Basic Questions and Answers

smileyDo I have to tryout?

We hold swimmer evaluations with a SPY Coach to help us place swimmers into appropriate training groups. Then, your swimmer is permitted one week to try our program out at practices in September to see if SPY fits into your child's focus and life schedule. Our hope is that your family will come to an appropriate decision if SPY is a good fit in your child's life at this time. We have new swimmers joining at all age levels. You may contact Interim Head Coach Mickey McNeil at 937 323-3781 at our Springfield Family Y to set up an appointment for swim evaluation and find out more about SPYNATION.

yesDo I have to be a good swimmer to join the team?

All you need to be able to do is swim 25 yards of freestyle and backstroke.  (This is the length of most pools)

How do I register for Swim Team?

In order to register for our Springfield Family Y Competitive Youth Swim Program aka SPY Swim Team, you will need to come to our Y's Welcome Center Desk. Your swimmer will need to be a Springfield Family Y Member, so our Y staff will assist you in possible membership options and payment plans. You will also need to register for our SPY SWIM TEAM Program just like any other Y program. Our Y Staff will provide you with needed forms to be completed and payment options available. Coaches have assigned your swimmer to particular training group so you will know cost per swimmer. The Master List of swimmer's training groups is available at our Welcome Center Desk or ask Head Coach.

How do I register on SWIMSPY.COM website?

In order to register your son or daughter to the team, either simply click on " Registration" tab. Then, follow the instructions for either Returning Members or New Members.

What if your swimmer is involved in other sports?

Most of our swimmers participate in other activities, too.  Our practices are usually offered five to six days a week to allow for more opportunities to participate. High School athletes who are involved in a Fall Sport might not begin their full practice schedule until the conclusion of the Fall Season. We appreciate communication about activities that may keep your swimmer from training.

Are meets held every weekend?

No, and it is up to you how many meets you enter based on your schedule. Our SPY Invitational is the required participation for all swimmers and our swimmer’s families mandatory meet work commitment.

What should I bring to a swim meet?

A swim meet provides a lot of "down" time for swimmers to relax with their teammates. Healthy snacks, drinks, cards or other small games are great tools for passing time. Flannel pants or sweatshirts are also helpful to keep the athlete warm. If we have a team area in a gym, a sleeping bag or blanket that can lie on the floor is great. Parents might want to bring portable chairs if we are sitting in a gym. We do not recommend that you bring expensive electronic games or music devices, as they might get lost.

Why do people write on their hands?

Younger athletes who are learning how to navigate a swim meet can keep track of their events by writing them on their hand. Include Event Type, Event Number, Heat and Lane. Older swimmers tend to follow the heat sheets that are posted around the pool deck.

What is the difference between Short Course (SC) and Long Course (LC)? 

The easy answer is short course takes place in a 25 yard or meter pool whereas long course takes place in a 50 meter pool. Short Course is normally noted as SCY for Short Course Yards or SCM for Short Course Meters. Long Course is typically noted as LCM for Long Course Meters. Short Course season normally runs from September through March (April for National Swimmers). Long Course usually begins at the end of April and lasts through mid-July.


Swimming has its own language. Hopefully the glossary below will be helpful to you.

Age Group Swimming -- Swimmers compete against swimmers in their own age group: 8 and under, 9-10, 11-12, 12-14, 15 and up, senior (12 and older).

Blocks -- The platforms on which the swimmer stands and pushes off to start the race. Relay False Start -- When one swimmer leaves the wall or block before the swimmer in the water touches the wall.
Clerk of Course -- An area where swimmers go to be pre-staged for the upcoming event. Also, referred to as the bullpen.

Championships -- There are four championships in the YMCA season. The A meet, AA meet, Zones and Nationals. The system of championship meets is designed so that every swimmer, no matter what level has a final meet in which to participate. Each age group has a qualifying time for each event to determine which championship meet the swimmer may participate.

Cut Off Time -- See qualifying time

Disqualification (D.Q.) -- Some infraction of the rules committed by the swimmer. This could be a violation of the rules regarding the start, turn, touch, or stroke. When this occurs, no points are scored and the time is not recorded.

Dual Meet -- Swim meet with two teams. Held at our YMCA or another team’s Y. 

Event -- A race classified by the age, stroke and distance (e.g., Boys 13-14 200- yard Butterfly).

False Start -- When a swimmer leaves/moves the block before the starter has started the race and this  isa Disqualification

Finals -- A session used in most championships in which theusually top 8 to 24 swimmers from the preliminary heats or races are grouped to have a final race to determine team and individual points and awards.

Heat -- Groups of swimmers all competing in the same event or race. (e.g., there are 12 swimmers entered in the same event. If the pool has six lanes the event will be divided into 2 heats.

Heat Sheet -- A program that outlines the event, heat and lane for each swimmer. Available at invitational and championship meets for a fee.

I.M. -- Individual medley: event divided equally by distance (100, 200, or 400) into the four competitive strokes in the following order: 1. butterfly; 2. backstroke; 3. breaststroke; 4. freestyle.

Invitational -- A large swim meet with four to six teams generally held over a two-three day period. Invitationals are broken into two sessions, morning and afternoon with the age groups split generally 10 and under in one session and 11 and over in the other. Invitationals are major fund raisers for most teams.

Lane -- Specific area to which the swimmer is assigned to swim.

Long Course -- Meet held in a 50-meter pool; usually occur during the summer

Meet Mobile – an app that usually has unofficial meet results. Most of our meets do use this service.

N.T. (No Time) -- An abbreviation to indicate a swimmer who is entered in an event has not achieved a legal time for that event.

Preliminaries -- The heat swam prior to the finals. Also known as “prelims.”
Qualifying Times or Time Standards -- A time standard in which a swimmer must swim to qualify for some championship meets or Time Standard Required type meets (e.g., AA’s, Zones and Nationals.)

Runners -- Parents who collect lane slips from each lane at the end of a race and run them to the scorers table. Another job would be posting official results from scoring table

Scoring a Meet -- The totaling of points awarded to individuals and teams. Teams are awarded points based on the placement of individuals and relays from the team. The number of points and places awarded varies with each type of meet.

Scratch -- The withdrawal of an entry from competition. Our swimmers must have coaches’ permission

Seeding -- The placement of a swimmer in a heat with the fastest swimmer generally swimming in the last heat toward the center of the pool.

Session -- Any portion of a meet distinctly separated from other portions by locale, time, or type of competition (i.e., morning and afternoon, preliminaries and finals.)

Short Course -- A 25-yard or meter pool.

Southwest Ohio YMCA Swim League (SWOYSL) -- The league in which SPY competes. 

Split -- A segment of time for part of an event or race. Most common on relays where you have four individual times that equal the relay time.

Sprint --A high energy burst of speed for a short-distance event.

Starter -- The person who starts the race with a gun or buzzer. Also determines a false start and to recall such a start.

Stroke and Turn Judges -- The officials who see that the swimmer does each stroke and turn properly. If a stroke or turn is improper, these judges will write up a disqualification card and bring the card to the runner or the scorer’s table.

Strokes -- The four competitive strokes: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle. Each stroke has a proper execution.

Take your Mark -- The command the starter gives the swimmers at the start of each race that tells the swimmer to take his/her starting position.

Timers -- Parents who take the times of each swimmer. There are normally two timers per lane with each having a stopwatch and/or a button hook-up to the automatic timing system.

USA Swimming -- Another swim league in which SPY competes. To compete in this league, a swimmer must hold a USA Swimming card (requires an annual fee.) The league is governed by slightly different rules than the YMCA swim league.

Warm-ups -- The pre-meet swim required for swimmers to get a feel for the pool and the starting blocks. Warm-ups also enable a swimmer to loosen up and practice events they will swim that day. Our swimmers are expected to be on time for all warm-ups