Gala Tips

What to Eat & Drink…

Your performance can be affected by what you eat on the day of the gala.

Eat these..
  • Vegetables
  • Baked Potato
  • Rice
  • Baked Beans
  • Pasta
  • Fruit
Don’t eat these..
  • Crisps
  • Sweets
  • Chocolate
  • Fizzy Drinks
  • Cakes
  • Ice-cream

Water is the best thing to drink before and during a gala.

Your last meal should be at least an hour before the start of the gala.

What to bring with you…

Always check you have the following with you before leaving home:

  • Costume / Trunks (spare if possible)
  • Hat(spare if possible)
  • Goggles (spare if possible)
  • 2 Towels (1 for poolside)
  • T-Shirt for poolside
  • Drink (Water see above)
  • Poolside shoes
  • Warm clothing to wear home

Make sure all items are clearly marked with your name.


Make sure that you arrive for the coach or at the pool in plenty of time.
Report to the team manager on arrival (usually Jackie Abrey or Andrea Christmas).
IMPORTANT:If for any reason you will be arriving late, or are unable to swim due to illness or other emergency, notify Ryan Moore (07881922954) or Sarah Bailey (07917773823) as soon as possible.

Poolside Rules

  • Warm up in your lane as instructed, keeping to the same direction as others in the lane and alongside to those in the next lane. DO NOT dive in, a swivel entry is fine. After the warm up dry yourself and wrap up to keep warm.
  • Keep quiet at the start of each race, then cheer and give your team as much support as possible.
  • Keep the edge of the swimming pool clear so that officials can walk up and down freely.
  • Do not wander about during a gala. If you must go anywhere inform your team manager first.
  • No eating during the gala.
  • You will be called for your race approximately two events beforehand (usually by an appointed club volunteer), and given your race instructions. If you don’t understand please ask for more details.
  • At the start of the race remember which stroke you are swimming and which turn/s if any.
  • On finishing the race stay in the water until instructed to get out. For team relays you must get out of the pool as soon as you have swum your stroke, but remember that you must not impede a swimmer from another lane when leaving the pool.
  • Stay on poolside with the team until the gala is finished so you can fill in for anyone who may fall ill or be injured, and also to support the rest of the team.
  • At the end of the gala check that you have everything before leaving poolside, and again in the changing rooms.

What do all the whistles mean?

OK, so you’re ready for your race and the referee starts blowing the whistle . what should you do?


Just before your race starts the referee will signal to the swimmers by a long whistle indicating that swimmers should take their places on the starting platform (or for backstroke and medley relay starters to immediately enter the water). A second long whistle shall bring the backstroke or medley relay swimmer immediately to the starting position. When the swimmers are ready the referee shall hand over to the starter.

The starter will say ‘take your marks’ followed by the starting signal. Make sure you stay stationary until the signal to swim is given (usually a whistle, horn or electronic beep).

Front crawl, butterfly and breaststroke starts:
At the command ‘take your marks’ swimmers should take up their start positions with at least one foot at the front of the block. All swimmers must be stationary before the starter gives the starting signal.

Backstroke and medley relay starts:
At the command ‘take your marks’ swimmers should take up the starting position. In backstroke you are not allowed to have your feet or toes in or on the gutter. When all swimmers are stationary the starter will give the signal to start.

Starting in the pool:
If you are starting in the pool enter the pool when the other swimmers take their places on the starting blocks. Remember that you must have at least one hand and foot on the pool wall until the starting signal is given.

Starting from the edge of the pool:
If you are starting from the edge of the pool you must have one foot in contact with the pool edge until the starting signal is given.

Relay take-overs:
Make sure that the in-coming swimmer has touched the wall before your feet leave the block (or hands if it’s a backstroke relay). If you are taking over in the water you must have a hand in contact with the wall until the in-coming swimmer finishes their race.

It may sound complicated but there will always be someone from the club to ask if you’re not sure what to do!

With 145 years experience in swimming coaching at Swindon Amateur Swimming Club (ASC), you’re in safe and experienced hands!