Sharks Swim Leagues


As we start our next session of competitive swimming there some things that not everyone knows about. Our team is part of two different swimming leagues; PSSA, which is our regional division within the YMCA league and PNS which is our regional division of the USA swimming league. PSSA is only open to YMCA teams while PNS is open to all who are registered to the league.

P.S.S.A. (Puget Sound Swimming Association)

P.S.S.A. (Puget Sound Swimming Association) is a division of the national YMCA League. Membership in this league is automatic by being a member of the YMCA and being a member of our team. Our main season is roughly from September to March. 

The dual meets are against one or two teams. At these meets we compete to better our own swimmers, although team points are given for 1st – 6th place and a winner is usually declared for fun. We also have bigger meets throughout the season that are really just for fun like the Fall Fest, Rainbow Classic, or the Iron Dolphin where all teams in our league are invited to attend. The Fall Fest Meet is divided into North and South regions.

These meets lead up to our two championship meets: A/B Champs and Y Regionals. To swim in the A/B champ’s meet, you must have swum in 3 of our seasonal meets. Only a dual or other PSSA meets from this season count.  A/B champs is split up into two pools within the same building and both pools are run together. In the “A” pool, all the kids who have swam in 3 PSSA meets and have achieved an “A” time swim. In the “B” pool, kids who have not gotten an A time swim. All kids who are 8 & U swim on the B-side and you can not swim a B-side event if you have a “A” time.  All YMCA teams in Western Washington are invited to this meet.

The Regional meet is usually held in March. This meet is the last meet in our regular PSSA short course season. Teams from Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Washington compete. This is the only meet in our YMCA season that has a ‘qualifying’ time, which means you have to beat a certain time in which you wish to compete. These times are a little harder to get than ‘A’ times. It is also required that we have to send proof that a swimmer has made the time which we can easily do through our computer. However, we can only send a time that has been made in this season. These times do not have to be made in a PSSA meet; they can be made at a developmental, High School, or PNS meet. There are a few other requirements that we will relay to you as this meet approaches. This year the meet will be in Boise.

About once every other month we have developmental swim meets at our pool. These are the only meets we run here at the Y, as we do not have diving blocks. These meets are an oddity as they are not part of ether league. These meets are the perfect place to introduce your self to a swim meet or to a new event. It is only open to our swimmers.

P.N.S. (Pacific North West Swimming)  At this time, the Sharks are not swimming in PNS meets.  We do attend 1-2 USA swimming invitational meets hosted by YMCA teams.

P.N.S. (Pacific North West Swimming) is a regional division of the national USA Swimming league. There are two types of Challenge Meets, a monthly one and a Grand one. The Monthly Challenge meets usually consist of about 5 teams and about 200 – 400 swimmers. The Grand Challenge meets are similar, but are much bigger with anywhere between 15 -30 teams. The Grand Challenge meets sometimes have qualifying times, and sometimes have de-qualifying times. A qualifying time means you have to have gotten a faster time than the posted qualifying time in order to compete. De-qualifying means that only swimmers who have a slower time then the posted De-qualifying time. Usually when there is one meet with a qualifying time, there will be another meet for those swimmers who did not make the time. These meets are usually just Saturday and Sunday.

For the monthly challenge meets there are no qualifying times; which mean that you do not have to have a certain time in order to compete, these meets are open to old and new swimmers. However, within each age group the kids are divided into 3 sub groups: Gold, Silver and Bronze. Within each of these Classes swimmers are awarded ribbons, so Gold swimmers will be swimming with Silver swimmers, but the fastest Silver swimmer will get a first place, and the fastest Gold swimmer will get a first place. This way kids have a better chance of getting a ribbon.

The next type of meet is Invitational. These are usually the meets that we get to travel to. Most of these meets do not have qualifying times. These meets can be up to three days long starting on Friday. For example the Yakima meet.

Lastly there are Champ meets. These are similar to the YMCA Regional meet, but the times for the PNS Champ meet are harder to get then the Y’s meet.

There are three types of pools that we swim in.

SCY (short course yards ~ 25 yards): this is the pool that we have at our Y, and is the most common. Almost all of our meets are swum in this type of pool.

SCM (short course meters ~ 25 meters): this is an uncommon pool length to swim in. 25 meters is slightly longer then yards. An example of this length of pool would be the Bothell pool where we have Dive Clinics. It’s a 25 yard pool, but if you moved that divider farther down toward the wall, it would become a 25 meter pool.

LCM (long course meters ~ 50 meters): this is the size of the Olympic sized pools. It is over 2 times the length of our Y pool. Our computer here can convert times from a SCY time to a LCM time. However most meets in SCM or LCM require that you enter a qualifying time that has not been converted from meters to yards or from short course to long course. These pools are really fun to swim in and an experience everyone should have. The qualifying times for these meets usually cannot be converted times, which means that you have to have swam in a LCM pool in order to swim in the one with the qualifying time. So be on the look out.