Divisionals & Finals FAQ

Divisionals FAQ

What are the Divisionals?

  • The 18 teams of the EFSL are divided on geographic grounds into 4 divisions.  ESB is in the Benelux division with teams from NATO, SHAPE, Geilenkirchen (NL) and Lakenheath (UK).  We consider ourselves to be fortunate as all these teams are approximately the same size, so there is a good competition, and the rankings of the teams cannot be predicted.

Where is the Divisionals competition held?

  • The teams take it in turns to host the Divisionals.  This season, it’s Lakenheath’s turn. ESB last hosted the Divisionals in 2013.

Do I need to “qualify” for the Divisionals?

  • No.  The Divisionals are just like an ordinary competition (max. 3 individual events plus 2 relays per swimmer).  The big difference is that there are medals (not ribbons) for the 1st – 6th place holders by age category.  There may also be “Heat Winner” ribbons, and even “I beat my time” ribbons.

Why are the Divisionals so important?

  • Firstly, it is the last opportunity for a swimmer to qualify for the finals or improve on a qualifying time in order to be in a “faster” heat at Champs.  For those swimmers who are not going to qualify, it is the last EFSL competition of the season, and has a special atmosphere.  Divisionals counts as one of the important 4+ participations required in order to take part in the Finals. 
  • Also, we are competing against our “local” teams, and want to show how well we can do. 
  • Finally, for the very best swimmers, it is the last chance to improve a time in one or more of the 5 pentathlon events.  After Divisionals the times for the pentathlon events are added together & prizes are awarded at Champs for the 6 best by age/gender category.

Are the practical arrangements different from a “normal” competition?

  • Normally not, but as Lakenheath is in the UK, it will involve traveling over a weekend.  The team will provide a bus and organise accommodation, and the cost is shared amongst the participating swimmers.  All swimmers must travel and stay with the team.  We must provide volunteer parents to be timers and officials, who can travel & stay with the team if there is space, or make their own arrangements. 


CHAMPS  (EFSL Championship, the Finals)

What are the EFSL Championships (Champs)?

  • This is the final EFSL competition of the season.  Over 600 swimmers from teams all over Europe compete at a very high standard in a 50m pool.  It takes place over a weekend.
  • In recent years this has been in Eindhoven (NL).  Previous locations have been Berlin (DE), Riccione (IT) and the Olympic pool in Munich (DE).

Can anybody swim at Champs?

  • No.  You must “qualify” at a previous competition, AND you must have participated in at least 4 EFSL competitions in the season.

How do I know if I have qualified?

  • Your results are available after every competition, and also on the team’s and the leagues web sites.  The qualifying times are set every 3 years, and these are also available on the EFSL web site (Short distance BB times). 
  • There are 8 individual events per age category, and qualification is per event.  The league also publishes global results from time to time.  You’ll see that qualified swimmers appear above the “ Zzz01, QT  ” marker.
  • BUT the competition takes place in a 10-lane pool, so some swimmers may be “repêché(e)” to fill up the lanes.  These are (usually) the next fastest, but they must all have swum at least a B time for that event. (See qualifying times on league web site).  In the league’s results, these swimmers appear between the “ Zzz01, QT  ” and the “Yyy01, Bti” markers.
  • ALSO teams can take non-qualified swimmers to compete in the relay events.

How many events can I compete in?

  • You can compete in as many events as you have qualified in (theoretical maximum = 8), plus 2 relays.  However, a coach may decide that it is not in a swimmer’s best interest to tire his/herself out on a particular event, so may not submit you for all events if you have qualified for many.

How do the practical arrangements work?

  • Already the coaches are making lists of swimmers who wish to participate at Champs, including those who might be repêché(e), or only swim in the relay(s).
  • The team will organise a bus and accommodation (to be paid for in advance, not included in the annual subscription).  It is imperative for the esprit de l’équipe and organisation throughout the competition that all swimmers stay with the team at all times. 
  • Parents and non-swimming siblings who wish to be present (we need to provide timers, officials, etc.) may either travel/stay with the team or make their own arrangements. 
  • The bus will leave Brussels after school on the Friday and return early evening on the Sunday.  Meals will be provided, but it’s a good idea that a swimmer brings along plenty of snacks & drinks.  There is only limited opportunity to buy food at the pool.
  • More details will follow when the coaches have more precise information about who will be swimming.

How does the organisation of Champs work?

  • Each team takes it in turn to organise the EFSL Finals.  This year it’s SHAPE’s turn, but all teams are responsible for providing volunteer parents to make it happen.  The cost of the hire of the pool is shared amongst the teams by means of “splash fees”.  I.e. each time a swimmer participates in an event, their team pays the proportion to make the competition possible.  For ESB, these fees are not passed on to individual participants.