Gala Preparation

Hints and Tips – What to Expect at a Gala

Attending a gala can be a daunting experience for both swimmers and parents, the tips and hints below will help to make your gala a positive and successful one.

What to eat? | What to bring? | Arriving at the gala | Where to be? | Who’s who? | Swim race reminders | Tips for swimmers | Tips for parents

What to eat?

Please see suggestions below and look at for other ideas:

  • Wholegrain breakfast cereal with milk and fruit.
  • Porridge with banana and cinnamon.
  • Fruit salad with yoghurt and nuts.
  • Boiled / poached/ scrambled eggs with avocado
  • Wholemeal pasta
  • Chicken or Fish with vegetables
  • Sandwich/roll (wholegrain / brown bread) with salad and lean meat/cheese.

What to bring?

It is a good idea to pack your bags the night before with everything you might need. Here is a checklist;

  • Swimmers should have everything they need for the session in a bag on poolside
  • 2 swimming costumes /swim shorts
  • 2 towels
  • Club hat
  • Goggles (plus a spare pair)
  • Pool/Deck shoes & socks
  • Club top (if you have one), shorts/tracksuit to keep you warm – Please ensure all belongings are clearly labelled
  • Snacks (healthy) to graze on in between swims
  • Plenty of water, preferably in a water bottle & no fizzy drinks

Arriving at the Swimming Pool

  • Please ensure you arrive in plenty of time (at least 20 mins prior to warm-up)
  • Report to the Coach or Team manager
  • Familiarise yourself with the pool layout (toilets, marshalling area etc), change ready for the warm-up and join the team poolside.

Where should you be?

Swimmers are expected to sit with the team and not with their parents in the spectator area. Swimmers should not leave the poolside, if you need to go to the changing room or speak to parents in the viewing area you should get permission from the coach / team manager who are  responsible for you whilst on poolside.

Who’s who?

At any gala, there should be 1-2 coaches, 1-2 team managers and Club Captains. The coach will brief swimmers before their race, watch the race, record splits when necessary and give swimmers feedback after the race.

The team manager will advise swimmers when to warm-up, which lane to swim in etc.

Swim Race Reminders

At the start of a race

  • Wait for the referee to signal you should stand on the block/get into the water (long whistle)
  • Position your feet and hands but do not tense for the start
  • The starter will say ‘Take your marks’ – quickly tense for the start
  • The gun or hotter will go off ready for you to start your race

During the race

  • Do not put your feet to the floor, or touch the side / lane ropes

At the end of the race

  • Do not get out until the referee indicates you can leave the pool.
  • Ask the timekeeper for your time. Did you beat your personal best (PB)? Did you get your next speed award?

Relay Takeovers

The swimmer before you must touch the wall before your feet leave the block. If you dive too early, the team will be disqualified.

Stroke Reminders


Dive into water

On start / turn: one butterfly kick, one pull and one breaststroke kick underwater (no butterfly kick or front crawl kick during the race).

Touch the wall to turn with two hands (do not tumble)

Two handed touch to finish the race


Dive into the water

On start / turn, butterfly / dolphin kick under the water (no front crawl kick)

Touch the wall with two hands before turning (do not tumble).

Two handed touch to finish the race


Start in the water, facing the block.

Stay on your back throughout the race (unless you are doing a backstroke tumble turn).

At the end of the race, touch the wall while still on your back.

Freestyle (Front crawl)

Dive into the water and if you can tumble turn at the wall, if not touch the wall turn in the water and push of back to the other end.


Tips for swimmers

  • A PB is short for Personal Best time and is a measure of achievement
  • When representing the club you are expected to have good behaviour on poolside and arriving / leaving the pool premises as per our code of conduct.
  • Remember galas are fun, cheer on your team and enjoy yourself.

Tips for parents

  • If you child is ill and unable to attend, please let the coach know in plenty of time especially for team galas where a replacement swimmer may be needed
  • Arrive in plenty of time, it is important for your child to have a warm-up
  • Parents aren’t allowed on poolside at any time during a competition
  • Spectator areas are hot so wear appropriate clothes
  • Team galas usually last 2-3 hours
  • There is usually an admission charge so change is always appreciated by those on the door, most galas will also have a raffle
  • A pen, paper and highlighter are useful if you want to keep record of your child’s swims
  • Get behind the team, don’t be afraid to cheer and enjoy it!