Open Meets

Open Meets are those events where the competitor is swimming for themselves, and offer the opportunity to compete against swimmers from other clubs in order to improve their Personal Best times (PBs), although entry for these is still made through the Club and still has a team spirit feel.

Open Meets come in various standards and have qualifying times for each individual event. Details of open meets are distributed via emails by the Open Meet Manager. The coaching team will help with suggesting the events that the swimmer would do well in. Individual entry is done through the Open Meet Manager and details of levels of Open Meets and eligibility can be found below.

As a Club we shall aim to take part in at least 3-4 Open Meets per year. There are numerous Open Meets throughout the County and the decision on which ones to attend will be made by the Open Meet Manager and Coaching Team, based on the level of competition, appropriateness to the development of our swimmers and commitment to other league dates.

Open Meets are organised differently in that competitors enter a particular race based on their current PB time; so it is quite possible that a 12 year old might find themself swimming against both a 10 year old and a 14 year old in the same race. There are usually several heats and the results are often displayed both during the event and afterwards on the host club’s website.

All Open Meets must be Licensed by Swim England. Depending on the quality of the pool, timing equipment and officials, a meet may be granted a Level 1, 2, 3 or 4.

Level 4 – is suitable for club swimmers and those beginning to enter individual open competitions.
Level 3 – is suitable for club swimmers who are seeking regional and county qualifying times. These meets have qualifying times and upper limit times set at an appropriate level to support the requirements of swimmers below regional level.
Level 2 – is aimed at national and regional qualifiers and swimmers close to regional qualification. These meets take place in 25m pools and also have a set minimum standard for entry.
Level 1 – is aimed at national qualifiers and swimmers close to national qualification looking for opportunities to achieve national qualifying times. These meets take place in 50m pools and have set minimum qualifying times for entry.

Open Meet Selection Policy

This type of competition is designed to allow individual swimmers to improve upon PB times. Each swimmer enters races of their choice, across all four disciplines (back, breast, fly, freestyle), and entry is based on current PB times. All counties hold Open Meets to give swimmers the opportunity to achieve County qualifying times, thus allowing them to be considered for inclusion in County swim squads.

This is a completely different take on competitive swimming as each swimmer is effectively only competing against him/herself. Selection of swimmers to enter these meets will be based on those who have appropriate PB times and also the ability to swim in this different (more pressured) atmosphere.

Payment for individual races is collected by the Treasurer using Direct Debit and will usually be collected once entries are confirmed by the host club.   A swimmer’s entry into an open meet (irrespective of the number of races entered) will be subject to an administration fee of £2.00.

Most Open Meets require that you supply your Swim England Membership Number. If you have mislaid your Swim England registration card, here is a useful link to retrieve the number (www.swimming.org/asa/clubs-and-members/membership-check).

For more information on upcoming dates and venues for licensed and un-licensed open meets, please contact the Open Meets Manager (omteammanager@saffronseals.org.uk).

Open Meets can be an all-day event and can sometimes span a weekend. At most Open Meets each event is ranked in the order of the swimmers entry time. If it is a swimmer’s first Open Meet then the coaching team will estimate a swimming time based on training sessions and given them an appropriate entry time.

Each event is then swum in heats starting with the slowest, irrespective of age. As a result swimmers of similar ability will swim in each heat – it is unlikely that a swimmer will be completely outclassed (or outclass other swimmers) in their particular heat. Once the event is complete the recorded times and swimmers are sorted into their age groups and the results posted – at which time you will find out where your child came in their age group and whether you may have a medal winner.

What to take to an Open Meet

Swimmers:

Swimming costume, goggles, Club swim cap, towels x 2 and a Club T Shirt or similar to wear between races. Spares of each are advisable in case of any last minute hitches.

Swimmers also need to drink plenty (non-fizzy is best) also take food for the longer events (strictly NO nuts) as they can be poolside for up to 4 hours per session.

Parents:

You will need something to drink – it is usually very warm and humid at a swimming pool. Dress in such a way that you can cope with the hotter conditions. Make sure you have a few layers to peel off as it can be uncomfortable if unprepared. Something to read can come in handy, especially if you can’t get a seat next to a familiar face, and possibly come prepared with a small cushion in case the seating is a bit on the basic side. There is usually a small charge to spectators and don’t forget the raffle. This is how clubs try to raise funds.

At the Open Meet

Once at the Open Meet the swimmers go off and change (after signing in first for the races they have entered) then usually then go poolside by themselves to join other club members – parents are not allowed poolside unless they are one of the volunteers helping to manage the team. This can be a bit daunting especially for the younger swimmer in the first couple of Open Meets, but there is usually lots of familiar faces to help them out. A more experienced Seal can be relied upon to look after the younger swimmers and once poolside the coaches are there to greet them.

First will be the warm-up, this usually takes anything from half to one hour depending on the size of the Open Meet, with the children split into club or age groups. Then it is into the racing.  Once the Open Meet gets going the heats for each race happen very quickly. There will be a lot of noise with parents and children all routing for their child/team. You will be able to purchase a programme so take a pencil then you can record your child’s time, they and you will want to know if they have achieved a PB (Personal Best).