Central Iowa Aquatics

Parent Information

Slide Show for Parent Education

OnDeck app tutorial, Meet Entries etc.

Swim Seasons

Swimming is unlike many other sports in that it has two seasons, the summer or long course season, and the winter or short course season. Since swimming is a year-round sport it demands full-time coaching.

  • During the fall and winter months swimmers compete indoors in a 25-yard pool called a short course pool. The 25-yard distance is referred to as the Short Course Yards (SCY) distance. This is the distance high school and colleges compete.

    • Short Course Yards (SCY) Season; September thru early March with State Championship meet typically in mid/late February. Actual season length can vary based on age and training group.

  • During the late spring and summer months swimmers may swim outside in a 50-meter pool called a long course pool. The 50-meter distance is referred to as the Long Course Meter (LCM) distance. This is the distance swimmers in the Olympics swim.

    • Long Course Meters (LCM) Season; April thru early August with the State Championship meet typically in late July. Actual season length can vary based on age and training group.

Swimming and Competition 101

The four competitive swimming strokes are freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. The combination of all four strokes is called the individual medley.

  • In freestyle events, the competitor may swim any stroke. The stroke most used is sometimes called the crawl, which is characterized by the alternate stroking of the arms over the surface of the water surface and an alternating (up-and-down) flutter kick.

  • Backstroke consists of an alternating motion of the arms with a flutter kick while on the back. On turns, swimmers may rotate to the stomach and perform a flip turn and some part of the swimmer must touch the wall. The swimmer must finish on the back.

  • The breaststroke requires simultaneous movements of the arms on the same horizontal plane. The hands are pressed out from in front of the breast in a heart shaped pattern and recovered under or on the surface of the water. The kick is a simultaneous somewhat circular motion like the action of a frog. On turns and at the finish, the swimmer must touch the wall with both hands simultaneously.

  • Some consider the butterfly to be the most beautiful of the strokes. It features a simultaneous recovery of the arms over the water combined with an undulating dolphin kick. In the kick, the swimmer must keep both legs together and may not flutter, scissors or use the breaststroke kick. Both hands must touch the wall simultaneously on the turns and the finish.

  • The individual medley (IM) features all four strokes. In the IM, the swimmer begins with the butterfly, then changes after one-fourth of the race to backstroke, then breaststroke and finally freestyle.

Participants compete in different age groups and meets depending on their achievement level and how old they are on the first day of the meet. Traditionally recognized age groups are 10 and under, 11-12, 13-14, 15-16, 17-18. Many local meets feature 8 and under, single age groups, or senior events.

USA Swimming (USA-S) sponsors national competition in the United States. USA-S divides geographically into four Local Swimming Committees (LSC).  There are other groups that sponsor swimming such as community education, YMCA’s and school districts. However, USA-S is the only organization structured into clubs which sponsors swimmers from beginning levels to international competition. CIA is a member of USA-S and the Iowa affiliate, Iowa Swimming Inc (IASI) within the Central LSC.