The purpose of this information is to explain to new and current members the direction of the Springfield YMCA (SPY) Swim Team and to outline various policies that affect all families each year. It should be read by all families so they may become familiar with important facts and rules of the program and swimming in general.

Why Swim?
  Physical Development   Intellectual Competance   Preparation for Life
General Description
  YMCA and SPY Missions   USA-S Mission and Vision
Important Items
  Insurance   Competitions   Championship Meets


The SPY Swim Team offers a unique opportunity to participate under two swimming governing bodies: YMCA Swimming and USA Swimming, Inc. (USA-S). The USA Swimming age group program is America’s largest program of guided fitness activity for children. This fact, coupled with the Y’s mission and guiding core values, create a unique blend of competitive training and competition. The Y’s age group program is designed to aid swimmers in building a strong foundation for a lifetime of good health by teaching healthy fitness habits.

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Physical Development

Swimming is considered the ideal activity for developing muscular and skeletal growth by many physicians and pediatricians. What’s the appeal?

¬Swimming develops high quality aerobic endurance, the most important key to physical fitness. In other sports an hour of practice may yield as little as 10 minutes of meaningful exercise. Age group swimming teams use every precious minute of practice time developing and teaching skills.

¬Swimming does a better job in proportional muscular development by using all the body’s major muscle groups. No other sport does this as well.

¬Swimming enhances children’s natural flexibility (at a time when they ordinarily begin to lose it) by exercising all of their major joints through a full range of motion.

¬Swimming helps develop superior coordination because it requires combinations of complex movements of all parts of the body, enhancing harmonious muscle function, grace, and fluidity of movement.

¬Swimming is the most injury free of all children’s sports.

¬Swimming is a sport that will bring kids fitness and enjoyment for life. Participants in Masters Swimming programs are still training and racing well into their 80s.

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Intellectual Competence

In addition to physical development, children can develop greater intellectual competence by participating in a guided program of physical activity. Learning and using swimming skills engages the thinking processes. As they learn new techniques, children must develop and plan movement sequences. They improve by exploring new ideas. They learn that greater progress results from using their creative talents. Self-expression can be just as much physical as intellectual. Finally, their accomplishments in learning and using new skills contribute to a stronger self-image.

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Preparation for Life
by Phil Hansel
Swimming World Magazine, February 1988

Not everything we do in life is a pleasant experience. Not everything we do is beneficial. Not everything is productive. Not everything is a nurturing, loving experience. Life is full of negative, destructive experiences. Rejection, defeat and failure surround all of us. The trick is to be prepared to deal with this side of life and learn to overcome discouragement.

I have always felt that the great value of swimming as a sport is that it prepares one for life. The total swimming experience is made up of people, attitudes, beliefs, work habits, fitness, health, winning and losing, and so much more. Swimming is a cross section of lifetime experiences. It can provide so many learning situations. A swimmer learns to deal with pressure and stress, sometimes self-imposed, sometimes applied by others. One learns to deal with success and failure. One learns teamwork and discipline.

Swimming becomes a self-achievement activity. There is only one person in the water in a given lane in any race. The responsibility for performance ultimately lies with the individual. How well the individual has prepared physically and mentally to a large degree will determine the performance level.

Many swimming experiences can be of the disruptive, discouraging type. But at least a young swimmer learns that this part of life, and the swimmer must learn to cope.

By learning how to handle the frustration and disappointment, the young swimmer gains confidence. The swimmer learns dedication and commitment. Through perseverance, a swimmer learns to overcome adversity. All of these experiences tend to develop an individual who is better able to handle life’s hardships and face problems.

As coaches and parents, we tend to preach that hard work will lead to victory. We preach that clean living and proper training such as diet, sleep and regular attendance at workouts will lead to winning. Though in the long run for a productive successful life, these are probably truthful concepts that don’t always work in short term situations.

We have all been in situations where a bigger, more gifted person with poor work habits is the victor in race after race. Or we’ve known others who never seem to study, yet get good grades. We’ve known business people who never seem to lift a finger, yet for one reason or another, they close deal after deal.

These things just are not fair. Yet this is one of the valuable lessons that swimmers learn: “Life is not fair.” We don’t all start out in life with the same physical, mental, emotional and financial resources. In that respect, “Life is not fair.”

A swimmer must learn what is fair for one is not necessarily fair for another. A swimmer learns we are all different and each individual controls his or her own destiny. A swimmer learns to emphasize given talents and skills. A swimmer learns to improve on a regular basis. By not setting limits and restrictions, this improvement will surely lead to success. A swimmer learns if he or she does their best, then there are no failures. A swimmer learns to set realistic goals. Once a goal is reached, then new goals must be established. A swimmer learns that effort becomes an individual crusade. If the ultimate goal is an Olympic gold medal, then with the proper talent, dedication, belief and support, all swimmers believe it can be done.

This is the positive achievement side of swimming that I like so much. Through experience in swimming, our young people learn attitudes and habits that will remain with them throughout the rest of their life. Most swimmers learn to be “can do” people.

Generally, these positive attitudes, belief in self and solid work habits will produce a terrific adult. Our society and our world is enriched by these former swimmers as they become adults. Because of their training, they handle life with a smile. They contribute time and energy to others in every way imaginable.

We can be proud of what swimming contributes to this world. Though “life is not fair,” a swimmer knows how to deal with that and can achieve a balance. For the most part, former swimmers grow up to be ordinary people, but they always have that extra plus from the swimming experience.

We are different and can be proud of it. It’s a pity and truly “unfair” that thousands and thousands of young people are missing the swimming experience. We must open our programs to everyone. We must find ways to share our fantastic sport.

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The SPY Swim Team is a YMCA/USA year-round competitive swimming program offering quality professional coaching and technical instruction for all ages and abilities. The staff continues personal and professional education in the sport of swimming staying abreast of current technique and strategy. They assure the time children spend training at swimming and dryland strength training practice will be of utmost quality to prepare each swimmer for competition.

The SPY Swim Team is a program of the Springfield YMCA. We have many dedicated parents who volunteer their time for the betterment of the program and most importantly the children. We are constantly looking for volunteers to help: at swim meets, with fundraisers, for social events and much more. We are constantly growing and training young swimmers to maintain a well-rounded competitive swim team and develop lifelong physical, emotional and intellectual skills.

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YMCA and SPY Swim Team Missions

The mission of the SPY Swim Team:

To foster an environment allowing individuals to become superior swimmers and better people, to contribute to team camaraderie and sportsmanship, and build lifelong skills consistent with the Y’s mission and cause.

The YMCA Mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. It is extremely important that YMCA competitive swimming and diving programs are consistent with the YMCA mission, as well as the YMCA’s commitment to youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. The YMCA competitive swimming program will focus on the development of the whole person, the strengthening of the family and the inclusion of all in the community who desire to participate. Our program will use competitive swimming as a means by which to build positive character and assets. The focus will be on competing with dignity and respect while striving for one’s personal best. Winning is not the primary goal in YMCA competitive sports.

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USA Swimming Mission and Vision

USA Swimming is the National Governing Body for the sport of swimming. They administer competitive swimming in accordance with the Olympic & Amateur Sports Act. They provide programs and services for their members, supporters, affiliates and the interested public. They value all members of the swimming community, and the staff and volunteers who serve them. They are committed to excellence and the improvement of our sport. They are committed to providing a safe and positive environment for all members.

Vision: To inspire and enable their members to achieve excellence in the sport of swimming and in life.

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Team Insurance

The SPY Swim Team has a USA-S charter and requires all SPY swimmers hold current USA-S membership for two main purposes. Not only does the USA-S membership support swimming throughout the country at any USA-S sanctioned meet, but more importantly it provides Secondary Accident Medical Protection through its insurance. Each swimmer is covered at any organized practice of the SPY Swim Team and every competition that is USA-S sanctioned.

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YMCA/USA-S Competitions

As a YMCA swim team there are two types of competition we will be involved in during the short course season.  First, when we compete against other YMCA teams only, it is considered a closed YMCA competition. All swimmers competing are members of the YMCA they are representing. For purposes of competing in the YMCA District/Area Championship series swimmers must compete in three closed YMCA meets. Due to the high school boys limited opportunities for competition before their high school season begins, they are only required to compete in two closed meets. A closed YMCA competition can also be USA Swimming sanctioned, but only YMCA teams will compete. For example the Illini District Championship and the Illinois/Missouri Area Championship are sanctioned USA Swimming meets but closed to YMCA swim teams.

The second type of competition we will compete in are USA Swimming sanctioned meets where teams other than YMCA teams will be competing. For example, the Peoria Area Water Wizards host a meet in October called the Spooktacular. They are not a YMCA swim team; they have a USA-S charter. They obtain a USA-S sanction for this meet. Because we have a USA-S charter we are permitted to compete in this meet.

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YMCA/USA-S Championship Meets

Throughout the short course season we will compete in dual meets, YMCA invitational meets, and USA invitational meets. At the completion of the season we will compete in the YMCA District/Area Championship series. There are five districts (Illini, St. Louis, Northwest, Town & Country, and Chicago) that host district championship meets. The swimmers who attain Illinois/Missouri Area qualifying times at their District meets move on to the Area meet. In addition to competing in the required closed YCMA meets throughout the season, swimmers must be YMCA members as of December 1st and be registered with their team 90 days prior to the District meet. The Illini District has established guidelines for competing in the District meet. These times are simply guidelines and not strict time standards. It will be up to the coaching staff to determine whether a swimmer is to compete in Districts or the alternative for 12&Unders, the Junior District meet. The Illinois/Missouri Area Committee has established time standards to compete in the Area Championship meet. Since the District/Area Championship is a series, Area Championship time standards must be achieved at the District meet. Swimmers are allowed to compete in either three individual events and one relay or two individual events and two relays for the District/Area Championship series. Swimmers 12&Older are eligible to compete in the YMCA National Championship if they have competed in a YMCA sanctioned championship meet and met the qualifying time standards.

Since SPY is a registered USA-S swim team, swimmers have the opportunity to compete in Illinois Swimming’s Age Group and Senior State Championships. Illinois Swimming establishes time standards for these meets; they will be posted on the Illinois Swimming website and linked to our team website when they become available. Often, one of these meets will fall on the same weekend as the YMCA Area Championship. Swimmers are encouraged to participate in the YMCA Championship series as this will be where the majority of the team will be competing.

During the long course season in the summer there is only one YMCA meet available: the Long Course National Championships. SPY will compete in USA-S invitational meets during the long course season. There are several USA-S championships available. Illinois Swimming hosts Age Group (ages 14&Under) and Senior (Open) State Championships; there are qualifying time standards for these meets. Illinois Swimming is just one of 59 Local Swim Committees (LSC) registered with USA Swimming. If swimmers achieve AAA motivational times they are eligible to compete at the Age Group or Senior Zone Championships. USA Swimming has four zones that include several LSCs. If a swimmer achieves a AAA time they will represent their LSC and not the team at this championship. There is also a Sectional Championship meet open to swimmers who achieve the qualifying time standards. The championship track for Age Group swimmers is State and Zones, for Senior swimmers the track is State and Zones or Sectionals.

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