Does my swimmer have to compete?

The purpose of the Vermillion Area Swim Team is to promote swimming as a sport and to develop competitive swimmers. However, VAST swimmers are NOT required to attend competitions. It is recommended that every swimmer try at least one swim meet though. Swimmers do not need to be the fastest swimmers in the pool to compete at competitions, there are swimmers at many different levels. Attending a meet can be good for a young swimmer to understand swim team, to be inspired by other swimmers, to understand the team aspect of the sport, and to experience a sense of accomplishment by completing a race. Attending a meet also helps a new swimmer understand the purpose of some of the things taught in swim team (like flip turns, fast starts, etc.).

When are competitions held and how much do they cost?

Swim meets start in the middle of October and run until February with the South Dakota State Championship meet closing out the season during the first weekend of March. A few elite swimmers will continue on to swim at Midwest Regionals and other competitions in late March/early April.

The costs of meets vary. Some meets charge a flat rate. Others have a per swimmer charge plus per event charge as well. Costs can range from $11 to $50 per swimmer per meet. These costs are above and beyond the monthly swim meet fee you pay to be part of VAST. Specifics for each meet including cost will be posted in the information given for each meet. There is also a $5 coaching surcharge paid to VAST per swimmer per meet.

A list of meets VAST will be attending will be posted on the VAST website. Deadlines for signing up for meets are generally 2-3 weeks before each meet. Start checking the website now if you are interested. Most of our Tri-State swim meet opportunities this season occur in October, November, and December. Once you sign up for a meet and once the meet entries are submitted, your account will be charged for the swim fees. There are no refunds, even if your child is sick and doesn’t compete for some reason.

What equipment does my child need to be part of VAST?

Your child should have two suits. Your child needs a practice suit and a competition swimsuit. For girls, this is a one-piece suit. We do not have a required style or color, although our team colors are red and black. Boys should have jammers or speedos. 

Your child needs competition googles. It is best to buy competition googles, rather than to use the cheap googles sold in stores for recreational play. Those googles break easily and can be hard to adjust. Your child also needs a swim cap, particularly if your child has long hair. The cap makes it easier to wear googles and also decreases distractions caused by hair in the face and other issues that can imped swimming. You can purchase a VAST cap for $5 each. You are not required to wear a VAST cap and can purchase other styles/colors if you choose.

Eventually, you should get your child a pair of long-blade flippers. These are used to help build muscles and endurance in swimmers’ legs during practice. There are some flippers at the Dome that can be used by swimmers, but it is best to get your child his or her own well-fitted pair. This is something you do not need to buy immediately, but would be good to have on your “to buy” list sometime during the season.

Finally, an equipment bag is always recommended. This is a place where your swimmer can keep his flippers, googles, and other important items. Equipment bags can be simple (mesh bags) that cost just a few bucks or more elaborate (backpacks) that cost $30-50 each.