2010/11 competition schedule


This article details the Club’s competition schedule for 2010/11 and explains the rationale for the various events we support and enter.

Hemel Hempstead is a competitive swimming club; participating in competitions should be an important part of your membership of the Club.  The Club enters swimmers in over 40 competitions every year and despite what you might think there is a cunning plan behind the events in which we participate; they don’t just appear by random!

There are three sections to the article

  1. Introduction – because every year we welcome new parents to whom the competition schedule will probably be a closed book!
  2. Opens and championships – easily the most complicated section to understand
  3. Team galas

1.   Introduction

Let’s start with the basics – there are two types of competitions

  • Open meets or Championships where swimmers compete as individuals
  • Galas where we compete as a club

With galas it’s relatively simple; our objective is to give as many swimmers as possible a chance to represent the Club over the course of the year.  The Club selects the teams and once they’re published all you have to do is say whether you’re available or not.

With Opens/Championships it’s a little more complicated.  The Club supports certain events either because they give swimmers a chance to gain competitive experience or because they are stepping stones to County and Regional Championships.  For these events the Club will submit a group entry and provide poolside coaching support.  We’ll provide as much guidance as possible on which competitions to enter and which events to swim, but ultimately the choice to enter or not is yours.

These aren’t black and white categories, it’s just the method we use to make certain that we meet the requirements of all swimmers in the Club of whatever ability.  Times swum at galas can be used as entry times for many opens and championships.  An entry level event might give the chance to swim a County qualifying time.  An event we’ve selected as a County qualifying event might just be a good excuse for a competitive swim with your mates; it’s a perfectly valid reason!

There’s a poster on the notice board which gives an overview of the competition schedule which can be downloaded from the website here and events are also listed on the web site calendar.

2.   Opens/Championships

This is our best estimate of what next season looks like.  Inevitably there will be changes during the year which we’ll pass on to you, but this should give you some idea of how it will shape up.

Don’t forget that the closing date for entries for all of these competitions will be some months in advance of the competition itself.

If it all looks a little overwhelming – don’t panic!  Help is only a chat with a coach or an email away; don’t be shy in asking for anything to be explained. 

Entry level events: Many events on the schedule require you to have some idea of how fast a swimmer will swim any event.  These don’t always need to be in exactly the same event to be raced; it is generally possible to estimate entry times based on times from similar events (see the FAQ on estimating times here) – but you have to start somewhere!  The Club supports a number of events which don’t have a minimum entry time requirement specifically to help new swimmers gain competitive experience and those all important first times.

Look out for

The majority of our competitions are held in 25m or “short course” pools, but some, including Regional Championships, are held in 50m or “long course” pools.  To provide swimmers with the experience of competing in the longer pool length we support one meet with entry times, albeit lower than County qualifying standard.  Look out for

  • Bracknell and Wokingham L3 long course Open (9th April)

Note that we have changed the schedule of the Club Middle Distance slightly from previous years.  In 2010/11 the schedule will be

  • 27th November 2010 – 200 freestyle + 200 butterfly
  • 4th December 2010 – 400 freestyle + 200 backstroke
  • 9th January 2011 – 200 IM + 200 breaststroke

Note also the addition of the 800/1500 free time trial.  Alan is keen that we encourage participation in the longer distance events. We’re also trying to schedule a 400IM event but that’s proving a little more problematic; watch this space!  Your coaches will actively be encouraging appropriate swimmers to enter all of these events!

These events will tend to be described variously as “unlicensed” or as having either a “level 4 license” or a “level 3 license”.

County Championship qualifying events: The County Championships are held in March and are the focus of much of the Club’s training schedule from September.  They have minimum qualifying times and require those times to be obtained in the same event and generally at licensed competitions: about 20 – 25% of the Club’s swimmer generally achieve these times.  The Club supports a number of events both to help swimmers obtain County times and to improve them prior to the competition.

2010/11 is a particularly complex season because of the changes in qualification rules for the County Championships in March 2011 which have been explained in a previous article.

To obtain those times look out for

  • The Hemel Birthday Open (16th October)
  • The Barnet Copthall 200 (17th October)
  • The Barnet Copthall 100 (14th November)
  • The County Development Meet (21st November)
  • The Hitchin L3 Open (28th November)
  • The Club Middle Distance Championships (27th November, 4th December & 9th January)
  • The Watford L3 Open (15th/16th January)
  • The Club “last chance” sprint qualifier (22nd January)

The “last chance” event is new to the Club and merits a brief explanation.  This event is for swimmers who are close to achieving County qualifying times in 50m or 100m events to ensure that these swimmers get every chance to achieve their qualifying times as near the deadline as possible without having to rely on getting a swim in an open meet like the Watford L3.  As currently envisaged, swimmers who have achieved their county qualifying times will not be able to enter, but we’ll refine the details nearer the time. 

If you’ve achieved County qualifying times and want to improve them before the competition look out for the following meets which generally have the same minimum entry times as the County Championships

  • Watford L2 Open (28th November)
  • Maxwell L2 Open (22nd/23rd January)

These events will be described as having either a level 3 or level 2 license.

Regional Championships qualifying events:  These competitions are held in May and June.  They have faster qualifying times than Counties, the same requirement that times must be obtained in the same event and at licensed meets and the additional complication that they are held in a 50m pool: about 5 – 10% of the Club’s swimmers generally achieve these times.  The Club supports a number of events both to help swimmers obtain these times and to gain experience of long course competition.

Look out for the following events both for times and long course experience

  • Watford L2 Open (28th November)
  • Northampton L1 long course Open (4th/5th December)
  • Maxwell L2 Open (22nd/23rd January)
  • County Championships (4th – 6th  & 19th/20th March)
  • Bracknell and Wokingham L3 long course Open (9th April)
  • Luton L3 Open (early April – date tbc)
  • Milton Keynes L2 Open (late April – date tbc)
  • Coventry L1 long course Open (14th/15th May)
  • Bracknell and Wokingham L1 long course Open (21st/22nd May)

Typically these events will be described as either having a level 2 or a level 1 license.

3.   Galas

The Club submits at least one team to four league competitions, each with three rounds

  • National Arena League (9th October, 13th November and 11th December)

The premier national league competition in which we compete in the London division.  We submit one team aged 9 and above

  • Herts Major League (8th January, 5th February and 26th March)

The senior county league to which we normally enter two teams of 9yr olds and above

  • Chiltern League (29th January, 26th February and 9th April)

A competition designed specifically for swimmers who don’t normally get selected for the other galas, or who might always get selected swimming the same stroke.  We submit one team aged 9 and above

The junior county league to which we normally enter three teams of 9 – 12 yr olds

Over the course of the year we may also be invited to swim in one-off galas organised by other clubs.  These will be advertised on the notice board.


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We are a competitive sport club - with our swimmers competing at all levels from local team galas to National and European events.