Swimming is Great! Why can't I swim year round?
The Lafayette Moraga Youth Association Swim Team runs the County Meet each summer. LMYA sets the eligibility rules for the County Meet. These rules are in place "to provide top recreational swimmers with a venue to compete against each other."
LMYA clearly states that these are the rules for the County Meet only, and that it has “no jurisdiction over any other meet, league, or team.” and requests that each rule-making body discuss and decide what eligibility rules apply vis-à-vis recreational and year round swim team programs for their own events (except when it applies to the Walnut Creek Aquabears Summer's End Swim Classic Meet - an all comers meet that includes master's swimmers, rec swimmers, and USA-S swimmers from year round teams).
Each local swim league or conference adopts these eligibility rules as the bottom line for their own eligibility rules. As a member of one of these local swim leagues, your team follows it’s league’s rules. In order to participate and compete with your team, your swimmer also follows these rules.
The trickle down effect is that these rules really do have jurisdiction over the local leagues, and their teams.
Summer Recreational Swim Teams are a great place to be introduced to the sport of swimming in a fun atmosphere. Life-long friendships are often formed on these teams.
When a young soccer or baseball player gets better, or wants to participate in a higher level of their sport, it is encouraged. Moving from the house league to the competitive team is a significant milestone in a young soccer player’s career. Moving from the Minors to the Majors in Little League carries the same weight.
If a summer team swimmer wants to pursue swimming beyond the summer season he or she then faces a difficult decision. In order to even try year round swimming for a complete season, they must leave the team they grew up loving - leaving their friends without knowing if year round swimming is really the right option and without the possiblity of returning for nearly two years (if you try year round swimming this year, and decide it's not for you, you won't be able to swim with your rec team until the summer of 2016).
To help take the edge off of this big decision, we would like to see the Walnut Creek Swim Leagues adjust their own the eligibility rules in certain ways:
1. Completely drop the eligibility clause for 13-14 and 15-18 swimmers, allowing these swimmers to train on a year round team, and to be a part of their rec team for the summer.
2. Allow 11-12 swimmers to swim on a year round team through the Spring Far Westerns Meet (in late March or early April) and then return to their summer team when it starts, but not allow them to swim on a year round team during the summer (This is similar to the OMPA exemption rule).
3. Leave the current eligibility rules in place for all 10&Under swimmers.
We feel these changes would strengthen the ties between the Walnut Creek summer and year round teams.
These changes would create an atmosphere that encourages swimming at a higher level, while preserving a swimmer’s connection to their summer team. It bridges the gap between our best year round swimmers and our newest 6-&-Unders.
We hope that these changes would create a local swimming community that could help a future Walnut Creek swimmer make the United States Olympic Swim Team. The last, and only one to do it, was the Woodland’s Brian Goodell in 1976 - and his family moved out of Walnut Creek to an area that allowed year round swimmers to swim on their summer team when he was just 10 years old.
If you would like to talk to us about changing the local swimming landscape for the better, or about the steps your team and league can take to help, please call Head Coach Mike Heaney at 925-939-5990, or email him at mikeheaney@