Types of Gala

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Swimming Galas

As a competitive swimming club all our members are encouraged to compete at the appropriate level.

The club try to give notice of gala dates as early as possible via the notice-boards, club newsletters or on the website.

The galas are run under ASA Laws and Technical rules. These rules can be found on the ASA website.

The exact rules for each Gala will be slightly different but the details will be available in the programme before the event.

Internal Galas

These are usually held every 8 weeks, and every member of the club is encouraged to take part. Every club member is placed into a group – either bronze, silver, gold or platinum – and the events are group specific.

The races for each group change every gala and you can take part in up to 3 of the ones applicable to you.  These galas work on a 'Points Score' system  whereby you gain points for improving on your previous times.

Your points are recorded at each gala and the 3 group members with the most points in each group at the end of the gala gain the medals.

More details are available on the website or at the desk on a Thursday.  Entries for this event are collected on Thursday evening by Amanda Raine.

Amanda Raine

Invitation Galas

These types of galas are organised and carried out by Swimming Clubs.

The Clubs invite other Swimming Clubs to come and take part   they could either be for a specific event such as a Christmas Meet, or held in honour of an exchange visit, or maybe just an annual tradition.

These galas are again are usually held in much the same way as both B&D and K&D galas with medals and pennants for finalists, however 'Speeding Tickets' can also be awarded. Swimmers sometimes are put into either an A, B or C time boundary depending on their entered times. If the swimmer then goes on to break their graded time boundary, they get promoted to the higher boundary and gain a 'Speeding Ticket'.

District Galas

The club competes in two different District Galas

Bradford and District Galas

B&D galas are usually held at Shipley swimming pool, and most clubs in the Bradford and District area take part, such as Halifax SC, Bradford Dolphins SC, Bingley SC and Spenborough for example. The events are swum in age group order and change from gala to gala.

Some races may be heat declared winners, but more likely you will swim in a heat and hopefully progress through to a final!

Medals are given to the top three swimmers, and pennants to all finalists.

Kirklees and District Galas

These galas operate in much the same way to the Bradford and District galas with heats and finals, however they are usually held at Huddersfield Leisure Centre.


County & Regional


These galas are a huge step up from the local ones. They are usually help at either Ponds Forge in Sheffield, or John Charles pool in Leeds and swum in a 50m pool (long course) although some are 25m (short course). LOTS more swimming clubs and squads take part in them, and electronic timers are used and your name comes up on a big screen for all to see!

You have to meet a time requirement in order to qualify, and the swimmers you will be up against will be faster. Before your race you will go to a call room, or a seated area. There are still heats and finals, although a lot more people enter these galas so qualifying for the finals is harder still.

The Yorkshires are held in a Summer and Winter series and there are multiple galas in each series. They go on all weekend in four sessions – Saturday morning and afternoon, and the same on Sunday. If you are in the morning session, prepare for an early start. Warm up starts at 8am!

North Eastern Regions (formerly 'Counties')

The North Eastern’s are very similar to the Yorkshires whereby they go on over whole weekends with four sessions, and they are also usually held at Ponds Forge or Sunderland over 50m lengths.

Exactly the same set up as the Yorkshires, however, the qualifying times are again decreased making qualifying much harder.


As the qualifying times for galas decrease and become increasingly more difficult to obtain, fewer and fewer swimmers from clubs attend these galas, but we want as many people from Halifax there as possible.

Nationals are a very prestigious event in the swimming calendar and only the best of the best, and the fastest of the fast are able to make the extremely quick qualifying times- (Olympic swimmers attend and compete in the Nationals).

They have previously held in Sunderland pool, but other places have been used as well. Only a select few swimmers from Halifax have reached the National standard, although we do have swimmers that are fractions off the qualifying times that they need.

We hope to see more and more Halifax swimmers attend in the very near future!

From 2015 the entry conditions for the national events have changed and new events have been added to the calendar. The new entry information can be found using the following link: Click here

Graded Galas


Our sport offers great opportunities to the most successful, with the chance of competing in foreign countries for club or even country. But competitive swimming is for all levels of ability.

Graded Swimming was introduced in its present form in 1980 in order to provide incentive to ALL of the swimmers in the sport.  It does this by creating the means to compare performances across the many available events and across all age groups.

Graded Swimming gives all swimmers the means to measure their own personal progress and also to compete in open competitions against swimmers of similar ability.

How does it work?

The system has 4 Grades, which are AAA, AA, A, and B. Everyone below B grade is automatically a C grade. For a given time, for each of the standard events and for each sex there is a corresponding Grade.

AAA Grade is approximately the same level as the National Championships qualifying times, AA grade is about Regional standard, A is about county standard, and B is good club swimmer standard. The system has been used for many years in Canada, USA and Germany, where it is normal for swimmers to know their grade for each event, and their overall grade.

When it was brought to this country, from Canada, the basis for determining grades was changed such that it was automatically kept in line with improving world standards and so that any possibility of bias towards one event or age group was removed.

A set of tables has been developed which cater for both sexes, for all Age groups and for all events.  To determine the grade of a swim is simply a matter of comparing your latest time against the times in the table for your sex, age group and event.

Use of the tables allows a swimmer to compare performances on all of the possible events, which often produces surprising results, in that it can highlight much earlier in a swimmers career special ability in the longer or tougher events which are not often competed for at the younger ages.

There are two major ways in which the notion of grading swimmers can be of real benefit:

Firstly in the organisation of swim meets such that ability levels are similar
Secondly as a personal incentive system for each swimmer.

Meet Organisation

An increasing number of meets are now held using the Graded Swimming system. The usual feature of Graded meets is that each event and age group has both a lower AND an upper qualifying time limit. These times will have been determined by reference to the Graded Swimming tables and usually all events in the meet will be of the same grade.

The most frequent meets are at 'B' Grade, which is of especial benefit to those swimmers who have not yet reached the higher grades that are catered for by county and district championships. The great attraction of a graded meet is also that every one who enters knows that they will be racing against someone of similar ability - which is so much better than the traditional inter club event where it is so easy to win or lose by a large margin.

There is some important advice for organisers of graded meets to appreciate:

A graded meet is about individuals being given the opportunity to measure their progress and to aim for the objective of moving up a grade.

For this reason achievement of a grade higher than that entered is worthy of note and, if appropriate, reward.

It is not, therefore, appropriate to use a graded meet as a competition between clubs AND especially not to introduce disincentives by 'punishing' swimmers, who achieve a higher grade, by not including their swim in a point scoring system.

Personal Incentive

The basis of Graded swimming as imported from Canada, which has not yet caught on to the same extent in this country, was the notion of a swimmer being able to identify with an Overall Grade. The incentive is the desire to move up to the next Overall Grade. Each Club may invent its own set of conditions but the most typical for overall Grade is as follows:-

The swimmer is timed and graded on as many events as possible. To be of a given overall grade the swimmer must have the grade:-

1. On a minimum of three events

2. At least two different strokes

3. At least one event of 100 metres or greater.

Thus it would not be possible to achieve an overall grade by doing all the swims on one stroke, nor by doing 50 metres on three different strokes.

Many coaches now also use the Graded Tables to assist with the allocation of swimmers to squads, in which case they would set their own rules, for example:-

1. Grade at 400 metres freestyle

2. Grade at 200 metres I.M.

3. Best Grade on first choice stroke.

For the swimmer who is not going to make the top striving to improve ones overall Grade can make all the hours of training much more worthwhile, and often maintain interest until the opportunity to race over the longer or tougher events comes along, or strength or height has increased.

The latest 2009 Edition of the graded tables is consistent with the principles underlying the BAG Category system. BAG categories offer a much finer measure of individual overall performance appropriate to scoring within a competition or series of meets. The Graded Swimming system is more appropriate to general performance evaluation and specifically to progression with age. But because these new editions are consistent between BAG categories and Grades the choice is now very much with the coach and what is best for any individual group of swimmers.