Sierra Nevada Swimming
Welcome new swimming parents! The purpose of this document is to guide you through the initially bewildering “online” aspect of being a USA swimming parent. This consists of two major areas to know about. One is the USA Swimming (the national governing body for the sport) and the other is the Sierra Nevada Local Swimming Committee (LSC). There are fifty-nine LSC’s in the country, corresponding to geographic and demographic factors.
USA Swimming has its own website www.usaswimming.org and Sierra Nevada has its own administrative website www.sn-swimming.org. In addition to those, Sierra Nevada (and a few other LSC’s) use a company called “SwimConnection” to host the functional aspects of swimming for us. These include online swim meet entry and tracking of results and swimmer history.
Your tasks as a parent are summarized very briefly below as numbered steps. A much more detailed explanation of the entire process follows, for those interested.
1) Register your swimmer with USA Swimming using www.swim-smarter.com. You will receive the USS ID #. Swim-smarter.com help page can be found here swim-smarter instructions. The club code for our team is STAS.
2) Get an account on the www.swimconnection.com website. This will allow you to track you swimmers meet times online.
3) Get an account on the www.OME.SwimConnection.com website and add your swimmer to your account there (via the USS ID #). OME help page can be found here OME swimconnection instructions.
4) Get an account on your team website from your team administrator. Once your registration has been processed by your site you will receive a login email.
5) Enter your swimmer into meets (via the OME website) as instructed by the coach.
While the two administrative websites contain countless amounts of useful information, no particular skill or knowledge is required to use them. The “Swim Connection” side of things does require you to know how do certain tasks. The screens themselves are very easy and self-explanatory (once you understand why you are there). What isn’t obvious is the overall goal and requirements of the process, hence this document. Please note that the parent will need a valid email account to do any of this. Please also note that there does exist a hard copy and postal mail processes to register with US Swimming as well as to enter swim meets. The USS program does not require that a swimmer be online, but being online certainly makes things easier.
The two SwimConnection websites used to be one and there remains lingering confusion during navigation. The other confusing point is that you need a userid for each site now. They can be the same userid and password as long as you know that they actually are different entities. The main website is www.swimconnection.com (select “Sierra Nevada”) or go directly to www.swimconnection.com. The other website is www.ome.swimconnection.com. From the main website, there is a link labeled “online meet entry” to forward you to the newer site. The main website handles your account for your swimmer’s registration and all past swimming results. The OME website has been broken out as a separate site to handle entering your swimmer into upcoming meets.
The swimmer “exists” in all of this via the fourteen character US Swimming Registration number which consists of portions of first and last name, birthday, and sometimes other random characters needed to keep the userid unique nationwide. The intent of the format is that it be relatively easy to memorize. Note that the swimmer id is not the userid for the website. Normally, parents will create an account userid and password and then create and link swimmer(s) to that account (via the USS number). There are links on the SwimConnection website Account screen to “renew” annual USS registration for existing swimmers or to “register” a swimmer who is new. Your account screen is accessed by clicking on your userid after you are logged in.
Either of these tasks is typically done between September 1 and December 31 for the following swimming year. The swimming year runs from September to August, traditionally from the start of “short course” season to the end of “long course” season, while the finances remain on a calendar year. Thus they let you sign up in September for the remainder of that year and all of the next year. Annual and Seasonal fees may change year to year so please check the swim-smarter website for the most up to date fee structure.
At some point following the USS registration, an actual id card will be mailed to the team coordinator, who checks the cards in and then forwards them to the coach, who checks them into a separate database, and then forwards the card onto the swimmer. The rules state that the swimmer needs to have their card with them at swim meets, but with the almost ubiquitous ability at swim meets to verify swimming id via online methods, the rule is seldom enforced.
Once your swimmer(s) are all setup on the main Swim Connection website and have their USS registration numbers (or are at least pending for them), you then need to create a userid on the OME website (ome.swimconnection.com). On the “My Swimmers” area, you will be able to link the swimmer (via USS Registration number) to your account. You will then be ready to enter the swimmers into upcoming swim meets as well as review information about the meets. Remember you can use the same userid (and same password) for OME as for the main website, but they are in fact separate accounts. Making changes to one account (such as password) will not change the other. Also note that SwimConnection does not charge you for having an account on the website. They make their money by imposing a small per swimmer surcharge during meet online entry.
The online list of swimmers eligible for upcoming meets is derived from the main swim connection database. This includes all past/best times for the swimmer which are required to be submitted during meet entry for seeding purposes. Open meets will allow entry without submitted time if the swimmer has never swum the event before. Some meets will have qualifying times (meaning the swimmer cannot even sign up unless they have certain times for certain events). The governing staff for the Sierra Nevada LSC have special direct links into the databases to monitor and enforce such things as well as to ensure that all athletes are USS registered (or at least pending registration). As stated earlier, all of this can be handled via paper, pen, and mailboxes, but with timely deadlines and busy staff, that will often greatly disadvantage the swimmer’s chances of keeping up with the program and it requires that the parent be far more diligent and willing to plan ahead. The online database and email world allow a much better chance for correcting problems at the last minute before an important meet.
Note: Research the meets before you enter your swimmer; entry fees are not refundable. Check with the coach or other qualified team parent about which meets to enter and how if you are not sure. You can view the “meet sheet” online for information prior to entering. You can enter events and then scratch them at the meet, but again, there are no refunds.