What the heck is a “B Meet?” B meets are held on Wednesday evenings. Unlike MCSL teams, we do not have an A team or a B team—we have just a team. If your child can swim the ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE POOL, UNAIDED, then he or she will swim in meets, and most likely, that will mean A meets and B meets. A meets are the “real” meets. They are scored and results determine our standing in the league. Swimmers will swim their best events in A meets, and can try events that they’re not as good at in B meets. Swimmers who are among the top 3 in their group in a particular event will swim only A meets for that event—this means that a handful of top swimmers will swim in only A meets. And another small handful who aren’t ready for A meet competition might swim only B meets for part of the season. But most of our swimmers will participate in both.
Is the pasta party just for swimmers? Do I bring something? Pasta parties are held every Friday evening at the pool pavilion, and all swimmers and families are invited. It’s a great team-building event, and it makes dinner easy, because you bring only one thing: Pasta, salad, bread, or dessert. Sign-ups are posted online, and families are asked to bring enough to feed 8 people, and to rotate contributions. That means bring pasta one week, bread another week, etc. Each family is also asked to bring drinks (soda, water, or lemonade) to share.
My child is only 3 (or 4, or 5). Will he really swim in a meet? That depends! Very young swimmers start in the Lil' Dolphins. The coaches will watch your child’s progress, and determine when she’s ready to try the “big lane.” Every swimmer who can get across the big lane UNAIDED will have the chance to swim in a real meet, and earn a trophy. Children as young as 3 ½ have accomplished this, and four- and five-year-olds are often ready to compete by the end of the season!
We really just want the practice and lessons. We don’t want to participate in meets. Is that OK? No. The SBP Dolphins are a swim team, and all swimmers should expect to participate in meets. Of course, it’s fine if you need to miss a meet or two because of family events, other sports, etc.—just be sure to notify the coaches when your swimmers will be absent. But we do not offer a “lessons-only” option for swimmers or families.
We’d rather just participate in home meets. Is that OK? No. We are part of a league, which means that some meets will be at home, and others will be away.
My child plays a sport with OBGC, and we usually just pay more so that we can be exempt from the volunteer commitment. Can I do that here? We do not offer this option. All families are expected to volunteer in some capacity. A swim meet cannot run without at least 25 volunteers, and so we cannot offer an exemption, because we wouldn’t have enough volunteers. We are reasonable people, though, and of course there are exceptions! We have all had babies and toddlers and spouses who work on weekends, etc. We understand that if you have a baby to take care of and you’re a single parent or your spouse is working, then you can’t be on deck with a stopwatch. That’s OK! There are other ways that you can help, and eventually, your children will be older and you’ll have a free hand. The most important thing is that your child gets a chance to participate! But if you CAN volunteer, then we need you.
What do I bring to a swim meet? Your swimmers need a suit, towel, goggles, and possibly a cap (swimmers with longer hair do much better when they’re wearing caps). Other things to bring/consider:
- Water and healthy snacks! Swim meets are long, and kids get hungry and thirsty. Almost every meet will have a food concession, but these are fundraisers, and the offerings usually include soda, donuts, cookies, hot dogs, etc.—not the healthiest options.
- Shade! We try to bring canopies and umbrellas to away meets, some of which are at pools that provide little or no shade, but if you have a canopy or umbrella, then consider bringing it, too.
- Sunscreen, sunglasses, hats.
- Games, books, puzzles, art supplies, etc. Swimmers only swim three individual events, and one relay. That leaves a lot of down time, and swimmers are not allowed in the pool except during their own events. They’ll be happier if they have something fun to do in between events.
- Warm clothes, depending on the weather. Swim meets start early, and even on warm days, swimmers can get chilly after warm-ups and between events. Consider bringing sweatshirts or hoodies and sweatpants or flannel PJ pants (which are very popular as warm-up wear).
This is all so overwhelming! What did I get myself into? Ha ha! We all remember that feeling, and trust us, it will seem routine after a few weeks. A few things to remember:
- If you’re brand-new to this, start slowly. YES, there is a volunteer requirement, but NO, we do not expect you on deck at every meet during your first season! Take your time and get to know how a swim meet works, and you’ll be in the swing of things in no time. We’re a very friendly group. If you have temporary circumstances (job craziness, deployed spouse, illness) that make it impossible for you to volunteer, PLEASE—let us know! We don’t want anyone thinking that they can’t participate because they can’t help right away.
- Swimmers are encouraged to attend all or as many as possible (swimming is a sport that really depends on frequent practice, and you’ll be amazed at how much they improve when they practice often), but it’s OK if they can’t get to all or even most practices. We have swimmers who participate in other sports, attend camps, have summer jobs/internships, and our coaches know that not every swimmer will make every practice. However, if your child doesn’t have other commitments, then they are encouraged to attend as many practices as possible.