By Reach for the Wall Staff Writers.
As the short course season (in 25 yard pools) has wrapped up here in the DMV, so begins the long course (LC) season (in 50 meter pools). As discussed in a previous article, the short course season is actually the longer of the two (i.e., 7 months). While the long course season is short (less than 5 months), it is also known as the insanity season.
PVS swimmers do not compete in many long course meets. Generally, there is an early “open” meet in April or early May, an early “invitational” meet (e.g., Maryland or Virginia state champs), another open meet (e.g., PVS LC 1 and 2), perhaps a travel meet, and then an end-of-the season invitational meet: LC Age Group Championships (commonly referred to as “Summer JO’s” or “LC JOs”) for the younger kids and Junior/Senior Champs for the older kids. Many of the younger swimmers will continue on to Zones and Sectionals. The older and more seasoned swimmers will have their eye on a slightly larger prize and will be heading to some of the more elite meets, such as Futures, Jr. Nationals and the U.S. Open, with the ultimate summer vacation taking place in Rio de Janeiro in August – either as a spectator or participant in the 2016 Olympics. Those not fortunate enough to go to Rio will cram an entire summer of fun into two weeks mid-August. The Delaware and Maryland shores are popular destinations of choice for many swim families.
Four or five long course meets? Sounds easy. The insanity is that most of the LC season coincides with the summer league swim season (in 25 meter pools). In addition to the long course meets, many summer league swimmers participate in at least 5 dual meets and a relay carnival (or two) and some swimmers also participate in summer league invitational meets like MCSL’s divisionals, coaches long course (technically this one should go into our long course tally, but we will leave it with summer swimming for simplicity sake), all-star relays and individual all-stars. In July, it’s usually easier to mark the days on the calendar when you DO NOT have a meet.
With all these meets, when do kids practice? Most club swimmers practice with their club team in the early hours of the morning – usually around 1.5 to 2 hours a day. Some will even practice Saturday morning before their summer league meets. They also may attend a few practices a week with their summer team.
One would think, with it being long course season, that the kids would practice in a long course pool. Unfortunately, in the DMV, the demand for long course pools greatly exceeds the supply. A small handful of club swimmers spend their entire summer practicing in a long course pool. Many only practice in the longer pool a few times a week, and some may never practice in a LC pool.
Despite the insanity, the summer months are our favorites. You get great competition in the LC meets, fun team competition in the summer leagues, nachos, ring pops, the 4th of July, meets in the rain, and most importantly, the kids develop friendships and create memories that last a lifetime. At Reach For The Wall, we know the coming months are a wild and crazy ride. It’s also a lot of fun. We wish your swimmers the best of luck. Parents, don’t forget to breathe. And book your August vacation now.
Please sound off in the comments below. We want to know how often you practice long course? Do you think that the LC results are reflective of the number of times you practice in a long course pool? If you practice all summer with your club, how often do your kids practice with their summer teams?