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Information: New to Competitive Swimming

If you are new to competitive swimming, then this page has been developed to help you on your way.

Thousands of swimming competitions take place in England for kids and adults every year and most include swimmers with disabilities. Just get involved.

Why Compete?

The world of competitive swimming may seem daunting at first, but armed with the right information you’ll soon get to grips with it all; and before you know it, “PBs” and “DQs” will no longer seem like hieroglyphics!

At Chester-le-Street ASC, we encourage our swimmers to compete from an early age because it:

  • lets you see how much progress you’ve made
  • lets you put into practice what you have been learning in training
  • gives you the opportunity to improve your personal best (PB) times
  • helps develop team spirit
  • allows you to meet new people
  • is FUN!

This guide is designed to give swimmers (and parents) an insight into how to enter competitions, what to take and what to expect on the day.

However, remember our coaches are available to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have, so please speak to them if you need any further information or are worried about anything.

Entering Competitions

Gala Entries at Chester-le-Street ASC are done online. Visit our guide to entering competitions to get started.


Occasionally, a swimmer may get disqualified from their race. Don’t worry – this is nothing to get disheartened about, as believe us it happens to everyone at sometime!

The important thing is to learn where you might have gone wrong and your coach will help you with this.

There are several “technical” reasons for disqualification, which could be related to your start, turn or your stroke itself. This guide lists the reasons for disqualification.

Team Kit

We expect swimmers to attend competitions in team kit, which can be purchased from our Club Shop.

Please be aware that we don’t hold any stock and therefore it may take some time to receive your order. Personalised items may take slightly longer.

Any other items such as goggles, swimwear, bags etc can be purchased from our gala sponsor NESS swimwear. Use code CHLEST711 to save money.

Ten Commandments for Swimming Parents

Children compete in sport for many reasons, but the main reason is because it’s FUN!

However, Its often all too easy for parents of talented youngsters to get carried away in the midst of their child’s blossoming success.

We think Rose Snyder (US Swimming) has hit the nail right on the head with her list of Ten Commandments for Swimming Parents, I’m sure we can all relate to at least some of these and something to think about…

Ten Commandments for Swimming Parents

Key swimming competitions in England

Getting into the sport of swimming you would start competing at lower level Licensed Meets. You can find out more about Licensed Meets here.

As you progress you work your way to the bigger events. Here are some key English competitions. All these events are inclusive of swimmers who hold a current national or international classification for functional, visually impaired or intellectual disability (S1-S14).

  1. Weeks 2 – 9: English County Championships – the beginning of each calendar year is marked by the staging of the Northumberland and Durham County Championships with similar events in other counties and in the other home nations, Welsh Regional and Scottish District events. There is no requirement for these competitions to be held in a 50m pool so some counties chose to stage their in a short course pool and some in a long course pool. Age Groups: 10/11 Years, 12 Years, 13 Years, 14 Years, 15 Years, 16+ Years
  2. Weeks 14 – 22: English Regional Championships – the North East Regional Championships take place during April or May, as do those for other Swim England Regions* and the Scottish and Welsh National Age Group Championships. Unlike the county events, the eight regional championships are all held in a long course pool. There is also a one year difference in the age groups and the addition of club relays. Age Groups: 11/12 Years, 13 Years, 14 Years, 15 Years, 16 Years, 17+ Years
  3. Weeks 29 – 33: Swim England National Summer Meet – the Swim England National Summer Meet takes place in the week after the British Summer Championships and is a long course event. The event uses the same qualification window and rankings as the British Summer Championships and is for the top ranked English swimmers who did not qualify for the British competition. Age Groups: 12/13 Years, 14 Years, 15 Years, 16/17 Years, 18+ Years
  4. Week 51: Swim England National Winter Meet – the Swim England National Winter Meet brings the calendar year to an end with Great Britain’s top swimmers battling it out in the short course pool.

*Swim England Regions are not the same as normal political “English Regions”. The Swim England North East Region covers Northumberland, County Durham, the Metropolitan County of Tyne and Wear and all three Yorkshire Ridings.