Changes to Herts 2011 County Champs entry rules


The 2011 Hertfordshire County Championships will be held on 4th – 6th, 19th & 20th March 2011.  There are some significant changes to the rules relating to this competition which are set out below.

If you don’t know anything about the County Championships take a look at the FAQ here.  About 25% of the Club’s swimmers qualify to swim in the Championships each year by achieving specified entry times.  For many swimmers they are the pinnacle of their competitive career; much of the Club’s training from September is geared toward helping as many swimmers as possible to achieve County qualifying times.

The qualifying times for the 2011 competition are now available for download from the Herts ASA website here.  Please note – there are some significant changes to these times compared to 2010 so check them carefully.

In general qualifying times must be obtained at a licensed meet.  “Licensed meet” means that the competition conforms to certain standards laid down by the ASA.  Competitions will state whether they are licensed or not, but for example our Club Championships and the Birthday Open are licensed, Peanut Galas are not.  Again there is more information in the FAQ here.  Unfortunately the PB database shows all times whether licensed or not, so if you’re uncertain about whether a time qualifies for Counties please contact me at

In the past it has been possible to use times achieved from a wide range of sources, including times achieved in training and times calculated from other times (so for e.g. a time achieved in 50 free could be used to calculate a time for 100 free).  This will no longer be possible for most distances.

However there are some exceptions to the rule that qualifying times must be achieved at a licensed meet

  • Times for the 400IM and the 400, 800 & 1500 free can be obtained in non-licensed time trials
  • 9yr olds as at 20th March 2011 will be able to enter without a time achieved at a licensed  meet, but those with times from licensed meets will be given precedence
  • Gaining a 200 qualifying time in back, breast, fly or free gets an automatic qualification for the relevant 50 race (although you still need a time to be seeded)
  • Gaining a 200IM qualifying time gets an automatic qualification for the 100m IM (although you still need a time to be seeded)

Qualifying times must be obtained from 1st May 2010; times achieved before then will not count.  There will be a cut-off by when qualifying times have to be achieved but as yet we haven’t been told when that will be; it will probably be sometime in late January or early February 2011.  When we know we will tell you.

Another significant change is that if too many swimmers achieve the qualifying times then the slowest will not be allowed to swim.  This has been in the rules before, but this time they apparently really mean it.  In other words achieving the qualifying time no longer guarantees you a place in the Championship.

Taken in conjunction with the rule that most qualifying times have to be achieved at a licensed meet this means that there is likely to be significant pressure on all licensed meets from September through to January as swimmers first try to gain a qualifying time, and then try to get faster to improve their chances of swimming in the championship.  This means that the closing dates for competition entries will tend to be earlier.

As I also mentioned in May we will adjust our internal competition schedule to try to help swimmers obtain qualifying times.  In particular we have brought forward some of the mid distance club champs into November and December so as not to clash with licensed meets in January and will hold some of mid distance champs on Saturdays so as not to interfere with training.  We have also scheduled in January a special “last chance” county qualifier sprint competition for swimmers who have almost achieved county times.  More details about the meet schedule from September to January will follow.

There’s a lot to absorb and some really delicate balances to be achieved between competing to register times and training to get faster.  If you are in any doubt whatsoever about how to achieve this, or are confused about any other aspect of this email, then please talk to your coach as soon as possible or contact me at and I’ll put you in touch with someone who can help.

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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.