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Swimming Definitions

Some of the terms used in swimming and at swim meets are explained as follows:

Lap: One length of the pool regardless of pool length.

25: One lap of the pool, which is 25 yards.

50: 2 laps of the pool, 50 yards.

100: 4 laps of the pool, 100 yards.

IM: Individual Medley. One swimmer performs all four strokes in the race in the order of butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle.

Relay: 4 members selected by the coach to form a team. Each member swims one leg of the race.

The "leg" length depends on the age of the child and may be either 1 or 2 laps. If we have enough swimmers, we can have multiple relay teams. We need 4 swimmers to form a relay so it is VERY important to communicate with the coaches about your meet attendance.

Medley Relay: Each member of the relay team performs a different designated stroke, in the order of backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle (order of strokes is in alphabetical order). NOTE: Not the same order as the IM. For 8 & U only and 9-10 ONLY: each swimmer swims 25 yards so the 2nd and 4th (aka “anchor” child must be at the opposite end of the pool.

Free Relay: Each member of the relay team performs the freestyle stroke. The freestyle relays are the last events of the meet. The children love relays and get a real sense of being part of a team by competing in them. Unforeseen circumstances may result in a child being placed in the relay at last minute, so never leave meets early! For 8 & U only and 9-10 ONLY: each swimmer swims 25 yards so the 2nd and 4th (aka “anchor”) child must be at the opposite end of the pool.

Start: In the start, the swimmer is called to the starting position by the starter via a series of whistle blows, who then visually checks that all swimmers are motionless.

When all swimmers are set, the gun or starting horn is sounded to start the race. If the starter or referee feels that one of the swimmers has moved, left early, or gotten an unfair advantage, the race will be recalled. This is called a false start.

Gender: Boys and girls generally have separate heats, though swimmers are sometimes combined in the same heat to make the meet run more efficiently. Scoring remains based on age and gender.

Age Group: category by age in which swimmer competes.

o 8 and under

o 9-10

o 11-12

o 13-14

o 15-18

Event: The age, gender, length & type of stroke required - E.g. 9-10 girls 25-yard backstroke means this event is for girls 9-10 years old who will swim 25 yards of the backstroke.

Event # & Order: where does the event come in the list of all the meet events … we have 60 events for our summer meets – please see Dual Meet Event Order document/link on our website.

The events for each stroke go from youngest to oldest. The girls in a given age group swim the event first, followed by the boys.

The events for each stroke go from youngest to oldest. The girls in a given age group swim the event first, followed by the boys.

Heat: Swimmers are grouped into heats according to entries times. For summer swim, order of swimmers is fastest swimmers go in earlier heats.

Lane: there are 6 or 8 lanes … lane is where swimmer will be placed for the heat.

Entries: usually provided the night before or the day of a meet; who is entered in what events.

Results: usually posted on the website the day after the meet with the times for all of our VST swimmers.

Age-Up: When a swimmer moves up to the next age group. A swimmer’s age for a meet is the swimmers age on the first day of a meet. Example: Sally is 10 for the 6/25 meet and competes in the 9-10 age group; Sally has a birthday 6/26 and turns 11; Sally will move up and compete in the 11-12 age group for the 6/27 meet. While ageing-up in the middle of the season might be a bit challenging for kids, acknowledging it without over dramatizing it is usually the best approach and the coaches can guide your swimmer through the transition.

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Meets

  • Swim meets during the summer have the same events taking place in the same order each meet. The meets are generally 2 to 3 hours long and move along very quickly. There is rarely a lull in the action.
  • We swim “dual meets” in the summer, which simply means it’s US against another team.
  • Before the swim meet, the coaches use the list of swimmers attending a meet, times, and other factors to determine who is swimming what events, in what heat, and in what lane. These are called ENTRIES and will be available on the swim team by email before the meet.

A paper is made up for each EVENT. The paper has the swimmer’s name, event number & name, heat number, and in what lane the child is swimming. Swimmers will be available to review this information on the wall by the locker rooms and with coaches.

The results are written on a paper and instantly sent to the computer by the Dolphin Timing System. The results paper is then handed to the runner, who brings it to the score table.

Parents of 8 and under children are of crucial importance to our team. We rely on them to keep track of the younger swimmers. Races go very quickly, especially in the older age groups, who swim quite fast, so we need to be able to find swimmers quickly and easily, to avoid having a child miss a race.

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What Should I bring to a Swim Meet

  • One or more towels, team suit, goggles, swim cap, sweatshirt & sweatpants, and anything you think will keep your swimmer warm & happy.
  • Between-event activities, such as handheld games, cards, board games, books, and crayons/coloring books for the younger kids.
  • PLEASE make sure your swimmer’s name is clearly marked on all items.
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Water bottle
  • Supplemental Food– Our Home Meet Snack Bar (& likewise for the away meets hosted by the other teams) will sell drinks, snacks, and dinner-type food. You may of course bring your own food, but we greatly appreciate you buying from concessions as this is the only means of fundraising for the special things – awards, events, Friday FUNday brunches, etc.
  • Umbrellas or ponchos if rain is in the forecast.
  • Chair(s) –You will want to bring a couple of your own.
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Summer Swim vs Winter Swim

  • Dual Meets, typically last 2-3 hours
  • Meets, aside from leagues and states, are all-age groups together
  • Distance of races is shorter - typically 25s and 50s vs 100s and 200s.
  • No mobile meet app or heat sheets.
  • No full results/times, Swim meets during the summer have the same events taking place in the same order each meet. The VST results only.
  • The atmosphere is very fun, festive as the goal is to keep it fun while helping kids learn a new sport or improve in the sport they love.
  • Same rules related to stroke, start and turn for summer and winter
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