Swimmers have the opportunity to take part in a variety of competitions. Starting competitions is exciting, fun and really helps swimmers to get to know each other and make friends. It is important for swimmers to compete regularly so that they can see the progress that they are making in swimming and possibly to get qualifying times for higher level galas.
We run termly time trial events at Stratford for the academy swimmers to see how fast they can go over a length in different strokes. There is no charge for these events and they are held in the normal session on a Friday night. The aim of these is to get academy swimmers used to the starting process and racing and to see their progress. The times are not licensed but are used by coaches when choosing younger swimmers for team galas.
Sharks take part in three leagues throughout the year:
- Arena league (autumn/ winter 9+)
- Nuneaton junior league (spring 9-12)
- Mercian league (spring/ summer 9+)
Team galas give swimmers the opportunity to swim as a team and include both relays and individual events. Swimmers are selected by the coaches to take part in team galas and some swimmers who are still 8 on the day of galas may be eligible to take part right up to our most senior swimmers. It is an honour to be selected to swim for the club and galas are a fun and lively Saturday evening for the swimmers (and parents!). In addition, they give competitive experience to the youngest swimmers and the team nature makes some swimmers swim faster!
There is no charge for swimming in team galas but parents usually have to pay to spectate.
Swimmers need licensed times for qualifying for county and regional competitions.
The lowest level of licensed meet is a level 4 meet and this includes club championships such as the Stratford Sharks Mike Wardle Sprints meet and the Boldmere Junior Invitation Meet (JIM). Level 4 meets are open to swimmers of all ages, the JIM is open to swimmers aged 8-12 only. These are both ideal first competitions for swimmers who haven't taken part in a meet before. Results from level 4 meets can be used for the Warwickshire county championships and level 3 meets.
Level 3 meets are open to swimmers aged 9 and above. Each year Sharks enters the two Coventry and District ASC meets that are held at the Alan Higgs Centre in Coventry in May and October. These are both suitable for first competitions and swimmers can enter with estimated times. We also enter other level 3 meets during the year (eg Rugby open, Boldmere water carnival, City of Coventry John Hughes) but for some of these you need licensed times in order to enter. Level 3 meets have upper qualifying times that you aren't allowed to be faster than but these times tend to be very fast and exclude very few swimmers.
Level 1 and 2 meets are ones that you have to have qualifying times to enter and include county championships, regional championships, nationals and open meets with lower qualifying times that you have to be faster than. Most swimmers will be targeting swimming county times and qualification for the Warwickshire championships, some of our top swimmers will be targeting the West Midlands regionals and even nationals.