The Holland USA program is made up of swimmers of all ages from Holland and many other area towns. Our USA team is Michigan Lakeshore Aquatics and includes swimmers from around the Michigan lakeshore area.
Our swimmers swim USA for a number of reasons which include:
- To improve high/middle school times
- Get more intense age group experience
- Attain a higher level of competition and training
Those considering USA should first achieve WMSL Conference “A” times (see page Conf. ‘A’ times) for the age group they will compete in. Those who question their level of ability should first talk to Don about involvement. When evaluating a swimmer, he will take into account not only speed and physical skill, but also whether a swimmer is prepared mentally. All USA swimmers are expected to make a more involved commitment to practice and show the ability to use their mind as well as their body. As always, our goal is to help swimmers to realize their full potential in the sport of swimming, whether that be local success or at the state or national level. In general, our USA swimmers are trying to reach a higher level and feel that the added time and commitment are valuable.
The winter USA team swims “short course” meets that are held in 25 yard pools, just like Age Group. Most USA meets consist of several sessions. They usually begin with a Friday session, followed by two sessions each on Saturday and Sunday. A swimmer may choose to attend one or more sessions appropriate for his/her age group. Swimmers are free to choose which events they want to swim within the guidelines of each particular meet. There is a fee set by the hosting club for each event, plus a Michigan surcharge of $3.00 per swimmer. Swimmers do not need to enter or pay for relays – the MLA coaches decide who will swim in the relays. (Be sure to let your coach know if you DO NOT want to swim relays at a particular meet).
All swimmers who participate in meets conducted by Michigan Swimming (MS) or its member clubs must be registered with USA Swimming. The individual registration fee is $75 per calendar year, with registrations received after September 1 continued until December 31 of the following year.
Families are also required to work sessions at our hosted meets throughout the year, regardless of their swimmers participation in that meet.
AGE GROUP CLASSIFICATIONS —
At the meets, swimmers are grouped by age, gender, and swimming ability. The age groups usually used in Michigan are 8 & under, 10 & under, 11-12, 13-14, and 15-18. Other groupings sometimes used in MS meets are “mini meets” for 8 & under swimmers, and “own-age meets” in which swimmers compete in single-year age groups. Some meets offer “open” events for swimmers of any age who have achieved the relevant time standard. Open events usually are offered to accommodate the needs of high school and post-high school swimmers.
TIME STANDARDS –
In order to facilitate the management of swim meets, MS classifies swimmers into three ability levels labeled AA/Q1, A/Q2, and B/Q3. The levels are defined by the time standards (see below), where Q1/AA is the fastest group, Q2/A the next fastest, etc. For example, in a “B” meet (remember, this is USA not age group conference!), all of the swimmers in a given event will have achieved times equal to or better than the B time standard, but slower than the A time standard. The time standards used in MS meets are unique to Michigan and are not related to the national motivation times. MS time standards may be adjusted from year-to-year to reflect the anticipated number of swimmers in each ability level.
STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS –
In order to compete at the State Meet, swimmers must meet “AA/Q1” time standards. Qualifying times must have been achieved at or since the previous year’s state championship meet. In addition, any swimmer who qualifies for an event(s) in the state championship meet in one season (e.g., short course) is automatically qualified to enter that equivalent event(s) in the championship meet the following season. (e.g., long course), provided that the time achieved is a qualifying time in the swimmer’s age group at the next season’s championship meet. Athletes automatically qualified for state meet events must enter at the cut. Time conversions are not intended for use in state championship meets.
For swimmers wishing to go beyond the State level, there are Zone “AAA” time standards, where the Central Zone states compete against each other. The Zone meets are annual and only held in the summer. Swimmers may use winter short course times (but you must enter at the Zone cut) to qualify for Zone.
The official Michigan Swimming Guide, as well as meet results, top 16 times, meet schedules, and much more information can be found through the link trike scooter.
The Beginning and End of Practice
How we start and end practices is important. We want a happy and safe beginning and end.
Many parents of newer, younger swimmers like to personally accompany their children on to the deck at the start of practice, watch practice, and then accompany their child off the deck. Here are some tips for a smooth parent to coach transfer of your young swimmer.
First, make sure your child has all the equipment they are going to need. Kickboard, fins, cap, goggles, and water bottle are the most common accessories in most programs. (Please write your children’s name on all items.)
Next, please release your child directly to the coach and do not simply send your child to the pool side. The coach will want to warmly greet your child and give him or her instructions. Secondly, it alerts the coach as to who is here. This is especially important if you are late to practice — always have the swimmer check in with the coach.
Next, step back, find a comfortable place, and watch with sheer joy your young one’s swimming experience. And please, avoid contact with your swimmer so that their attention is on the coach.
How we end practice is as important as how we begin. Please do not approach the pool deck and take your child out of the water. It is the responsibility of the coach to officially end the practice and see to it that everyone is out of the water. Often, the coach wants to talk to the swimmers before they go, and, in our program our stroke school swimmers do a little cheer at the end of practice.
If you need to take your child from practice early, alert the coach at the beginning of practice (and again if necessary as the coach may forget) and allow the coach to get the swimmer out of the water. The coach then has the opportunity to say some nice parting words and has the knowledge that she has left the pool. Never take your child out of the water directly – always work through the coach.