in short course. Level 2 galas will have tougher qualifying times compared to a Level 3 gala. To enter a Level 2 gala, you usually must have received a qualifying time at a Level 3 or higher competition.
Level 3 meets are long and short course events. Their purpose is to enable athletes to achieve times for entry into Regional and County Championships and other Meets at Level 1 or Level 2. Most Level 3 meets have qualifying times as set out by the organisers, but these are not usually as fast as you would find in a Level 3 meet. They are sometimes qualifying times based on ‘no faster than’.
Level 4 meets are entry-level events in pools 25m or greater. They are for inexperienced athletes and swimmers seeking to compete outside their club environment. If times are good athletes progress to Level 3 Meets. You almost never need an entry time to enter a Level 4 gala, and qualifying times will be based on times ‘no faster than’, as so to exclude really fast swimmers.
Meets with no level: Some competitions such as the Diddy League do not have a level assigned to them as they are team-based events and you have to be selected by your coach to compete.