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Competition Basics

Welcome to the team!  With many of our families being new to the sport and new to our team, we know that many of you have questions about meets.

What is a meet?

“Meet” is the term for swimming competitions.  Swimmers race a variety of distances and strokes against those of similar age and skill.

Why should my swimmer do a meet?

Swim meets are the culmination of all the skill development and hard work swimmers put into practice. Participation in meets is strongly encouraged, and Edina coaches want swimmers to embrace competition as fun and challenging.   At the younger ages, it is understood that swimming will be among several activities that kids are exploring.  As the swimmers progress and age, the expectation is that meet participation will increase relative to the goals of the athlete. Edina Coaches are committed to helping swimmers achieve the highest levels of swimming that they are capable of and choose to pursue.  Plus, meets are the best way for swimmers to have fun and get connected to other teammates!

When should my swimmer do their first meet?

Gator 1 and Age Group Prep developmental swimmers should spend the first few weeks to months working on techniques, skills and learning about the sport.  Once the group coaches feel that a swimmer is ready to compete in at least one event, they will encourage you to sign your swimmer up.  We have a range of competitions for each level from the novice to the experienced.  They are based on time standards that are set up by Minnesota coaches each year.  The chart below shows the basic progression of meets:

 

Type of meet

Participation

Description

Time Commitment

Pre-C/C Novice Meets

14 and Under, new swimmers

Meets for beginners and those needing to establish times or achieve B or C times

These are usually local one session meets lasting a few hours from start to finish.

Intrasquads

All Edina swimmers

Meets for our whole team. Sometimes we divide into 2 teams for a fun, competitive one session meet

These are usually one session meets lasting a few hours from start to finish.

ABC meets

All Edina swimmers who are ready to do 2 day meets

Meets divided into 4 sessions, with swimmers competing in one session each day.  Events are organized by age group and gender.

These are 2 days meets, with each session being about 4-5 hours from start to finish

Invitationals

Swimmers with the qualifying times set by the host team

Meets that are set up by the host team to include certain teams.  Some invitationals include all levels and some are level restrictive by time standards such as A, AA, BB etc.

These meets range from a single session to a 3 day travel meet, based on what the host team has set up

A or AA meets

Swimmers with A and AA times or faster

Meets with time standards to limit the swimmers participating

These are generally 2-3 day meets with travel involved for some

Minnesota Achievement Championships(MAC)

Swimmers with established C times

This is the first of the MN Championship meets and is for swimmers with C times.  There is one to conclude the fall/winter season and one to conclude the summer season

This meet is usually a 2 day, 4 session format.  Sometimes travel is involved within MN

Minnesota Regional Championship(MRC)

Swimmers with established A, BB and B times

This is the second of the MN Championship meets and is for swimmers with A, BB and B times in the winter and A and BB times in the summer.  It is a scored team meet.

This is generally a 2 and 1/2 day meet and often requires travel within MN

Senior State Championships

Senior swimmers 15 and over with MN Champ or faster times

This is the last meet of each season(fall/winter and summer) for the Senior swimmers.  It is an all team meet and is for the State title.

This is generally a 3 and 1/2 day meet and often requires travel within MN

Age Group State Championships

All 14 and Under with MN Champ times or faster

This is the last meet of each season(fall/winter and summer) for the age group swimmers.  It is an all team meet and is for the State title.

This is generally a 3 and 1/2 day meet and often requires travel within MN

Zone Championships

All 14 and Under with Central Zone(AAA) times or faster

This is a meet where swimmers come together to compete for Team MN for Zones title.

This is a 3 day meet which most often requires travel within the Central Zone Region

Sectionals, Juniors, National

All swimmers with qualifying times

These meets range from regional to national and are progressively faster qualifying times

These meets are travel meets and are generally outside the state and region

 

What can we expect at their very first meet?

Check out First Meets 101  to help you and your swimmer know what to expect at the very first competition.

 

What are the basic rules for each stroke?

You can find the basic rules and descriptions of each stroke on USA Swimming.

 

What are the time standards?

Swimming is measured in time standards, and participation in most meets is based on this system of time standards.  Minnesota sets our own standards which are updated each year. The times range from C(slowest) to Champ(state qualifying). These are posted on our website, as well as the Minnesota website. There are also Zone(AAA), Sectional, Juniors, Seniors, and Olympic Trial qualifying times that go beyond the State level.  As those time standards are available each year, they will be posted on our website.

All Minnesota time standards are grouped into gender and age groupings-8 and under, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-16, 17-18 or Senior. When a swimmer moves into a new age category on their birthday, their times are measured in that new category.  Most meets are arranged by the Minnesota time standards.  There are some meets which use their own standards or the National USA swimming standards. For example, we have:

Pre-C/C novice - 14 and under swimmers with no times in events and C times or slower. Perfect for beginners.

A meets - swimmers with A times and faster.

Minnesota Achievement Championships – All  swimmers who have achieved C times during the qualifying period.

Minnesota Regional Championships – All swimmers who have achieved A and B times during the qualifying period.

State Meet – All swimmers who have achieved Champ times or faster during the qualifying period.  There are 2 state meets each season.  One for 14 and under swimmers and one for 15 and over swimmers.

Zone Meet-Summer Long Course meet where 14 and under swimmers compete for Team Minnesota.  Typically AAA qualifying times.

NCSA or NASA-Junior Nationals for swimmer with qualifying times.

USA Swimming Junior and Senior Nationals-highest level meets for those with qualifying times.

Olympic Trials-These are the fastest time standards in the country.  They are adjusted every 4 years to determine those swimmers eligible to compete for a spot on the USA Olympic Team.

Edina Swim Club expects that all Gators will be working to move up the ladder of qualifying times for each age group.

What does short course yards mean?  Long course meters?

Swimming is divided into two basic seasons: Fall/winter and spring/summer.  In the fall/winter season, meets are conducted indoors in pools that are 25 yards long.  Each race is a multiple of 25 yards. I.E.-50 yards is 2 lengths of the pool, 100 yards is 4 lengths of the pool.  In the summer, many meets are conducted in longer pools that are 50 meters, so a  50 meter race is only 1 length of the pool, a 100 meter race is 2 lengths, etc.  Minnesota has time standards for both yards and meter competitions.

How often should my swimmer compete?

Coaches recommend swimmers compete 1-2 times per month.  We want athletes to compete in a variety of events throughout the season.  Your group coach will send out emails recommending appropriate meets for your swimmer.  All swimmers are expected to compete in the highest level of Finals meets for which they qualify.

 

 

How do I find out the schedule, location, directions etc?

Each meet has written information concerning the location, time schedule, cost, order of events and time standard, which is published and posted on Minnesota's website, as well as the Edina website on the title page of any given meet.  

Meets are divided into sessions based on age groups.  These sessions generally last 4-5 hours including warm up times.  Novice meets and intrasquads are usually one session meets.  For other meets, swimmers may compete in one session each day over 2-3 days. 

All families are expected to read the meet information for each meet, so that you are aware of which session your swimmer is in, what events are offered, as well as the location and directions to any particular meet.

How much do meets cost?

Meets are either a flat fee or a per event cost. The flat fee meets charge one amount, no matter how many events a swimmer does. The per event meets charge a certain amount per event entered. Some meets are more expensive than others.  Relays are divided by the 4 swimmers who compete. If a swimmer is signed up once meet sign up is completed, you are charged the costs of that meet, regardless of whether you end up competing. Edina Swim Club is required to submit payment to a host club with entries, and does not receive refunds for swimmers who do not show up.  Edina Swim Club adds an administrative fee to all swimmers at meets to cover the cost of coaches attending.  Your accounts will be billed for meet fees.  You do not need to bring payment with you.

How do I know what events they are swimming?

Once the coaches edit and approve entries, they will publish a “preliminary meet entries” document on the website.  This will have each swimmer's name listed, their events, and their entry times.  An important part of our meet entry process is the "review" period.  Once preliminary meet entries are posted, it is the responsibility of the swimmer and parents to confirm that all entries are correct.  If entries are not correct, parents and swimmers are asked to immediately contact their group coaches with corrections.  Final entries are posted the week of the meet.  Swimmers are responsible for knowing what events they are swimming. Please review the final meet entries once they are published and make sure your swimmer knows his/her events. 

What is a relay? 

Many meets have relays, comprised of 4 swimmers doing the same distance.  These events are the most fun, and add to the team component of each meet.  All Edina Swim Club swimmers in a session of a meet are expected to be available for relays if they are chosen.  Freestyle relays have all swimmers doing freestyle of a given distance.  Medley relays have each swimmer doing a different stroke of a given distance(back, breast, fly, free).  Coaches put together relays based on objective standards such as who is at the meet and who has the fastest times in given strokes and distances. They also use subjective standards to put together relays. These include practice attendance, arrival to warm ups on time, on deck attitudes, as well as whether a swimmer is a good "relay" swimmer.

How do I know when to arrive?

The week before the meet, we are sent a timeline that gives a rough estimate of when events will occur.  We use this to generate a warm up time for each of the sessions.  Coaches will send out an email letting people know when specific warm times are, and post this on the main title page of the meet.  They will also post any other important meet news there.

How do I find their results and best times?

Results for Edina swimmers are posted on our website within a day or two of the meet finishing.  Full results for meets can be found on Minnesota swimming.  You may also find your swimmers current best times on the USA swimming website and under "my account" on the Edina website.  Swimmers are expected to know their best times for any given event.  Coaches periodically send out top times reports to their groups. 

There are a few helpful applications for smart phones now available to keep track of best times and meet entries: Deck Pass, On Deck for Parents, Live Results, and Meet Mobile.  You are strongly encouraged to download these apps.

What is the team expectation for swimmers and parents?

Meets are the primary way to measure progress in the sport.  Meets are also the best way for swimmers to get to know each other and feel valuable to the team.  It is important that swimmers come to meets to give their best effort and learn from the experience.  Parents are expected to offer love and encouragement; coaches are expected to offer advice, strategy, motivation, and feedback. Swimmers will have a better experience if those roles are defined.  No one bats .1000 in baseball, and no swimmer achieves best times 100% of the time. Some meets are focused more on development of technique that will help achieve faster times in the future.  As much as everyone wants every race to be perfect, please be reasonable in your observations and expectations.  Provide a sense of fun and connectedness to teammates regardless of the races, so that the overall meet experience leaves a positive memory for your swimmer.  Swimming can be a lifelong sport, and there are many important values that can be learned from participation in this great sport.

As always, the coaches are here to help in this process and welcome your questions and concerns. We look forward to many more successful seasons integrating new families into Gator Swimming.  You can find the e-mail for your group coach on the coaches tab on the Edina Swim Club website.