CCAQ – Swim Meet Procedures/Q&A
Okay, so you are now a member of the CCAQ Swim Team. Your swimmer(s) are attending practices, learning stroke technique and love swimming with their coaches & group(s). What is next? About that time, you get an email about entering your child in the next swim meet. Panic sets in.….okay…what is that? How does that work? Well, hopefully this will answer most of your questions and make the process easier for you to enter your athlete in meets and enjoy being part of the competition and fun!
First of all, CCAQ is part of the Eastern Section under the Southern California Swim (SCS) umbrella which is part of the bigger umbrella called USA Swim. We regularly compete with other teams in our Eastern Section, which are primarily teams in the Inland Empire. We travel to Lake Elsinore, Riverside, Temecula, Hemet, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Claremont, Redlands and several other IE cities for meets. Secondly, we are a competitive year-round swim team. Meet attendance is not just encouraged, but is extremely important! It is the best way to gauge your swimmers progress as well as take part in the team’s success!
What does Year-Round mean? Year-round means just that. We swim in meets January-December of every year. Most meets are 2-day meets on Saturday & Sunday. Occasionally, there will be events offered on Friday night as well. Our swim year is broken into two seasons: Long Course & Short Course. Long Course season is swam from March-August in a 50-meter length pool. This is the same size pool that they use for the Olympics. Our Roosevelt location pool is olympic- sized. Short Course season is swam from September-February in a 25-yard length pool. This is the pool size that we have at Centennial. Most practices are conducted using the 25-yard length at both pools as it is most practical. However, during Long Course season, they will often set the lanes up for swimming the 50-meter distance certain days at Roosevelt.
Will my athlete compete in both Long Course and Short Course seasons? The short answer is yes…they will still compete all year long. However, most Long Course meets will require a “qualifying time” for swimmers 10 years old and under. Therefore, we continue to have Short Course (1) day meets (either on a Saturday or a Sunday) throughout Long Course season once a month to accommodate those younger/less experienced swimmers. Once they gain some qualifying times, they may enter the Long Course meets. If your swimmer is 11 years or older, they will participate in both Short Course and Long Course meets from the start.
How do I know if my swimmer is ready to compete in a swim meet? Great question! If your swimmer is in the Teal 3 group or higher, chances are good that they are ready now! If your swimmer is in Teal 1 or 2, you should discuss with your childs coach prior to entering your swimmer in a meet. It’s a good idea, regardless of swim group, to discuss with your swimmers coach before entering them in their first meet.
How often do we go to swim meets? CCAQ typically competes in an average of (1) to (2) swim meets per month. During Long Course season, we typically send our swimmers to (1) Long Course Meet and (1) Short Course 1-day Meet per month. During Short Course Season, we typically swim in just (1) meet per month. CCAQ will host 1-2 meets per year. In those meets, it’s important that qualifying swimmers participate and all families are required to work (2) 4-hour shifts over the weekend. In addition, there are other special Qualifying Meets throughout the year in which we compete against all teams under the SCS umbrella. During Long Course season, we compete in June Invitational Meet and the Summer Junior Olympic Meet. During Short Course season, we compete in Winter Junior Olympics (for the 14-unders only). The best of the best age group swimmers from Winter JO’s and our 15-older fastest swimmers will go on to compete in Southern California Swim Club Championships. Further qualifying meets for advanced swimmers include various Senior Meets, Sectionals, Junior Nationals, Senior Nationals, and Olympic Trials.
What does a “Qualifying Time” Mean? If a swimmer has never competed in a certain event, they are entered as NT (meaning no time). Once a swimmer completes an event without getting disqualified (DQ’d), that time is recorded in that swimmers age division. There are (4) categories that time can fall under:
White: Beginner time
Red: Intermediate time
Blue: Advanced time
Invite/JO Time: Qualifying time for Invite or Junior Olympic meets
The following are the Age Divisions:
Boys 5-8, 7-10*, 11-12, 13-14, 15+
Girls 5-8, 7-10*, 11-12, 13-14, 15+
*Swimmers that are 7 or 8 years old may enter either the 5-8 or the 7-10 division, but not both. Typically, a 7-8 year old swimmer will enter 5-8 events, unless they are meeting the higher time standards for 7-10.
These time standards for each age group can be found on SCS website at socalswim.org. When an email is sent for you to enter your swimmer in a meet, it will indicate the type of meet. For example, many of the meets during Short Course season are B/R/W for all ages. That means that any swimmer qualifies for the meet, even those with NT. However, there are some meets that are strictly B/R. That means your swimmer must have either a Red or Blue time in that event to enter it. Those meets are designed for intermediate and advanced swimmers. Often, the Long Course meets will say B/R for 10-under and B/R/W for 11-up. The 1-day Short Course meets we attend during Long Course Season are mostly R/W meets. That means that only those with White or Red times can enter. Those meets are designed for beginner and intermediate swimmers.
Beyond Age Group Competitions are Open Events such as Senior Meets, Sectionals, and National Championships. For these competitions there are no designated age groups and all swimmers compete against each other regardless of age. The time standards for these events can also be found on the site mentioned above.
How do I go about entering my swimmer into a meet? You will receive a reminder on your email when a meet is coming up. That email will indicate the deadline to sign up. You will simply click on the link. That will take you to the CCAQ website and the meet sign up. You click on “Yes, sign my child up for meet”. From there, you will be taken to a screen where you see your swimmers name and a list of events available for that meet. If the event is listed in RED….your child is NOT eligible to swim that event. If listed in BLACK…it’s all good. It is usually best if you simply declare your swimmer to swim the meet, then leave it up to the coaches to choose the specific events for your child to swim. However, if you wish to pick the events, you may, and it will be subject to coach approval. Most meets allow that a maximum of (4) events to be swum per day. If your child can only swim one day of a meet (ie: Sunday only), there is a notes section and it is important that you note that. Should you have any questions through this process, you should speak to your swimmers coach.
A list of upcoming swim meets for the season can be found on our website under “Events” or “Swim Meets.” Mark your calendar and plan accordingly. Swimmers are strongly encouraged to compete monthly.
Do I sign my swimmer up for relays? Relays are a fun part of swim meets and great for team building. The entries are typically not entered until the day of the relay and that will be done by the coaches. Most relays are swum by age division (ie: Girls 7-10) and there are (4) swimmers on each relay team. If your swimmer is entered into the meet, there is a chance that they will have the opportunity to be part of a relay. Unfortunately, you may not know until the day of the meet. If a meet reaches its maximum capacity for swimmers, the relays are often cancelled due to time constraints. Just be prepared that your coach may inform your swimmer they are part of a relay when they arrive for a meet!
Does it cost extra to enter a swim meet? The answer is yes, but the cost is minimal. Most meets typically charge $3-$3.50 per event entered along with a $6-$7 surcharge per swimmer. Therefore, if your swimmer is entered in the maximum of 8 events for the weekend, your charge is approximately $30-$35. This does not need to be paid at the meet, but will be billed to your CCAQ account and will show up on your monthly statements. If your child is asked to compete in a relay, CCAQ will pay for the entry fee and you will not be charged. There is no cost at the meet for spectators and typically there is no parking fee either.
What time do we arrive at the swim meet and how long are we there? You will want your swimmer to arrive for warm-ups. This is typically 1 ½ to 2 hours prior to the start of your swimmers session. An email will go out a couple of days before the meet informing you of the warm up times as well as an approximate timeline for events. Most of the time 12-unders will swim the morning session and 13+ will swim the afternoon session. The morning session typically begins at 8:30am or 9:00am and can go until around noon or as late as 1:30pm or 2:00pm. The afternoon session will start approximately 1 hour after the morning session ends and can go until around 5:00pm or as late as 7:00pm or so. CCAQ will have tarps set up and swimmers will meet under them and wait for coach instruction regarding warm ups, etc.
How is the meet run and what can we expect? Once the swimmer arrives, they should immediately check-in. There is always a table set up for swimmer check-in and usually marked so. After that, the swimmer should look for the CCAQ tarps. It is under there that the coaches will come to get them for warm ups. The swimmer is welcome to stay under the tarps and out of the elements between events…and if there is enough room (many times there is) the parents/sibling are welcome to sit under those tarps as well. Either before or after warm-ups, the swimmer is welcome to check their events. They are posted somewhere on the pool deck by event number. This will show all swimmers that will be competing in that event as well as their qualifying times. Approximately 15-20 minutes prior to their event, a sheet gets posted on top of that one (usually in a different color) that will indicate the swimmers “heat” and lane assignment. (Most swim meets will use between 8-10 lanes for competition. Therefore, only 8-10 swimmers are racing at a time. Each one is called a heat. They typically start with the faster swimmers in heat 1 and work down to the slower swimmers or those that are entered with NT. There can be 10 or more heats per event, or sometimes only 1, depending on the number of swimmers entered). The swimmer should report to his/her coach as soon as they know their heat/ lane assignment. The coach will write down the heat/lane so they know when the swimmer is up and which lane so they can watch them. The coach will also give that swimmer any last minute advice/instructions/encouragement before they swim. The swimmer should then report to their lane assignment at least 5 minutes before it is swam. IT IS THE PARENTS/SWIMMERS RESPONSIBILITY TO REPORT TO THEIR LANES TIMELY. The coaches are on the sidelines watching the swims and instructing the swimmers. Once the swimmer has completed the event, they need to report back to the coach immediately. The coach will review the swim with them and give them appropriate feedback, etc. At that point, the coach will most likely instruct them to do a quick cool down in the water before returning to their tarp.
Is my swimmer competing against everyone entered into the event? Great question and the answer is NO (with the exception of Championship Meets). Ribbons/medals are awarded for each event not only by age group (Girls 5-8 or Boys 11-12) but also by seed times. A swimmer with a White seed time is only competing with other swimmers with a White time. A swimmer with a Red time is only competing with other swimmers with a Red time and a swimmer with a Blue time is only competing with other swimmers with a Blue time. It is possible, however, to have a swimmer in your heat competing in a different division. Approximately 20-30 minutes after the event is completed, they will post results by division. Ribbons are typically awarded to the top 6 swimmers in the White and Red divisions. Medals are awarded to the top 3 swimmers in the Blue division, with ribbons to places 4-6. If your swimmer earns a ribbon/medal, they will receive it in their CCAQ folder in the pro shop the following Monday or Tuesday. Typically, there are no medals/ribbons awarded for "Open" Events.
What should we bring to the swim meet? Your swimmer should be wearing a CCAQ competition suit and have a CCAQ cap and a pair of goggles. If the weather is chilly, a CCAQ parka or other warm clothing is highly recommended as well as boots or warm shoes. It is imperative that you keep your swimmer warm in colder weather! They do not swim well if they are cold. In addition, you should bring towels. (again, the number of towels depending on the weather.). Some meet facilities will have bleachers for sitting, but it is recommended that you bring chairs. Most likely, you will be able to place them under the team tarps. The meets always have concession stands for drinks, snacks, breakfast & lunch. You may choose to bring your own as well. The swimmer will most likely be at the meet for 5+ hours, so they will need water, healthy snacks and perhaps even a meal if there long enough. There is a lot of down time between swim events, so you may want to bring something to keep your swimmer occupied during that time. In sunnier/warmer weather, you will want to make sure your swimmer is wearing sunscreen!
What are my volunteer obligations at CCAQ Home Meets? CCAQ typically hosts 2 meets each year. It takes a tremendous effort to make the meet run smoothly. This is also our biggest fundraiser for the team. Therefore, every family is required to work 2 (4) hour shifts at home meets. Typically, this means a 4-hour shift on Saturday and a 4-hour shift on Sunday. Although, there are some jobs that are done prior to the meet starting such as set up, food prep, etc. A job sign-up email will be sent out weeks prior to the home meet by the Meet Manager, so you can go on to the website and choose the jobs/shifts that best suit you. Some of the typical jobs are timing, checking in swimmers, assisting the admin tent, working the snack bar, grilling, selling raffle tickets/programs, trash or bathroom attendant, security, recycle tent, etc. Again, working home meets is a requirement. If you do not work your 8-hour requirement, you will be billed $15/hr for every hour not worked.
Do parents have any volunteer obligations at away meets? The answer is a big YES! Based on the number of swimmers we have attending the meet, CCAQ will be given lane assignments for timing swimmers. It is the responsibility of the parents to fill those timing seats. We typically fill those in 1-hour shifts. An email will go out from the Meet Manager a few days before the meet, giving you an opportunity to sign up for your timing slot on line. Don’t worry, timing is EASY! If you can press a start/stop button…you are good to go! There are always families at the meet that have done this a bunch of times and will be happy to show you how it’s done J We realize that you may be in a situation where you are timing while your child is swimming an event. The good news is that you have the best seat in the house for viewing! On the other hand, you may need to make arrangements with another family/swimmer to ensure your swimmer arrives to their lane assignment timely and ready to go. The majority of all families have been there and are happy to assist.
Can an athlete compete at club meets while they are swimming for high school? The answer is YES, and it is strongly encouraged. During high school season a swimmer may enter a club meet, although they may not represent CCAQ while doing so. When they enter a meet they will simply be swimming “Unattached” and not as representatives of CCAQ. Their times will still count and they can still place in events, CCAQ will simply not get any credit from their swims. This is strongly encouraged as Long Course Season begins during High School season and a swimmer will miss out on roughly half of the Long Course meets if they do not compete at club meets simultaneously.
Hopefully this has been helpful to you and answered the majority of your questions. Should questions arise, feel free to contact your swimmers coach or any CCAQ board member. Good luck and go CCAQ!