These FAQs are designed to provide a better understanding of DDSC, our membership, affiliations and general swim information. They provide basic information, sometimes about fairly complex topics, and will often link to more detailed information. If you do not find your question, please approach a committee member who will assist you in finding your answer.

How should I pay my subscriptions?

Fees are annual but the preferred method of payment of subscriptions is monthly by Standing Order.  The necessary bank details can be obtained from the Membership Secretary.

The Clubs Constitution states that subscriptions must be paid within 1 month of the due dates.  The South Region ASA can suspend the Club if they find that the Club is in breach of its Constitution. If fees are not paid, the swimmer / diver is no longer classed as a member of the club and is therefore not insured.  They WILL NOT be allowed to swim.

As a non-profit making organisation, we cannot run at a deficit and frequent late/non-payments can play a part in the necessity to increase fees. Prompt payment helps us keep our fees as low as possible.

What is Swim21?

Swim21 accreditation is the ASA’s recognised kitemark for the development of effective, ethical and sustainable affiliated clubs.

DDSC has achieved swim21 accreditation. Swim21 is the ASA’s club development model. It is a planning tool, enabling clubs to help swimmers, coaches and administrators achieve their full potential. It is centred around the needs of the swimmers – striving to provide them with the best possible environment. It is regarded as the back-bone of the ASA’s development programme.

The opportunity to gain swim21 accreditation is available to all clubs, across any aquatic discipline (including Masters), regardless of size and activity delivered.  swim21 is about creating the best possible swimming experience for all and raising the quality of aquatics provision across all areas.

Swim21 club also offers national recognition that clubs are providing a quality service for all members, which is recognised by Sport England i.e. all clubs gaining ASA accreditation will automatically receive Clubmark status. Clubmark is widely recognised by potential funders, schools and other partners that can assist with club growth and development.

Further information can be obtained from the ASA’s website or from DDSC’s Swim21 Co-ordinator.

What are the different types of galas?

Away Galas

There are many away galas each year, as indicated in the calendar. Galas may either be:

  1. Trophy Galas, where teams compete for a trophy or cup; or
  2. League Galas, where clubs compete against each other in series of galas (normally three to six rounds) to determine the league champions and positions.

DDSC competes in a number of leagues:

Millennium League

Six rounds from January to July. This is a C Grade League and aims to give our younger swimmers competitive experience.

Tudor League

Six rounds from January to July swum at Eltham Pool (unless otherwise indicated). This is a B Grade League.

Kent Junior League

This is an A Grade League for swimmers up to 13 years of age (at the 31 December).

National Arena Swimming League

Three rounds from October to December. This is an A Grade League.

Team lists and events are posted on the notice board and/or emailed. Please advise the Team Manager if your child is/is not able to compete. The full address and time of gala will be indicated on the Notice Board/email.

Graded Galas

These galas are for swimmers who either compete in a stroke that is not their first stroke or for swimmers who do not swim in the ‘A’ team (or only occasionally). Often these events are time-banded and the Team Manager selects swimmers who he expects to swim within the time. Sometimes swimmers go faster than the time permitted, in which case they receive a time fault. Swimmers should not worry about this as it probably means that they have swum really well and obtained a good personal best!

Open Meets and Licensed Open Meets

This is a gala organised by a Club and is open to registered swimmers from any Club. Age groups are determined by the organising club and there may be qualifying times to be achieved.  The has an Open Meets Policy with a four tier structure of competitions to provide for the needs of all levels of swimmer – from local to National standards.

Open Meets may, therefore, advertise that they have been ‘licensed’ by the ASA at a particular level of competition. Swimmers aiming to obtain qualifying times for:

  • County Championships must have obtained their times, within the designated qualifying period, at either the County Championships or a Level 1, 2, 3 or 4 Licensed Open Meet.
  • Regional championships must have obtained their times, within the designated qualifying period, at either the County Championships or a Level 1, 2 or 3 Licensed Open Meet.
  • National Championships must have obtained their times at County or Regional Championships or at a Level 1 or 2 Licensed Open Meet.

If an Open Meet is not licensed it means that the times achieved will not be eligible for County, Regional or National Competitions. Such Open Meets are often time-banded and are not aimed at swimmers capable of achieving Regional or National times. The four levels of Licensed Meet are summarised below. Further information can be obtained from the ASA website.

Open Meets are held under ASA Law and Technical regulations. Copies of official results sheets must be obtained if you wish any PBs to be recorded officially by the IT Manager. Generally, swimmers are responsible for making their own arrangements to enter Open Meets, including entries, travel arrangements etc. However, for a few local Open Meets only, the Club organises entries on behalf of swimmers. These Meets will be displayed on the notice board, website and /or emailed, together with entry forms. Entry forms and cheques (made payable to DDSC) should be returned by the stated deadline to the Opens Secretary, who will then organise a single submission to the hosting club. Signing in on the day and travel arrangements are entirely the responsibility of the swimmer although the Club endeavours to provide stewards to help on poolside.

DDSC organises its own time banded Open Meet each year. All DDSC swimmers are encouraged to enter and the gala is the major fund raising event of the year.

Kent County Championships: Main Championships

DDSC is affiliated to the Kent County ASA, who organise the County Championships and Age Group Competitions each year usually in February to March. The County website publishes the dates in Sept/Oct of the preceding year. The County ASA publish qualifying times that must be met in order to compete. The qualifying times must have been achieved since August 31st the preceding year. DDSC gives swimmers a number of opportunities to gain qualifying times including time trials, Club championships and galas. Swimmers may also enter Open Meets. The swimmers log book should have all the information needed to complete the County application form. All times are verified by the Club Secretary. At the present time the age groups for the ‘Kents’ are determined as ‘age at the last day of the competition’ and this is strictly adhered to. The full competition is open to girls aged 10/over and boys aged 11/over. There is also a more limited competition for 9 year olds and 10 year old boys (these do not enter 100m stroke events or 400m events). This information is subject to change by the County ASA and therefore parents and swimmers are advised to look at the Kent County ASA website for more information about these Championships.

DDSC Relay Teams

Swimmers may be selected to represent DDSC in the County Age Group relay events. The age group relays include 4 x 50m Freestyle and 4 x 50m Medley for boys and girls.  The age groups are set by the Kent County ASA. Teams are also entered for the 4 x 50 and 4 x 100m Freestyle and Medley events for older swimmers. All relay events have finals for the fastest teams from the heats and each team is selected by the Head Coach.

Regional and National Competitions

Swimmers achieving the required qualifying times in the Kents or Licensed competitions are encouraged to compete at Regional and/or National level. Details of qualifying times are on the web site and if you think you have the required times, speak to the Opens Secretary.  Full details of Regional and National events can be found on the ASA website. Details of Regional competitions and events can be found at ASA Swim South East.

Club Championships

The Club holds a number of championships each year. They are banded into the following age groups: 9/u, 10/11, 12/13, 14/15, 16/17 and Open. All competitors are automatically considered for the Open age group. The points gained from these championships go towards who will be Club Champion in each age group. There is an entry price per event for swimmers and an entrance fee per adult to watch.  This is charged to cover set up and administration costs. Advance notice for Club Championships is posted on the website.  Closing dates will be advised on all entry forms. Entry forms for all Club Champs can be obtained from the website. All swimmers are expected to enter Club Championships. The younger swimmers should check with their coaches with regard to longer distances and Butterfly events.  There is a separate document explaining Club Champs in full on the website.

We are fortunate in having a large number of trophies which members are eligible to win. Medals and trophies are presented at our Club presentation disco in January. Parents are responsible for returning trophies clean and polished by the deadline for the next year’s championships.

What do I do if I would like to volunteer?

In addition to the duties undertaken by the committee, there are many important jobs to be done to ensure that swimmers can train effectively and compete in galas and competitions. All of these jobs are very important and depend almost entirely on parent volunteers. So, please get involved and help – it can be very rewarding! Any parent helping on poolside must become an Associate Member and register with the ASA as a helper.

Poolside Helpers

If anyone has any experience in teaching swimming your help is always needed. If you are interested in helping in this area then please see Andrea Knight on a Friday night, or use the “contact us” section at www.ddsc.org. We will be very pleased for any assistance offered.

Home Gala Helpers

A home gala is either any gala or championship held at Fairfield pool or a gala at another pool that we have been requested to host. We always have trouble finding enough people to do all the jobs required most of which are not that difficult for example, selling raffle tickets and programs, handing out refreshments, marshalling or recording. Again, without these people it is very difficult to run a successful gala and we are only talking about doing these jobs 5 or 6 times a year. If you are willing to help out, then please contact the Club Secretary.

Officials

These are by far the most elusive breed within the club. The first step is timekeeping and then undertaking a course with poolside mentoring and an external exam, none of this is as frightening as it sounds. After passing you can go onto a Judges course, Starters course and Referees course. For further details, please contact the Club Secretary. At galas, the team manager needs an ‘end-of-lane’ assistant to help with warm-up and relays. Some parents may even train as ASA Assistant Swimming Teachers/Coaches. If you are interested, please speak to the Secretary. Anyone helping on poolside in a significant manner will be required to undergo a CRB check. Stewards are needed at all time trials, galas and competitions. At time trials, club championships and home galas, the stewards help organise swimmers and ensure that they are in the right place at the right time for their swims.

Time-keepers

Time-keepers are needed for all time-trials, galas and competitions. At every gala, DDSC must provide time-keepers for the DDSC lane. For Club competitions and time trials, many time-keepers are needed. Time-keepers must be trained and qualified to ASA Club Timekeeper standard and courses are held on demand, when the Club has sufficient numbers of parents interested. The Club aims to hold at least one training course each year. Please contact the Club Secretary for more information.

REMEMBER – VOLUNTEERS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME

If you haven’t already gathered, it takes a lot of people to run a swimming club, Committee Members, poolside helpers, home gala helpers and officials. All of these people do their jobs voluntarily. The Club is always looking for helpers and remember, YOU CAN DECIDE JUST HOW MUCH OR HOW LITTLE YOU DO, as they say, “EVERY LITTLE HELPS”’. Without volunteers the Club would cease and we constantly need new people to come forward and help in the running of the Club.

ASA Registration

All club swimmers must be registered with the ASA before being able to compete in galas or competitions.  All our members are ASA registered, even Minnows, for insurance purposes. ASA Registration Forms will be given to swimmers at the time of joining. Swimmers will then receive their ASA Membership Number and a Registration Card. This number is very important and must be kept in a safe place. Further information is available from the Club Secretary.

How should my swimmer keep track of their times?

All swimmers need to keep a record or log book of ‘times swum’ in each of the different strokes and distances, together with the date and location of the swim. This is a very important record of times achieved and must be kept safe. These times will be needed to enter fastest or qualifying times in Club and County Championships and any Open Meets. It is also a very good way of recording and tracking a swimmer’s progress and achievements. Also recommended is the clubs Team Manager portal that keeps track of all officially recorded times your child achieves at club and licensed events. Access is password protected. Details can be obtained from the club’s IT Officer.

Where do I find out information about what’s happening in the club?

The main source of regular communication with parents is the club web site, www.ddsc.org. In addition, there is a termly newsletter that gives information about the forthcoming year and a diary of events that highlights the major galas and competition commitments for the year (although this is subject to change). All parents are also invited to the Annual General Meeting in June each year. Parents are also welcome to speak to the coaches after any session if they have any concerns or need further information or guidance.

Facebook (Twitter)

There are 2 Facebook pages in use. There is the club Facebook page which shares posts from the main website including Twitter. The second is a private Facebook group for parents and coaches to share informal communications about club activities. If you wish to be added to this group, please contact the Club Secretary.

Calendar

This is published by the Fixtures’ Secretary and lists the main galas and competitions of the year, so that swimmers know well in advance when they are likely to be swimming. Please try and keep League Gala dates free. You must let the team manager know immediately if you cannot swim at short notice (illness, etc.). Other swimmers will need to be contacted with as much notice aspossible. Remember it is an honour to be selected to swim for your club.

What equipment does my swimmer need for every session?

Swimmers should bring the following to every training session:

  • Well-fitting costume or trunks Endurance material for Training, they last for up to two years! (make sure it does not sag – check regularly) – NO BEACH SHORTS OR BIKINIS.
  • Two pairs of goggles suitable for competitive swimming (Speedo or equivalent must be adjusted to fit before sessions start). Please do not send swimmers to training with ill-fitting or unsuitable goggles. Pool time can be wasted dealing with goggle problems! The coaches would very much appreciate your help in this.
  • Water bottle – very important that all swimmers have access to water during training. Top squad should bring two bottles one with water & another with an isotonic drink.
  • Towel.
  • 2 Hats One to wear, one spare.
  • Large bag to take on poolside (do not leave bags in changing rooms).
  • Inhaler (if used and needed – please let lane coaches know you may need it).
  • Please let lane coaches know of any medical/emotional problems that may affect your child so that we are aware of any potential problems.

What should my swimmer bring to galas, Opens and other competitions?

  • Plenty of water/very dilute squash.
  • Snack food for poolside (not too many sweets though).
  • Recovery foods for the journey home from away galas (swimmers will be very hungry!).
  • DDSC T-bag/jacket or other top/shorts to keep warm on poolside.
  • Adjusted and well-fitting goggles (and a spare pair).
  • Well-fitting costume/trunks.
  • DDSC hat (Plus a spare, you don’t want an accident at a competition!)
  • Towel.
  • Poolside shoes for opens and galas and they keep your feet warm e.g. Crocs.
  • Large bag or holdall.

What are the different competitions that my swimmer can compete in?

All types of Swimming competitions are held by DDSC and other clubs and associations throughout the year.

Opens

These are events in which the swimmer can select the ‘event’ they wish to swim in.  The details of the Opens in which DDSC support will be updated on the Website and emailed by the Opens Secretary.  Swimmers can attend any Opens, however, we advise not to attend more that one in each calender month.

Team Gala’s

These are events where there is an allocated Team Manager of DDSC,  The Team Manager will select a team to swim. The events for each swimmer are determined by the Team Manager.  A team sheet will available a few weeks before the event.

Club Champs & Time Trials

These are organised internally by DDSC and will be advertised a few weeks before the event.  All swimmers must participate in these events.

All Opens and Club Champs can be used to get ‘qualifying times’ for swimmers to enter other competitions, including County Championships.  Any times achieved will be listed for each swimmer on our database.  These time are then used by the Tam Managers of Team Gala’s to select a team.  This also allows the swimmer to monitor their own progress.

Competitive Start Award

Swimmers will be given the opportunity to obtain their ASA Competitive Start Award, which when passed allows them to dive from the starting blocks and from the shallow end in relay events. Children are not allowed to dive at the shallow end until they have been tested and passed this award.

All swimmers and parents should check the notice board, website and emails, regularly to check on all competition details and results.

How do I convert my short course time (25m) to long course (50m)?

When entering a swimming gala with specific qualifying times, a swimmer must normally present times taken from a particular size pool e.g. 25m pool times or 50m pool times. Many swimmers may have swum the required distance and have a satisfactory time, but the time was taken in the wrong size pool.

This is where you need a conversion table.

The Qualification Times calculator provided by swimcalc provides a guideline only to gala qualification times. Before you fill in your gala entry form, you MUST consult your squad coach for validation.