Preparing for Success: Essential Items for Your Child’s Swimming Gala Bag

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Swimming galas are exciting events where young swimmers showcase their skills and compete in various races. Whether your child is a seasoned competitor or participating for the first time, it’s crucial to ensure they have everything they need for a successful and enjoyable experience. In this article, I will provide a comprehensive guide to packing your child’s bag for a swimming gala, including essential items to help them feel prepared, comfortable, and ready to dive into the pool with confidence.

Swim Gear:

Swimsuit: Pack at least one well-fitting swimsuit for your child to wear during the gala. Choose a comfortable, performance-oriented swimsuit or performance jammers for boys, that allows for ease of movement and provides adequate support. A spare is always a good idea, the one time they don’t pack one, I guarantee they will need it.

Swim Cap: A silicone or latex swim cap can help streamline your child’s swim strokes and keep their hair out of their face during races. Normally they will have one with their club name on it.

Goggles: Ensure your child has a reliable pair of goggles to protect their eyes and improve visibility while swimming. Pack an extra pair in case of breakage or leakage on race day. You generally get what you pay for with goggles. My children like the Arena Cobra Ultra Swipe goggles for training and racing.

Towels and Robes:

Towels: Pack several towels for your child to dry off between races and to stay warm after exiting the pool. Opt for absorbent, quick-drying towels that are easy to pack and carry.

Robe or Poncho: A warm, cosy dry robe or poncho is ideal for keeping your child comfortable and covered between races. Look for lightweight, absorbent options that are easy to slip on and off.

Clothing and Footwear:

Spare Clothing: Pack a change of clothes for your child to wear before and after the gala, including underwear, socks, and comfortable attire for lounging or travelling.

Flip-Flops or Sliders: Provide your child with waterproof flip-flops, sliders or Crocs to wear around the pool deck and locker room, protecting their feet from wet surfaces and preventing slips.

Hydration and Nutrition:

Water Bottle: Staying hydrated is essential during a swimming gala, so pack a reusable water bottle filled with fresh water for your child to sip on throughout the event.

Healthy Snacks: Pack nutritious snacks to fuel your child’s energy levels between races, such as fruit, granola bars, wraps, or small sandwiches. Avoid heavy or greasy foods that may cause discomfort while swimming. Raw jelly cubes or Jelly Babies are good for a pre-race boost.

Photo by S’well on Unsplash

Personal Care Items:

Sunscreen: If you are lucky enough to live in a warm climate and the gala is held outdoors, apply sunscreen to your child’s skin before they arrive and pack a travel-sized bottle for reapplication throughout the day.

Lip Balm: Protect your child’s lips from drying out in the pool environment by applying a moisturising lip balm with SPF.

Competition Essentials:

Meet Programme: Review the gala programme in advance and print or download a copy for reference. Highlight your child’s events and heats to help them stay organised and focused.

Club Essentials: If your child is swimming for a club with their own branded t-shirts or hoodies, ensure they have the correct garments to show they are part of the team.


Books or Games: Pack a book, magazine, or portable game or device for your child to enjoy during downtime between races. Keep them entertained and relaxed while waiting for their next event.

Final Thoughts:

Packing your child’s bag for a swimming gala requires careful consideration of their needs and comfort throughout the event. Try and get your child to take responsibility for packing their own bag as it is a good habit to get into. By ensuring they have the essential swim gear, towels, clothing, hydration, nutrition, personal care items, competition essentials, and entertainment options, you can help your child feel prepared, confident, and ready to perform their best in the pool.

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