Open meets provide swimmers with a chance to compete in favoured/preferred events targeting particular qualifying times and standards (e.g. County or Regional qualifying times).
During the year the Head Coach identifies specific open meets that competitive swimmer should aim to attend. This ensures a large presence of the Bramcote team on poolside so that both moral and technical support can be provided.
Open meets generally last a full day, a weekend, or sometimes even longer. They are divided into sessions, with a warm-up period at the start of each session. You don’t need to attend every session if you are not involved in an event during a session. You can leave when you have finished all your events (check first though, you might have qualified for a final!).
This extended format introduces a whole new level of out-of-water skills for swimmers; how to keep warm when not swimming, sometimes for over an hour, how to warm up in preparation for a race, how to keep focused, what to eat.
The type of race distance varies between competitions. Some focus on sprint events of 100m or less; others on middle distance events of 200m or 400m; some do everything.
Some open meets are referred to as “A”, “B” or “C” level, whilst others are referred to as “ASA level 1, 2, 3 or 4”.
The letters refer to an ASA defined level of swimmer ability. There are formal ASA issued times linked to each level, but broadly:
- ‘AAA’ grade swimmers are about national level.
- ‘AA’ grade swimmers are about district or regional level.
- ‘A’ grade swimmers are getting county qualifying times.
- ‘B’ grade swimmers are good club swimmers.
- ‘C’ is everyone else.
The numbers refer to a specific category of meet as defined by the ASA:
- Level 1 – aimed at National Grade swimmers.
- Level 2 – aimed at Regional Grade swimmers.
- Level 3 – aimed at County Grade swimmers.
- Level 4 – other swimmers.
Some events are described as ‘licensed’ meets. These must meet certain organisational criteria such as electronic timing, officials have to be ASA qualified etc.
When you submit an entry, you have to provide an entry time. Typically this will have been achieved in a competition or timed by a coach. The higher level licensed meets may require times to have been achieved at a licensed event and within a specific period before the competition. Some meets have both an upper and lower time constraint.
Events will be swum in reverse order of entry time and awards made against performance in age category. The extent to which awards are determined by heat declared winner or a final swim off will vary between meets.
As there is a lot of demand for places at Opens (lots of swimmers out there are looking for qualifying times, especially towards the end of the year), it is really important to get your entry in as soon as possible and in advance of any closing date. Some events will usually fill up well in advance of the closing date given.