What Is a Dual Meet?

A ‘Dual Meet’ is one Y competing against another Y. Boys swim against boys, girls against girls. Our FSPY swim team is currently made up of approximately 200 swimmers. For dual meets only, our team is broken up into 5 squads: Girls Black, Girls Red, Girls White, Boys Black and Boys Red. By dividing our team, we can give everyone the most opportunities to compete in individual events and relays. Also, smaller numbers ensure that a dual meet won’t last too long; most are around an hour-and-a-half or so. Our Dual Meet Teams will not be set until early October.

Each Black, Red or White squad will have 4-6 dual meets between late October and January. Some are at home, some away at other YMCAs.  We swim YMCAs as close as Westfield, and as far away as Ridgewood and Red Bank.  We always recommend carpooling when possible.

A Dual Meet consists of events in every stroke for every age group (8 and under; 9-10; 11-12; 13-14; and 15-18).  The event order for most Dual Meets is Individual Medley, Freestyle, Breaststroke, Backstroke and Butterfly. At the end of the meet are relays; again, one for each age group, either Freestyle or Medley.

Running a dual meet takes many volunteers. We need timers, scorers and officials for every meet, both home and away. At home meets, we need additional help with setting up the timing system, putting things away after the meet is over, as well as volunteers to man the concession stand (which provides valuable fundraising dollars). We have a parent, our Team Rep, who has volunteered to take on the responsibility of organizing work assignments. Our Parents Group is both very friendly and very supportive—our swim team could not manage without them. They will be sure to answer any questions you have. Being involved is fun, a great way to meet other team families, supportive to your children, and required!

Our Dual Meet teams need all our swimmers at every meet. If swimmers do not show up, relays cannot swim, and coaches are left scrambling to fill in empty lanes at the last moment when they should be concentrating on warm-ups. Please make every effort to attend all required dual meets. If you know in advance that your family cannot make a dual meet, please email the coaches as soon as possible so they can plan accordingly. If something unexpected happens—even if you are just running late to warm-ups—please reach out to let a coach or teammate know. We count on your swimmer as a member of our team.

What Is an Invitational Meet?

A Dual Meet is one Y team against another. At an Invitational Meet, however, swimmers from many different teams compete, sometimes even teams from other states. Some Invitational Meets are geared specifically towards certain age groups; some are open to all ages and abilities; still others have qualifying cut times (i.e. you have to be faster or slower than a certain time to participate). 

Invitational Meets are not mandatory for FSPY swimmers, however, they are recommended. These are the meets your 'meet entry  fees' will pay for. An Invitational Meet is a great opportunity for your swimmer to try out events they might not swim at a dual meet. Our YMCA Championship Meets at the end of the season (in February and March) are all Invitational Meets, so it is also very beneficial for swimmers to get used to that kind of meet format during the course of the season.

FSPY attends both YMCA-sanctioned Invitational meets and USA meets (NJ Swimming or NJS). The essential difference between these two is that at Y meets, the swimmer’s age is ‘as of December 1’ while at NJ Swimming meets, a swimmer’s age is ‘as of the first day of the meet’.  So, for example, if your swimmer is 10 in December, but turns 11 in January, he/she would be 10 at Y States in March (age as of Dec. 1st) but 11 for NJ Swimming’s Junior Olympics, also in March. One more difference: at a Y meet, there will only be Y swimmers; at a NJ Swimming meet, you will see swimmers from aquatic clubs as well.

Every time your swimmer swims at any meet, their times are recorded. These times will fall into the Bronze, Silver or Gold ‘qualifying time’ categories. These qualifying times indicate which Invitational meets your swimmer can attend for each event.  Your swimmer might end up with times in different categories: for example, a Gold time in the 50 Free, Silver in the 100 Back, and Bronze in the 50 Breast.  This means they could enter a Gold level meet in the 50 Free, but would not be able to swim the 50 Breast or 100 Back there.

Invitational Meets that our team will attend will be posted to our website.  Invitational meets tend to close out quickly (meaning that there are more swimmers entering the meet than the facility can accommodate) so it is imperative that you frequently check the website and enter your swimmer’s availability as quickly as possible.  Please either reply that your swimmer is available for the meet or that he/she is not available.  There is also an area to indicate any special notes, i.e. that your swimmer can only attend one day, etc.  Also, please note that the coaches have the final decision as to what individual events swimmers will be entered into and the only decision with regard to relays.

If your swimmer attends an Invitational Meet, you can expect to receive a timing assignment, as every club attending has to help out. Timing Assignments are mandatory at Invitational Meets.  If you are assigned a timing assignment and cannot fulfill your commitment, it is your responsibility to find a replacement to avoid receiving a $100 penalty fee for non-compliance.

Remember, your swimmer’s coach is always available to answer questions about which meets your child should attend, or about the various Time Standards.  Don’t hesitate to send an email with any questions.

What is First Frost and Why Do We Host this Invitational?

First Frost is an invitational meet hosted by our team. This meet will be open to 12 & under swimmers this year, and will be held again  at Raritan Valley Community College.  Most YMCA swim teams (especially larger ones) host at least one invitational swim meet during the season.  By hosting these meets, swimmers have an opportunity to swim in a larger venue and will be able to swim events that they would normally not have available to them in a dual meet.  Since we attend invitational meets hosted by other YMCAs, it is only fair to host an invitational. 

Another advantage to hosting an invitational meet is that this is an excellent fundraiser for the team.  The funds raised from this meet are used for such items as in-water and dryland training equipment, starting systems, training for coaches, etc.

In order to attract other YMCA swimmers to attend this meet, it is imperative that the invitational run smoothly.  FSPY has been hosting this meet for a number of years and we are pleased with the wonderful reputation our team has achieved.  This can only be accomplished with the assistance of all of the parents on our team.  While other teams will be required to provide a certain number of officials and timers, our team is responsible for the majority of the volunteer assignments.  Numerous jobs will need to be filled such as set-up and cleanup, officials, timers, runners, marshalling, awards, concession, etc.