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Swim Team 101

  • The season runs from the Tuesday after Memorial Day through the last weekend in July. Until school ends for summer, all practices are held in the afternoon. After school ends, there will be both morning and afternoon practice options.
  • “A” meets are held on Saturday mornings and “B” meets are held on Wednesday evenings.
  • The team is open to all members of the pool, aged 5-18, who can swim the length of the pool without assistance. Swimmers compete based on their ages as of June 1.
  • While the children are swimming, the parents, guardians, and other family members help run the team. Swim team is a family experience!

What are time trials? Clerk of what? Ever wonder about some of the terms you hear at the pool? Read below to brush up on swim team lingo and learn a little more about our season:

SWIM MEETS — Swimmers from the Olney Mill Swim Team (OMST) can participate in A Meets, B Meets, Relay Carnival, Divisionals, Coaches Long Course, and All-Star meets.  More details on all the types of meets are here: Types of Meets

AGE GROUPS — Swimmers are broken up by age group for male and female: 8 years old and younger, 9-10 years old, 11-12 years old, 13-14 years old, and 15-18 years old. 

ALL-STAR TIME — The time necessary to qualify to swim in the MCSL All Star Meet. 

AUTOMATION — The computerized system of creating meet entries, running and scoring a meet. Automation is used for both A and B meets.

"B" RELAY CARNIVAL — Olney Mill makes every attempt to participate in a "B" Relay Carnival. The "B" Relay Carnival is only open to those swimmers who did not participate in the "A" Relay Carnival. see here for more details on the "A" Relay CarnivalTypes of Meets

BACKSTROKE FLAGS — A string of pennants stretched over the pool so that when performing the backstroke, swimmers will know how far away the wall is in order to successfully execute their turns and finishes.

CERTIFIED OFFICIAL — Unlike other sports where leagues hire paid officials, swim teams rely on volunteers. At each meet, teams must supply a certain number of officials who have attended MCSL certification clinics to learn league rules and procedures. The positions include: referee, starter, chief judge, and stroke-and-turn judges.

CLERK OF COURSE — Swimmers called for a race report first to the Clerk of Course. This is a designated area where parent volunteers check the swimmers in for each event. 

DIVISIONS / DIVISION H — The MCSL is divided into fifteen divisions (A-O) with six (6) teams in each division. Assignment to a division is based on a team’s performance from the previous year. The Olney Mill Otters will swim in Division H for the 2023 season.

DQ — To be disqualified from an event. A swimmer (or relay team) can be “DQed” for a number of things, most commonly for not doing a stroke correctly or for a false start. Swimmers may complete their races but their times will not “count” and no points are earned.

EVENT / HEAT — At a swim meet, races are organized by age groups, gender, and stroke. Each race is called an "event." Events are ordered and numbered. Each event may have a series of "heats" (races). Heats will have 6-8 (depending on the pool size) swimmers in each, which are seeded (organized) by swimmer's times (slowest to fastest). 

HEAT WINNER — The swimmer who swims the fastest for that heat or group of six swimmers. They are not necessarily the winner of the event, because at a B meet there can be many heats. At an A meet, there are two heats for each age group for freestyle. At a B meet each heat winner is given a ribbon upon exiting the pool.

LADDER — The ranking of swimmers (fastest to slowest) based on their personal best time, by age group and event. The ladder is updated after each swim meet.

LANE SHEET — The paper used to record times for each event. The lane sheets are on a clipboard with a pen and each lane sheet includes the swimmers ’names in that lane for each event and their seed time. One timer from each lane records all three times onto the lane sheet, circles the median time, and gives it to the runner to bring to automation.

IM — Individual Medley, an event in which the swimmer uses all four competitive strokes in the following order: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle.

MCSL — Montgomery County Swim League is the body that governs, organizes and sponsors the competitive swimming across the approximately 90 pools that make up the league. http://mcsl.org

MEET PROGRAM — The meet program lists all the swimmers participating in each event, which heat and lane they are in, and their seed times for each event. The meet program will be emailed to all families before the meet.  

OFFICIALS — Volunteers trained by MCSL to run a meet. 

OMSC — Olney Mill Swim Club (the "pool")

OMST — Olney Mill Swim Team (the "team")

POOL DECK — The concrete area surrounding the pool on all sides. 

PRE-TEAM — A developmental program for those swimmers who are learning the fundamentals of swimming. The coaches will hold a pre-team evaluation to assess if swimmers are ready for a pre-team placement. Pre-team swimmers are members of the Olney Mill swim team and take part in all team activities, including Pep Rallies and Friday breakfasts. The Pre-Team season culminates with some fun races at our annual “Popsicle Mini Meet.”

PEP RALLY — Most Friday mornings before an A meet the team has a pep rally led by our coaches and older swimmers. These are social events for the team and all swimmers are invited to attend. Kids will cheer, play games, and generally engage in maximum fun! Coaches will select a theme for each pep rally and send it out to the team via email.

PERSONAL BEST / PR — The swimmers’ best (fastest) time for each event from the whole swim season. The personal best times are used by the coaches to create the ladder. 

POINTS — For each event at an A meet, a first-place finish earns the team 6 points. Second-place earns 4 points, third-place earns 3 points, fourth-place earns 2 points and fifth-place earns 1 point. The points are totaled for each team. The team with the most points wins.

RESULTS — The results of the events are posted (usually taped to the wall) after they have been verified and scored. After the meet, the complete results are emailed out to the team and can be found on the MCSL website.   

SCRATCH — Removal of a swimmer from the lineup.  

SEED TIME — The time used by the coaches to chose entries for a meet. These times are listed in the meet program. 

STROKES — There are four individual strokes: freestyle, backstroke, butterfly and breaststroke. Each stroke has a set of rules that govern how it should be legally swam.

SWIM CAP — Each swimmer is given, and encouraged to wear, a swim cap for practice and meets. For meets, only swim caps with our pool’s name and logo can be worn, OR a plain swim cap with no logo or name.

SWIM TEAM AWARDS BANQUET — This family event is held at the end of the regular season. The coaches give out awards and everyone gets a chance to swim. The night ends with dessert and a video of season highlights.

SWIMTOPIA — This is the website and app used to manage the swim team, meet entries, and swimmers’ times. Parents and/or swimmers use Swimtopia need to mark the swimmer’s availability so the coaches know whether or not they can participate in the meets. Parents and swimmers also use the app to keep track of dates, times, and locations of events.

TEAM REPS — These parent volunteers represent the team at all MCSL meetings, hire and supervise coaches, communicate with the team, work with other team reps to schedule B meets, organize parent volunteers for every meet, organize team suits and spirit wear, handle team registrations, work with the pool board, answer questions, cheer for our kids, and more...

TEAM SCORE / SCORE — The team score is made up of points earned by individual events and relays. The team score is totaled and announced at half time and at the conclusion of the meet.

TIME TRIALS — Time trials is the opening (practice) meet of every season, swum so new and updated times can be recorded for swimmers.

VOLUNTEERING — Olney Mill is a parent-run swim team and without the support of ALL parents there would be no swim season. Swim meets require over 30 parent volunteers to run a meet. Volunteer jobs include: Runner, Timer, Automation, Announcer, Clerk of Course, Certified Officials, Concessions, Ribbon Writer, and more.  Details on volunteering can be found on the Volunteer page.

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