One of my favorite aspects of our Season Opener meet is that the format allows for every swimmer to swim in every individual event.  Not all swimmers are entered in every event, of course, but many are.  This gets to the heart of one of the fundamental tenets of our philosophy here at LY -- that we want our swimmers to be well-rounded.  There are many reasons that we have adopted this philosophy.

1. We want our swimmers to be challenged. Remember that "Fearless" part of "Fun, Focused, Fearless, For the Team?"  Being fearless means being willing to take on challenges, to swim events that aren't necessarily in a swimmer's "wheelhouse," so to speak. Building mental strength by meeting challenges head-on with a 'can-do' attitude (no matter whether perceived success or failure follows) is a critical step for young swimmers.

2. There is never an age where any of us (coaches, swimmers, and parents) can definitively say that a swimmer is a breaststroker, a freestyler, a backstroker, etc.  Swimmers' abilities and skills are constantly evolving (and should be).  Sticking only to a perceived best few events limits a swimmer's development and can mentally pigeonhole him or her in a way that hampers future opportunities.  MANY times in my coaching career I have seen a swimmer who was excellent in a few events at a young age ultimately develop into a much better swimmer in totally different events years down the road. I even had a swimmer who was a Junior National-caliber distance freestyler become a conference champion in the IM in college.

3. Challenging swimmers with distance events increases their physical capacity and can expand self-perceptions of a swimmer's physical limits.  We all have an idea in our mind of what we can and cannot do.  The fact of the matter is that we are usually wrong about our capacity for achievement.  Often, the only way to push these mental limits back is to JUST DO IT. Hey, that sounds like it could be a good slogan...

I hope this explains for some of  you why we have selected the events we have for our swimmers at the upcoming meet.  The Season Opener meet presents a particularly good opportunity for this because it is early in the season, the stakes are relatively low (we are the only team competing and this is not a championship meet) and we are in our familiar home pool. Some swimmers will be challenged with LONGER events than they are used to.  Others will be challenged by DIFFERENT events than they are used to.  And still others will be challenged by the QUANTITY of times they race at the meet. Regardless of the method, to grow and improve they must be challenged.  And our coaching staff is here to help them along the way.