1. Short Course
The winter season competes in a 25 yard or “short course” pool. Our first practice usually begins in early September, the first meet is in mid-October and the Championship Meets are in March.

2. Long Course
The summer season competes in a 50 meter, or “long course” pool. The first practice begins in middle April with the Championship meets being in late July or early August. The meets, which often take place outdoors, are much more relaxed and less crowded. The big national/ Olympic meets are always in a long course pool.

3. Summer Leagues
We encourage the swimmers of the Westlake Waves Swim Club to participate in the summer recreation swim team or other local swim teams. Just swimming in the Rec. meets alone are worth the cost and effort. It is all good swimming fun. These leagues are good swimming experience, but the workouts do not compare to the Waves. We suggest that most swimmers are able to belong to a summer rec. or country club team and still continue to swim the long course season with the Westlake Waves Swim Club. The practices other teams do are not comparable to what the Waves do. The Westlake Rec team is a great idea because they practice in a long course type pool. If you have any questions about this, discuss them with the coaches.

4. Clerk Of Course
This is the person/workers/area who organizes the younger swimmers at a meet. Your child will be required to check in with the clerk’s desk or tent unless the coach indicates that she/he has already taken care of it. Your child will circle or check his or her name to indicate that they are in attendance and prepared to swim. The announcer will give instructions over the PA system, and again, you can always ask another parent or the coaches. Generally, the more experienced swimmers will help the less experienced swimmers.

5. The Deck
The roped off area around the pool, or the entire pool area. Parents are not allowed on deck, and a USA Swimming official can ask you to leave the deck or eject you from the meet. It is better to find a good spot in the stands with the other parents.

6. Scratch
To pull a child from an event. This should only be done for medical reasons after consulting with the coach. No parent should encourage a swimmer to scratch, and a swimmer should keep in mind that she/he may be needed for a relay entry.

7. Events
The following strokes are used in the events or races over various lengths.

  • Freestyle: The most common swimming stroke known as the front crawl stroke. It utilizes an alternating arm stroke with a flutter kick, although a swimmer may use any stroke during a freestyle event.
  • Backstroke: An alternating arm stroke done on the back with a flutter kick.
    Breaststroke: Simultaneous arm strokes from the breast with an underwater recovery and a “frog” kick.
  • Butterfly: Simultaneous arm strokes from the shoulder with an out of water recovery and “dolphin” kick.
  • Individual Medley(IM): A combination of butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle, in that order.
  • Medley Relay: Backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle, in that order.
  • Freestyle Relay: Each individual swimming freestyle in sequence.
    These events will be swam by four teammates for a combined finish. In either event coaches will typically (but not always) choose the fastest 4 swimmers in that meet to be the “A” relay, the next 4 fastest in the “B” relay, etc.

8. Age Groups
8 & Under , 9-10 or 10 & Under, 11-12, 12 & Under, 13-14, 15-16, 17-18, 15-18, 15 & Over, Open (any age) and Senior (12 & over). The swimmer’s actual age on the first day of the meet determines placement.

9. Disqualifications (DQ’s)
Every child is DQ’d at some point in their career. Keep in mind that there are specific rules governing each stroke that certified USA Swimming judges use in determining whether the stroke was “legal”. You may think that the stroke looks great, but it may be in violation of USA Swimming rules. The official will tell your child or a Waves coach why she/he was DQ’d. If the swimmer does not understand what the official said, the swimmer should ask the coach ASAP so that the coach can talk with the official immediately following the call. A DQ should be looked upon as a necessary evil from which the swimmer can learn. Ask the coach if you don’t understand why your child was DQ’d. NEVER question the official.

Common DQ’s

  • General – false starts – late for start – not checking into event – stopping mid-race – touching bottom of pool.
  • Freestyle- not touching wall on turn.
  • Backstroke – not swimming completely on back – non-continuous turn.
  • Butterfly – Flutter kicking – non-bilateral stroke – elbows not recovering out of water – one hand touch
  • Breaststroke – Flutter/fly kicking – non-bilateral stroke – 2 stroke under water – one hand touch – stroking while shoulders not parallel to surface – improper breathing – improper stroke rhythm.
  • Relays – False start/ relay leg leaving early – Stroke/ turn fault as described above.

10. Heats
All of the swimmers can’t swim at once, so the event is divided into heats in which all of the lanes are filled as much as possible. There will always be a minimum of three swimmers in each heat (except in pre-seeded events), and the heats run slowest to fastest.

11. Heat Sheets
The official listing of events in the order that they will be swimming. The heat sheets are usually sold at the door for a few dollars.

12. Seeding
As mentioned under “HEATS”, the slower swimmers in an event swim in the first heats, the fastest in the last heats. The swimmers are seeded by heat and within each heat according to their times so that each swimmer can, ideally, swim to the best of his or her ability. The fastest swimmer in each heat is seeded in the center lane (lane 3 in a 6 lane pool – lane 4 in an 8 lane pool). There are different types of seeding, but generally, the fastest are in the last heat. Seeding cannot be changed at the meet and sometimes your swimmer will be seeded at an older slower time. That is because the coach had to send in the entries generally 3 to 4 weeks before the meet, thus your swimmer’s better time had not yet been achieved.

13. Cutoff Times
You will hear swimmers talk about getting their “A” times. B, BB, A, AA, AAA (zone cut), AAAA, and Top 16 are various divisions in times for each event and age group, with B being the slowest. Some meets require swimmers to be faster than or slower than make cuts depending upon a swimmer’s time. Always check with a coach, to see if you should enter a cut meet, the coaches want everyone to swim in as many meets as possible!