Participants compete in different age groups and swim meets depending on their achievement level and how old they are.
Provincially recognized age groups are:
- Girls – 10 & under, 11-12, 13-14 and 15 & over
- Boys – 10 & under, 11-13, 14-15, 16 & over
- Provincial Time Standards for A and AA times are used to qualify for higher-level meets.
The competitive swim year is divided into 2 seasons:
- Short course (SC) season runs from September to end of February where all competitions are held at the 25 metre pool length;
- Long Course (LC) season runs from beginning of March to June where all competitions are held at the 50 metre pool length.
How Meets Work
Swim meets are a great family experience! They’re a place where the whole family can spend time together. Listed below are some very in-depth guidelines geared to help you through your first couple of swim meets. It may seem a little overwhelming, but we tried to be as specific and as detailed as we possibly could.
Brandon Bluefin Meet Protocol
Before the Meet
- Arrive at the pool 20 minutes before and be on deck AT LEAST 15 MINUTES before the scheduled warm-up time begins.
- If you are not at the pool 25 minutes following the start of warm up coaches will scratch you from the meet as Swim Manitoba has instituted that all scratches have to be in 30 minutes after warm up has started.
- Upon arrival, the team sits in one place together (team area), so look for familiar faces.
- Swimmers will complete the dryland warm up as a team.
- Warm up will be given to the swimmers by the coaching staff.
- Swimmers should stretch and complete activations. Younger swimmers are encouraged to follow the lead of older swimmers. Older swimmers are encouraged to help and lead the younger swimmers. It is very important for all swimmers to warm-up. A swimmers body is just like a car on a cold day, they need to get the engine going and warmed-up before he/she can go all out. Length of warm-up may vary based on different ages and ability levels.
- Warm-up time is a time for swimmers and coaches only. Parents should drop their swimmer off and report to the spectator area or volunteer area. Your swimmer will be supervised by the coach when on deck.
- After warm-up, your swimmer will go back to the area where their team is sitting and wait there until his first event is called. This is a good time that the swimmer goes to the bathroom if necessary, gets a drink, or just gets settled in.
- It is important for swimmers to know the even, heat and lane they are swimming in as given to them by the coaches
- Before your child swims, they will see the coach
- This is a time for coaches and swimmers only, to instruct or remind them of things. Parents are not supporting the coaches or helping the swimmer by trying to instruct their child
- Following the race the swimmer will proceed to warm down or to the coach
- The coach will discuss the swim with the swimmer using positive comments, suggestions for improvements, what they saw, how does the swimmer feel it went. Following this the swimmer may or may not be allowed to go to the stands to see parents.
- All questions concerning meet results, an officiating call, or the conduct of a meet should be referred to a coach and he or she will pursue the matter through proper channels. Officials should not be approached by a parent at any time.
- Swimmers should stay on deck until the last team member has competed.
Time Trials and Mini Meets
Time trials and Mini Meets are events where Level 1-3 are challenged with participating in a timing event where freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and IM are timed. Each swimmer is only compared to his/her own past times; younger swimmers are encouraged just to compete and complete their events and celebrate their success! Time trials and Mini Meets are a fun and less intimidating way to learn about timing events and a great way to grow through personal achievement.
Everyone then celebrates a job well done at the team gathering after the time trial.
Developmental meets are set up for entry level swimmers to gain experience in competition and to establish official times. Each meet offers a number of swims of different strokes and distances to choose from. Swimmers may try to earn “A” times in order to compete at the Junior Provincial Championship meets. Swimmers’ generally enter 3 individual events plus one relay event.
Invitational meets are for swimmers who have some experience in competing. There are different categories of “invitational” or “open” meets and each will have qualifying times which are generally between a “A” and an “AA” time. Swimmers must achieve the qualifying entry times in order to swim in a particular event. Many meets will offer bonus swims with just 1 qualifying time.
Junior Provincials and Man/Sask Championships
Junior Provincials is the Provincial Championship meet for swimmers who have made “A” standard times.
Man/Sask Championship combines Manitoba and Saskatchewan and is the
championship meet for swimmers who have achieved “AA” standard times.
At Junior Provincials, swimmers may enter only those events where they have achieved an “A” time. If a swimmer has 1 “A” time, they are permitted 3 bonus swims.
Once a swimmer has achieved an “AA” standard in an event they are no longer eligible to swim that event at the Junior Provincials but now qualify to enter Man/Sask Championships. Both Junior Provincials and Man/Sask are held twice per year; in short course and long course.
Parents of swimmers participating in Junior Provincials and Man/Sask are expected to volunteer at the event. Each Swim Club attending these events are required to provide the same percentage of volunteers for the event as they have swimmers participating. For example, 10 swimmers participate out of 200 total swimmers equates to 10% of the volunteers.
There are many strategies in competitive swimming and they vary upon the distance of the event.
The sprint races (50 and 100 metres) are an all-out full speed race with a fast start and finish and hard kicking throughout.
The 200 metre events require some pacing and swimming at a controlled speed for the whole race.
The 400, 800 and 1500 metre freestyle events are distance races where pacing is crucial and the swimmer has to know just how fast to swim the first portion; to keep with the pack and also to have enough endurance to maintain the pace through the second half of the race.