FAQ

Parent Information
The following section is a work in progress and will contain more information for PTAC parents.

Parent Handbook
We highly recommend that our parents read the USA Swimming Parent Handbook!
(Link Here)

Swimmers Best Times
Swimmers and families may check online for a list of all their times from USA swimming competition.  This will not include any PTAC time trials, unsanctioned summer league events, or high school competitions.  
https://www.usaswimming.org/Home/times/individual-times-search
This will also show a swimmers USA Swimming Motivational Time Standards and Power Points.  The motivational time standards can be very informative and are separate from the NJ Swimming Time Standards.  For more information on these standards please check our Time Standards Page.  We do not use power points for any measurements at this time.
https://www.teamunify.com/SubTabGeneric.jsp?team=njptac&_stabid_=189856  

New Jersey Swimming Time Standards
Every season New Jersey swimming issues a revised set of Time Standards.  All times can be categorized as Gold, Silver, or Bronze level times.  Please see the NJ swimming website or our "time standards" page for a link to these times
https://www.teamunify.com/SubTabGeneric.jsp?team=njptac&_stabid_=189856
- Bronze times are the beginner level times.  There is no minimum time required to have a bronze time so any time slower than a silver time is a Bronze level time.
- Silver times are the intermediate level times.  There are minimum time standards required to achieve this level of time.  These times may be used as a minimum requirement to enter some competitions, especially during the summer Long Course season.  It will depend on the meet.  Please see our Meet Information page for more information on each competition.
- Gold swimming times are highest level of time classified by NJ swimming and is for the most advanced swimmers.  These times are used as a minimum requirement to enter the NJ swimming Junior Olympics Meet.

New Jersey Swimming Championship Meets
At the end of the Short Course and Long Course Seasons, New Jersey swimming will host a series of championship meets.  These meets are called Bronze Championships, Silver Championships, and the Junior Olympics (often called JOs).
- The schedule and format for these meets are often changing based on the needs of New Jersey swimming.  We will often have changes from year to year including changes in the time standards, the format, and the location of each meet.  Once we know the confirmed meet information we will add it to our Meet Information page online.
- For many years the Silver and Bronze meets have been combined for convenience into one competition called the Silver/Bronze championship.  The state divides the teams into different regions for the Silver/Bronze championships based on the number of swimmers so these meets do not get too large.  There is only one region for the Junior Olympics, but it may be divided into a combination of multiple meets. For example there may be a separate 8 and Under JOs, 11-14 JOs, and Senior Championships for 15-18 year olds.
- The Bronze Championship is for all swimmers events at the Bronze time Standard.  The Silver championship is for Silver Standards, and the Junior Olympics is for all Gold time standards.
- Swimmers may compete at multiple championship meets in the events they qualify for at each time standard.  Swimmers may not compete in an event at a championship meet if they have a higher time standard.  For example a swimmer with a Gold time in the 50 Free may not compete in the individual 50 Free or swim the 50 Free in a relay at the Silvers Championship.

Other Championship Meets
PTAC may also attend other championship meets throughout the season that are not part of the NJ Swimming end of season meets.  We may even travel out of the state for a special meet.  These meets may have their own custom time standards.  An example of a meet like this would be the Holiday Classic meet held at Rutgers every year in December.  In many cases the required minimum time standards may be FASTER than NJ swimming Gold times.  When coaches decide to attend one of these meets, they will be posted on the Meet Information page and families can check the meet information documents for the required time standards

USA Swimming Championship Meets
Some swimmers may qualify for even higher level championship meets!  Each of these meets have their own special qualification times.  Please see our "time standards" page for more information.
Zones - This is the fastest meet geared towards "Age Group" swimmers in the country.  This meet has 10 and under, 11-12, 13-14, and 15-18 separate age groups.  We compete in the Eastern Zone, however there are multiple Zone meets across the country.  At the end of the Short Course season - we will travel and compete as PTAC at the Zone meet.  At the end of the Long Course season, swimmers will join with all others who have the qualification from New Jersey to compete as a team against the other LSCs in the Eastern Zone.
Sectionals - This is an Open Age Group (all ages allowed and compete together) Championship meet.  In this meet we also compete as PTAC in the Eastern Zone.
Futures - This is another regional Open Age Group meet, that is one step faster than sectionals.  This meet is currently only offered in the Summer Long Course season
Junior Nationals - This is the National and highest level competition for 18 and Under swimmers in the country.
Nationals / Olympic Trials - This is the highest level competition for all ages in the country!  During Olympic years this meet is called Olympic Trials

Conversion Times Between Short Course and Long Course
After our long course meets there are always a lot of questions regarding conversion times at swim meets and how they are used.  I would like to take the time to explain a little more about our team policy and what parents and swimmers should expect at our Long Course meets this season.

A Race in Long Course Meters is VERY different from a race in Short Course Yards.  Long course swims at the same "distance" are actually longer and more difficult
- Long course events are actually longer in distance and duration, leading to more fatigue.  50 Meters is longer than 50 yards, and a 200 Meter swim is significantly longer than 200 yards.
- There are fewer turns and wall pushoffs, which may be explosive and sometimes difficult, actually provide a rest and increase in speed from swimming yardage.  For example a 200 Meter Breaststroke has only 4 pushoffs and pullouts, while a 200 Yard swim has 8 pushoffs and pullouts.

It is also very important to consider the limitations of how conversions are applied.
- There is a default % applied based on the real world conversion factor between yards to meters.  This factor does not account for the extra distance in a longer meters race.
There is also a small default factor applied for each extra turn that are a in a short course race that account for the time it takes to complete the turn.  The rest that swimmers get during each wall pushoff is not accounted for in any way. It is also important to understand that this factor is the same for a 10 year old and a 20 year old - there is no change based on the swimmers actual ability.

Two examples - USA swimming "A" times
 - USA swimming has general time standards to motivate swimmers, similar to our NJ swimming Gold / Silver / Bronze times.  An AAAA time is a 98 percentile rank swim, AAA time is 95%, AA time is 92%, A time is 85%, BB is 65%, B is 45%.  For these examples I will compare "A" times (top 85% rank across all of USA swimming) in Long Course Meters and Short Course Yards.  In both of these examples, the short course "A" time converts to a time faster than the actual Long Course "A" time.  For a list of all USA swimming motivational times, check the following link (https://www.usaswimming.org/docs/default-source/timesdocuments/time-standards/2020motivationaltimes-top16.pdf?sfvrsn=13)
13-14 Girls 200 Breaststroke "A" time
Short Course Yards 200 Breaststroke 2:44.59 converts to 3:06.69 in Long Course Meters.  This time is a full 3 seconds faster than the actual Long Course Meters 200 Breaststroke "A" time of 3:09.79
11-12 Boys 400 IM "A" time
Short Course Yards 400 IM 5:19.79 converts to 6:01.63 in Long Course Meters.  This time is a full 5 seconds faster than the actual Long Course Meters 400 IM "A" time of 6:08.69

We will use converted Short Course times to enter Long Course meets because swimmers tend to drop a lot of time over the SC season, and we want to enter the swimmers into a heat with other swimmers at their same general ability.  Also, especially with new swimmers or swimmers who have just aged up to, they may have never swum in the event and may not have the Long Course time.

Every team uses these conversions and this is the best way to give our swimmers the best chance to be competitive against their peers.  However with that information we need to understand the difference between Long Course and Short Course swims.  Swimmers should know their best times in both Long Course and Short Course! While being entered in their converted SC times, swimmers and parents should always compare their races to their actual best Long Course times.