Swim Meet Terms

Program: the first things to do once arriving at a meet are to locate where your team has gathered, set up your home base (chairs, cooler etc.) and then purchase a program (usually $5) which will let you know which heats your swimmer(s) will be racing in, in what lane and against whom.

Warm-Ups: These are an essential component to every single swim meet and it is mandatory that all swimmers attend, with the exception of the 6 & Unders. Our coaches are dedicated to the task of training our swimmers; they ask, in return, that all swimmers demonstrate their respect and commitment to improving through their guidance. Attending warm-ups is a part of demonstrating that commitment.

Warm-ups prepare the swimmer physically and mentally for the swim meet. They provide the opportunity to get used to a new pool, reduce nervousness and increase one’s comfort level.

Proper warm-ups decrease the chance of injury. There are some circumstances when the coaches will waive warm-ups for some or all swimmers but this is the coach’s call.

* Each swimmer must come to see her coach before and after each race for feedback and strategies on how to improve the next time*

Marshaling: where swimmers are organized before their race. An announcer will call out the events over a public address system; sometimes these are very clear and sometimes they are not, depending on where you might find yourself in the swimming pool or the surrounding park. The announcer’s “call” is considered a courtesy only- it is the swimmer’s responsibility to determine when to proceed to Marshaling. To avoid missing your child’s race, check the program diligently, ask teammates or veteran parents, and watch when the younger kids head off to Marshaling (the meets proceed from youngest to oldest swimmers).  Marshaling is always a chaotic area, especially for the young swimmers. There are parent volunteers from the host club who help organize the swimmers and sit them down on the proper bench with the other kids from your child’s race. To facilitate this process it is best not to crowd the area.

IMPORTANT! Make sure that your child has a towel and/or clothes during this process to stay warm or cool as it may take a while.

Heat: The first race in an event is called a heat where up to 6 or 8 swimmers race at a time (some pools have 8 lanes, CWK has 6). They can be competing against swimmers in their own division or against swimmers who may be from different divisions but have similar qualifying times.

Final: Most of the meets later in the season have finals in the afternoons where the top 6 or 8 fastest qualifying swimmers in the same division swim again in the afternoon “Finals” to determine first through sixth (eighth) place. The Regional swim meet has both A”and “B” finals where up to 16 swimmers get a second chance to swim again in their event. Not all swim meets have both preliminaries & finals- the early season meets tend to be “timed finals” meets where each event is swam just once to determine the winner.

Relays: these are almost always held at the end of each day of a meet. The kids really love these. Please, if you’ve indicated to the coaches that your child will be participating, do not leave the meet early! After a certain hour, usually 10:00 am, a coach cannot make a substitution; if your child is a no-show then the entire team will not be allowed to participate.

DQ:  disqualification. Newcomers will become very familiar with this term as it is a fact of life in swimming. The racing strokes are not easy to perfect yet your child will be asked to exhibit proper form (or at least not illegal) as early as one month after training starts when the first meet rolls around in Mission. Please discuss with your child the role that DQ’s play in teaching the proper way to swim each of the strokes. There is no greater motivation to working hard in practice than the desire to swim a clean race in the next meet. Emphasize to your child that ALL of the swimmers have gone through this process when they were starting out. Have them ask the “big kids” about this. There are all sorts of reasons that DQ’s occur: illegal turns, one-hand touches at the wall, even swimming the wrong stroke! Rest assured that the coaches will work very hard with your swimmer to correct these inevitable mistakes and that with practice and hard work your child will eventually master the proper techniques required to swim “clean” races.

BT:  a swimmer’s personal best time; When your swimmer is younger and first learning to swim they will probably achieve best times often.  As children become older and more proficient swimmers best times tend to become more elusive.  Best times are crucial in your swimmer’s development and should be praised over any actual meet result.

NS:  No Show- the swimmer did not show up for her race. NT:  No Time- did not complete race.

PQT:  Provincial Qualifying Time- a swimmer posting a PQT during finals at the Regional Championships qualifies for the Provincial Championships regardless of his placement within his Division.  PQT’s are pretty rare, only the best achieve these.

“O” Cat:  there is a separate category for those swimmers who swim competitively with a winter club (the CHWK Spartans are a winter club who train heavily during our off-season) but also swim with a summer club. The idea is to promote fairness as summer swimmers are only allowed, once again in the interest of fairness, to train with a coach for a maximum of 2 hours each week during the off-season. There is no limit to the amount of training a summer swimmer may undertake from May 1-Sept. 30.

The BCSSA (the governing body of summer swimming in BC) governs three other water sports besides speed swimming: water polo, diving, and synchronized swimming. Prior to 2012, athletes who competed in water polo were deemed to be “O Cat” so were placed in their own division where they could not compete against summer swimmers.  At this time, although controversial, there is still no restriction placed on the amount of in-pool training permitted by water polo players during the winter.

BCSSA: British Columbia Summer Swimmer Association. Check out the website bcsummerswimming.com for lots of information, including team and individual results, regional and provincial rankings, news, schedules, links to clubs etc.

Regions: the BCSSA consists of clubs from eight regions. We are part of the Fraser Valley Region, which includes: Haney (Maple Ridge), Langley, Mission, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Agassiz/Harrison, and new to the 2016 season, the River Monsters (Hope).

Take the weather into account! on cool or rainy days- lots of clothes, blankets and plenty of towels; hot days- keep out of the sun (which may be hard to do with so many fun things to do, playgrounds, spray parks, soccer games, etc), wear a hat, sunscreen and stay hydrated!

The swim meets are run almost entirely with volunteers. (the only people getting paid are the coaches and the life guards) It is expected that all families will help out by signing up for volunteer shifts. Some of the jobs do require some training but the majority do not.  Timing shift sign-up sheets are available on the website and we strongly parents to become involved as officials (training clinics are offered on a regular basis).  Please feel free to discuss what it means to become an on-deck official with our Director of Officials Sandra Owens (soso@telus.net).