Below is a brief explanation of the different formats we use for swim meets and how the format impacts scoring and eligibility.
There are two basic formats to a high school swim meet: 1) dual meets, and 2) championship meets
All of our regular season meets are dual meets, even if there is more than one other team in the pool. For example, if we had three teams in a meet, than everyone has a dual meet against everyone else. In other words, there are actually 3 meets going on simultaneously: Seton against each of the two teams separately and those two teams against each other.
Each team is allowed 4 scoring entries per individual event and 2 scoring entries per relay event. Those swimmers are designated as “varsity” for the meet. We can enter additional swimmers in an event, but they are designated “exhibition”, which means they get a time and a place, but they do not score toward the team total. Exhibition swimmers appear on the meet sheet with an “x” before their seed time. All of the meets hosted by Seton will allow for exhibition swimmers, but not all of the regular season meets will be so accommodating. This means that not all of the non-varsity swimmers will swim in every meet, but I do everything possible to avoid this.
No swimmer can swim more than 2 individual events or more than 4 events total. That means that the most you can swim is 2 individual and 2 relays or 1 individual and 3 relays.
For each combination of teams, the 8 (two teams with 4 varsity swimmers) times for each event are sorted from fastest to slowest, or 1st to 8th place. The top 7 places score the following points for their team with 1st to 7th place scoring 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 point respectively. So if you are the 4th fastest varsity swimmer this weekend for Seton and you beat one person from each of the other teams, you will have earned 7th place in each of the two dual meets, meaning that you scored 1 point in each meet.
Relays are scored in a similar manner, with the top three out of 4 scoring 10, 5 and 3 points respectively.
This season, we will be in 4 championship meets: 1) National Catholic Champs, 2) the VSIS Division II Invitational, 3) the DAC Conference Championship, and 4) the VSIS State Championship. Championship meets are scored as one big meet, with a varying number of places scoring. Typically, the top 12 or 16 individual finishers score. A swimmer’s team gets the points for his/her team based on the place they finish.
There are a couple other differences between dual meets and championship meets. First, there is no such thing as exhibition swims in a championship meet. The qualification standards for participation vary for our championship meets this season. For National Catholics and States, if you hit a qualification time, you are eligible. For the Division II invitational and DAC Champs, if you are one of the 4 fastest entries from your team, you are eligible.
Secondly, championship meets are typically seeded, meaning lane assignments are done based on your time rather than your team (Because we generally host a large number of teams in our dual meets, we typically seed those also, but that is not typical for meets not hosted by Seton). Finally, if you miss an event during a championship meet, you are disqualified for the rest of the meet. (It has happened to a Seton swimmer before, and no one cares that you drove all the way to Hargrave).
One final point of information on how I determine who swims and who doesn’t. It is all based on time – the fastest times swim. For individual events, I always have to determine who swims in advance, but for relays, it is different. On the meet sheet, I publish who is going to swim, but I can actually change that line-up nearly right up to the actual race. That means that, if I publish an “A” 400 Freestyle Relay with the 4 swimmers who have the fastest 100 freestyle times, and then during meet, a new swimmer beats out someone schedule to be on the relay, I can switch swimmers – and I will switch swimmers as long as that new swimmer hasn’t already swum their 4 events for the meet.
This may seem like an unlikely occurrence, but it has actually happened a number of times for our team. If you are scheduled for an “A” relay, even if it is published on the meet sheet, and someone from the “B” relay beats you out, you are no longer on the “A” relay. To get back on the “A” relay, you have to earn your way back.
With all of this complexity, you still only have to worry about one thing – always do your personal best. If you always try to get the most from the gifts that God gave you, then the right thing will happen in the end, even if the end is a little farther away then you had hoped.