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Masters competition fees explained

Do you feel it is too expensive to enter National Masters competitions? Our ASA Masters Officer, Sharon Lock, takes a look at entry fees…

Lots of Masters Swimmers look at the cost of entering a major meet and say things like…….. “they must be making a fortune from the Masters, why do I have to pay so much to enter two events?”

As usual, there’s no easy answer to this but it’s something I have learned about as I’ve got used to this fantastic new job of mine, and I wanted to help everyone understand the decisions behind the way these events are run.

When an event is being planned the first thing to happen is the pools are asked to tender for the meet. If a pool doesn’t tender then we can’t hold it at that venue. These tenders will start to affect how much our entry fees will cost.

I was amazed at how much a pool costs to hire for three days!

Of course, the events team have to look at the cost effectiveness of each tender alongside the additional benefits the venue may offer. I was amazed at how much a pool costs to hire for three days and that explains why it’s unlikely our major events will be held at the London Aquatics Centre!

I can’t give you exact figures as every pool charges differently but taking Ponds Forge in Sheffield as an example here are all the aspects that add to the costs.

We have all the pools, the omega suit (the glass box where all the timing takes place), additional rooms for officials and event staff, timing pads and equipment, venue dressing, venue staff, extra cleaners, lifeguards, catering staff and first aid.

Trying to get hotel rooms for 45 officials and the events team can also be challenging, not to mention the cost of all the medals, printing, the event team’s time on the day of the competition and lots of extra little bits we don’t see.

We also have to make sure the officials, who do an amazing job as volunteers, are well looked after. Without them the event could not take place. They need meals and drinks throughout the day. It’s an early start and often late finish for most of them!

All of these things add up and since the Masters meets have been running, none of them has made a profit. Our target is to eventually start making a profit from these major meets with the money put back into Masters swimming to make the competitions even better.

Since the Masters meets have been running, none of them has made a profit.

This leads me to explain why there is a registration fee and an entry fee. All of the above costs are there if you enter one race or eight and so your registration fee reflects this. It helps to keep the entry fee as low as possible and hopefully allows you to enter more events once the registration fee is paid.

There are two groups of people who are involved in the decision making process for major meets: the British Masters Technical Committee for the British Masters Championships and the ASA Masters Working group for the ASA National Masters Championships. All of these people do this in a voluntary capacity and are more than willing to listen to swimmers views but in the end have to make sound business decisions which are the main driver for the pricing of these events.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me sharon.lock@swimming.org

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