Masters Swimming Events / Competitions

Below is some information on the competitions that are the most popular with Leander swimmers. 

There will be email and Facebook posts on most of these events (including all those involving club relay entries) ahead of the event. Note that, apart from the inter-county events, you need to make your own entry for all individual events, usually at least a few weeks ahead.



Welsh Masters (Long Course) Swansea
CABSC Open Masters (also Nottinghamshire Masters championships).
Usually, a very popular gala with Leander Members, great for swimmers that have not raced before, or are returning to swimming
British Swimming Masters Championships  (Long Course)
(Need to meet qualifying times)
East Midland Masters Inter-county Challenge Gala
(selected swimmers only)
Midland Masters Championships.
Usually a popular event with Leander Masters.
Nottingham Leander Open Meet (Tony Holmes)
Swim England National Masters
(Need to meet qualifying times)
Nottingham Leander Club Championships.
Good for trying new events, good supportive atmosphere for swimmers that have not raced before, or are returning to swimming.
National Inter-county Masters meet
(selected swimmers only)
Etwall Eagles open Masters meet.
Good end of season gala, not take too seriously.  Great for swimmers that have not raced before, or are returning to swimming.

Each year, there is also the Decathlon competition.

If you do well, you might break a Leander Record!

How Do Masters Competitions Work?

There are masters competitions held almost every week or two somewhere in the UK.

Swimmers compete in five-year age bands – 25-29, 30-34, 35-39 etc. Masters swimming technically starts with the 25-29 year age group. However, most events also have a special category for 18-24 year olds (called “seniors”).

In nearly all competitions the races are organised by times across all age groups (with slowest going first). Therefore you will always swim with people who are a similar standard rather than just with those in your own age group. The results for each age group are then worked out based on the times swum. The only competitions that do not use this system are the nationals (where the races are done by age group for the fastest 50m heats, but by time across age groups for all other events), and the World and European Championships, where everything is done by age group).

Nearly all competitions are short course (25m pool). However, there are a few long course competitions each year (50m pool).

The nationals have a full range of events. However, most masters competitions just have 50m and 100m events for each stroke, 100m IM and 200m free.

A few competitions also have 200m back, fly, breast and IM and/or 400 free. (As the official opportunities for 200s other than freestyle are limited it is also not unknown for masters swimmers to swim 200 freestyle events with a stroke other than front crawl.) There are also a few opportunities outside the nationals to race 400m IM, 800m free and 1500 free, most of them in special “distance” meets. One or two competitions also include 25m races.

Many competitions also have relay events.

The relay categories refer to the total age of the team. Thus with a 160+ relay the ages of the four swimmers need to add up to 160 or more – this could be four people all aged 40, a 70-year-old swimming with three 30-year-old, or numerous other combinations. The usual categories are 72+, and then 100+, 120+, 160+, 200+, 240+, 280+ (and so on in 40-year age bands if there are any teams old enough).

Many competitions have mixed relay events (two men and two women) as well as men’s and women’s relays.