About the 4311 Swampscott Currents
FIRST Robotics Competition
FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) is an involved, demanding program which over 4,000 high schools participate in. Each year, FRC teams are given approximately two months to build a large robot (often referred to as build season). FRC robots are then taken to competition, where they play an annually changing three-versus-three game. More information about FRC can be found on FIRST's official website. The Swampscott Currents have taken part in FRC since 2012.
Though it may seem complicated at first, the intricate task of building a robot provides countless opportunities for educational growth and enjoyment. 4311 seeks to be a competitive FRC team without compromising fun.
4311 meets year-round to complete activities like training and fundraising in addition to build season. In the fall, the Swampscott Currents meet once a week - new members learn about their chosen specialties while the rest of the team works on other projects. On the first Saturday of January, or "kickoff," FIRST announces the game which the Current's robot must play. During the following two months, the team meets daily in order to design, build, and test their robot. In March, the team takes their robot to two weekend-long FRC events. The robot competes with other teams, and if it does well, the team is able to attend additional competitions like the New England District Championship or World Championship. After competition season is over, the team reverts to having meetings once a week to do things like clean the shop and fundraise.
Competitions are exciting events that occur at the close of each build season. They are the culmination of countless hours' work and an opportunity to take pride in the robot 4311 has built. District competitions start on Saturday and end on Sunday, from around 8 AM to 7 PM each day, and usually consist of about 30-40 teams. At the start of competition, 4311 participates in qualification matches, where the robot competes with other robots for ranking points. At the end of the qualification round, the eight teams that accrue the most ranking points become "alliance captains," and pick two other teams to compete alongside them during the elimination round. The three-team alliance that wins the elimination round wins the event. In addition, awards are given out to teams who excel in various categories (like having an aesthetically-pleasing bot).
There are quite a few jobs to do during FRC events. A field crew is responsible for driving the robot during matches and taking it to/from the playing field. A pit crew makes repairs to the robot in-between matches. Scouters profile other teams to determine their strengths/weaknesses and assess whether they would make good partners for the elimination round. Just like during build season, there are things to do that suit almost any interest.