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What is Long Course?

What is Long Course?


I’ve gotten a lot of great questions about Long Course, so instead of sending out multiple emails, I thought I’d create one.


In year round swimming the seasons are broken into short course (September-Late March/Early April), and long course (Early April-Late July/Early August).  The Short Course season has concluded and we are in the midst of a transition point before the next season begins. In this transition time we will be doing something similar to what we did in September, where we are breaking down the strokes for the swimmers and really working on fine tuning their stroke mechanics at a slower pace.  At the RAYS this year we will be taking the week of Spring break off (April 7th -April 16th).   We will return to the pool, Monday, April 17th. If your swimmer wants to swim during the time off that is perfectly fine, we just won’t be offering organized group workouts. Please feel free to email your coach or myself for workouts.


Starting on April 17th, we will start to offer some Long Course training.  Long course is a 50 meter pool like the new Clover School District Community YMCA outside pool.   Events in Short Course and Long Course season are essentially the same with the exception of the 100 IM, and there are not any 25 events.  The shortest distance swum in long course is 50 Meters.  The Mini Rays meets will still be run as Short Course meets. Many swimmers LOVE long course because there are less turns, no turn in the 50 meter back! We will continue to offer and run practices Short Course throughout the spring and summer since most of the UPYMCA pools are 25yard pools. However, with the addition of the new Long Course pool in Clover/Lake Wylie, we now have the opportunity to train long course. This gives our team a tremendous benefit come Long Course swim meets. 


There are two schedules for this upcoming Long Course Season: the spring and summer schedule. They have been posted to the website under practice Schedules and should be completely final by April 1st. If you have any questions please let us know.


Here are some questions we have been getting with regards to the summer time. If you have any other questions please feel free to ask.


We swim summer league, should we still do RAYS?  YES!   Even if your swimmer just comes to a RAYS practice one a week, he/she will gain tremendously over their peers on summer teams. We try our best to avoid running afternoon practice and some morning practices that will interfere with your summer league team’s meets and festivities.  We have a better coach to swimmer ratio than most summer league teams, and our climate is controlled.  Our weather inside it guaranteed, outside it can be cold and rainy, but inside we have the benefit of consistent temperatures and protection from the elements.  


When are the practices?  Starting April 17th we will move to our spring training schedule. With the spring training schedule there will be a lot of practices offered at the CSD and RHAC for the swimmers.   In the summer we will offer some morning and afternoon practice options, depending on the day.  We expect to have the long course practice schedule out within the week.  


Do we have to do meets?  No and Yes, mostly depending on the group your swimmer is in.


Pre-Senior 2, Mini Rays, Atlantic, Blue, and Electric Rays it is strongly encouraged to do meets in the summer time.

Manta Rays, Pre-Senior 1, and Senior it is required to do LC meets.   


Pre-Senior 1, Pre-Senior 2, AG 1, AG2, and Mini Rays: It is strongly encouraged to do meets in the summer time.


Senior, Age Group, and Mini Rays; It is strongly encouraged to do meets in the summer time.


It is very known by all swimmers who compete in the LC season that their strides for improvement and times leading into the Short Course Season is tremendous when they commit to doing practice and meets in the summer time.

One of the benefits of the new facility in Clover/Lake Wylie is we will be hosting our first meet out there. Usually in the summer time we have to travel to go to LC meets but we are hosting one at the beginning of May (4th-6th) at the new CSD Community YMCA, and they are a really fun way to stay with your teammates, and earn new state cuts, motivational time standards, and best times!

Rest of Meet Schedule:

April 29th: Carolina Crown Meet (NC and SC All Star Meet) info on

May 4th-6th: RAYS Inaugural LC Invite @ CSD Community YMCA: Every Rays Swimmer entered will get a awesome Meet shirt for the first RAYS meet at the facility!

May 13th: Mini Rays Spring Fest @ RHAC

May 19th-21st: 20th Annual YSSC May LC Coaches Invite @ Duncan, SC

June 3rd: Mini Rays Jumping June Invite @ RHAC

June 10th: Open Water State Champs @ Clemson, SC

June 9th-11th: Shelby Sharks Open @ Shelby, NC

June 13th-18th: Team Travel Meet for 13 & Overs

June 23rd-25th: TG Dash and Splash @ Greenville, SC

July 7th-9th: USRY YMCA Regionals @ Hickory, NC

July 15th: Mini Rays Firecracker Blast

July 20th-23rd: South Carolina Swimming State Championship @ Columbia, SC

July 27-29th: 3rd Annual SC Grand Spree Finale @ Duncan, SC

July 29th-August 3rd: YMCA Nationals @ Greensboro, NC

*More info online under About the Rays and Meet Schedules


Is there a State Meet?   Yes, and there are long course state cuts.  It is hosted in Columbia at the University of South Carolina at the end of the summer (July 20-23).   There is also a Regional YMCA Championship in Hickory July 7-9th. The YMCA Regionals meet is a great meet for all swimmers from Atlantic to Senior because there are no time standards, the swimmers just needed to compete in some YMCA meets similar to the rules for the CYSL State Championship in this past February. If your swimmer competed in YMCA meets from September to March, those meets count towards the qualifications to swim in the summer YMCA Regional Championship.


What if we don’t do summer practices with the RAYS, can we still sign up in the fall? Yes. We understand the summer time is a crazy time for most families. However if you decide to not do the summer time you will more than likely have to go through the process of an evaluation swim and we cannot promise your swimmer will be placed in the same group or the group above that group due to the time away from the team. We also expect the team to be on a waiting list come August since we are very close to that point currently. Those who keep their accounts active through the summer time will be given priority to roster spots come August.


What if we just want to swim at Rays until summer league starts? :  You can do that, too.  If you wish to stop your Rays or Upper Palmetto YMCA Membership contact Kay West or Tim Conley at the Rock Hill Aquatics Center through email or phone (803)817-7665. We’d love to have you continue, but understand sometimes that’s not an option. 


Since Summer League is over in June can we rejoin in July? Yes, just send an email to coach Tim the last week in June and we will get you registered on the website to practice again in July.


How and when does the fall season start up again? The Rays swim team takes the month of August off. We will be sending out group placements for those currently on the roster come July 15th for the 2017-2018 season.  Registration for the new season will start August 1st.


I hope I’ve helped to clarify any questions, and please if you have any other questions, just let me know!


-Coach Tim