Our mission is to prepare motivated young athletes to maximize their potential as competitive swimmers, as part of a team supported by outstanding coaches and involved parents.
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HMST Family Newsletter
Issue 1: Week of September 15, 2013
“The principle is competing against yourself. It’s about self-improvement, about being better than you were the day before.”  --Steve Young
Welcome, new families and returning families, to the 2013-2014 swimming season!  Soggy towels are once again contributing to colorful mildew on the back of bathroom doors.  Goggles that were temporarily misplaced at the end of last season are confirmed as gone for good.  Evening life returns to the Hopkins pool (be sure to look for the rising full moon later this week as you leave the pool after practice).  And it’s time to select the meets that you will attend this season—which brings us to the topic of the inaugural issue of The Chlorinator: How to select which meets to sign up for.
Age of swimmer.  As the name suggests, the Eight and Under meets are restricted to those who are the appropriate age on the day of the meet.   This same policy applies to other age categories as well; the swimmer competes in the age group determined by the swimmer’s age on the day of the meet.  For example, a ten-year-old who swims in the Ten and Under bracket on Sunday and then turns eleven on Wednesday is required to swim in the Twelve and Under bracket in the next meet. 
  • Most of the meets that are not specifically 8 and Under meets do not have separate races for swimmers who are age eight or younger.  However, in most cases those swimmers are welcome to swim in the “older” meets and will swim in the 10 and Under races.  Check with Lisa Earley or the coaches if you have questions about a child’s readiness for swimming in the “older” meets.
Time standards.  Some meets require prior qualifying times.  In other words, a swimmer must have raced an event in a prior meet and must have achieved at least a stated minimum time.  Age group qualifier meets do not have time standards (see below).  Some invitational meets do have time standards, but most do not, and Lisa Earley will inform us if there are time standards.  The “championship meets” (i.e., Regionals, Age Groups, Seniors, and Sectionals) all have increasingly rigorous time standards.
Ask.  If you are unsure of a swimmer’s eligibility for a meet, ask Lisa Earley or the coaches.
TYPES OF MEETS  (Thanks to Lisa Earley for her descriptions; we have borrowed rather liberally from them.)
The schedule of meets for the season (emailed to all families and available in the coaches’ office) includes a variety of types of meets, most of which are appropriate for most of the HMST swimmers, and some of which require prior qualifying times.  The short course season that runs to March includes the following types of meets:
Age group qualifier meets: for all swimmers.  No time standards apply.  This means that a swimmer does not need to have achieved a certain minimum time in an event before the meet.  The swimmer can swim an event in competition for the first time. 
Invitational meets: usually for all swimmers unless it is stated as having time standards.  Lisa Earley will let us know if any of the invitationals require time standards, but most (if not all) that we will attend do not. 
8 and Under meets: for all swimmers ages eight or younger.  Most races are 25 or 50 yards.
Distance meets: events are all 500 yards or longer so these meets are appropriate for the more advanced swimmers.
Regionals, Age Groups, Seniors, and Sectionals: championship meets that all have time standards of increasing degree for qualification.  In order to see if a swimmer has qualified for any of these meets, see the Connecticut Swim web site (www.ctswim.org).  Click on the “FAST database” and choose the “Swimmer Championship Time Qualification” option.  Choose the meet you are checking and put the swimmer’s name in.  A list of events for which the swimmer has qualified will pop up.  Of course you can always check with Lisa Earley or one of the coaches, too.   
Grand Prix meets: have tough time standards; they are for the fastest Senior swimmers who swim like lightning.
Jr. Nationals: have even tougher time standards; they are for the Senior swimmers who swim like greased lightning.
M.I.T. meet: an invitational held at M.I.T.’s pool in Cambridge/Boston on January 11-12, 2014.  Swimmers have the opportunity to bond with their HMST teammates and to swim against out-of-state teams that HMST normally does not compete against.  Most families choose to stay in the same, pre-arranged hotel on Friday and Saturday nights.
HMST-sponsored meets.  These meets are held in our home pool.  HMST swimmers are not charged per race and are strongly encouraged to compete.  Parents are expected to help host the meets by working at the concessions stand or on the pool deck or at the hospitality table.   
The number of meets you sign up for is up to you.  In general, competition is an inspirational and fun experience that contributes to swimmers’ progress and to their sense of belonging to the team.  Swimmers usually compete in more meets as they progress and as they start achieving qualifying time standards.  All swimmers are strongly encouraged to compete in the meets that HMST hosts.
When.  Lisa Earley sends in the entries for every meet well in advance of the meet.  Thus, please notify her of your intentions as soon as possible after her emailed notifications/requests.
Cost.  Usually meets cost $5-$8 per “splash” (race) for each swimmer.  A swimmer can expect to swim up to 8 events on a full weekend meet, up to 4 events in a one day meet and up to 2 events in a distance meet.  You have established or will establish an “account” with the team from which these charges are withdrawn.  You will need to add funds to the account from time to time depending on how many meets/events a swimmer participates in. 
Event selection.  Coaches decide which events (races) a swimmer will compete in. (More on this in a later newsletter.)  The events in which a swimmer is entered are usually posted on the pool wall outside the coaches’ office several weeks in advance.  Sometimes changes to the events can be made on the day of the race or in advance.  Again, ask Lisa Earley or the coaches if you have questions about a swimmer’s events.  Also, you can see which events are offered in a meet and/or the order in which the events occur by looking up the meet on www.ctswim.org.  (More about the website below.)
Schedule changes.  Occasionally meets are cancelled or added to the schedule for a variety of reasons.  Lisa notifies us of these changes as soon as she hears of them.
You can find out more about each meet by looking it up on the Connecticut Swimming webstie (www.ctswim.org).  On the homepage, click on “Meets” on the menu bar near the top of the page for a list of all Connecticut Swimming meets for the current season.  You can click on the link in the “Announcement” column next to a particular meet to find out all sorts of information including details about the hosting facility, the order and scheduled times of events, the warm-up times, etc.  Usually this information is posted well in advance of the meet.
If you have any suggestions for topics, notices, inspirational quotes, etc., for The Chlorinator, please email Troy or Zoe Resch at or .