Confused about galas?

Below is some detailed information about the different types of galas available to swimmers to help you decide which galas to enter.

Compulsory Galas

In order to the meet squad criteria, there are a number of 'compulsory galas' which ALL squad members must enter:


  • LBESA 200/400m Borough Championships
  • LBESA 50/100m Borough Championships
  • LBESA Juveniles (swimmers aged 8 to 11)
  • Open Meets promoted by ESS


Various Club 'Open Meets' may be arranged during the year, dates will be shown on the fixtures list. Squad members will be expected to enter and we would be grateful if parents could offer their help in running these events which are vital fundraisers for the club.

Open Meets

There are four tiers of structured competition. Open Meets are licensed according to the purpose of their competition as Level 1, 2, 3 and 4. Conditions are published for each gala, which will provide information on the level the gala is lincensed at, as well as qualifying times.


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.


Level 2 – is also 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 time for entry.


Level 3 – is for club swimmers who are seeking regional and county qualifying times. These meets often have qualifying times and upper limit times set at an appropriate level and will provide a programme throughout the year to support the requirements of swimmers below regional level.


Level 4 – is for club swimmers and those beginning to enter individual open competition. There is sometimes an upper limit time, but no lower qualifying standard, meaning that everyone with an entry time slower than the upper limit (or no time at all) can enter. For example, the LBESA Borough Championships (200/400 and 50/100) as well as Club Championships are licensed at level 4.


National Qualifying Times will be accepted from meets licensed

at level 1 and 2 for entry to National Age Groups. Entry times for National Youth must have been achieved at a level 1 meet.

Regional Qualifying Times will be accepted from meets licensed

at level 1, 2 and 3.

County Qualifying Times will be accepted from meets licensed

at level 1, 2, 3 and 4.


County, Regional and National Qualifying Times can be found here.


If you do not have a record of times you have swum at previous events, please visit your ASA BIOGS which will list all your times achieved at licensed meets.

If you are entering your first gala or have no recorded times, please speak to your coach who will be able to help.

League Galas

We enter three leagues, the National Arena Swimming League (U12 to Open), the M11 National Junior League (9yrs to 12 yrs) and the Essex League (which is aimed at swimmers who are not selected for individual events at Arena and M11). We will select our fastest team for these galas, some swimmers will compete in individual events and relays, some may swim relays only but all are equally important to the team.

'Friendly' Team Galas

 ESS organise and hold two 'friendly' team galas per year:


  • Eric Penwill Junior Relay Gala in February
  • Eric Eady Senior Gala in September (Arena League 'warm-up')


The ESS Coaches will select the appropriate team for each gala.

Please note that times swum at Team or League Galas, with the exception of the National Arena Swimming League, will not be recorded by the ASA and cannot be used for entry to meets licensed at level 1, 2, or 3.