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Gala Levels Explained

Swim England have produced an Open Meet Licensing Criteria document that provides a full explanation of the different levels of galas available.

Below is a summary – here is the full Swim England Open Meet Licensing Criteria

Open Meet Licensing Criteria

“Every swimmer must have the opportunity to swim in appropriate, quality competition to enable them to achieve their true potential”


Level 1

Meets at this level include long course National, Regional and County Championships.

Purpose: To enable athletes to achieve qualifying times suitable for entry into National, Regional and County Championships.

Pool Length: Long course (50m) only.

Entry Criteria: A minimum qualifying time is required. Swimmer’s submitted entry time can be verified in Rankings and must be from Level 1 or 2 for National events, and from Level 1, 2 or 3 for Regional and County Championships. County Championships and Open Meets may choose to accept entry times from Level 4 meets.


Level 2

Meets at this level include short course National, Regional and County Championships.

Purpose: To enable athletes to achieve qualifying times suitable for entry into National, Regional and County Championships.

Pool Length: Short course (25m) only.

Entry Criteria: A minimum qualifying time is required. Swimmer’s submitted entry time can be verified in Rankings and must be from Level 1 or 2 for National events, and from Level 1, 2 or 3 for Regional and County Championships. County Championships and Open Meets may choose to accept entry times from Level 4 meets.


Level 3

Purpose: To enable athletes to achieve times suitable for entry into Regional and County Championships and other Meets at Level 1 or Level 2.

Pool length: Long course (50m) or Short course (25m)

Qualification Standards: Upper cut-off times are required for entry, and lower qualifying times may be set.


Level 4

Exceptionally, Open Meets which are not Levels 1, 2 or 3, (e.g. Borough Championships), and events meeting the Swim England criteria for a Low Level Competition which are:

A single club competition restricted to its members (as in Club Championships and Time Trials), or Inter-club competitions providing:

  • The event does not include more than eight clubs.
  •  The participating clubs must be invited by the promoter to take part in the event.
  •  The promoter has supplied the conditions for the event.

 The whole event takes place in one pool on one occasion and does not form a series of events, the results of which are aggregated or considered together to decide the eventual winner.

Purpose: For the development of inexperienced athletes and those seeking to compete outside their own club environment. Times recorded are suitable for entry into County Championships where acceptable to the County concerned, and Meets at Level 3.

Times are not acceptable for entry into Regional and National Events.

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