This document hopes to explain BAGCATS. It is not an official ASA document, so if you have any further questions, please speak to a coach or a member of the committee on poolside.
BAGCATS stands for British Age Group CATegorieS and applies to boys aged 9-14 and girls aged 9-13, over three annual competitions, the Counties, Regionals and the Nationals. There are qualifying times for these competitions. These are established by the ASA at the appropriate level which must be achieved at a licensed meet* and/or a meet where the results are accepted to the ASA Rankings database during the current season. As you would expect, these qualifying times get progressively tougher through the competitions.
- County BAGCATS are organised by Hertfordshire ASA and are held in March in a 25m pool. See here for qualifying times.
- Regional BAGCATS are organised by the Eastern Region of the ASA and are held in June in a 50m pool. Age range for this competition is boys 10-14 and girls 10-13. Qualifying times.
- National BAGCATS are held in July at Ponds Forge, Sheffield, a 50m pool. Age range for this competition is boys 11-14 and girls 11-13. Qualifying times.
BAGCATS is a points system, adjusted for age and gender and establishes who the best swimmers really are. It also encourages swimmers to compete in a variety of strokes in accordance with Long Term Athlete Development, and not to specialise too early. A swimmer’s best stroke at 9 may not necessarily be their best stroke one or two years later. BAGCATS are divided into categories, each of which has their own individual way of testing the swimmer.
To participate in the overall BAGCAT competition, you must enter and compete in at least one event from each of the following categories:
- Best Sprint – 50m any stroke (all ages)
- 100’s – 100m any stroke (ages 11-13 for females and 12-14 for males)
- Form – 200m back, breast or fly (all ages)
- Distance – 200m free (all ages) can be substituted by 400m, 800m or 1,500m for older swimmers
- Individual Medley– 100m, 200m IM (all ages) and 400 IM (10 Years +)
Points are scored for each event, dependent upon time swum, contributing to an overall score and position. If you enter more than 1 event in any category it is only the “best” score that counts towards the overall competition. This does not preclude a swimmer from entering only the events that they wish to participate in during the County Championships. To get an idea of the points for each event, download a free Fina points calculator.
Beyond BAGCAT ages, swimmers will compete at Youth (girls 14+ and boys 15+) categories at County, Regional and National Championships. At County and Regional level BAGCATS, Youth and Open Championships are run at the same time. The same rules as for BAGCATS regarding the qualifying entry times for these competitions apply.