First Gala

If this is your first gala – don’t worry or panic. The coach/team managers will be there to guide you through the day and help you all they can. Any problems – just ask. It is a good idea to have packed your bag the night before you swim with everything you might need.

As you often won’t know until the day how close your races are, it’s a good idea to take something to do in between races, we’ve listed a few ideas below.

Here is a checklist, which should be useful to you (no glass bottles or any other breakable items, spares of anything below if you think they may be needed).

  • MASC T-shirt / Hoodie
  • Racing costumes (for race)
  • Training costumes (for warm-up)
  • Goggles plus a spare pair
  • Towel
  • High competition swimmers will need to
    bring their rollers, kick boards, resistence
  • Poolside footwear, such as flip flops/sliders
  • MASC swim cap

What else should I bring to the event?

  • Food of sufficient quantity to last the day – for example: pasta pots
  • Snack food – with lots of carbohydrates and low in fat
  • Money in case of emergency
  • Drink – Water bottle (large) and maybe energy drink (details below)
  • Music or I-Pod (to help relax or psyche you up), reading book (even school work hehe!).
  • Be well-hydrated, drink 600ml – 1 litre on the morning of the competition.

Morning of the event

  • Don’t swim on empty. Even if you feel nervous, make breakfast happen! Stick to easily digested foods such as cereal with milk, porridge, banana with yoghurt, some fruit or toast with jam.
  • If you’re really struggling, try liquid meals such as milkshakes, yoghurt drinks or a smoothie.
  • It’s a good idea to rehearse your competition meal routine in training so you know exactly what agrees with you.

Arrival at a Swimming Gala 

When you arrive at a swimming pool for a gala, make sure you do so in plenty of time (you should be poolside at least 20 minutes before your warm-up time). Please arrive poolside wearing your warm up swimwear under your clothes. Check out the pool complex layout and familiarise yourself with the important places you will need to go during the day (toilets, reporting area, changing rooms, cafeteria etc). Safety and well-being are really important to the Club, some of the pools we visit are large and multipurpose and even finding your way to the toilet can be a bit confusing, with this in mind, here are a few key points to remember

All swimmers taking part in a gala are the responsibility of the parent/guardian/carer until they sign them in/hand them to a MASC member.

Children should be accompanied by the parent/guardian/carer to the entrance of changing room/poolside where they will be met by a senior swimmer/team manager from MASC.

At least one parent or guardian should remain on site if your child(ren) are of primary school age.

When primary school aged swimmers have finished and wish to change the swimmers parent should come to the door where they handed them over to then resume responsibility. Your child will be accompanied to the entrance of the changing room by a senior swimmer/team manager.

During the gala primary aged children will be accompanied to the toilets with an appropriate adult .

Secondary age children should, wherever possible, go in same gender pair always letting the team manager know before leaving poolside.

If your child(ren) are secondary school age can you please make sure that you are visible to the team manager and inform them before you leave poolside for any reason. If someone else is collecting your child can you please make sure that your child informs the team manager.

**please note** if you have small children and there are longer gaps between their heats, it may be advisable for them to sit with you to break the time up. The team manager will discuss this as necessary.

Don’t Go Outside – When you are at a swimming gala and with the club – they are responsible for you and you must not leave poolside without permission. If your parents are there, please ask the team manager/coach for permission to leave poolside before you go to see them.
Pre-Warm up – there will be a poolside mobility session before your warm up, this will be directed by the coach/senior swimmers, please make sure you take part in the mobility sessions as it helps you to get the most out of the warm up.
Warm ups – Check which warm-up is yours and be on time for it wearing your training costume/trunks. When you warm up make sure you get the feel of the water, turns and starting blocks. Your coach will have shown you what warm up to do from the warm up protocol. The warm up is for warming up your muscles properly to avoid injury and prepare to race and to get the feel of the water.

What do I need to do after warm up?

Have a drink – you need to drink regularly, so make sure your drink is with you and topped up.

Isotonic sports drinks can be taken but water should be your main drink.

If there is more than 1 hour between the warm up and your first race (your team manager will be able to tell you) try and have a suitable snack.

The best approach is little as and when, because you want to race on a ‘relatively’ empty stomach, eating too much and you’ll feel heavy and lethargic.

Keep warm, although the pool is a warm and humid environment, it’s important to keep your foot wear on and t shirt/shorts.

Event Marshalling – to make sure the gala runs smoothly there will be a number of marshalling points. Your team manager will let you know when you need to queue up for your event. If you haven’t been to a gala
before, one of the senior swimmers or your team manager will show you what to do and where to go. Don’t worry, they remember what it’s like to go to a gala for the first time! The marshall will ask you for your name and tell you which lane you will be swimming in. You will then move to the next marshall , who will do the same. Don’t worry, you won’t end up in the wrong lane, the marshalls are other mums and dads who will make sure you are ok. Everyone wants you to have a good time.

The Race – Simply do your best! After the race – go and see your coach. He/she will give you feedback on you swim, and then where and what you need to do swim down.

After your last race – when you have finished please do not just leave, please see your coach for feedback. They will have some important information for you and what to do next. Where possible, swimmers should stay until to end, to help cheer club members, or to see you results and check if you have made a final.

Food & Snacks between heats

Try to eat as soon as possible after your swim to give yourself as long as possible to recover if you have to swim again.

Right before an event, it’s best not to snack or drink. You don’t want to start swimming with a stomach full of food!

High fat and simple sugar foods will do you no favours in competition , instead search out the complex carbohydrates again.

If you are still feeling nervous try sports drinks that will help replenish your energy supplies and assist the recovery of aching muscles.

The list below offers great food options to be snacking on in and around training and competitions.

Remember to keep eating healthy foods in your regular diet through, such as fresh vegetables, fruit and nuts.
• Pasta salad
• Plain sandwiches, for example chicken; tuna; cheese salad; banana
• Dried fruit for example raisins; apricots; mango
• Bananas, grapes, apples, plums, pears
• Crackers and rice cakes with banana/and or honey
• Mini-pancakes, fruit buns
• Cereals bars, fruit bars, sesame snaps, popcorn, Jaffa Cakes, Jelly Cubes.
• Yoghurt and yoghurt drinks
• Prepared vegetable crudités for example carrots; peppers; cucumber and celery