Information for parents of new swimmers
Prepared by Former Coach Kevin P. Hughes
Welcome to the world of swimming. We hope you and your swimmer will enjoy it as much as those of us who have been involved in this sport for many years.
This information is designed to answer many of the questions you may have about the sport or the team. However, it is not meant to be all-inclusive, and hopefully, will even raise further questions. Please do not hesitate to contact us, or any of the parents on a swim team committee, if you do have questions.
Why should my child swim?
Who will coach my child?
How are practices organized?
What are the different age groups and how are they determined?
What is the swim league we are in?
How are duel meets organized?
What are invitational meets?
What are the team's goals? What are my childs goals?
What is my role as a parent of a swimmer?
Anything else special regarding meets or meet days? What about meals?
I'm new, so how can I be involved with the team?
There is no better way to stay physically fit than through swimming. It may be as close to the "perfect" exercise as one can get. It works all muscle groups, requires effort, and yet is low impact. It is also a "life sport" - it is an exercise that has no age limitations and can be continued throughout one's lifetime.
There are also many benefits to swimming for a team. Daily practices instills discipline and helps improve coordination. Swimmers learn the value of hard work and they learn how to push themselves. They learn how to set goals and work toward those goals. Swimming is good for self esteem in that it lets swimmers feel good about their accomplishments, regardless of their ability level. It also provides an opportunity for friendships and a sense of team camaraderie.
To swim at East Pete means that your swimmer is with a team that fosters a positive attitude toward the sport. We believe that coaches and parents at East Pete truly "practice what they preach" when it comes to emphasizing sportsmanship, healthy competition, and enjoying the sport.
Julie Wareham is the Head Coach of the team. Her Assistant Coach is Lauren Malloy. Their bios can be found on the Coaches page.
The practice schedule can be found here. Practices are organized so that swimmers in the same age group practice together. We try for variety in workouts and also believe swimmers should learn all 4 strokes - freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly. A swimmer may primarily swim one stroke at meets, but should be familiar with all four.
There are 5 different age groups: 8 and under; 10 and under; 12 and under; 14 and under; and 18 and under (also known as the "Open" age group). A swimmer will only compete against swimmers from the same age group. Placement in an age group is based on birth date as of June 1st. For example, a swimmer who turns 9 on June 1st (or earlier) must swim as a 10 and under. A swimmer who turns 9 after June 1st may still swim as an 8 and under.
East Petersburg is part of the Lancaster Summer Swim League. There are currently 24 teams in the league. The league is split into 4 Divisions, with each Division balanced for strength. Division 1 is the strongest of the 4 Divisions. All dual meets are against teams within our own Division. Also, each Division holds its own Divisional Championship Meet attended by all the teams within its own Division. The final meet is an All-League Championship to which all teams of the league are invited. We are in Division II.
As stated above, swimmers compete against swimmers from other teams who are in the same age group. The meet events consist of all 4 individual strokes plus a freestyle relay in each age group. A meet will open with the girls 8 and under freestyle, then go to the boys 8 and under freestlye; then the girls 10 and under freestyle, boys 10 and under free, and so on. We then go through the backstroke events, then breaststroke, then butterfly. The relays come last.
Scoring in a meet is as follows: For individual events,
- 1st Place = 5 points
- 2nd Place = 3 points
- 3rd place = 1 point
- 4th, 5th, or 6th = 0 points
Relays are scored 7 points for the winning relay; 0 points for all others. 40 Individual events and 10 relays allow a possible 430 points awarded. A team clinches a win with 216 points.
Ribbons are awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places in individual events and for 1st place in relays.
These are meets that teams attend by invitation only. In some cases, all league teams participate, while others may include just 6-10 teams. These meets may include different events, may require a qualifying time, or may restrict the number of entries per event. Not all swimmers compete in each invitational and we will distribute specific information about each of these meets as it approaches.
First and foremost, let's keep in mind that this is meant to be fun. We swim to win, but winning is not the bottom line. Our goals are to always swim our best and to strive for improvement. This could include a best time swim, competing in a new event, or holding up your part of a relay. We stress to swimmers that they shoulld know their best time in each event and strive to better that time. A last-place finish with a best time is just as significant as a first-place finish.
Simple. Be supportive and provide lots of encouragement. Your child is working hard and trying his or her best. Practices are tough and your child may hit some rough spots during the season. Additionally, we subscribe to this "golden rule" of coaching: We promise to remember that we're not his/her parent if you promise to remember that you are not his/her coach. If you ever have a problem with our coaching, come to see us about it. Don't put your child in the middle.
For dual meets, swimmers should arrive about 45 minutes prior to the start of the meet. This allows warm-up time and gives us time to hold a meeting to read the line-up and do a pre-meet cheer. During the meet, swimmers should stay in the designated team area. After brief visits with you (to exclaim over times, to bug you for snacks, etc.) they should return to sit with the team. At the end of the meet it is important to gather for a brief wrap-up, team cheer, and cleaning-up of our area.
Some teams have rules that no swimmer is allowed at the pool on meet days. While we at East Pete have no hard and fast rules on this, I agree with restricting activity on meet days. Too much activity on meet days wears out the swimmer and often results in poor performance that evening. Perhaps the best rule is to not let swimmers overdo it on days of meets. Try to keep them out of the sun for any long periods of time. It is particularly important for younger swimmers to be well-rested.
As far as meals go, again common sense rules out. Try to avoid greasy foods or heavy meals before meets. Some coaches recommend avoiding dairy products on meet days to avoid a "sour stomach" feeling. Foods high in carbohydrates (such as breads, pasta, fruits, and vegetables) are best for energy. Swimmers should not be thirsty, and encourage them to drink lots of cool water and drinks such as Gatorade that replenish nutrients, while avoiding carbonated drinks. You may need to watch your swimmer closely to see just what foods are best for him/her and what foods should be avoided.
Volunteer for one of the committees. Volunteer to help at meets. Sign-up sheets are circulated from time to time, or are on the team bulletin board and this website. Volunteering as a timer is easy and is a great way to see the meet.
Let's keep in mind why we are involved with the team - for the sake of the kids. Growing up can be difficult and it is important to provide positive opportunities that help in the growing-up process. The swim team helps promote concepts of sportsmanship and responsibility. The swim team also helps foster maturity and independence. It promotes self-worth and a sense of accomplishment. Let's each be advocates for the sport by stressing the positive benefits of swimming. Let's not be turned off by those few who lose sight of why we are in this sport.
Thank you for allowing your child to be a part of the East Petersburg Swim Team! We promise to do our best to make his/her experience a positive and pleasurable one!