What is Swim England?

Swim England (SE) is the English national governing body for swimming, diving, water polo, open water and synchronised swimming. It organises competition throughout England, establishes the laws of the sport and operates certification and education programmes for teachers, coaches and officials as well the Learn To Swim Awards scheme. All swimmers who enter competitions and galas must register with SE before they compete.  All parent social members must also be registered with SE.  This will be done for you once you complete your Membership Form each year.  At some point following registration, you will receive a SE number.  For some competitions, you will be required to provide your SE number on your entry form. Payment of the SE registration fee ensures that all swimmers and social members are covered by the SE insurance.

Queries regarding your SE membership should be directed to the Membership Secretary. Please note that where you are a member of more than one club e.g. Bradford Dolphin and City of Bradford, you only pay one annual SE membership fee via your primary club.

Why do you need to know about illnesses and medication?

It is a requirement of SE doping procedures that all swimmers registered to take part in open competition, and who take regular medication for asthma, must send these details for inclusion on their registration record and this information must be renewed each year. The registration Secretary gets a list of members who are registered as Asthmatic and will then send you a form to complete which must be returned directly to SE. In addition, you must tell the SE. if you have a medical condition(s) requiring the permanent use of a banned substance where there is no other substitute. As these conditions are less common, there is no general form to complete for this. The type of conditions which may require ‘notifiable’ medication are; Diabetes - Insulin injections, Growth disorders - Growth Hormone, Hormone deficient conditions of the pituitary gland or adrenal gland - Steroid treatment, Orthopaedic conditions - Intra articular steroid injections, Juvenile arthritis – Prednisolone, Behaviour problems – Ritalin, Renal failure – Erythropoetin. If you are taking any long-term medication and are in any doubt, please check

I’ve heard ‘SwimMark’ mentioned – what is it?

SwimMark Accreditation is a ‘quality mark’’ which recognises and kite marks clubs that are committed to providing a safe, effective and quality service.   It is a structured programme built round the needs of the swimmer.  Its aim is to act as a planning tool to access resources and provide appropriate opportunities for swimmers to help them achieve their full potential. It was established to encourage clubs to make a commitment to developing their services; to audit their strengths and weaknesses and to implement action plans to reach development targets via good practices.

Bradford Dolphins has achieved its SwimMark Accreditation.  This helps us to improve the way the club is run, by identifying our strengths and weaknesses and putting action plans in place.  Benefits to the club will enable us to access funding to enable us to provide courses for our coaches and volunteers.  The more we put into the process the more the members will gain from the programme

Further information can be obtained from the SwimMark representative

Who do I talk to about my child’s swimming progress?

Speak to the Head Coach (or poolside coach) – other parents/committee members will not be able to advise you on swimming progress/techniques etc.

Why is my child not being recommended to move to the Bradford Aquatics training scheme?

There are many factors that will contribute to your child being recommended to the Bradford Aquatics - the Bradford council scheme. There are entry criteria that have to be fulfilled before swimmers are admitted to the scheme.  Your Head Coach and the Head Coach from Bradford Aquatics will work together to ensure that a swimmer is ready to progress.  Not only is ability taken into consideration, but it is essential, that they are committed, dedicated, hard-working swimmers, who always give 100% effort. If you have any queries, please see the Head Coach.

How many training sessions am I expected to attend?

There are no expectations of sessions from the coaches.  Some swimmers will attend once a week to keep fit and this is fine.  We have others who attend 3 or 4 sessions.  If you are keen to improve and are interested in further development, it is advisable to attend at least 3 training sessions a week

My child is injured – should he/she swim?

In general, it is not a good idea to train or compete when you are ill.  If your child is injured or ill, please consult the coach before training or competing.

Do I have to take part in galas?

You do not have to partake in galas.  However, as we are a competitive club, it is encouraged.

We participate in many galas for most abilities of swimmers.  Once you have become a member, your coach will advise you of which galas are most suitable for you.  Swimmers will not be selected to swim for every gala, to ensure that they are not intimidated by the situation.

What is an Open gala?

An open gala is a gala where any club or swimmer can enter.  There are no restrictions in terms of time. These galas rely on entry times from the swimmers.  In some galas, entries will be restricted to a certain number.  If this is the case, only the fastest swimmers will be accepted.

What is a Graded Meet?

A graded meet is specifically designed for club swimmers.  These galas have specified times set before the gala.  If you can swim faster than this time, you are not eligible to swim in the gala.  Bradford Dolphin aims to enter these galas as they cater for less experienced swimmers.

I have heard reference to short course and long course.  What is it?

Short course galas/competitions are held in a 25m pool (like Bradford Grammar, Aireborough and Shipley).  Long course events are held in a 50m pool and these events will be either graded or Open meets.  Most open competitions will required entry times to be submitted. 

Short course times will always be faster than long course times because a swimmer will complete more turns and can take advantage of the push off the wall.  Where you require a conversion time between long and short course times, please see your coach.

My child has made the finals at a gala, but I don’t understand the lane order - can you explain?

The lane order in finals is decided from times achieved in the heats.  In a six-lane pool for example, the fastest qualifier will swim in lane 3, second fastest in lane 4, third in lane 2, fourth in lane 5, fifth in lane 1 and sixth in lane 6.  In theory, this creates a spearhead formation in the race.

Lane order may also follow this format during heats.

My child was disqualified in his/her last gala.  Why was this?

There are several causes of disqualification, your Coach will advise you after the event.

I’ve never entered a gala before – what should I expect, where do I go, who do I have to see?

If you have concerns or questions, please speak to your Coach who will give you further information and may be ‘buddy’ you with a more experienced swimmer who will show you where to go etc.  There are always Team Managers present at galas to look after the swimmers throughout the gala.

How are teams selected for galas?

Teams are selected at the discretion of the Head Coach and will depend on the level of the gala.  In the majority of cases, the fastest team will be selected from the swimmers available.  If you have any questions regarding team selection, please consult the Head Coach.

What is a PB?

PB stands for Personal Best Time – it should be the aim of all swimmers to continually improve their PB’s.  Please keep a record of these following every gala/competition as they may be required for entry forms into subsequent competitions.

My child has had a disappointing swim, what should I do?

If your child has had a poor race and comes out feeling bad, talk about the good things.  First say “That’s not like you, you’re usually a good swimmer”.  Then you can go on and talk about the good things the child did.  Never talk about the negative things.  If your swimmer is negatively evaluating the race, it is important that they don’t dwell on it, so try to move him/her on to something good e.g. “All right, you have had a bad race.  How do you think that you can do better next time?”  Immediately, start talking about the positive things.

I have some questions– who do I ask?

If your question relates to training or progression please see your Coach.  Anything relating to galas/competitions should be directed to the Championship Secretary.  For any other matters please ask any Committee member who should be able to point you in the right direction.

What is the AGM?

Every year, usually early October, all members will receive an invite and documentation for the Annual General Meeting (AGM).  This is an opportunity for any new volunteers to put their names forward for the committee and also an opportunity for you to ask questions.  There are many roles available, and the club will only be able to continue if new volunteers come forward.

My child wants to start swimming – who do I speak to?

Any swimmer who is at least 7 years old, who can swim at least 200m and three different strokes, can have a trial. The trial session is free and the swimmer will be assessed as to which training session would be most suitable for them.  The coach will assess ability and then speak to the swimmer and parent.  Please complete a Trial Request form.

I have a skill that I feel would be useful to Dolphins and would like to become more involved e.g. on the committee or on poolside – who do I speak to?

Please speak to any Committee member

My costume has faded – why?

Only ever rinse costumes in warm water and hang from the base to dry.  Once a month rinse in lightly soapy water.  Do not put in the washing machine, on radiators or hang out to dry – or they will fade. For training and competition warm up the best costumes are the ‘Endurance’ type. which are chlorine resistance and hard wearing.

Is there a recommendation about how much my child should eat and drink before and during training?

Yes – although it is not always possible,  swimmers are advised to:

  • eat a high carbohydrate meal 2-4 hours before training e.g. jacket potato or  sandwich, banana or dried fruit and nuts
  • drink 250 - 500 ml of water 2 hours before training
  • drink 125-250 ml of sports drink just before training and pre training snack  e.g. jaffa cakes
  • drink 125-250 ml sports drink for every 15 minutes of   training
  • drink 1 litre of sports drink after training plus post training snack e.g. filled bread roll or banana
  • eat a well balanced meal 1 – 2 hours after training

Please remember that you should not eat a heavy meal within 2 hours of commencing a training session or gala.

Sports drinks are expensive – is there an alternative?

Yes - plain water is fine.  Alternatively, here is a ‘recipe’ for a homemade sports drink, which will cost around 15p per 500 ml

1 litre water
30g table sugar
30g glucose powder (from health food shop or chemist)
2g or ½ teaspoon salt
No added sugar cordial (for flavouring)

What should I eat/drink before, during and after galas?

Don’t rely on food/drink provisions at the gala – come prepared!  As a guideline:

Fluid –
drink 500ml 2 hours before and 125-250mls just before.  Continue to drink steadily throughout the competition

Food –
2 to 4 hours before or the night before a competition you need a high carbohydrate meal e.g. large bowl of cereal, 2 sandwiches, pasta or jacket potato (this will allow the body time to digest)

At an all day competition, eat healthy snacks and small nutrition meals (pace depending on timing of races)

1 to 2 hours after competing you need to eat a well balanced meal

Remember that you need at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day in order to obtain the 40+ vitamins and minerals that the body needs.

Why should I drink so much?

Sweat losses during 1 hour of swimming are usually between 500mls – 1.5 litres depending on how hard the session is (the harder you work, the more you sweat), how humid the pool environment is (if its sticky and muggy, you will sweat more) and how hot it is (the hotter the temperature, the more you will sweat).

To fully re-hydrate you need to consume 150% of the sweat lost.  Drinking until you are not thirsty only replaces between 30 and 70% of sweat lost!  Dehydration will cause a decrease in performance and ultimately impact your health.

What fundraising does the club do? 

Key fundraising efforts currently are:

  • Bonus Ball – we hold a weekly draw on a Saturday based on the Lotto Bonus Ball.  Please see the Bonus Ball page.
  • Raffles are run in conjunction with various events throughout the year e.g. Grand Xmas raffle, also raffles at Easter and Dolphin galas.  Proceeds go to the social fund which provides support for organised club activities and trips.  If you wish to donate any prizes or require tickets please see the Social Secretary
  • Race nights are held from time to time, this is a fun night and the swimmers generally enjoy having a bet on a horse
  • Bag packing at supermarkets on a Saturday is very good for raising funds for trips, a commitment of 1 hour by every swimmer is all it takes to make a very successful day
  • Ideas for new fundraising ideas are always welcome - please contact your Social Secretary