How to Choose your Races

Swimmers are encouraged to swim a range of events, particularly at a young age. This is to discourage specialisation early on, and to help swimmers develop a motivation to improve all swimming disciplines. Ideally, swimmers should aim to swim no more than two events per session, and should look for swims that are both in and out of their comfort zones.

See below for factors to consider and an example.

Which competitions should my child enter?

All swimmers should be competing at the highest level of competition in which they qualify for (Development, County, Regional, and National). They should also be aiming to gain qualifying times at relevant target competitions in the lead up to these main meets. These will be detailed on our website here. Around the main open competitions, there will be many opportunities to compete in other non target meets that should be used to update personal best times and gain race practice.

What is the aim of the meet?

If the goal of the meet is to achieve qualifying times for a particular competition, you should prioritise those events and ensure the swimmer will not be fatigued by swimming too many events on that day/session. Some competitions can be used for training purposes to gain race practice. In this situation, a swimmer will enter many events and focus on racing skills rather than times.

Do I have to be at every session?

Swimming competitions host hundreds of swimmers in a large number of events, so naturally this takes time. Most open meets take at least two days to complete, some take three weekends. You should question whether your child needs to be at all sessions. Maybe by reducing the time they spend at the pool, they will achieve better results. This is dependent on the number of events they swim.


Here is a programme for the Middlesex Development Meet.

Annie isn’t sure which events she would like to enter.

  • First I will highlight her favourite events; she loves breaststroke and butterfly (yellow). I have missed 200m butterfly because I don’t think she is ready for this tough event yet.
  • Next I look for events in the same session so she has more swims; some of these will push Annie slightly outside her comfort zone (green).
  • I now look to see if I think she can handle the number of event without fatigue, so I know she has a chance in performing in each. If not, I will remove these events (red cross).
  • Annie is close to achieving a County Qualifying time in her 100m butterfly, so I have removed her from the event before to ensure she is at her best.
  • I have chosen to remove the event on the last day since this is her least favourite stroke and she would have no other swims on this day.
  • Finally, I will look to see if she has the qualifying times for the events I have chosen before submitting the entry form.

If you are unsure of your selections, please highlight them and show the Head Coach for approval.