A few people have asked about swimmers “swimming up” – i.e. swimming in races above their age bracket. For example, you might see an 11 year old swim in the 14 & under fly event with 13 and 14 year olds. Why does this happen? It is not a mistake – it is done on purpose in A meets. There are a couple of major benefits.
First, in the A meets, the teams accumulate points for each swimmer/relay team, depending on how they finish. If we don’t have three swimmers in each race, we lose the opportunity to accumulate as many points as we can. For example, if we only have two 13-14 boys who can swim legal fly, we could finish first and second, but still not maximize our points because we have no third swimmer to finish third, fourth or even fifth (only sixth place gets no points). If we have four 11-12 boys who can swim legal fly, it makes sense to have one of our 11-12 boys swim up with the 13-14 boys so that we have a chance to maximize our points in that event. Again, our 13-14 boys finish first and second, but this time our 11 year old swimming up finishes fifth – the team gets an additional point. Since we had four swimmers in11-12 boys, we aren’t losing anything by having one of them swim up because we still have three legal swimmers in 12 & under fly (the most we can have).
Second, this creates opportunities for swimmers to compete in A meets in events they would otherwise not have the chance to compete in. Using the above example, the fourth fastest 11-12 boy would not normally swim fly at the A meet because there are three faster swimmers in the event, and only three swimmers from each team are allowed to swim an event. By having someone swim up, the fourth fastest boy gets to swim fly in an A meet.
(Who exactly is chosen to swim up is a little more complicated than the hypothetical examples above because there is a limit on how many events each individual can swim, and you may not want to swim up the fourth fastest swimmer as the coaches try to anticipate how to maximize points. Perhaps the third fastest swimmer swims up. Nonetheless, the stated benefits are the same.)
If your child is scheduled to swim up in an event, you should reassure them that the coaches have selected them because they have the confidence that your child can not only survive, but succeed individually while also helping the team gain points.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Your Swim Team Gurus.
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