The Junior Olympians serve as the bridge between swimming lessons and competitive swim team. If your child's goal is swimming the entire length of the pool without touching the wall, Junior Olympians may be for them.
How are the Junior Olympians like the regular Olympians?
Junior Olympians will work only on the four competitive strokes (with an emphasis on freestyle and backstroke). They will also learn things like stroke transitions, streamline, and starting off the blocks. They will be in the team picture, they will receive an end-of-the-year team-member medallion and are eligible to enter themselves in all four invitationals as part of the Olympians Swim Team. They will be coached at different times by each member of the El Paso Olympians coaching staff, in addition to having a dedicated coaching staff of their own (comprised of Olympian swimmers).
How are the Junior Olympians different from the regular Olympians?
Junior Olympians will only participate at home meets in a special heat in which they swim the stroke they have been working on in practice (if they have been working on freestyle, they swim freestyle). They will only compete as exhibition in the home meets, but will be given participation ribbons. They will not be allowed to compete at away meets or invitationals. The Junior Olympians practices will also focus almost entirely on stroke instruction and technique and their yardage will not be monitored. They can still earn PRs based on exhibition times and invitational times.
The El Paso Olympians Swim Team is a group of competitive swimmers. We train athletes in the four competitive strokes (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle) and then compete against area teams in who can swim those strokes the fastest.
Why should I join a swim team?
There are several reasons for joining a competitive swim team. Your general fitness level will improve greatly with low risk of injury. While being part of a close-knit team, you still have the opportunity to set and achieve individual goals. You will become a stronger swimmer. You will build character through hard work and competition.
Who should join a swim team?
If you know the four competitive strokes and are looking to improve on them and compete against other swimmers, you are perfect for swim team. If you know one or two competitive strokes and desire to improve them while learning the others, swim team is for you as well. If you do not know how to swim and are looking for swim lessons, perhaps you should seek swim lessons prior to joining the team. While we do provide stroke instruction and technique critique, our primary mission is to train swimmers to compete in the sport. If your child wants to join the swim team, but perhaps is not ready for the competitive team, perhaps they should consider joining Junior Olympians.
How long is the season, what all goes on, what if weâ€™re going on vacation?
The seasonâ€™s first practice is the Tuesday after Memorial Day. We will practice evenings until June 3rd. Starting June 3rd we will practice in the mornings (either 8-9 or 9-10). The last meet of the year is July 25th and our end-of-the-year party will be on August 1st. During the season we will have practice every day Monday through Friday. We have dual meets scheduled on most Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the season as well as invitiationals on four Saturdays. If you need to leave on vacation, you will not be penalized, but the coaches need to know which dates you will be gone so they can plan the lineup.
What are practices like?
The first few practices are in the evening and are very instructional (and sometimes cold). Once the school year is officially over (Report Card Day at EPG) we will switch to morning practices. The 8am to 9am practice is for more experienced swimmers and involves more yardage and less technique work. The 9am to 10am practice is usually less yardage and more stroke technique and instruction. Parents are welcome to sit in a lounge chair and watch the practice, some parents have created walking groups and walked on the trail in the park during practice and usually we leave the diving well open during practice and encourage parents to swim some laps of their own while their children are practicing. In between practices (at 9am), we typically have a team meeting to give announcements.
What equipment would my child need to be on swim team?
The Olympians have a team suit which everyone is encouraged to purchase. If you do not want to purchase the official team suit, we also encourage a suit in the team colors of red, white, and blue. I recommend purchasing a couple pairs of goggles and writing your name on every pair. Any swimmer with long hair is encouraged to purchase a team cap to keep hair out of your mouth while swimming and out of the filters of the pool as well. You should also have towels after practice and warm clothes to wear between events at meets. Some parents bring chairs to sit in at meets and light snacks as meets can lst a couple hours. The team provides kickboards, but some swimmers have purchased their own. Swimmers may also bring a non-breakable bottle of water/sports drink to have on the side of the pool so they do not have to get out. If your son/daughter has asthma and has an inhaler, they must bring their inhaler to every practice or they will not be allowed to practice.
What are swim meets like?
There are five types of swim meets: home duals, away duals, home invitationals, away invitationals, and fun meets. At all meets, if a swimmer improves upon their Personal Record (PR) in any event they will receive a beverage to reward their improvement. To facilitate this each swimmer needs to bring in a 12-pack of individually packaged beverages to be used as rewards for self-improvements.
Home Dual Meets -Â We host five home dual meets this year. We close South Pointe Pool at 4:30pm and begin to set up. Swimmers should arrive between 5pm and 5:15 and check in with a coach so we know you are there. Make sure your child is in a bathing suit and ready to go promptly at 5:30 when warmups start. We have a lot of swimmers and very little time to warm them up properly, so it is imperative they are ready when we are. At dual meets there are 10 age groups (8 and under, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, and 15-18 for both boys and girls) and each age group swims 8 events (long free, medley relay, short free, IM, breaststroke, butterfly, backstroke, and freelay); this makes for an 80-event meet. As the host we will need parent volunteers to do the following jobs: time the swimmers; move cards (which are used to record times) from the computer room to the timers and from the timers to the computer room; write and file ribbons; sell concessions; clean up after the meet; run the bullpen; and help organize relays. If you are new to swim team, we would love to train you in how to perform any of those jobs, stay tuned for information on â€œvolunteer training coursesâ€? to be held during practices. At all dual meets we have limited entries which means your child may only get one individual event or one relay. We may run exhibition heats at home to make room for more swimmers. Plan on being at home meets until 8:30 or 9:00pm.
Away Dual Meets -Â We do not have the same level of responsibility at the away meets. We usually need to provide six timers, but that is it. Swimmers still need to arrive at the meet between 5 and 5:15 and be standing on the side of the pool ready to get in and swim at 5:30. Away meets usually end around 8:30 or 9pm and involve less clean up but a longer drive home. Typically, away meets have no option for exhibition heats so your swimmer may only get one or two events. We still need to clean up our area and thank the host for a good meet.
El Paso Invitational -Â Invitationals are large meets which last about eight hours and involve several hundred swimmers. What is awesome about invitationals is that there are no entry limitations (so all 20 9-10 girls can swim short free if they want). Our invitational is on June 20th and every parent is required to assist at the meet (we have two sessions, so you only need to work a morning shift or an afternoon shift). We have dozens of parents and if each parent/older sibling puts in a small amout of work, the task of running the meet becomes quite simple and actually enjoyable. A signup sheet will be passed around and every parent should plan on signing up for at least one task.
Other Invitationals -Â We go to three other invitationals throughout the season: Pontiac Pentathlon, Lexington Invitational, and Woodford County Open. At Pontiac each swimmer swims all four strokes in addition to the I.M., there are no relays at Pontiac. At Lexington, it is exactly like our meet, each swimmer can pick up to four events to swim and there are no relays. What is different about Lexington is they do a prelims and a finals, so your swimmer may be asked to come back to compete again. While we have been to the Woodford County Open before, this year it is different. We will be scoring the County meet as a team meet and we have added relays to the meet. Invitationals are some of the most exciting meets of the year, they allow you to compete against several swimmers at the same time, they are a chance to compete as a team for a team trophy, and they are an opporunity to achieve four or five individual PRs in the same meet. My goal for the team is to have 100 Olympian PRs at every invitational this year.