Swim meets are at the very heart of why the Paducah Swim Team exists. The sport of competitive swimming has a rich history and when you join a team like PST, the implication is that you are ready and willing to begin the process of becoming a competitive swimmer. Swim meets play a vital role in the development of swimmers at all levels of the PST program. This overview of our swim meet philosophy will provide some basic information about what swim meets entail, how to sign your child up for swim meets, the PST guidelines for swim meet participation, and a description of the types of swim meets we participate in. Finally, it will introduce the important concept of the Team Focus Meet and what the PST coaching staff hopes to achieve at these important events.
Swim Meet Basics
The USA Swimming website has a parent section that includes a nice article for those of you who may be attending a swim meet for the first time. Click here to check it out!
Swim Meet Sign-ups
The PST coaching staff prepares the team entry for each meet well in advance of the meet entry deadline established by the host club. In most cases, this is at least 2 weeks prior to the meet start date. The PST coaching staff will establish a meet entry deadline for the team and post it on the current season’s meet schedule. Email reminders will be sent out to the team as the entry deadline approaches.
The official meet announcement will be posted on the PST website once it is released by the host club. This document will give an overview of the meet format and provide any details released by the host club. It is important to remember that the entry deadline posted by the PST coaching staff is the one you are responsible for in terms of the meet signup process if you want your child to compete.
Please use the following steps to sign your child up for swim meets.
1. Check and make sure your child’s group is included in the “Groups Attending” column on the official PDF version of the current season’s schedule. If you have any questions about your child’s eligibility for the meet, please check with their primary coach.
2. Send the Head Coach an email at email@example.com indicating your intention to sign up your swimmer(s) for the meet and what days you are available to participate. This must take place before the posted PST Entry Deadline.
3. The PST Coaching staff will determine what events the swimmer will participate in (Please do not include a list of events the swimmer prefers to participate in).
4. Once the team entry has been sent to the host club and accepted, the team entry report will be posted on the Swim Meet tab in the Events section and at the Team Events button on the Home Page of the PST website along with any other pre-meet info provided by the host club. Each family is responsible for the meet entry fees associated with the meet once the team entry has been sent to the host club. The fees will be included on your next invoice.
Types of Swim Meets
Dual Meets – A dual meet is a meet between two or more teams. The format can vary depending on the purpose of the meet. PST swimmers participate in dual meets during the SMSC (summer league) and high school competitive seasons. Dual meets are possible in USA Swimming, but they are not as common.
USA Swimming Age Group Meets – This is the most common type of meet that PST participates in. Age Group meets typically take place over 1-3 days and include multiple events contested in multiple age groups (i.e. 8 & under, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15 & over or Open). These meets can be run with a variety of meet event lists and formats. Most of them are conducted in a timed final format, which means that the swimmer will only compete in each entered event once during the meet.
Short Course Events include: 25 Free, 50 Free, 100 Free, 200 Free, 500 Free, 1000 Free, 1650 Free, 25 Back, 50 Back, 100 Back, 200 Back, 25 Breast, 50 Breast, 100 Breast, 200 Breast, 25 Fly, 50 Fly, 100 Fly, 200 Fly, 100 IM, 200 IM, 400 IM
Long Course Events include: 50 Free, 100 Free, 200 Free, 400 Free, 800 Free,1500 Free, 50 Back, 100 Back, 200 Back, 50 Breast, 100 Breast, 200 Breast, 50 Fly, 100 Fly, 200 Fly, 200 IM, 400 IM
Championship Meets - In most cases, these meets conclude the competitive season. These meets take place at all levels of the sport and may have qualifying times in order to participate.
LSC (Local Swimming Committee) - PST is a member of the Kentucky Swimming LSC (KYLSC). The KYLSC short course championship meets take place in middle to late March and the long course championship meets take place in middle to late July. These meets use the prelim/final format for most age groups and events, which means that swimmers will swim in heats during the morning prelims, with the top qualifiers advancing to the finals session in the evening.
Regional - The regional championship meets involve the USA Swimming Zone that we participate in, which is the Southern Zone. For age group and senior swimmers, the Southern Zone Championships take place in August and the swimmers that qualify will represent Kentucky Swimming at the meet. For senior swimmers, the Speedo Champions Series (Sectional Championships) take place in March (usually short course) and July (long course) respectively.
National - The national level is the highest level of the sport that members of USA Swimming participate in unless they qualify to represent our country in international competitions. The USA Swimming short course Junior National and National Championships take place in December. The NCSA Junior National Championships take place in March and August. The USA Swimming long course Junior National and National Championships take place in August. The US Open, US Olympic Trials, and Grand Prix Series are also national level competitions that take place on the national calendar depending on the year.
High School Meets - High School teams will participate in dual meets and one day invitational meets during the season. The KHSAA regional and state championship meets are in the prelim/final format and take place in February.
Team Focus Meets
The PST coaching staff will designate certain meets as Team Focus Meets each season. These meets are usually the championship meets that conclude a competitive season. All qualifiers are expected to participate in these meets as we aim to be at full strength for these competitions.
Performance at team focus meets is one of the best ways the PST coaching staff can measure our progress in the water. Our training plans are designed to allow for peak performance at these meets and most of the other teams participating treat the meets the same way. This allows our swimmers and our team to measure our progress when everyone is trying to be at their best.
We ask that each PST family considers the importance of these meets when you plan your meet participation each season and that you make plans to have your child attend should they qualify.