MAC Swimming FAQ


1. How do I get my swimming questions answered?

If your questions are not answered in this FAQ or by going to the website you have some other options.  If it relates to practice, events, meets etc. please contact your coach directly.   You also have a Squad Parent who is able to answer more logistical swimming questions.  You may also contact any of the board members listed on the site if you are unable to get your questions answered through the routes listed above.

2. My son/daughter has aged up.  When will he/she be moved up to the next swim squad?

While swimming age brackets are broken down by 8 and under, 9&10, 11&12, 13 and up, many times the swim squads can be broken up in different ways.  Ultimately the decision to move your individual child lies with the coach, but there is a rough schedule for move-ups that they follow.  Generally move-ups are done in groups after all the coaches get together and discuss the swimmers.  This generally occurs at the beginning of short course season (Sept), again in December and then one last time before long course season  begins in June.  Coaches consider factors such as age, squad size, maturity (both physical and emotional), regularity of practice attendance, as well as speed in these decisions.

3.  My child has never participated in a swim meet.  How do I sign up and which ones should we attend?

When your child is ready for their first meet it can be daunting.  Please don't worry as it will become second nature after a few meets.  (Please see: Tips for your first swim meet).   MAC hosts three Missoula meets per year which are great meets to get you started.  Meet sign-ups are all done electronically.  You need to sign into your MAC account and click on the attend/decline tab by the swim meet you are considering.  Once you choose 'attend', all the event options your child is eligible for in that particular meet will appear.  If you have questions about what events your child should swim, please contact your coach.

4. What are all the B, BB and A times people keep talking about?

In the sport of swimming there are motivational time standards for each age group and time cuts for certain higher level meets.  Please see Age Group Standards on the MAC site for specific time cuts. When your child gets to the point that they want to start paying attention to their swim times and working toward improvement, probably the first time cut they will try for is their State Cut.  In order to swim at the state swim meet,  8 and under swimmers must have a B time in that event,  swimmers 9 and above will need one BB time.  Once the 9 and up swimmer has their BB time in one event, they are eligible to then swim at the state meet and are also eligible to swim any other events in which they have achieved a B time.  Please know that these times cuts are updated and changed every few years.

5. How do I sign up for relays?

You don't.  Your coach is responsible for assigning relay teams.  Relays do not count in your individual event meet maximums.

6. Does my child need to attend all practices?

No and this is one of the great things about swimming.  Since there are a number of practices offered, your child is free to attend all group/squad practices, as many or as few as they are able.  Keep in mind that the monthly fee remains the same regardless of practices attended.  As your child gets older, attending progressively more practices will become important.  Please check with your coach on the number of practices they suggest for your child.

7. There are a number of swim meets offered throughout the year; how many should we attend?

This is another great thing about swimming as this is completely up to you and what works for your family.  Some swimmers only do the home meets while others do almost all of them.  This is individual for each swimmer and family. Keep in mind that when your child decides to try for different time cuts and getting to the state swim meet, it may be important to give them more opportunities to achieve their goals.

8. What is short course and long course that I'm hearing about?

Swimming has two distinct seasons.  Short course runs from September through April and Long course runs May-August.  The short course pool is 25 yards.  Long course is 50 meters and is swum at The Lake pool (Splash's lap pool).


Tips for Your First Swim Meet

Swim meets can be long days in which you are trying to keep track of when your child swims.  Make sure they eat and stay hydrated.  Also, keep them entertained and comfortable between races.  

  • Bring folding chairs, blankets and activities for your child to do in your 'camp' area.
  • Bring extra towels and a robe for your child to stay warm between events.
  • Buy a program:  these can usually be purchased when you enter the meet. 
  • Bring a sharpie and a highlighter
  • Highlight your child’s events in the program and use the sharpie to write the events on your child’s arm or leg.  You will see all the swimmers at meets doing this.  The easiest way is to follow how it is written in the program: Event number, Heat number and Lane number followed by what race it is. The writing on you child’s arm should look something like this:


  3     |     2    |    5        25 Fly

     9      |    4      |    3        50 Free

      15     |      5    |     7       100 Back

  • Bring food and a water bottle.  Most meets have a lunch break and snack bar but your child being hungry will make for a difficult meet.
  • Check the MAC site or Montana Swimming site under the swim meet you are attending for warm-up times.  These are usually up just a couple of days prior to the meet.  Swimmers warm up as a group during the designated MAC time.
  • Coaches are responsible for assigning relay teams so always check with your coach to see if your child will swim a relay before leaving the meet.
  • Swimmers should check in with their coach before each race and after it is over.
  • Swimmers are responsible for getting to the blocks on time so keep track of the event and heat that is in the pool.  Have your swimmer line up behind the appropriate lane a few heats prior to their race....this means they need to check in with their coach before lining up.