Swim Meet Basics
What is a Meet?
Meets are the culmination of a week’s worth of practice. Each swimmer can swim a maximum of 3 individual events and one relay per meet.
We have 3 home meets and 3 away meets. If you have to miss a meet, please notify the coach a week in advance so that the heat sheets will be correct for the meet. For home meets, swimmers need to arrive at the pool around 4:30 PM. Home meet warm-ups begin at 4:45 PM and last until 5:15 PM. For away meets, swimmers need to arrive at the hosting team’s pool around 5:00 PM. Away meet warm-ups begin at 5:15 PM and last until 5:45 PM.
Meets are organized by a heat sheet, which is a list of all events of the meet, the heats of each event, and the lane in which each swimmer swims his/ her event. The event refers to the gender, age and stroke being swum.
Swimmers are classified by age and gender, in order to keep competition groups small and fair. First, swimmers are divided into 6 different age categories, based on their age by May 31st of the current year:
- Mini-mites: 6 & under
- Mites: 7 & 8
- Midgets: 9 & 10
- Juniors: 11 & 12
- Intermediates: 13 & 14
- Seniors: 15- 18
Within each age division there are three divisions according to time standards: SILVER, GOLD, and BLUE. All swimmers start each age division in the silver division. Swimmers have to meet a certain time standard in order to progress to the next level. The gold time standard is faster than the silver, and the blue is faster than the gold. Once a child meets or surpasses a gold or blue time standard, he/she must continue to compete as a gold or blue swimmer for one whole year, even if he/she never achieves this time again. When a swimmer enters a new age division, he/she begins as a silver swimmer again, unless the swimmer has official times from year-round swimming that meet the gold or blue time standards when converted. Although all swimmers swim together, silver swimmers technically only compete against other silver swimmers, gold with other gold swimmers, and blue with only blue swimmers. This gives every swimmer a chance to compete with swimmers that are close to their performance level, making competition fairer and more fun.
One length of the pool is 25 meters or yards, depending on the pool. Our pool is a meter pool, which is slightly longer than a yard pool. Mini-mites and mites swim 25 m or y in competition. Midgets and juniors swim 50 m or y in competition, and intermediates and seniors swim 50 m or y for all events except freestyle and IM, where they swim 100 m or y. From the midget age group up, swimmers swim 50 m or y in a relay, regardless of stroke.
For every age group there are two time standard tables: one for meter pools and one for yard pools. Each time standard is then broken into times for girls and times for boys. The only time either gender competes with the other is during relays, where each relay team must have at least one and no more than two boys. The times are then divided by age category and silver, gold, and blue divisions. You can track your swimmers progress by keeping track of their times. Meet results and time standards are posted on the RMAL website at: http://www.swimrmal.org/ .
Meters to yards conversion: Meter time x 0.905 = Yard time
Swimmers compete in 4 official strokes: freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. All age groups swim freestyle. Mini-mites learn backstroke, and can swim in the mite backstroke event during the meet if he/ she is comfortable. Mites generally swim Free and Back, but those who have mastered breaststroke may swim that in the meet. Midgets and up can swim all four strokes (though each swimmer can only swim 3 individual events per meet). Individual Medley, or IM, is a 100 meter or yards swim, one lap of each stroke in order: fly, back, breast, free.
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