As NCA coaches, we are always striving to motivate and encourage your swimmers to move to the next level. The number one way to measure progress in this sport is through swim meets, which you already know. Navigating swim meets however, can be the tricky part. How many Green Meets should my swimmer attend? How will we know when to move on? How do I know if my swimmer is qualified for a meet? How often should they be attending meets? These are all entirely valid questions! The bottom line is, when in doubt, ask your coach. We are always happy to answer your questions!
As we enter long course season (LCM), we want to continue to emphasize goal oriented racing and training. Swimmers should be excited about racing breaking down barriers they previously thought they couldn’t!
Green Meets 101:
Green Meets are intersquad swim meets held once a month on Friday nights. These are held in lieu of workouts and are designed for swimmers who are brand new to the sport of swimming. Swimmers are taught how swim meets work: all swimmers participate in a team warm up, learn how to understand heats and lanes and learn how to get to the blocks on time for their races. Swimmers cannot get disqualified in these meets and the times do not count as USA Swimming official times.
Green Meets are intended to be an educational experience versus a lone competitive experience. Once your swimmer has attended 3-4 Green Meets, they have acquired enough knowledge and experience to move on to a USA Swimming sanctioned meet. If you have any doubts or questions, contact your coach directly.
USA Swimming Meets 101:
Once your swimmer has figured out the swim meet low down, they can start attending USA Swimming meets. ALL of our swim meets are posted on our Team Unify site under the “Events” section. From there you can take your pick at meets, all information regarding registration protocol, dates, billing, etc are all centrally located within each meet file.
Generally, the next step after a Green Meet is a C Meet. USA Swimming has divided competitions by time standards (C, B, A, AA, AAA, etc). C Meets require no time standard, often abbreviated as NTS, but swimmers cannot be faster than C time swimmers.
Just as Green Meets, C meets should not become a comfort zone. Through attending competition, your swimmer will continue to improve their times. The goal, is for them to move from C Meets to A/B Meets. Even one B time is enough for them to move on! Again, contact your coach if you have any confusion regarding time standards.
Once your swimmer has moved on to A/B meets, there is some coaches discretion involved. As mentioned previously, one B time is enough to attend. Coaches are then able to choose other events for your swimmers, even if they do not have the specific time standard. Once they have attended an A/B meet, swimmers should not be going back to C Meets. Continually moving to the next level of competition is essential for growth in this sport.
It is imperative to understand that your swimmer will have ups and downs. Struggle is a part of the progress and is okay! Your swimmer will get disqualified at some point, and will learn from it. They will go through plateaus, in which they do not drop time. With patience and perseverance, they will progress. As coaches, we try and preach independence and accountability to your swimmers- they are in charge of their own sport, their attitude, effort and focus, as well their love of the sport. A competitive drive and love of racing is something that will develop through swim meet and practice attendance. It is our job as coaches and parents to be swimmers’ number one cheerleaders. Short term goals are great, but longevity and a love of swimming is the ultimate goal.