Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
We have tried to answer as many of the most asked questions on this page. If you looking for an answer to a question you do not see, please contact one of the board members.
Q. Why is swimming a good sport for my child to participate in?
A. There are many reasons why swimming is a great sport to participate in. Here are a few:
• Creates and develops life skills
• A fun and safe environment for all ages
• Learn to swim and develop confidence in and out of the pool
• Breeds healthy, individual competitiveness and encourages teamwork
• Gets you in shape and keeps you fit
• Establishes better eating habits
• Teaches the fine art of how hard work and dedication can deliver results
• Teaches positive goal setting skills
• It’s a great way to make new friends and lasting friendships.
Q. What is a swim meet, and how many are there?
A. A swim meet is an organized competition between swim teams. In our league, each swim team participates in three regular season meets, called dual or tri meets, and the season ending Championship Meets which consist of a "B" Championship, and "A" Championship and a "City" Championship. The final three meets include all of teams in the league and participation in the "A" and "B" Championship Meets are dependent upon the individual swimmers best time during the previous meets.
Q. How is a swim meet organized, and how long does it last?
A. A swim meet consists of as many as 100 events depending on the meet. Individual events may have several heats (races) since there are often more kids swimming than there are lanes. For example, at Pinewood, we have a six lane pool. Therefore if there are 12 swimmers entered into an event, there will be two "heats" in that event. A heat is simply a race within an event. The heat your child swims in is determined by their seed time (or best time.) Swimmers with similar times will be in a heat together. Generally meets take between 3 and 4 hours to complete. Any meet that is not complete after four hours will end unless the head swim coaches of the involved teams allow an extension.
Q. What events will my child swim?
A. Swimmers are limited to three individual races and two relays per meet. Your child will swim in races with other children of the same gender, in the same age group. The only exception to this is when a child “swims up,” or participates in a relay with older children in order to fill a spot to gain more points for the team. A swimmer is not allowed to “swim down”, but by swimming up can swim in two additional relays for a total of four. Swimmers can only swim up in a relay if there are no other available swimmers in that age group.
Q. Why isn’t my child swimming in a relay?
A. This is probably best explained by an example. Take the freestyle relay, for instance, in which four swimmers participate. If there are only three swimmers in your child’s age/gender group, then there are not enough to make a relay team. If there are more than four swimmers, but less than eight, then there are only enough swimmers to make one relay team. In the latter case, the swimmers with the top four individual freestyle times are typically chosen for the relay team. As mentioned above, we will do everything we can to pull swimmers from other age groups to allow for as many relays to be created for our team as possible. Not only does it help the team but the kids love the relay races!
Q. Why was my swimmer's time slower than what the timer told him?
A. At the end of a race, time from each timer's stopwatch is written on the swimmer's event card. It is the swimmer's middle time of the 3 times that is used for the official time, therefore asking only one timer will not result in the final time. If you think there is an issue with the time, talk to our coach. Only a coach can address the concern to the Meet Referee.
Q. What is an "A" time?
A. "A" times are determined for each age group during the spring. They are based on the results of the prior year's League Championship meet. Generally, the average of the final time that resulted in 12th place at the prior five year's Championship Meets will be considered the "A" qualifying time and the "B" cutoff time. The STSL "A" Times Table can be found on our "A Times" tab.
Q. What if my swimmer has both "A" and "B" times?
A. Your child is eligible to swim in both "A" and "B" championship meets in the respective events. For example, if the swimmer has a "B" time in breaststroke and backstroke, he/she is eligible to swim those events at the "B" meet. If the swimmer has an "A" time in freestyle, then he/she will be entered into that event at the "A" meet. If your child gets "A" times at the "B" meet, then he/she is eligible to swim those events at the "A" meet. However, the time and scoring does not count towards the standings at the "B" Meet. Your swimmer cannot place at the "B" Meet if they get an "A" time. Instead, they qualify for the "A" meet in that stroke and add an "A" time to their record.
Q. Does it matter what order the medley relay or the IM go in?
A. Yes. For the medley relay the order is back, breast, fly then free since you have to start in the water for backstroke. For the individual medley, the order is fly, back, breast then free
Q. How can we tell who wins the meet?
A. In each event points are awarded to swimmers who finish in the top spots of their event and age/gender grouping. At a regular season meet, the top four places earn points (6 for first, 4 for second, 2 for third and 1 for fourth.) At a Championship Meet, points are awarded to the top 12 finishers. Points are also awarded for relay finishes. At the end of the meet, the points are tallied and a winner is determined. While we always want the Porpoises to do well at meets, there are many things that go into winning a meet and the main objective is for the kids to have fun and show good sportsmanship.
Q. How can I tell what event we are on?
A. Some pools have a sign with the event number on it somewhere in plain sight. This is not always the case though. It is very important to pay attention to the announcements being made which call the swimmers to what is known as the clerk-of-course. That is where the kids will gather before swimming. Also, the official (usually the person with a machine that starts each race) will announce the event and heat before each race.
Q. My child got disqualified (DQ), what happened?
A. For some of the strokes there are technical things that they legally can and can’t do. For example, in butterfly, their feet must stay together and they must touch the wall with 2 hands at the same time. If the official notices that a child is doing something illegal for that stroke, they can get disqualified. On the results sheet, this will be noted by the letters DQ. Our coaches will be provided a slip that will show exactly what they did wrong so they can work on it for next time. This is actually a valuable learning tool for the kids. The goal at first is to complete the stroke successfully. Times are not nearly as important as mastering the strokes.
Q. Why are kids writing on themselves with a permanent marker?
A. As the kids get older, they will be responsible for getting to their own races. They need to be aware of how the meets work and what events they are swimming. Before the meet, coaches, parents or the swimmers themselves will write “E”, “H” and “L” with numbers on their hand, oriented to the swimmer so that they can read it themselves and know what they are swimming. These letters stand for Event, Heat and Lane. The ink will usually wear off in a day or so. We have had good luck taking off excessive writing with soap, a little fingernail polish remover or rubbing alcohol.
Q. If I notice that my child is in the wrong lane, what do I do?
A. Often there are changes at the last minute that may affect heat and lane for a child’s race. Meet officials will combine heats whenever possible to make the meets run faster, and there may be substitutions because of absent swimmers. If you think your child is in the wrong heat or lane for his/her race, ask the head coach or clerk of course. Remember that what we write on their hand at the beginning of the meet is not the final word on a child’s heat/lane. The clerk of course has the most current list of where the swimmer should be.
Q. What happens if it is raining; do they cancel the meet?
A. Meets are rarely canceled due to rain, but they can be canceled due to lightning.. While we do everything we can to ensure a meet goes off at it's regularly schedule time, sometimes south Louisiana weather does not cooperate. The meets are rarely canceled but there have been times when rescheduling was required. Please show up at the scheduled time unless you get a team email or text message telling you otherwise. Lightning will delay a meet, but it will be run eventually, rain or shine unless it poses a risk to the safety of everyone at the meet. If a meet is interrupted by a thunderstorm, the swim team representatives from each team will meet and agree how to proceed. If the meet is over the half-way point, they may decide to stop and call a winner. If it looks like rain, be sure to bring umbrellas, rain slickers and extra towels for your swimmer as well as yourself.
Q. My child has missed practice all week. Doesn’t the coach know that we won’t be at the meet?
A. No. The coach only knows what you have submitted via this website on the event commitment link. We understand that swimmers are involved in outside activities that cause practices to be missed, but they still make it back to the meets. If you signed up for the meet, please let the coach know as soon as possible by either changing your commitment here on the website or by sending an e-mail or text message if it is the day of the meet. Also, if you have signed up for a volunteer position, try to find a substitute or at the very least, contact the volunteer coordinators as soon as possible to let them know that the position needs to be filled.
Q. I have other small children, do I really have to volunteer?
A. Yes, we must have volunteers. A swim meet cannot run without enough volunteers to fill the positions. Each family must volunteer. There are some meets where we will not need everyone but the meets in which we host at our pool, ALL hands must be on deck and available. There is no other way. If you have small children, make arrangements for your spouse/partner to watch your kids while you work the meet. If that is not possible, try to make arrangements with another parent to take turns watching the smaller children so that you each can volunteer. Or consider hiring a babysitter during the meet. If you are unsure of your ability to do a volunteer job, talk with the volunteer coordinators. They will help you find something that will work for your situation. If you have swimming experience, we would love to get your help as an official, scorekeeper or clerk of course. If you are not experienced we can train you to be a timer or runner. These are good positions for watching the meet as well. Awards volunteers are also needed before and after meets. In summary, there are many people needed to make a meet run and the kids cannot swim unless all those positions are filled.
Q. How is it determined which age group my child swims in?
A. The child’s age on May 31 is the age they are considered to be for the whole season. Kids with summer birthdays may pass this age during the season, but they stay with the age group where they started. Help your children understand that when they are 7 it is much harder to win against 8 year olds than when they are at the top of their age bracket. Reinforce to them that they should work on mastering the strokes and their personal best times; not worry about their place in the race.
Q. What about good sportsmanship?
A. This is a great place for parents to help. Talk with your children about this issue. We are very proud of the example our kids set, which has been noticed by the league. Acknowledge or shake hands with the other team’s swimmers. After a good race, regardless of the outcome tell the winner, “good race.” Please help make this of the utmost importance to our kids. Also, during the meets, be friendly to the other team’s parents and complimentary whenever possible. It creates a positive environment for everyone. Our most fun meets have been with teams that have this same attitude.