The Frequently Asked Question section is devoted to providing answers to questions that many of our swim parents and families interested in joining have about our program. We have divided the questions into different categories and we will update it as receive questions from our members and website visitors. The goal of this section is to let parents, swimmers, and website visitors ask virtually anything about our team, practices, swim meets, registration, meet eligibility... ANYTHING!
Returning Families: Think back to when you joined our team and try and remember things that were not clearly explained to you before joining or that frustrated you when you could not find certain information. We want these on the website for our new families.
New Families: Let us know what we can explain better and help us to answer that question for everyone.
The bottom line is that YOU are in charge of the information that goes onto these pages. Let us know what you want to know and we will make it available for you and everyone else that visits our site.
- Questions for Families thinking about Joining
- Questions for Families New to H2okie Aquatics
- Questions about Swim Meets
- Questions about Practice
- Questions about Fundraising and Volunteering
- Miscellaneous Questions
Do you have a suggestion for another category? Do you have a suggestion for a question or information that would be useful to include here? Email the Webmaster
Frequently Asked Questions
Questions for those Interested in Joining H2okie Aquatics
Why should my child swim?
Swimming is one of the greatest sports out there. Children that swim learn the values of hard work, discipline, integrity, sportsmanship, and dedication, all while having fun and staying healthy and physically fit. If you would like to evidence, in just the past five years, our Senior Group swimmers have gone to prestigious colleges and universities nationwide including Harvard, Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, George Mason, the Rochester Institute of Technology, the University of Michigan, William and Mary, and many more. One of our most recent graduates, was a Junior National Champion, Virginia State Record holder, and a 4.0 student. Swimming teaches lifelong values that help kids succeed now and in the future, in and out of the pool. There is just no sport like swimming!
Why should I join H2okie Aquatics?
Helping your child succeed in the pool and out is our top priority. We offer a program that allows your child to learn and progress at his or her own rate and we teach swimmers from the beginning levels to the elite levels. H2okie Aquatics mission statement is to be the premier swimming organization in the New River Valley, and we strive every day to provide the best coaching staff and program to achieve this goal.
Is my child ready for your team?
If your child can swim 20 yards unassisted, we can do the rest. If your child cannot do this quite yet, no worries. Join a local swim lesson program and usually within only a session or two (depending on your child’s age), he or she will be ready to join H2okie Aquatics. If you are not sure, set up a swim evaluation and after the evaluation we will be able to tell you for sure where the right place for your child is.
What requirements are there for joining?
Check under the ‘More Information’ tab under the ‘Sign In’ button for this information.
How do I register?
The first step is to set up a swimmer evaluation so that our staff can evaluate where the best place for your swimmer is. Once that is done, we will give you further registration instructions. Click on the ‘More Information’ tab under the ‘Sign In’ button to learn more about joining our program.
Questions for Families New to H2okie Aquatics
Where do I find the most up-to-date information on practice changes, upcoming swim meets, and events?
The website and our weekly newsletter. We work hard to keep our website as current and updated as possible. If we have information, it will be on our website. On occasion we will email out reminders, but do not rely solely on email. Get in the habit of checking the website daily. It is our most up-to-date and comprehensive information source. The weekly newsletter is used to consolidate most of our announcements and reminders into a single place to make it easier on you. Read the weekly newsletter each Sunday evening or Monday morning before the week begins to plan for any change or upcoming event.
On occasion, we need to make "last-minute" practice changes, or changes that do not make it into the Newsletter. In this case, practice changes will be posted to our home page and all of our members will be notified by email.
Who should I talk to if I have questions about what my swimmer is doing at practice?
First, try and talk with your child's coach before or after practice, or via email. If your question is not resolved, contact the head coach, Scott Baldwin.
When should I talk to a coach if I have questions about what my swimmer is doing at practice?
Before or after practice. During practice, the coach is there for your swimmer and for the other swimmers in their group. It is a safety issue to have a coach talking to a parent during practice and our insurance does not allow parents on pool deck during practice. If there are chairs set up on the pool deck for spectators, it may be okay to use them, but we ask that you not talk to your child or child's coach during practice time. If there is a problem that the coach needs your help with, he or she will find you when it is safe for them to leave the pool deck and when another coach is supervising the other swimmers.
Is there a practice attendance requirement?
No. With the exception of the SR3 Group, H2okie Aquatics has no practice attendance requirements. Under our detailed group descriptions page we make specific recommendations for practice attendance for all groups, particularly for Age Group and Senior swimmers, however, it is a personal/family decision how many practices you would like to or are able to attend, therefore we have no practice requirements. For our Stroke School program we recommend 2 times per week.
Do remember that attending practice is the first step in assuring continued and steady improvement. Talk to your child’s coach if you would like specific advice on how many practices your child should be attending.
What is my child doing at practice?
If you have questions about what your child is doing at practice, we encourage you to contact or talk to your child's coach, at an appropriate time (see above question: When should I talk to a coach if I have questions...). We love talking about what we are doing at practice and why we are doing it, so if you see us doing a drill or activity and you want to know more, ask us.
What is your inclement weather policy for practices? Do we have practice if it is storming, if school is cancelled, or if there is ice or snow on the road?
In general, yes, we do have practice. We do not follow the same schedule as the school system, thus, even if school is cancelled we may still hold practice. Our swimmers come from a very wide region and driving conditions may be bad in some areas, but not in others, thus if we are holding practice but you do not feel safe driving, PLEASE STAY HOME. If the facility we are using closes down due to weather conditions, we may be forced to cancel practice.
We will notify families via email AND the website as soon as we know for certain about practice cancellations. If nothing is posted on our site or has been emailed out, you may assume that practice is on as scheduled.
Some facilities that we practice at, including Blacksburg Aquatic Center, do not allow us to get in the pool if it is thundering or lightning and often require a waiting period from the sound of last clap of thunder to the time that we are allowed to swim again. During thunderstorms, we consult weather radar maps to estimate how long before the storm clears up and we are able to get in the water. If it does not appear that we will be able complete much of practice, we will cancel practice and post the practice change on the website as early as possible, usually a few hours in advance. If a storm occurs during practice and radar maps indicate that it is unlikely we will be able to get back into the pool with very much practice time, we may cancel practice and have the swimmers phone their parents. Conversely, if the radar maps indicate that the storm will likely pass quickly, we may "wait out the storm" and get back in the pool when it is safe to do so.
Oftentimes, in storm situations, it is very difficult to know whether or not to cancel practice. Sometimes we cancel practice, and the storm clears up in 30 minutes. Other times we delay cancelling practice in hopes that the storm will clear up soon, but it does not and we are forced to cancel practice after waiting at the pool for half of practice. It is difficult and frustrating for everybody involved during these situations, but we try to use good judgment and notify families via the website and email as early as possible. Please be understanding with us in these situations.
Christiansburg Aquatic Center typically allows us to practice during thunderstorms, except under more extreme circumstances.
Swim Meets Questions
How do I know if my child is eligible for a swim meet?
If your child is part of the Stroke School program, he or she should participate in our Stroke School meets, which are typically offered on Friday evenings every 3-4 weeks and last for approximately 1-1.5 hours. If your child would really like to participate in a USS sanctioned meet, you should talk with Scott Baldwin before signing up. The Stroke School meets appear as events on the ‘Meets & Practice’ page.
If your child is part of the Age Group or Senior program, he or she is eligible to swim in USA Swimming sanctioned competitions, and we encourage all of these swimmers to participate. The meet invitations, found on our 'Meets & Practice’' page, have a section called "Eligibility", which describes the criteria that must be met for a swimmer to enter a particular meet. Typically, all of our Age Group and Senior swimmers are eligible for every meet on our schedule, except for Championship meets in February, March, and July, and occasionally, December meets. For these meets, it is best to read the eligibility section of the meet invitations and/or ask your child's coach. You may also refer to our Championship Meet Eligibility Page for general guidelines on Championship Meet Eligibility.
How do I sign up for a swim meet?
New this season, we allow online meet signup through Team Unify’s software. Simply choose the meet you would like to attend from the ‘Meets & Practice’ page, log into your personal Team Unify account, and follow the instructions.
Who chooses what my child will swim at the meet?
Either your child's coach or the head coach, Scott Baldwin, will choose which events your child will swim at the meet. We encourage you to include requests for specific events in your registration. We typically try to honor requests for particular events, but the coach will make the final decision in which events your child swims. This ensures that we can track your child's progress in every stroke and event that is appropriate for your swimmer, and we can see how the group is doing with particular skills we are teaching at practice.
What should I bring to a swim meet?
Swim meets are a unique environment and every swim meet is a bit different, but here are some things our parents came up with to bring to a swim meet:
- Cash/checkbook for concessions, heat sheets, apparel, etc.
- Camping chairs
- Blanket or sheets for the ground
- Activities for both parents and kids between swims such as Books, crayons, Nintendo DS, Ipod
- Sharpie marker
- Pen, pencil, and highlighter
- Cooler with drinks and snacks
- Extra swimsuit and goggles
Fundraising & Volunteering Questions
What are the volunteer requirements and why do we need them?
Unlike some other sports, swimming competitions take a tremendous amount of work to organize, set up, and run. Because of the nature of the sport, swim meets need to be long events, and require plenty of help from volunteers to organize and run. We have volunteer requirements to help distribute that work and keep swim meets running smoothly. The volunteer requirements typically involve working for 2 sessions at each of our hosted swim meets, though we try to provide flexible options if you are unable to work during a particular meet or have some other special circumstance. There are many positions to choose from; contact the volunteer coordinator with any questions on volunteer requirements and positions. You may also check the Volunteers Page for more information on volunteering and for the Volunteer Coordinator’s contact information.
Where can I get help with my fundraising?
We have created a Fundraising Page to help you with your fundraising requirements. The Kroger Re-loadable Gift Card program has been very popular in helping families complete their fundraising obligations. Other great fundraising ideas include selling heat sheet ads and the Scrip Zone program. More information may be found about both these programs on the Fundraising Page.
What happened to SWAT?
In May, 2008, under advisement from the NRVA Board of Directors, the members of SWAT voted to expand our programming and create a new team, H2okie Aquatics. This new team included a new structure from the beginning levels of our program to the top levels. We expanded our programming to include an Elite group, which is focused on preparing swimmers for national and international competitions, and is headed by Virginia Tech's head coach, Ned Skinner. In addition, we changed the structure of our beginning levels and created Stroke School. Stroke School is specifically designed to teach beginning swimmers the basic principles of proper swimming technique and slowly introduce swimmers to the world of competitive swimming. Stroke School is designed to prepare children interested in competitive swimming for our Age Group and Senior program, as well as provide a positive, safe, and structured environment for children that may not be interested in swimming competitively, but would like to learn to swim better.
What is NRVA, Inc. and how are they related to H2okie Aquatics?
New River Valley Aquatics, Inc. (NRVA) is a 501-(c)-(3) tax-exempt organization that sponsors and regulates the affairs of the H2okie Aquatics (HOKI).
When is Christiansburg Aquatic Center going to open and will we get to swim in it?
Christiansburg Aquatic Center opened on July 18, 2010 and H2okie Aquatics is very excited to be able to use such a wonderful facility.