TYPES or LEVELS of Swim Meets
Occasionally, the Alligator Aquatics will compete with one other team in a dual meet. These meets help promote team unity, but usually limit the number of events a swimmer may enter.
These meets generally do not have any qualification time standards. Most of the time these meets offer each one of the competitive strokes in the two distances offered for each group. Each swimmer is usually allowed to enter from 3-5 events per day.
These meets have some type of qualification time standard(s) that a swimmer must meet in order to enter the meet. Our state swimming body, Illinois Swimming, Inc.
At the end of each short course (winter) and long course (summer) season, a State Championship meet is sanctioned by Illinois Swimming Inc, the governing body of swimming in the state of Illinois. Illinois Swimming sets the qualifying time standards for these championship meets. Generally, the standards fall between the national "A" and "AA" time standards. There are two championships held each season: the Age Group Championship for swimmers 14-Under and the Senior Championship open to any swimmer in the state who has met the qualifying standards regardless of age.
Zone (Sectional) Championships
After the state championships are held in the summer, a swimmer may qualify to participate in the Central Zone Championships by swimming a national "AAA" time. This is an all-star meet where swimmers compete as a member of the Illinois Zone team competing against other states from the Midwest.
Junior National Championships
One of the highest levels of achievement Alligator swimmers strive for is the participation in the Junior National Championships. United States Swimming sponsors an eastern United States Junior National meet and a western United States Junior National meet each season. Alligator swimmers meeting qualifying time standards for this meet travel to different locations throughout the United States to compete against the best 18-Under swimmers in the nation.
US Open National Championships (Senior Nationals)
Other than the Olympic Trials and the World Championship Trials, each of which is held every four years, the highest level of competition for our senior swimmers is the USS National Championships. As with the Junior Nationals, Alligator swimmers meeting the national qualifying time standards travel to various cities throughout the U.S. to compete against America's best swimmers. Swimmers can qualify for national teams that represent the U.S. in international competition by their performances at Senior Nationals.
Additional Knowledge on Meets
“Prelims and Finals”
Swimmers participate in the morning prelims session and if they are one of the top 8 (in an 8 lane pool) they qualify to swim in the Championship finals in the evening session. If they are one of the next 8 (9th through 16th place), they qualify to swim in the Consolation finals in the evening session. Some meets will offer a Bonus heat which will be comprised of the preliminary swimmers that placed 17th-24th. All championship meets will have 2 alternates listed. They must attend the finals session or have scratched. During the finals, the Consolation heat (or Bonus if it is swum) is swam first followed immediately by the Championship heat (or Consolation then Championship - if a Bonus heat is swum). During the prelims, the results are usually posted within ½ hour of the conclusion of the event, and scratches may take place the next ½ hour. So within approximately 1 hour of the end of an event, swimmer should know if they have made the finals. An Alligator swimmer should never leave the meet without making sure if they are a finalist or an alternate. Alternates, the 17th and 18th place swimmers, can check with coach about attending the finals. If a swimmer makes finals and does not participate, they may no longer participate in the meet. This is not a team rule but a USS rule.
Additional National Level meets
In addition to the meets listed above, there is the Sectional meet that is offered for both the Long Course and the Short Course season. Qualifying times are posted early in each season. There is also the Grand Prix series. This is a series of separate meets that are run progressively throughout the season. In general, the qualifying times for the Grand Prix meets get faster from one meet to the next. However, it is up to the meet host to determine these standards. The meet information for each meet is listed on the USA swimming site. If we select to swim at any Grand Prix, we will list it without other meets and the time standards that a must be achieved in order to attend.