Need To Know


Rules


Please remember that our team is a guest at North High School. So we need all team members to be on their best behavior. Rules that we must all follow are: 1. Never enter the pool without a coach's permission. 2. No horseplay in pool area, locker rooms, or hallways. 3. Stay in pool area, locker rooms (when necessary), and pool hallways Please show respect to each other and take time to encourage, help, and mentor our younger swimmers.

What to Watch at a Swim Meet


Swimming for time is what this sport is all about, and a swim meet is the opportunity for the swimmers to see how they are progressing to their season goals. It is also a measure of their training. It normally takes a swimmer practicing 3 times a week 16-18 weeks to reach peak form. During the summer, the Otters practice daily for 6 or 7 weeks. As you can see, it is very important that the swimmers be at practice every day to be in shape for the Conference Meet. When you attend a swim meet, it is important to cheer for not only your swimmer, but also Otters swimming in other Events, and other team’s swimmers who have good swims. If you are new to the Sport, the following may help you become familiar with some swimming terminology and strokes.

THE RACING COURSE


There are 3 major types of pools in competitive swimming: Short Course Yards (25 yds), Short Course Meters (25 m), and Long Course Meters (50 m). Most pools in the Central Hawkeye Swim Conference and the 2 Rivers Swim Conference are 25-yard pools. Pella, Colfax, and Indianola have 25-meter pools. For comparison, the Birdland Pool next to North High for competition is a 50-meter Long Course Pool. Conference Records and NSST Team records are based on Short Course Yard times. 9 & 10 and older age group swimmers always start at the deep end of the pool, usually on blocks, which are 30 inches above the water. 8 & Under Events start in the shallow end, except for the 50 Freestyle, the 100 Individual Medley, and Relays. With rare exception, Events will always conclude in the deep end. Many pools use automatic timing systems, others use timers and stopwatches. The Conference Championship Meet is always in a 25 yard pool and always uses an automatic timing system with hand-held watch back-up.

THE MEET

There are 5 age groups recognized by both our Conferences: 8 & Under, 9 & 10, 11 & 12, 13 & 14, and 15 & Over. There are 6 Individual Events and 2 Relays each for each age group for boys and girls in a swimming meet. Additionally, there are 3 Distance Events: the 200 Freestyle and 500 Freestyle. There is a 200 Freestyle Event for 12 & Under swimmers, and a 200 Freestyle and 500 Freestyle for 13 & Over swimmers (called “Senior” or “Open” Events). Meets start with the Girls 500 Freestyle, and end with the Boys 15 & Over 100 Breaststroke. although he Order of Events may change. Girls Events are Odd Numbered, Boys Events are Even Numbered.

EVENTS versus HEATS


An Event is a given gender, age group, distance, and stroke, e.g. Girls 9 & 10 50 yard Freestyle. An Event is made up of Heats. Each Heat has 1-6 swimmers (unless the pool has more than six lanes, like SE Polk High School). Unless there are fewer than 3 swimmers in an Event, the Clerk of Course should seed at least 3 swimmers in a Heat, slowest to fastest. The middle lanes are reserved for the faster swimmers. Remember, just because a swimmer wins their Heat that does not mean they have won first place in the Event. Because we swim “Timed Finals”, the times for all swimmers in an Event are compared. The overall fastest time is the Event winner. They can come from ANY Heat and any lane.

FREESTYLE

In the Freestyle Event, the competitor may swim any stroke he or she wishes.  Because it is usually the swimmer’s fastest stroke, the usual stroke is the Australian Crawl.  This stroke is characterized by the alternate overhand motion of the arms and a flutter kick.  In all competition, the swimmer’s head must surface within 15 meters of the start of the race.  Freestyle is swum in 25- (8 & Under), 50-, 100- (10 & Under and older), 200- (12 & Under, 13 & Over) and 500-yard (13 & Over) distances.

BACKSTROKE

In the Backstroke Event, the swimmer must stay on his/her back except during turns.  The stroke is an alternating motion of the arms--much like the crawl--with a flutter kick.  The swimmer may do either a “roll-and-flip” turn or an “open” turn.  The Swimmer may roll for the turn as soon as their head passes the Backstroke Flags.  In out conference, after the Swimmer has rolled to his/her stomach, he/she may kick in to the wall, but can not take more than one stroke on their stomach. This is why they need to count their strokes to the wall.  The swimmer MUST remain on his/her back at the end of a race.  In all competition, the swimmer’s head must surface within 15 meters of the start of the race.  Backstroke is swum in 25- (8 & Under), 50- (9 & 10 and 11 & 12), and 100-yard (13 & 14, 15 & Over) distances.

BREASTSTROKE

The Breaststroke is probably the most technically difficult stroke to master.  It requires simultaneous movements of the arms on the same horizontal plane.  The hands are pushed forward from the breast on or under the surface of the water and brought backward in the propulsive stage of the stroke simultaneously.  The kick is a simultaneous thrust of the legs called a “frog” or Breaststroke kick.  No flutter or dolphin kicking is allowed.  At the start of the race, the swimmer is allowed one pull and one kick (in that order) while under water.  After that, the swimmer’s head MUST break the surface during each subsequent stroke  and they may not pull beyond their hips.  Swimmers must touch the wall with both hands at the same time both before executing their turn and at the finish of the stroke.  Breaststroke is swum in 25- (8 & Under), 50- (9 & 10 and 11 & 12), and 100-yard (13 & 14, 15 & Over) distances.

BUTTERFLY

The Butterfly is probably the most physically demanding stroke to master.  It features the simultaneous overhead stroke of the arms combined with the dolphin kick.  The dolphin kick requires both legs moving up and down together.  No flutter kicking is allowed.  In all competition, the swimmer’s head must surface within 15 meters of the start of the race.  As in the Breaststroke, swimmers must touch the wall with both hands at the same time before executing their turn and at the finish of the stroke.  The Butterfly was “born” in the early 1950’s as a loophole in the Breaststroke rules.  Butterfly is swum in 25- (8 & Under), 50- (9 & 10 and 11 & 12), and 100-yard (13 & 14, 15 & Over) distances.

INDIVDUAL MEDLEY

The Individual Medley, commonly called the “IM”, features all four competitive strokes.  In the IM, the order of strokes is Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, Crawl.  Each stroke lasts 1/4 of the race, and each stroke’s individual rules apply during that time.  However, in USA-Swimming, the ‘no-touch” Backstroke turn may only be used during the middle of a 50- or 100-yard Backstroke leg, not at the Backstroke/Breaststroke exchange.  Our conferences follow High School rules and we also can not do the “roll-and-flip”  In the backstroke they must stay on there back until they touch the wall then switch to Breaststroke.  The IM is swum in 100- (8 & Under, 9 & 10 and 11 & 12), and 200-yard (13 & 14, 15 & Over) distances.

MEDLEY RELAY

In the Medley Relay all four strokes are swum by four different swimmers.  No swimmer may swim more than one leg of the relay, which is swum in Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly, Crawl order.  The Medley Relay is swum in 100-yard (8 & Under), and 200-yard (9 & 10 and 11 & 12, 13 & 14, 15 & Over) distances.  An individual record may only be set by the Backstroker on a Medley Relay.

FREESTYLE RELAY

In the Freestyle Relay, four swimmers each swim 1/4 of the total distance.  As in the Medley Relay, no swimmer may swim more than one leg of the relay.  Because it is a “Freestyle” Relay, any stroke or combination of strokes is legal.  However, if a swimmer decides to swim a stroke other than Crawl, they should conform to the rules of the individual stroke (kicks, touches, etc.).   Even though it is “legal”, it is not a good habit to deliberately swim a stroke illegally.  It could carry over to an Individual Event.  The Free Relay is swum in 100-yard (8 & Under), and 200-yard (9 & 10 and 11 & 12, 13 & 14, 15 & Over) distances.  An individual record may be set by the leadoff swimmer on a Freestyle Relay.

DISQUALIFICATIONS

Disqualifications, or “DQs” are a part of competitive swimming.  A Disqualification can result from an improper arm stroke, an improper kick, not following the rules for an individual stroke, a missed or illegal turn, a false start, leaving early on a Relay Event, swimming a Medley Event out of stroke-order, failure to obey an Official, jumping/falling in the water (usually as the result of horseplay) or other reasons. Remember, if any ONE swimmer on a Relay is disqualified, the entire Relay is disqualified.  If a non-competing swimmer enters the water (jumps in or is pushed in), any and ALL team members competing in the Event are disqualified from that Event, and the offender is also disqualified from his/her NEXT Event.  So Swimmers - Please listen to the Coaches and Officials when they ask you to move away from the edge of the pool.

Everyone is disqualified at some time.  Please help your swimmer use a Disqualification as a learning experience.