So, you’ve just found out that your child has been selected to swim in a ZASU gala..congratulations! This is exciting for your swimmer but you probably have a lot of questions to ask..we hope the following will help, but if you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
- What’s so special about being selected for a ZASU (Zambia Amateur Swimming Union) gala?
Well, it means that the coaches believe your swimmer now has the ability to swim specific strokes correctly and has a good chance of achieving “Standard Times”. Standard Times are the times which swimmers competing at this level should be able to achieve, according to their age. You can find these times in the ZASU handbook. Not every swimmer is ready to swim at ZASU level, and it is an achievement and a privilege to be selected for a gala. Some galas are swum in a 25m pool (like the Simba School pool); others are swum in 50m pools.
- What do I need to do if my swimmer has been selected to swim in a ZASU gala?
- The first thing to do is to check the “Info About Next Gala” page on the website and decide if you want your swimmer to participate. Some galas are held in Lusaka and some on the Copperbelt. Though we encourage all parents to attend all the galas and support their swimmers, you can also choose to send your swimmer with the team on a bus that we normally hire from the school. Your swimmer then also stays with the team at accomodation that the Team Manager organises. Please note that transport and accomodation is available on a first come, first served basis. You are responsible for paying the costs of the transport, food and accommodation – normally we manage to keep this to under K500 per swimmer for two nights in Lusaka. Some parents like to send their children with the bus and meet up with their children at the gala – just discuss your options with the Team Manager (Shabnam Ismail). It is good for the swimmers to stay together – this is how they build up even better team spirit and friendships.
- The next thing to do is to inform the Parent Body (reply to the e mail that is sent out about the gala, or contact the Team Manager) if your child will be able to swim, and what transport and accommodation options you would like to use.
- You are then responsible for paying the required fees in good time (gala entry fees, transport and accommodation if applicable) and for returning a signed indemnity form if your child is travelling with the team.
- You must make sure your swimmer gets to the gala at the stipulated time each day. If he/she is travelling with the team, make sure he/she is at the bus in good time and make sure you are there to collect him/her at the end of the trip.
- Will I need to buy any swimming kit and what will my child need to take?
You will need to purchase Simba Seals gala kit for your child according to the kit list provided. (Sometimes some of the kit is not available, for which we apologise – it is very difficult to keep all sizes of imported kit in stock all the time.) Please contact the Kit Coordinator to purchase what is needed. Once your child has participated in TWO ZASU galas, he/she will be eligible for a free Simba Seals tracksuit. The kit list also provides information on what other kit you should pack. You should make sure your swimmer will have enough to eat and drink at the gala (if not provided for by the team accommodation option).
- Why has my swimmer been selected to swim only one or two events whilst others swimmers are swimming more events?
It’s not unusual for a first time gala swimmer to be selected to swim only one event, and you have to weigh up the benefits of him/her particpating in the gala, or waiting a little longer until he/she is ready to swim more events. Although it can seem a lot of time and expense to invest in only one or two races, this is how all swimmers begin. It’s a big deal for a swimmer to take part in his or her first ZASU gala, and participating will help the swimmer gain confidence and experience. Generally new gala swimmers start with the 50m back or 50m free events, and build from there according to how their swimming is progressing. Before long, your swimmer will be participating in more and more events.
- I don’t understand how the races are swum – when they line up for a race, some swimmers look very big and others look very small!
Your swimmer competes in most ZASU galas according to his or her age on JANUARY 1ST of the CURRENT swimming season (the January that falls in the middle of the September to May swimming season).
Your swimmer will compete in either an 11yrs and under heat, or a 12yrs and over heat. For instance, in a 50m freestyle event, all the swimmers who are 11 and under will compete in a series of heats relating to that particular event. The swimmers with no previous recorded times, or the slower times, will compete in the first heats, while the fastest swimmers will compete in the last heats. It might therefore happen that an 11 year old will compete in the same heat as an 8 year old. When the results come out, however, these will be according to your swimmer’s age on 1st January. This explains why you might see your swimmer come 8th in his particular ‘race’ (his heat) but he might come 5th (or 10th) in his actual age group, depending on the actual time he swam compared to other swimmers of his age.
- How does my swimmer earn points?
Swimmers earn points if they place 1st – 8th in their age group, AND if they meet ZASU standard times for their age group. If you notice a * next to your swimmer’s name on the results sheet, it means he/she did not swim within standard times, so he/she is not eligible to earn points. (There is also a restriction on the numer of swimmer from the same team who can make points in any one event – this might also explain why he/she did not earn points even when making standard times.) Please don’t get too concerned about points in any case…just encourage and congratulate your swimmer no matter what! The goal should be to improve his/her own swimming time (his ‘personal best’). Also note that swimmers won’t always make ‘personal bests’ – don’t criticise them if they don’t, but continue to encourage them.
- What does earning points mean for my swimmer?
Earning points is a good thing (though not the only thing – doing your best is the most imporant thing) – it is good for your team, as all the points achieved are accumulated and at the end of the gala the teams are ranked by points. Swimmers also accumulate individual points throughout the season and at the end of the season, swimmers who achieve top points across the board in their age group, are awarded medals.
- What happens when my swimmer gets to the gala?
When you get to the pool, look for the Simba Seals team and base yourself there. Swimmers may sit with their parents but must be alert to being called when needed by coaches and marshalls. All swimmers are required to arrive at the pool one hour before the official starting time. This is for ‘warm ups’, when the coaches will get the swimmers to do some stretching, and also swim a few laps to warm up and do a little practice. This also helps them to get used to unfamiliar pools. After that, the swimmers can return to the team area to wait to be called for their races. When called, they should check with the coach who may have some pre-race instructions for them. (Resist the urge to ‘coach’ your own child – you will only confuse him or her!) Make sure your swimmer has his/her cap, googles and towel. The swimmers will be able to leave their towel, shirt and shorts in a basket near the starting blocks, which they can collect after the race. The swimmers will be called to a Marshalling Area, to wait to swim their race. After each race, your swimmer must first go straight to the coaches for feedback, before coming to sit with the team again.
- How does my swimmer participate in relay events?
Swimmers are selected to swim team relays on the basis of ability. All swimmers are expected to make themselves available to swim relays. However the relays are generally held the end of the day and some parents prefer to leave the gala early. If this applies to you, please notify us well in advance that your swimmer will NOT be available to swim the relay events. Obviously, we would prefer that you support your team and help to gain valuable points.
- What happens if my swimmer falls sick during or before a gala?
If your swimmer falls sick before a gala, and you notify the Team Manager by no later than the Wednesday before the gala, no further action is needed. However if your swimmer falls sick after that, you need to secure a medical note from a doctor, and hand this to the Team Manager who will submit this to ZASU. Failure to provide a medical note will result in your team being penalised, and you will also be required to pay a financial penalty.
- What happens if my swimmer misses a race?
Unless you have provided a valid medical note, your team will be penalised by the loss of points, and will also be penalised financially – so please don’t let the team down!
- How do I get my child’s results?
ZASU uses an excellent application called Meet Mobile which you can use on your smartphone or Android device. Enter the gala name and you will be able to find your child’s details – you can use this app before, during and after each gala. Full results are also posted on the website soon after the gala.
- Will I get to see pictures of my child swimming?
Yes – hopefully! We try to take pictures of the swimmers at all galas and we post these up on the website soon after the gala. You are also welcome to send pictures in to be included on the site.
- If I still need to know more, what can I do?
We strongly encourage all parents to download and read the handbook, available on the Downloads page, which contains more information. Still have a question? Contact us!