Competitive Strokes: The four competitive strokes are freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. Events are held in all of the competitive strokes at varying distances depending on the age group of the swimmer.In addition, there is a combination of the strokes swum by one swimmer called the individual medley. Other swimming events include relays, which are a group of four swimmers who either all swim freestyle (freestyle relay) or each swim one of the competitive strokes in the order of backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle (medley relay).
Swim Seasons: The swim year is divided into two seasons. The winter, or "Short Course", season runs from mid-September to Mid-March. The meets are held in a 25-yard pool. The summer, or "Long Course", season runs from early April to mid-August with meets held in 50 meter pools (Olympic size). The team takes a break after the Long Course season for three weeks, usually the last two weeks of August and the first week of September.
Levels of Achievement: There are seven different age group classifications recognized by United States Swimming: 8-Under, 10-Under, 11-12, 13-14, 15-16, 17-18, and Senior. The Senior classification includes any age registered swimmer who has achieved the prescribed qualifying time for the event. Not all age group classifications are offered at every swim meet. The swimmer’s age on the first day of a meet will govern the swimmer’s age for the entire meet.
Within each age-group there are different nationally recognized levels of achievement based on times. All swimmers begin as "C" swimmers. As they improve, they advance from "White" to "Red", "Blue", "AA", "AAA", and ultimately "Q". Times required for each ability level are published each year by Southern California Swimming. This permits fair, yet challenging, competition on all levels.
In some cases, a swimmer may be in a different class in each stroke. An example: a "White" breaststroke time, a "Red" freestyle time, and a "AA" backstroke time.
Some swim meets set certain qualification standards. In order to swim in a certain classification, a swimmer must have achieved the qualifying time for that particular classification. "AB" meets are held for swimmers with a "B" time or above. "C" swimmers may not attend these meets. "BC" meets, on the other hand, are for "B" and "C" swimmers only.
Meet Schedule: Each season’s meet schedule is posted by the head coach at the outset of the season – both short and long course.
Competition: And the winner is… the TSM coaching staff does not see the first place person as the only winner. We’d rather look to see who behaves like a winner. There are certain characteristics of a winner, and every swimmer, no matter where they place, has the opportunity to emulate those characteristics: concentration, listening skills, and working toward goals.
Sports is not an end in itself, but a vehicle we use to teach children life skills and how to reach their potential. We use sport as organized play to demonstrate and measure one’s abilities. Seen in that light, winning without learning is not TSM’s desired intention. In competition, the important measure is not who collected the most medals, or even who improved the most seconds. The real critical measure is who learned the most from the competitive experience.