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Swimmers Info

Swimmers' Responsibilities

  • Show respect to coaches, authorized personnel, and fellow swim team members at all times.

  • Exhibit good sportsmanship and conduct yourselves as model YMCA members. Sibling rivalry, boy/girl personal relationships, and poor manners are to be avoided.

  • No rough housing or profanity in the pool or locker room.

  • Be ready to swim on time - for practices and swim meets, this means that goggles, caps, etc. must be in place when practice begins.

  • Swim assigned events. This may require swimming different strokes during practices and swim meets.


Practice Suit - This is a suit worn during practice sessions. They are generally made of nylon, lycra or stretch nylon. These suits are usually loose fitting and many swimmers train with several suits on for the purpose of creating drag. Do not wear your team suit to practice. You want to keep this suit in excellent condition for the meets.

Competition/Team Suit - A team racing suit is required for competition. This suit is usually 2 to 3 sizes smaller than the practice suit to reduce resistance. The material is usually lycra.

Cap - A latex or lycra swim cap used during a meet or practice to cut down resistance and to protect swimmer's hair from the effects of chlorine. A cap must be worn by anyone with hair that covers their eyes.

Goggles - Lenses worn by swimmers during practices and meets to enhance vision and protect their eyes from the effect of chemicals in the water. You should have at least two or three pairs of googles with you for each practice and meet. Also, make sure they fit right and do not leak prior to trying them on at practice. Use the bath tub to test.

Sweats - Some type of warm-up or sweat suit should be worn at meets and to and from practice during cold weather. Athletic apparel should be worn by older swimmers during dry land exercises.

Towel - A thick, large towel is usually preferred by swimmers. A minimum of two towels is recommended for meets.

Water Bottle - Each swimmer should bring a water bottle to each practice and swim meet to keep hydrated. (yes- you do sweat in the water) Make sure your water is clearly marked with you name on it.

Swim Fins - We would like your swimmer to bring a pair of Zoomer style fins to each practice. If you need advice on where to purchase you can ask other parents, check with the coach, or look on our website.

Hand Paddles - Each swimmer should bring a pair of hand paddles to practice with them.

Meet Information

  • We operate under USA swimming standards and YMCA rules. For YMCA swim meets the swimmers age as of December 1 of the current year determines the age bracket for the swimmer.

    • This means that if your birthday falls on November 30 or earlier, you will swim in the age group for the age you will become on that date.

    • If your birthday is December 1 or later, you will swim in the age group for the age you are when the swim season starts

    • There are absolutely no exceptions to this policy. It is set by the Illinois-Missouri Area YMCA Swimming Committee and we have no control over this rule.

  • The age brackets are: 8 & under; 9 & 10; 11 & 12; 13 & 14; 15 & older.

  • Swim meets can last VERY long. Regular meets typically last 2-4 hours. Invitationals can last 1 - 2 days.

  • Suggested items to bring to meets:

    • Sleeping bag/ mat

    • Pillow

    • Drinks and snacks (at some meets snack & drinks must be kept in the lobby or in limited areas). Concessions are available at most meets.

    • Cards, games, books, etc. to keep swimmers occupied.

    • Dress appropriately (it tends to be hot in the pool area, cold in the lobby).

  • Swimmers should stay in the assigned bull pen area when not swimming.

  • In the case of meets where we are required to stay overnight, the team makes group reservations in order to reduce costs. A block of rooms will be reserved for the team. Each individual family will be given the information and are responsible for making the room reservations within the block at the hotel. Please book from the reserved rooms or else we may not reach the requested minimums and lose any discounts negotiated.

Regular Meets (Dual- and Tri-Meets)

  • Regular meets are usually smaller, less formal swim meets between 2-4 District teams. At these meets, the coach picks the events the swimmers will swim. The lineup for the regular meet is made up on Thursday and Friday before the meet. YOU MUST TELL THE COACH WHETHER OR NOT YOU WILL ATTEND EACH DUAL OR TRI MEET.

  • Each swimmer is allowed to swim a maximum of 3 individual events plus 2 relays at regular meets. Swim meet entries will be posted in the bull pen the day of the meet. Swimmers will receive an event card prior to each event from the bul

  • Awards. Ribbons will be awarded for 1st through 6th place at all regular meets. Exhibition ribbons will be awarded to all swimmers swimming exhibition heats. Ribbons will contain the event number and swimmer's time.

  • Home meets will normally be held at Principia College.


  • Invitationals are large-scale swim meets with many teams & swimmers represented.

  • Invitational meet information rules and regulations will be provided prior to the sign-up for the meet. Ribbons and awards, the number of events swimmers are allowed to participate in, etc. vary by invitational and are included in the meet information packet. This packet will be posted on the bulletin board and will include a deadline for entry.

  • Swimmers who sign up for invitationals are expected to attend these swim meets. If a swimmer fails to appear at an invitational they are expected to reimburse the YMCA for the event fees paid for them. A notice with instructions will be placed in the swimmer's file in the filebox

  • When the swimmer arrives at an invitational, the swimmer, in some cases, is required to check in by scratching their names off a list indicating they are in attendance. Please be aware of this because, if the swimmer's name is not scratched off, the swimmer is considered a NO SHOW.

  • The swimmer's events for invitationals are posted in a heat sheet. The coach will have a copy of the heat sheet. Heat sheets may also be purchased at the door by the parents.  Sometimes they may be printed from the host teams web site.

District Swim Meet

  • The district swim meet is the qualifying meet for the state championship.

  • Eligibility.

    1. The swimmer must be a member of the swim team at least 90 days (1 December).

    2. The swimmer must participate in at least 3 St Louis District YMCA meets. (If also swimming for a high school, only 2 swim meets required.) The invitational meets held outside our district do not apply toward these 3 necessary meets (i.e., Jacksonville and Bloomington are not in our district.)

  • Swimmers qualifying with state times at the district meet must swim in the STATE meet.

  • This meet is normally in March.

Illinois-Misouri Area Swim Meet

  • Swimmers must qualify for the Area Championship Meet at the District Meet. The Illinois-Missouri Area YMCA State qualifying times are posted here

National Swim Meet

  • Swimmers must qualify for the National Championship Meet. This meet is held in N.Carolina.

USA Swimming

  • This is strictly a voluntary program for TCAY swimmers and the YMCA does not pay any of the costs for participation. The USA Swim League is a different league from the YMCA league and our participation is strictly to offer TCAY swimmers another venue for competition.

  • All expenses (swimmer registration, entry and splash fees, etc) are the responsibility of the swimmer family. This is not a YMCA program and our team is not currently registered with this league. For those that participate, they will need to swim as “unattached”.

  • If you would like to participate in USA swimming, the following will outline the costs and actions that you will need to do:

    • Register in USA. $48 per year per swimmer. Registration is due by September 1.

    • Each meet that you decide to swim at there is a single Meet fee ($2 to $6 per swimmer) plus an event fee ($2 to $3 per event—up to 4 events per day). Information on the meet and event fees and how they can be paid can be found on the Web (see addresses below) or you can ask Nancy Miller for help.

  • Those TCAY members that would like to join USA Swimming, please see Nancy Miller for a registration form and more information on the league and meets or check out the Website at: We have several USA meets on our schedule but, again—these are voluntary meets open to USA members only. Other USA meets are scheduled throughout the year and provide an opportunity for our swimmers to continue to compete after our season has ended.