Top Tips for BHSC Club Champs


Our first session of Club Champs is happening this Saturday, 6th Oct. 5pm to 8pm. (As a side note there is a second session on Saturday 27th October; please double check which session your events are in so you arrive on the correct day!!). Programmes will be emailed to parents a few days ahead of the meet, and can be found by clicking on the “Members” tab and putting in the password.

Bristol Henleaze Club Championships are great fun and such a warm and friendly environment for those swimmers and parents who are new to competitive swimming. 

 Here are some top tips for the swimmers and parents, mainly for those who are attending for the first time and perhaps a reminder for those who have been before ;-). For those who are seasoned pros, a little reminder doesn’t hurt- no one is immune from the infamous DQ!!!

 First of all, a little background information: 

Competitive swimming meets are licensed by Swim England by Level - Levels 1, 2 ,3 or 4. 

Our Club Champs is a Level 4 licensed swimming meet. This is the lowest level of meet and its purpose is for the development of inexperienced athletes and those seeking to compete outside of their own club training environment. Times recorded are suitable for entry into County Championships and Meets at Level 3. 

In order to meet licensing rules, we must provide the required number of licensed officials. Please be aware that some of the officials supporting our Club Champs are from outside of our Club. Rules are rules and, because the times recorded are used to determine entry to other Meets, licensing criteria and FINA swimming rules allow for Clubs and competition providers to have common ground rules and make results fair. 

I mention this because it may feel a little harsh, sometimes, when your young, inexperienced, swimmer is disqualified at such an event. But believe me, there are many eyes on the swimmers and if you let something go for one, you would have to do it for all. That said, if an official is ever in doubt, the swimmer will always be given the benefit of the doubt. The referee is the only Official, at poolside, who will agree a disqualification. Officials report infractions to the Referee and he/she has the final decision. 

 If you are a swimmer and you are disqualified, your coach will explain why, so that you can learn from it. That is what these meets are all about and you won't be the only one, for sure. Even top swimmers make mistakes. You may feel upset and that's ok, it shows you care. Try and focus on getting this right for your next race. 

If you are a parent and your swimmer is disqualified, leave it to the coach to coach, that's really important. Your role is to be a shoulder to cry on and encourage and encourage - next time/next race is what's important. Lots of support is what your swimmer needs. 

FINA swimming rules are published for all and can be found here, for those of you who like the detail:

 Here are some top tips

  • Warm up starts at 5pm on Saturday. Make sure you arrive at least 15 mins beforehand. This gives you time to change and be ready poolside, so you don't miss your warm up slot.

  • Print out a copy of the Programme, or download it to your mobile device, so that you can track the order of races and which heat you/your swimmer is swimming in. The slowest swim in early heats, with the fastest swimming in the later heats. If a swimmer has never competed before, at a licensed meet, it will show as NT (no time), in the programme.

  • Bring your BHSC shirt, if you have one, to keep you warm between races. It's also useful for when you might need to go and collect any medals :-)

  • Bring a couple of towels and plenty of healthy snacks to keep you dry and energised between races. 

  • One for Parents and Swimmers - Bring a refillable water bottle. BHSC would like to minimise single use plastic waste, at our Meets. Keep hydrated during the meet, as the atmosphere inside the pool can be draining if you don't keep up your fluid intake. 

  • Listen carefully to your coach regarding when to go to marshalling for your next race. Be aware of which races you are in, so that you don't miss one. There's nothing worse than finding out you've missed your race while chatting with your friends or having a comfort break! When in marshalling, listen carefully to the Marshalls, to ensure you are in the right heat. Marshalls will also be happy to confirm any of your race details, so if you are new to racing, don't be afraid to ask. 

  • If you are unsure of anything regarding your race, speak to your coach beforehand. When you are at the blocks, a friendly Official (the ones wearing white), will always be happy to confirm what stroke and how many lengths you need to do - so don't be afraid to ask - we know it can be easy to forget, when you are excited. 

  • We are likely to be using electronic timing pads for this event. These are great, as they make time recording very reliable and accurate. But they don't always work, so we have two back up times, one by back up button and the other by manual stopwatch. The referee checks all times against the finishing order and will preside over any discrepancies. So please be aware that electronic display boards may only be an indication of the times and results. Results are usually confirmed and displayed at a couple of locations around the pool and by the spectators. A top tip to all swimmers is to make sure they touch the finish end/pad assertively. This will avoid soft touches and a need for manual backup times. 

  • When you finish a race, rest until all swimmers in your heat have finished, by holding on to the lane rope. Never climb out of the pool at the blocks, as this interferes with the timing pads. Always climb out of the pool using the stairs at the side. You will be instructed by the Officials as to when you should leave the pool. 

  • Sometimes the Meet is available on a Swimming App called "Meet Mobile". This is a relatively cheap app, available from app stores, and allows you to follow the results of all races and individual swimmers. It's really worth the investment if your swimmer is going to compete in further Meets during the year. 

  • Please only approach the medals table, once results have been announced. Sometimes it takes a little while for results to be verified. Be patient. Wear your BHSC medals with pride. Swimming is mainly an individual sport, so remember, it's not always about the medals, it's also about trying to achieve your own personal best. So be proud when you do that. Your journey is different to others. All swimmers develop at a different pace. 

  • Last tip - enjoy yourself, have fun and swim as fast as you can