Division Team Championships are different. There is no doubt about that.
There are three basic types of meets that a swim team gets involved in over the course of a year.
- Meets without qualifying times – these make up most of our meets
- Meets with qualifying times – these are big invitational meets, as well as regional, provincial and national championships. The qualifying times may range from moderately difficult to very challenging.
- Division Team Championships (Division 3 Championships held Dec. 13-15 in Windsor this year).
Divisions is our one true team meet. Every other meet we go as a team, but pretty much swim as individuals or on relays. That’s the nature of swimming. However, Divisions is all about the team, and only about the team. In fact, many years Divisions doesn’t even give out individual event awards. With 40 or so teams at the Division 3 meet, only a small number of our swimmers have a reasonable chance of scoring points, but every swim is about doing well for the team. It’s a wonderful meet in that everybody is working towards a common purpose.
Our goals of the meet are to score points and have a positive team experience. This means we have to carefully select the group to achieve those goals. Here’s where it gets unusual.
Selection of the Team
We are allowed a maximum of 25 swimmers at Division 3. We have about 35 this year who are eligible and want to compete – meaning 10 won’t make it. You’d think that the faster, more experienced swimmers would be the natural choices, but that’s not the case here.
The issue is that with only 25 swimmers each team has to make choices of what age groups should get more swimmers and have relays. And every year teams tend towards older swimmers. With about 40 teams at the meet, the older age groups become very competitive. But it also makes the 10 & Under boys and girls races less competitive. In fact, the last 6 Division 3 meets saw 4 years with fewer than eight 10 & Under girls relay teams (meaning every relay team scored points), and all 6 years with 5 or fewer 10 & Under boys relays teams. This smells like an opportunity.
With this in mind, we created our selection criteria.
- Top priority: reasonable chance to score points individually. We have 6 identified
- Next priority: reasonable chance for a relay to score points. This includes 10 & Under boys and girls relays, 11-12 girls relay, and 15 & Over boys and girls relays. This brings the identified swimmers up to 22.
- Last priority: # of competitive swims as defined by placing in top 9/10 of the field based on the last 6 Division 3 meet results.
It is this last criteria that we are using to select the last 3 spots out of the 13 remaining swimmers. This process should be done soon. If any of our selected 25 swimmers cannot or chooses not to go, we can pick the next swimmer on this list.
The Meet Itself
Divisions is like any large meet, with a twist. A very nice twist.
There are the usual early morning heats for the 13-14 and 15 & Over swimmers, an afternoon session for the 10 & Under and 11-12 swimmers. Finals take place in the evening, with stands packed with parents, many of them very loud and wearing team colours (we hope!).
The twist is that the 10 & Under and 11-12 relay teams swim in the finals, instead of in their afternoon sessions. This is always a big hit, as we get the whole team together on deck for finals, with all of the parents in the stands cheering everyone on. It’s a unique and very special time.
Those Not Going
We are trying to finalize a swim meet for those swimmers who did not make the Divisions team. At the moment it looks like it will be on either Dec. 7 or Dec. 8. More details will be published on Facebook when we hear back from the meet managers.