Junior Swimming Leagues or Diddy Leagues as they are known take part across the country each year. Starting in spring and culminating in a national championships typically in in late November, they are a fun high tempo, exciting team competition for 9-12 year old Boys and Girls. (The date varies each year but typically is the age of the swimmer on the day of the National final, usually around 30th November).
Billingham compete in Division 3 of the Northumberland & Durham (N&D) Diddy League.
The league has 3 divisions and like a football league you have division winners, promotion and relegation. The top two team form Division 3 get promoted and the bottom two from Division 2 relegated.
The league takes place over 4 Sundays in March and April (at different pools each year) with each club competing in 3 of the 4 meets. Each meet lasts around 90 minutes and its amazing to think over 50 races take place each meet. Each meet consists of 4 individual races (Freestyle, Back, Breast & Fly) in each age group for both boys and girls, 2 relay races freestlye and medley and a favourite of everyone the Canon (worth double points) where 1 boy and 1 girl from each age group compete in an 8 person freestyle relay team. Each race is either a 25m for the 9 year olds or a 50m race for the other age group. The relays are a 100m and the canon a 200m race.
Unlike a normal swimming gala where a swimmer competes for individual glory the Diddy league is a full team event where a swimmer is competing for points for the team not medals. Winning an event gives the team 6 points, second place 5 points and so on finishing with 1 point for sixth, so just finishing the race can still provide a vital point for the team even if a swimmer doesn’t win!
A swimmer is allowed to swim in two individual events (selected by BASC’s coaches) in their age group and the relays. A coach is allowed to ‘swim up’ a swimmer from the year below in a relay e.g. one 9 year old swimmer can compete in the 10 year old relay race.