Burnout is a term that is improperly used in most cases. I would suspect that any of us would be hard pressed to honestly explain how putting a young person in an environment where they are learning and mastering skills, spending time with teammates and coaches who care about them, and exercising daily is cause for burnout.
"Burnout" typically occurs when swimmers stop getting faster at a rate that keeps them excited about competing. With that said, we find very few swimmers who are getting faster and talking about "burnout" at the same time. There are a variety of good reasons for these "plateau" periods and the key to navigating through them is good communication between athletes and coaches.
Coaches spend a lot of time helping their athletes keep their competitive results and training in perspective. In fact, it is often during the times of struggling that the young person will learn the most valuable lessons the sport has to offer them. “Burn-out” became a popular term in the 70’s and 80’s when yardage based swimming was popular vs. technical and speed related training. Our program is based around great technique instead of huge volumes of yardage.
While there are certainly real instances of "burnout" in the sport, they are very rare. The coaching staff is committed to working with each swimmer on the team through the ups and downs the competitive swimming career has to offer. If you are concerned about "burnout", please feel free to contact your child's primary coach to discuss the matter more thoroughly.
The short answer is yes. However, we do have guidelines for swimmers at different levels of the program to consider when they are planning to participate in another sport.
10 & under swimmers We do not discourage our swimmers from participating in other sports in this age group. In some cases it may even enhance athletic ability and overall physical development. We do encourage our swimmers to continue to swim while participating in the other sport instead of taking time off so that their swimming skills do not regress significantly. We also ask our swimmers to consider our competitive calendar (especially the team focus meets) when making commitments to competitive events offered by the other sport.
11-13 year old swimmers This age range includes a vital "window" of time for the aerobic development of a swimmer. Swimmers who have any kind of long term goals in the sport such as national level swimming or swimming in college should be very wary of activities that take them away from consistent training during these ages. While additional sports are not necessarily frowned upon at this stage, the decisions that will shape how far the swimmer progresses in the sport are certainly made during this time frame in most cases.
14-18 year old Swimmers who have the talent and commitment levels necessary for upper level success in swimming are typically committed to excluding other sports from their schedule at this point. However, there are many swimmers at this age who still want to compete in club swimming while experiencing other sports and activities offered at the high school level. We will not discourage them from doing so and our coaching staff will be supportive as they make these decisions during their latter high school years.
HOW TO ENTER A SWIM MEET
1.0 What is Southern California Swimming?
Southern California Swimming (SCS) is a Local Swim Committee(LSC) and part of USA Swimming, the main governing body of competitive swimming in the United States. Within SCS, there are five committees. The Piranhas is in the Eastern Committee. In general, we compete against teams from within the Eastern Committee which incorporates the teams from the Inland Empire. In addition to Coastal, there are the Metro, Pacific, Coastal, and Orange sections as part of our LSC.
1.1 How often should my child compete?
The Piranha competes year round. We average around one to two meets a month. Which meet your athlete attends depends on the group and level of achievements attained. Each coach reviews that groups meet schedule often via email. Meet schedules with lists of groups asked to attend are on our website.
1.2 What are the different kinds of meets?
There are numerous types of meets. The few listed below are the most common:
Red/White/Blue Meet – Swimmers of all levels are invited to compete in these meets. The Piranhas often waits to send beginner swimmers to these meets until the coaches feel they are ready.
Blue/Red Meet – Only swimmers with Red or Blue times may compete in this meet. Swimmers with White times in a particular event or who have never swum a particular event (NT (No Time)) may not compete (in that event).
Age Group Championship: Swimmers who have achieved a Winter Age Group (WAG) time or a June Age Group (JAG) time or better may compete in these championship meets (held twice a year). These are team scored championship meets.
Junior Olympics: Meet for swimmers aged between 10 and 18 years old. Standards for Winter Junior Olympics and Summer Junior Olympics must be achieved to swim in the meets. Occasionally swimmers may be asked to attend the Junior Olympics without having reached these standards to participate in relays.
1.3 How do I register my child for a swim meet?
Each group handles meet registration differently. Information will be given to the parents at our monthly parents meeting. Speak to your coach if you have any questions and make sure with each group promotion you are clear on the new groups process.
1.4 My child is new to the sport or is weak in a certain stroke does
he/she have to compete against the best swimmers?
No. When a child swims an event for the first time, he/she is listed as a NT swimmer. At the meet the children are seeded by best times. No Time (NT) swimmers will swim together. While it will not be clear who is competing at what level in the pool, when the results are posted, they will be sorted by level. Generally awards are given to the top 8 swimmers in all three levels.
1.5 How does a Southern California Swimming Swim meet work?
The swim meets are very organized events that run like clockwork. When you arrive you find your team, check in, and warm up. Once the meet begins you will hear periodic announcements about what race is in the water. Before your race, check in with the coaches and then again after the race.
ATTENDING A SWIM MEET
2.0 Where are the meets?
Most of our meets are within a 30 to 60 minute drive
2.1 What are the parent’s responsibilities at a meet?
Each team is assigned a certain number of timing chairs based upon the number of swimmers their team has entered in the meet. It is expected that every family provide a timer for at least one hour of the meet. Timing is actually rather fun and gives you a front row view of the pool. Depending on the pool, your responsibilities will range from pressing a button, to using a stopwatch, to writing the swimmer’s time on a sheet. It’s easy and possibly the most helpful thing you can do for your team on race day and provide a great meet experience for all athletes.
2.2 What should my child wear?
Visible Piranhas team clothing needs to be worn at all meets. The team has periodic sales of clothing. In addition, team suits, backpacks and parkas can be ordered all year long. For order information please see someone in the office. Remember to bring several towels to every meet.
2.3 How do I check in at a meet?
First, be sure to arrive early. Your child needs to locate his/her coach and begin warm-ups on time. Coaches will text arrival time prior to the meet and/or post it on the website. Usually the coach budgets some time for check-in. A check-in table will be somewhere near the pool. Your child (not you) MUST check in. They will be told their event numbers and marked as present and accounted for. It’s not a bad idea for your child to write his/her event numbers on their arm. Not checking in can mean not swimming events.
Once a swimmer has checked-in they are committed to swim. If your child does not show up at an event, he/she or the team can be penalized. If you must leave or your child gets ill after you've checked in, return to the administration desk and “scratch” your child. If the event is about to happen, have your child speak to their coach immediately and receive direction from the meet officials as far as how to proceed.
2.4 How do I find out my heat and lane assignment?
When you arrive at a meet there will be a wall of information usually broken down by boys and girls. Here you will see a sheet (psych sheets) for each event. Locate your child’s events and make sure they are listed. If they are not or they are listed wrong, go to your coach. If they are listed correct, do nothing.
A few events before your child is to swim, a new sheet will go up on top of the psyche sheet. This sheet will have heat and lane assignments and will tell you what heat and lane your child will swim.
At this time he/she should report to the coaching staff and inform them of the heat and lane. The coaches will give them some last minute advice and send them off.
2.5 How does my child get to his/her event?
The coaches are very busy timing and prepping swimmers for their events and therefore cannot get your child to the starting blocks. We do promote that parents keep an eye on the pool and watch what events are in the water as well as the current heat. But we also promote parents sending your swimmers to the blocks alone and teach them to learn this process at a very early age. Swimmers usually need to be around the blocks or in the warm up pool at least one event (not heat) prior to theirs. It is best to have them check in with the timers of their lane to be sure they’re in the right place at the right time. Teaching your swimmer how to get to his/her event on their own is an important part of the process of developing our athletes. Swimmers may miss an event as part of this process. We see that as a learning experience and something all swimmers do at some point. It's learning from that experience that the coach will encourage at our early levels.
2.6 What do we do after a race?
Immediately after your child’s race, after you hug him or her and tell them something positive, send them off to the coaches who will review their time and discuss the race. Warm down will happen as well following the race either before or after talking to the coach. If that was their last race of the day and there are no relays planned, they are free to go unless otherwise instructed by your coach.
2.7 When does my child get his/her awards?
Ribbons and medals are usually handed out to your child in the week after the meet.
2.8 The meet is outdoors and it looks like rain
Rain does not stop a swim meet since it does not impede the swimmer’s performance. The only exception to that would be an electrical storm. Any meet cancellation would be announced on our website as well as email as soon as a decision was made. If no message is on our website or emailed from a coach, head to the meet.
2.9 Where do we sit at a swim meet? You are allowed to sit anywhere you like that is not roped off. Bring a canopy to stay out of the sun and folding chairs are a must. Tarps, heaters, blankets, sleeping bags are all advisable in cold weather. Some meets we have official team areas for swimmers only but not always.
GENERAL SWIM MEET QUESTIONS
3.0 Is there food and swim gear available at the meets?
Yes, most every meet has an extensive snack bar that serves breakfast and lunch at a very reasonable price as well as snacks. You may want to pack an ice chest with healthy snacks and a lunch. Bring plenty of water and sports drinks for your athlete. Swim merchants are also found at most meets selling goggles, suits, etc. We recommend you plan ahead though and pack extra goggles, caps, and suits.
3.1 How does a swimmer get disqualified?
Southern California Swimming supplies numerous official for every meet. Officials pay careful attention to every detail from the start to the finish of a race. Swimmers who false start or do an incorrect stroke or maneuver will, in all likelihood, will be disqualified. At the end of the race an official will explain the infraction. Getting DQ’d is upsetting, but it happens to everyone and should be used as an educational experience.
3.2 How long are swim meets?
Most swim meets are two day long events. However, they are split into two sessions, a morning and an afternoon. Each session is carefully planned not to exceed four hours (but sometimes they do). However, there are certain championship meets that have no time limit. These are very big meets and you can expect to spend the better part of your day there. Almost every meet we’ll attend will be at least two days long (Saturday and Sunday). Your coach will recommend the days you should attend.
3.3 What is long course and what is short course?
The swim season begins in September with short course. These meets compete in 25 yard pools (usually the width of a 50 meter pool). For 8 & unders these meets offer the 25 yard events that are great for entry level swimmers. Long course is a 50 meter (Olympic sized) pool. The minimum length of events in this pool are 50 meters (1 lap).
3.4 Do we hold any meets at our home pool?
Yes and no. Currently The Piranhas sponsors several meets a year. Those meets are held in Palm Springs by the main branch of The Piranhas. We are hoping that eventually our division will have the ability to host swim meets at the Drayson center.
3.5 Is swimming too competitive for my child?
No. Unlike other sports, USA swimming has taken pains to insure the swimming is both fun and inspiring. To that end not only do the swimmers compete against children of their own age, but due to the A/B/C system, they compete against swimmers of their own skill level usually as well.
3.6 When will my child be promoted to the next group?
Promotion is based largely on the swimmer’s skill levels combined with their ability to achieve time standards for their age group. Coaches make periodic evaluation and promote accourdingly. Please see our "promotions" tab or contact your coach if you have questions in this area.
3.7 How often should my child practice?
Each group offers a different amount of workouts a week and has different attendance expectations. The amount of time asked starts at a low level and increases as your swimmer progresses through our groups. The low impact nature of swimming and the carefully designed progression of our program are designed to improve your swimmer without adding stress to the body that can cause injury.
3.8 Where do I find out more about Swimming online?
Look up our external links