We have finally made it to the end of short course season NCA! This is a busy time of year with many swim meets. As you may have heard, we refer to this time of year as championship season, and for those who are unfamiliar, it can be tricky to navigate!
As a coaching staff, we are always encouraging swimmers to participate in swim meets. They serve as the benchmark of progress for swimmers and is the best way to foster a love of competition and a hunger to reach the next level. Championship season in swimming offers many layers of competition, and we are hoping to educate your swimmers in what the next level looks like for them. This is the time of year your swimmers have been training for since we returned in August, and it’s time for them to reap the benefits!
This meet is the most accessible championship meet- it has no time standards required, meaning your swimmer can swim any of the events without restrictions. The name, JO Max, means the Junior Olympic time standard is the maximum time your swimmer can have- in simpler terms, if your swimmer has a JO cut, they cannot race in the event. Additionally, swimmers get to participate in relays which are not generally offered in other meets!
This year, we have 171 swimmers from all sites and age groups attending JO Max. All of these athletes will be racing to achieve new best times and new time standards all while being great teammates with awesome attitudes, efforts and focus.
This meet is the step above JO Max and requires time standards. These times can be achieved at any point during the year, as long as it is within their age group and before the meet entries are sent in. We have a “last chance meet” in both short and long course season, which allows swimmers who are very close to a JO cut to give it one more shot before entries are finalized. Once a swimmer has one hard cut, they are in! Additionally, if a swimmer achieves a JO cut in a short course event, the time can be converted into a long course time standard in the same event, and vice versa. So, if they qualify in the 100 fly SCY and will be in the same age group come long course JOs in July, they can swim in the meet with a 100 fly LCM time.
This meet gets exciting in that teams are racing and competing toward a team title. Swimming is known as an individual sport, but at JO’s we are racing as a team against all other teams in San Diego. All qualified swimmers participate in the morning prelims session to try and qualify for a top 16 finals spot. Finals are then swum in the evening of the same day, with a top 8 and consolation (9-16) final. Every swimmer in these two heats is given an opportunity to score for NCA based on their place- every point counts!
Finally, swimmers are also given the chance to participate in relays. Based on the results of the morning, coaches divide up the top 8 swimmers into two relays- an A and a B relay. Relay teams score even more points and give swimmers a real taste of racing for a team goal versus an individual goal.
SWAGR (Southwest Age Group Regionals)/Far Westerns:
In years past, we have traditionally participated in a meet called Far Westerns, but we attended the SWAGR meet for the first time last year. This meet is a step above JOs, and qualifying swimmers get the chance to travel and race against team from all over the Southwest United States. The time standards of this meet are faster than JOs and requires that families make a travel commitment to the meet.
As you all are aware, NCA has the honor of hosting Sectionals for the third year in a row. This meet has even faster qualifying times than JOs and SWAGR and is the gateway for our Senior swimmers to elite, championship swimming. This meet also brings in swimmers from around the Southwest US to participate. Sectional time standards are also one of the requirements used to determine if swimmers should be in Senior 1, 2 or 3. These senior level swimmers put in many hours of training, often twice a day, to achieve these cuts. Just like JOs and SWAGR, Sectionals provides swimmers with a prelims/final session based meet as well as relays.
With all these meets to work toward, we hope your swimmer is constantly looking ahead in their swimming career. With hard work and meet attendance, all of these meets are attainable for all swimmers if they choose it! As a coaching staff, we are always here to answer your questions about swim meets and are here to help your swimmers meet any goals they may have.