The Rewards of Swimming
Swimming on a summer swim team is a fun and very rewarding experience for children.  In addition, swimming is one of the few sports that can actually save your child's life.  Not only does your child learn to swim the four major competitive swim stokes, but they also develop endurance and the ability to tread water.  Competitive swimming is somewhat unique in the world of children's sports in that it is both a team and individual sport; and it's not solely about winning.  Children enjoy the frequent and tangible rewards associated with swim team. 

Each week swimmers receive a variety of colorful ribbons to celebrate their accomplishments.  Heat Ribbons are awarded to the winner of each swim heat.  (Heat ribbons are normally presented immediately following the race.)  Place ribbons are awarded to the top 12 legal finishes, regardless of team, based on time.  Place ribbons are also awarded for the top twelve 6 year olds (or younger) in Free and Back events based on time.  Achievement ribbons are presented to swimmers that better their previous best times.  Good Swim ribbons are awarded to swimmers who compete in a meet and do not fall into the preceding categories.  As you can see, competitive swimming is fundamentally about rewarding individual improvement; you don't have to win the race or even place.  It inherently instills the idea of setting goals, working to achieve those goals, and abundantly rewards the achieving of goals.

One of the ways swimmers monitor their progress is to keep a swim log of his or her times in every event.  Keeping this simple log will help keep the swimmer aware of his or her times and how they relate to personal goals.  A time record spreadsheet has been posted on the Info page of this website that will allow you to record your swimmer's times for each meet and compare them to the PWSL time standards for each event.  Time trials are the first opportunity to record a swim time and provide the initial basis for the process of personal improvement.

PWSL Time Standards
You may notice the PWA or PWB letter code next to your swimmer's results. These codes represent the time standard your swimmer has achieved in his or her event. The Prince William Swim League has developed these standards to help gauge your swimmer's development in comparison to other swimmers in the league. These standards are reviewed annually but have remained stable over the last few years. An "A" time is one that falls in the range that would be achieved by the fastest 20% of swimmers. A "B" time is in the range that has been achieved by the next fastest 40%, and a "C" time by the remaining 40%. Occasionally a swimmer will notice a plus or minus sign next to this letter code. A "B+" is not faster than a "B." The plus sign indicates that your swimmer has advanced from a "C" time to a "B." Similarly, a "B-" indicates that the swimmer has previously recorded an "A" time. Each event has its own time standards, reflecting the difficulty of the stroke, the age of the swimmer, and whether the event is for boys or girls.