More parent questions answered

We are taking questions that YOU, our members, ask and providing answers, or at least direction, to your inquiries.

If you come up with a question, feel free to post it via Google Forms at

Each week one of the coaches will tackle the questions and we’ll send out the responses to the entire team so everyone can benefit. Questions will be anonymous, so no one will know who asked them! (Some questions will be combined or edited for clarity)

I am noticing that some questions are being repeated.  Archived Blog entries can be found on the team website under the “For Parents” tab > “Everything You Wanted To Know BLOG”  Please take advantage of this resource, as great minds think alike and another parent may have already gotten the response published.

This week’s questions were answered by Coach Chris

The past two meets at the Aquatics Center (our Cranberry Classic Meet and another hosted by a different team) were originally scheduled as having a morning session and an afternoon session each day, but the meet schedule was changed to just a morning session both days. Why did this happen? Is it common?

When a team makes plans to host a meet, several considerations are taken into account when planning the meet format. Chief among those are the number of swimmers expected to be at the meet and giving those swimmers the best opportunities to perform well in their events. USA Swimming rules also limit the amount of time sessions for 12 & younger swimmers may last.

While not usual, changing the format of a meet may occur to improve the experience for the swimmers and their families. A meet host understands that changing the time schedule of a meet may disrupt the ability of some swimmers to participate. This eventuality is weighed against the benefits for those who will still be able to attend the meet.

Usually, a host team will have a good idea of the number of teams and swimmers which will attend a meet based on past participation numbers. However, with the disruption caused by the pandemic last year, a lot of visiting teams have altered their meet plans this year. In the case of our Cranberry Classic Meet, the number of entries were way down compared to last year’s meet.

When the meet entries do arrive, the host looks at how the number of swimmers will impact the quality of competition for those at the event. One important consideration for the benefit of the swimmers is the amount of time they have to recover between their events. If there are fewer entries, then the meet will run more quickly than planned and swimmers will have less time to rest between their events. A host can use a couple of strategies to address this issue: Sometimes fewer lanes can be utilized for the races. (We did this, swimming in only 6 lanes instead of 8 for most of the events). Other times, the host may combine scheduled sessions in order to build in needed rest for the competitors. Simply taking extended breaks throughout the competition is not ideal, as the dead time during the meet would interrupt the normal flow of the meet. This disruption has been shown to be detrimental to performances.

While meet format changes are made with the best interests of the swimmers as the first priority, consideration is also given to respect the time being given by the volunteers who help run the meet. The officials and other workers volunteer to make a meet a great experience for the kids. While they do not mind being on the deck for many hours of active competition, having a lot of long breaks in a session is not a good use of their time when other options, such as combining sessions, are available.

Note: If numbers are more than expected, the host may also need to adjust the format. (In such a case, many times relays are eliminated to save time while still giving the swimmers the opportunity to swim their individual events).

Changing meet formats is not something a host does cavalierly. All options are weighed and considered before such changes are made. While some families may not be able to attend a session that is moved to an earlier or later time, it is sometimes the best option for the majority of swimmers coming to the meet.

My coach wants my child to attend practice on the day before a swim meet. However, I think that having her stay home and rest will be better so she is fresher for the meet. Who is right?

Well, of course the coach is! (Sorry, I had to go there J )

Seriously, though, there are reasons the coach has for wanting a swimmer to attend practices regularly. Disrupting a swimmer’s training pattern for short-term benefits during the season does not take into consideration the overall training plan that the coach has developed.

The coach takes into account the meet schedule when developing his practice plan for the various groups. For our more novice swimmers, on the day before a meet a coach may review skills and protocols so that they are fresh in their minds going into the competition. For our more experienced athletes, we sometimes “swim through” the meet. This means we stick to the overall training plan and go into the meet unrested, knowing that the work done the day before the meet will have benefits later in the season, even if the swimmer is tired going into the more immediate competition.

Is there a place to see what teams are participating in an event? All I see are abbreviations on the heat or psych sheet.
Abbreviations are used to designate the teams at a swim meet. They simply take less space on the heat sheet/psych sheet. For those not familiar with them, it can be confusing.

First of all, let us break down what the abbreviations tell us. Take our team abbreviation. Sometimes it will be listed as BSC, other times as BSC-SE. The BSC part is easy: Barracuda Swim Club. The SE part designates which Local Swim Committee (LSC) we are a part of. An LSC is basically the area of the country we are from. It is a terrible moniker, but one we are stuck with. Our LSC is Southeastern Swimming (SE). It encompasses all of Tennessee, all of Alabama, and the panhandle of Florida. Some LSC’s are one whole state, like Kentucky (KY) or Virginia (VA).

 Now how to find out what the unfamiliar abbreviations mean:

            1. In the heat sheet there is usually a page that lists all the teams and their entry numbers. It usually has the abbreviation and the full team name listed.

            2. If you are using the Meet Mobile app to follow the meet, that has both the full team name and the abbreviations listed under the “Teams” tab.

            3. If you do not have access to the heat sheet or if nothing has been posted on the Meet Mobile app (such as when the psych sheet comes out), then you may have to do a little digging. Try doing a google search with the team and LSC designation followed by the word “swimming” (BSC-SE swimming). That may get you results that you can use. By putting “swimming” in the search, it helps to eliminate other entities which also use abbreviations in their business.

In race events, what is the difference between "mixed" and for example "13 and over"?

Swim meet events can be set up a number of ways, based upon what the meet host feels will be best for efficiently running the meet. Swimmers can be grouped differently for racing purposes. The most common way to group swimmers is by gender (girls/boys) and by age group (8&under, 9-10, etc). Sometimes a meet will use the term “Senior” to designate older swimmers or “Open” to designate no age restrictions.

Teams hosting a meet can get creative in grouping swimmers in ways that will provide better competition and/or help the meet to run more smoothly. Here are some examples:

            Mixed – Girls and boys will swim together.

            13 & Over / 10 & Under – Designations such as these restrict the ages of the swimmers who can participate in the event. For example, a “13 & over” event will only be allow entries from swimmers age 13 and older.

            Senior and Open – A lot of times these designations are used interchangeably. They usually refer to older swimmers, though younger swimmers may be able to enter these events. The only caveat is that the meet host may restrict ages by stating so in the meet information. (ie - “Open events are restricted to swimmers ages 13 and older”)

            Novice – An event is designated for less-experienced swimmers. Usually the meet info will define the parameters, but it may also give coaches the prerogative to make that call for their swimmers.

Note on scoring: Sometimes an event may be swum with various ages and/or genders swimming together, but then broken down into specific ages and genders for scoring purposes. This will be noted in the meet information.