Information for new members




Harrogate District Swimming Club (HDSC) has existed in one form or another since the late 1890’s. The present format started in 1992, when the borough council took over responsibility for providing swimming lessons and coaching for competitive squad members. Now, the main roles of HDSC are to:


  • Provide administrative assistance to the coaching staff
  • Engage in fundraising activities
  • Run home galas


HDSC is run by a Committee of volunteers. Meetings are held every month, with an AGM in January.




Swimmers pay a monthly fee directly to the council to cover training sessions. In addition, swimmers must join HDSC in order to compete at galas. The membership fee, currently £90 (2016/17 season), is payable to the Club upon joining, and each subsequent January.  Approximately half of this fee is paid to the ASA to provide the swimmer with a license to compete, and affiliation with the Yorkshire and North East Regions. The remaining fee supports the Club in performing its duties.




Club T-Shirts, hoodies, hats, shorts and track-suits, produced by Under Armour, are available to purchase from the Membership Secretary at the Hydro on a Monday evening. Swimmers require a T-Shirt and hat for competitions. Special TEAM hats are awarded to swimmers picked for team events.


Training equipment can be purchased from local sports shops or online. As a minimum swimmers require a kick board, pull buoy and short fins. As they progress through the squads, other equipment may include finger/hand paddles and a snorkel. A mesh bag is recommended to keep this equipment in, as they are suitable for poolside use and dry quickly.


Goggles and swimwear are also required. No specific makes or types of goggles are recommended; each swimmer must choose the ones they feel comfortable in. It is advisable to have two pairs of goggles at all times. Different types of training and racing suits are available, and again the swimmer should choose a make and style they are comfortable in. Training suits are generally made from thicker material and may be double skinned to increase drag – make training harder.


Racing suits are made from much finer material and should be a very snug fit; there is no benefit in buying a racing suit that is too big. In addition, there is no need to spend hundreds of pounds on a racing suit at this stage as it really won’t make that much difference to performance.


Gala Entry Procedure


The coaching staff decide which galas each squad should attend throughout the swimming season. As a gala approaches, the Competition Secretary produces an Entry Form for each swimmer, showing the events in which they are eligible to compete. The squad coach may indicate which events swimmers should enter, or the decision may be left to the parent and swimmer. It is then the parent’s responsibility to complete a Gala Entry form indicating which events are to be entered.


Gala entry form: media/documents/Gala Entry Form.doc


This form can be emailed to, or posted in the box at the Hydro. Payment for the events must be posted in the box by the closing date. Entries without payment will not be processed.


The club hosting the gala has total discretion over which entries to accept. If the gala is oversubscribed, it may be necessary to reject some swimmers from some events. Refunds are provided for rejections and can be collected from the Membership Secretary on a Monday night at the Hydro.


It is advisable to check the website of the host club in the week before the gala for any changes to the start times. Sometimes there will be a draft programme published and a rejection list will usually be shown, where applicable. If HDSC are advised of any rejected swims, these will be posted on the Club noticeboard at the Hydro.


Every Gala will have a warm up, usally in the hour before the Gala starts so you need to be at the pool with plenty of time to spare.


Each Gala is usually made up of four seperate sessions and usually over two days. Typically session one is Saturday morning, session two Saturday afternoon with sessions 3 & 4 covering Sunday.


Make sure your child has lots of fluids and a good pack up if they are staying for the whole day.


Swimmers must be on poolside at a gala at least 15 minutes before the start of the warm-up. This enables the coaching staff to notify the host club of any withdrawals, which in turn allows the gala to run smoothly.


Types of Gala


Galas may be Long Course (in a 50m pool) or Short Course (25m pool) and at a variety of levels.


  • Club Championships - only members of the Club can compete and all are automatically entered. There are no entry forms to complete. These provide an ideal opportunity for swimmers to achieve qualifying times in different events, which can then be used to enter other galas.
  • Graded meets (A,B,C) - these galas have an upper limit on entry times for each event which keeps the all swimmers at a similar level. The host club may also have a minimum entry time, so swimmers cannot enter an event if they do not have a valid time. At the gala, if a swimmer exceeds the upper limit (plus a margin), they receive a “Speeding Ticket” certificate rather than a medal. The gold medal is won by the fastest swimmer under the upper limit.
  • Open Meets - these galas have minimum entry times but no upper limit. Examples include Yorkshire, North East Regional (NER) and National championships.


HDSC needs parents to help at Club Championships and our home galas. Training is provided and you can often shadow a more experienced volunteer. Without your support we cannot run these galas.




This is your opportunity to help the Club. Can you provide raffle prizes or help at our home galas? Does your company want to advertise in our home gala programmes? Are you involved in client entertainment and want to support our Golf Day (proceeds shared with St Michael’s Hospice)? If you have any other ideas, please contact our fundraiser, Matt Lepine.


Over the last few years Matt has been very successful in raising money for the Club. This has resulted in the Club running the Artemis Inspiration Series, involving motivational talks and training sessions for all swimmers from leading experts. The more money we can raise, the more we can provide support to the coaching staff and benefit all the squads.


Welfare of the Swimmers


All swimmers and parents are required to sign a Code of Conduct, setting out their responsibilities towards the Club and fellow swimmers. The coaching staff abide by a Code of Conduct produced by the ASA.


If you have any concerns at all about the conduct of other swimmers and the effect on your child, please contact the Welfare Officer, Claire Ball, immediately. Claire has been involved with HDSC for a number of years and has undergone training from the ASA in the role of Welfare Officer. She is always happy to discuss any concerns you may have and will outline any further action if needed.


If your concerns are about training or coaching matters then they should be directed towards the head coach initially or the Borough Council. However, Claire will be happy to assist you in contacting the Council if required. Claire is usually at the Hydro on a Monday evening, but can also be contacted by email or telephone.


Claire Ball:    07825 705702 -


Our Sponsors / Partners