Swim Meet Events

Swim meets are organized around events.  An event is a race in a given stroke and distance for a specific age group and sex (example: Girls 8 & Under 25 meter breaststroke).  There are usually more swimmers than the six lanes in most community pools, so events are divided into what are called heats.  The results are compiled by swimmers' times after all heats of the event are completed.  Swimmers are assigned heats and lanes based on their seed times (fastest official time).  The fastest swimmers are in the final heat of an event and the fastest swimmers in a heat are assigned the center lanes.  Each week, the coaches enter your child in the events they will swim at the meet on Saturday.  To place your child in events, the coaches look at the child's strengths and weaknesses, overall athletic ability, and the number of times the child has swum the event.  A swimmer is allowed to compete in up to 3 events and 2 relays each meet.

Each meet is run in the same order every week  A meet program, also known as a heat sheet, lists all the swimmers and their associated events, heats, and lane assignments.  A heat sheet is usually available for purchase in the concession area of the pool for about $1.  Each swimmer and their best time in that event is listed.  If a swimmer is swimming the event for the first time, it will be entered as a "no time" or "NT.  A "NT" swimmer will most likely swim in one of the first heats of the event.

The event schedule will be the same each week and is as follows:

MEDLEY RELAYS 8 & UNDER, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-18
FREESTYLE 8 & UNDER, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-18
I.M. (INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY) 10 & UNDER, 11-12, 13-14, 15-18
BACKSTROKE 8 & UNDER, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-18
BREASTROKE 8 & UNDER, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-18
BUTTERFLY 8 & UNDER, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-18
FREESTYLE RELAYS 8 & UNDER, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14

Relays are determined by the top times as of the previous week. The A relay is the top 4 swimmers, B is the next 4, and the C relay is the next 4. If your child is not on a relay, it simply means that they did not qualify for one of the relay positions that week. Just because the child is not on a relay one week does not mean the child will never be on a relay.

IM stands for Individual Medley. Once a swimmer has LEGALLY swum all four strokes, the IM is the next and last event to learn. The IM is all four strokes combined into one event called the 100 IM. The 100 does not stand for laps, it is the number of meters. One length is 25 meters; the 100 IM is four lengths. The order is Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and Freestyle.  The stroke order is slightly modified in the medley relay: Backstroke, Butterfly, Breaststroke, and Freestyle.  Medley relay is swum by four different swimmers, each swimmer swimming one of the four strokes. Backstroke is the first event as backstroke is started from the water. If backstroke was not the first event, the starting backstroke swimmer and the finishing previous swimmer could block each other. The remaining strokes are sorted according to the speed, with breaststroke being the slowest and freestyle being the fastest stroke.

Disqualification (DQ)
Our league complies with USA Swimming rules - the same rules used at all national meets like the Olympic Time Trials.  To ensure fair competition for all swimmers, these rules are equally applied to all swimmers, regardless of age or experience.  During competition, if a swimmer fails to comply with the stroke and turn rules, a Stroke & Turn Judge (dressed in white shirts and blue shorts) will raise their hand, write up a disqualification (DQ) slip, and present it to the referee for approval.  A swimmer is not disqualified until the referee accepts the report.  Almost all swimmers in all age groups have been DQ’d at some time.  This should be viewed as a learning experience and not a failure.  Swimmers should discuss the DQ with their Coach after the race, and together they will work on a plan to correct the mistake. 

The course is the designated distance over which the competition is conducted.  The standard is 25 Meters for Summer league meets, 50 Meters for Olympic competition, and 25 Yards for regular year-round and college competition.  In Summer League, one length is considered 25 Meters.


PWSL Division Championship Meet (Divisionals)

The league is divided into six divisions, which are realigned each season to assign teams of roughly comparable size and strength to the same division. At the end of the regular season, each division has a championship meet, known as Divisionals.

To qualify for Divisionals, a swimmer must participate in at least two dual meets (not time trials) during the current swim season.  At Divisionals, each swimmer is restricted to entering those events in which a legal time was recorded at a meet during the season.  For example, if a swimmer never competed in the breaststroke event at a meet, that swimmer is not eligible to swim breaststroke at Divisionals.  If a swimmer entered the breaststroke event weekly but always DQ'd (disqualified) because of illegal technique, that swimmer is not eligible to swim breaststroke at Divisionals.  The Coaches will make all entries for this meet.

Larger championship ribbons are awarded for 24 places in each event.  League Time Improvement Ribbons will be awarded for any time improvement over 1 second.  Special league-wide ribbons will also be awarded for the 12 fastest times recorded (for each event from every championship meet) in the league during Divisionals.