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Special Meets

These meets are in addition to the Developmental League meets.

Time Trials: This event is held at the home pool and consists of swimmers from the home team only. It provides the swimmers an opportunity to establish a base time for seeding purposes in future meets and also provides the team an opportunity to run through the meet process. You must attend time trials and get a time to participate in some events.

Divisionals: Participation is open to all swimmers and the meet consists of multiple teams in the league competing against each other.

All Stars: Participation is based on qualifying under the cut times set by the league. Cut times will be communicated by the league towards the end of the standard season.

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What to expect at a Swim Meet

You are on the team, you have been to practice, and now it's time for a meet. What do parents and swimmers need to know to be ready?

Do I have to swim every meet? Swimming is encouraged at all developmental meets and it's the reason we practice but absences are allowed and should be coordinated with the Head Coach.

How do I sign up for events at a meet? Time Trials and Developmental league meet sign-ups will be done via TeamUnify.

What to bring to a meet? Swimmers must wear their Manta Ray team suit (or allowed performance suit) and bring goggles (and a spare set), Manta Ray team cap, towel(s), snacks, water, collapsible chair or towel to sit on, and something to do in between events (cards, coloring, book, etc.). Swimmers need to take full responsibility for all of their belongings -- don't bring anything that you would be upset to lose and put your name on everything!

What concessions are available at meets? At home meets, Manta Ray concessions sells a variety of items such as grilled burgers and hot dogs (evenings), chips, candy, fruit, granola bars, water, sports drinks, sodas, coffee, donuts and bagels (mornings). At away meets, similar items are sold and occasionally a team will offer pizza slices, Chick-Fil-A or breakfast burritos.

Where does a swimmer go at meets? At every meet, the swimmer should go to the team area upon arrival at pool. At home meets, the grassy area outside the clubhouse is the team area for both teams. At away meets, it is designated by the host team.

Where do parents/spectators go at meets? If you are one of the few people without a job to do at the meet there is limited deck seating around the pool to watch the meet. Bring a collapsible chair to the meet to use if you want to be sure to have seating or get there early!

Who stays in the team area? All team members should be in the team area in between events. The team area parents assigned for the meet will oversee the swimmers' general behavior. If your child needs supervision, please remain in the team area with your swimmer. Note: Dropping off your child and leaving them unattended at a meet is never permitted.

What is the progression of a meet? Generally, the order is youngest swimmers to oldest swimmers in each stroke. The exception is Time Trials, where we go oldest to youngest. Generally, the order is Free, Back, Breast, Fly, IM. The exceptions are league-scheduled Developmental meets.

How does a swimmer know when it's time to swim his/her event? Swimmers are responsible for knowing what events they are swimming. The announcer will call swimmers to the Clerk of Course (CofC) as the events are lining up. Swimmers need to be listening for their events. When their event is called (for ex, "all 8 and under girls backstroke to Clerk of Course"), they need to go to the Clerk of Course who will tell them where they need to sit. Generally, no one will come and find a swimmer for an event so it is possible to miss an event.

What is Clerk of Course? Clerk of Course is where chaos becomes order. Swimmers arrive in random packs. CoC arranges them neatly into heats and lanes. The Clerk of Course area is the entryway area leading from the clubhouse to the pool. All swimmers from both teams are lined up on pool lounge chairs in the CofC area by the volunteers before events. The swimmers will then be led out to the pool deck as the events are swum.

What does a swimmer do after his/her event? The swimmer should ask the Timers for their estimated time and then return to the team area to prepare for the next event.

How does a swimmer know how he/she has done? Midway through most meets, result sheets will be posted. Usually within 24 hours results are emailed to all Manta Rays and will be posted on the website. At some meets where wifi access is available results can be found through the OnDeck app.

How long are meets? Developmental league meets tend to be at least 3+ hours. These times are estimates and depend on how many swimmers each team has and how many are swimming at that meet.

What to do when it's time to leave? Check in with the coach and volunteer coordinator before leaving. This is particularly important if you need to leave prior to the completion of the meet. Please have swimmers pick up all their trash from the team area and help return the area to its original condition.

The coach placed my child in an event above his/her age group. Why is that?A common misconception is that Swim Team is an individual sport and while there is an element of that as you try to push yourself to break your personal records, it’s really a team sport centered around a point system. Points are awarded to the team based on participation and placement in all of the events then the points are totaled to give each team a final score. Therefore, even if a child doesn’t place well in an individual event their participation could still yield points we would otherwise not have earned. If we have no one on the team who fits the age range for an event that is coming up, the coaches may ask a younger swimmer to “swim up” (swim in a higher age bracket) so the team can still earn points. You may “swim up” but not “swim down” so you’ll never see a 14 year old competing in an 8 and under event.

The coach placed my child in an event above his/her age group. Why was I not consulted?Like other team sports the coach was hired to develop individual skills but also to develop the team and make strategic decisions that yield the best chances for a team win. Placing a swimmer in a particular event to include having them “swim up” is akin to a soccer coach moving players around the field. Whether talking about soccer or swimming, coaches have autonomy to make these strategic decisions without consultation. That’s not to say you can’t provide feedback. The coaches can and should take your feedback into consideration when developing their strategy for the meet. However, the coaches will ultimately do what they think is best for the team.Tip: If your child has anxiety about “swimming up” or swimming in an event they are not particularly proficient at, discuss it with them in advance. Explain to them that 3rd place against older children is still very impressive and will help their team earn points. They’re also likely to increase their time and become better swimmers as they compete against older and stronger swimmers. Finally, swimming in many different events, being flexible and team oriented will make your swimmer a well-rounded competitor.

Why do the coaches sometimes sound like drill sergeants?We have a broad range of competitors on the team. Some kids have been swimming for several years while others are just beginning. On top of that we have a broad range of personalities. Some kids need and expect that stern approach while others are a little more sensitive. Our coaches do their best to accommodate and adapt to the highly competitive swimmers, the sometimes more distracted swimmers and the more sensitive swimmers. There’s not a one size fits all and while we have encouraged our coaches to make that adjustment on the fly, it’s not surprising given their own highly competitive backgrounds that the “drill sergeant” voice comes out most often. As a side note, we have a similar mix of parents with some having the expectation their child will be pushed to perform better and others looking for a softer, development focused approach. Our coaches try hard to accommodate varying agendas and motivational styles but bear in mind, unlike swim lessons, Swim Team is a competitive sport and our program is led by coaches not swim instructors.

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What's My Age again?

Summer swim is a seasonal sport. Almost all summer leagues choose a particular date by which ages are reckoned, and a swimmer's age on that day is their age for the entire season.

In the Old Dominion Swim League, that date is June 15.

E.g., if your 9th birthday is on June 15, you're a 9-year old for the entire season. On the other hand, if your 9th birthday is on June 16, you're an 8-year old for the entire season.

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