Welcome to WAC Swimming!
WAC was established to provide the opportunity for every
child to pursue excellence in the sport of swimming. Just as
important, WAC seeks to promote the highest level of sportsmanship,
integrity, self-discipline and compassion in mind and spirit so
that the child is not only an excellent athlete, but a respected
and respectful individual, and a caring, considerate teammate.
A "Have Fun, Swim Well, Swim Fast"
The general purpose of this handbook is to provide you with some
of the information that will be helpful in making your child a
better swimmer and, hopefully, a better person.
WAC is a USA Swimming (USAS) swim team in Westerville,
Ohio. It i a member club of Central Ohio
Swimming Association, Ohio Local Swimming Committee and USA
Swimming . Like other USAS teams, it has coaches, swimmers and
parents. WAC is owned and operated by the head coach, and while the
club has a booster board and committees to perform various tasks
and services for the team, it does not have a board of trustees
which sets policy. The implications of this structure is important
because it means that:
1. The head coach/owner has control over the teaching of
swimmers and the placement of those swimmers in training groups and
meets which is not subject to parental board interference:
2. Parents have more direct access, one-to-one, with the coaches
concerning their child, and are not required to communicate through
a board or have a decision, contrary to their own wishes,
implemented by a board.
WHAT PARENTS CAN EXPECT FROM THE
COACHING STAFF AND HEAD COACH/OWNER
WAC coaches will, at all times, strive to provide the best
possible atmosphere for swimmers placed in their charge in the
1. The coaches will give each swimmer as much attention
and training as is needed for a successful swimming experience
during training and meets;
2. The coaches will be on time (with allowances for the elements
and unusual circumstances) and be prepared for all scheduled
practices and meets;
3. The coaches will make parents aware of all scheduled or
rescheduled practices, meets, and other dates of note, in a timely
manner, and in writing whenever possible;
4. The coaches will treat each swimmer and parent with respect,
and maintain an atmosphere of mutual respect and courtesy at meets
5. The coaches will make themselves available at all reasonable
times (e.g., after practices or by appointment) to answer
parent’s questions or discuss issues with the swimmer and
6. The head coach/owner will maintain the financial accounts for
each family and observe strict confidentiality concerning those
accounts or any private discussions of any nature between parents
and head coach/owner;
7. The head coach will maintain a regular on-line and hard copy
newsletter for communication purpose which will be mailed to all
currently registered swimmers;
8. The coaches will abide by all rules, remain current and well
informed regarding any changes to USA Swimming rules, and maintain
current registration with USA Swimming.
What is expected from a WAC
Swimming, above all, should be an exciting and rewarding
learning experience for your child. It should be seen, for the most
part, as a fun activity from which your child gains self-respect,
self-discipline, good mental and physical health, companionship,
good sportsmanship, and great memories. Toward these ends, the job
of coach is to coach, and the job of the parent is to be a parent.
Here are some guidelines for the swimming parent which our coaches
have found most useful:
1. ALWAYS BE SUPPORTIVE, NO MATTER WHAT.
The coaches job is to tell the swimmer what she/he did wrong so
that a correction can be made. It’s the parent’s job to
give them love and support. Leave the criticism and correction to
the coach, and leave the swimming at the pool.
2. ALLOW YOUR CHILD TO HAVE FUN.
Childhood only happens once, and swimming should be an enjoyable
activity. If you literally have to drag your child to each practice
and it causes more tears than cheers, perhaps you should first, set
up an appointment with the coach and discuss the situation with
him/her. There may be a way to solve the problem. If not,
perhaps you should reevaluate the role of swimming in your
child’s activities. Swimming is not for everyone.
3. NEVER IMPOSE YOUR OWN AMBITIONS ON YOUR CHILD.
Remember that swimming is your child’s activity.
Improvements and progress occur at different rates for each child.
Don’t compare your child’s progress to others, and
don’t push them based upon what you think they ought to be
doing. Most importantly, don’t base your own self-esteem upon
your child’s swimming.
4. DON’T COACH YOUR CHILD.
That’s what you are paying the coaches to do. Unless you
were a successful swimming coach or swimmer up until last year, you
won’t know what you are talking about and may cause untold
amounts of damage to your child’s swimming.
5. NEVER CRITICIZE OTHER SWIMMERS, THE OFFICIALS OR THE COACH.
Another swimmer’s progress or failures is none of your
business. When you put another person’s child down, that does
not raise your own child up. Second, if you do not have the time or
desire to volunteer as an official, don’t criticize those who
are giving their time and doing the best that they can. And,
last, by criticizing the coach in front of the child, you are only
hurting your child’s chances to improve. The child will
either be confused by the criticism or will not listen to the coach
after your criticism. If you have a problem with the coach, discuss
it directly with him or her. Remember that you are paying the coach
to work with your child, not take abuse from you.
6. NEVER HUMILIATE YOUR CHILD OVER A SWIM PERFORMANCE.
A child will derive no joy from swimming if his or her parent is
regularly denigrating him or yelling at her in front of others.
Just put yourself in the child’s fins: how would you
feel if someone did that to you? It is a rare child that
purposefully will "dog" a race.
7. DON’T SPECULATE, ASK QUESTIONS.
Never hesitate to ask your child’s coach any questions.
Again, you are paying him or her to coach your child, and you have
a right to ask about your child’s progress or direction.
Remember to choose times which do not interfere with performance of
the coach’s job.
8 GET INVOLVED.
Volunteer to help the parent booster board in executing the
various activities it conducts for your children throughout the
swimming season. Help organize a fund-raiser. Learn how to
officiate, or just raise the spirits of the team in some way. By
getting involved with your child’s team, you meet a lot of
other great people, and you show your child that you care about
what she/he is doing.
A FINAL NOTE:
There are around 225,000 athletes currently registered with
United States Swimming. There are only 52 spots available every
four years for the Olympic Swim Team. Your child’s odds of
becoming an Olympic swimmer are about 1 in 4300. Keep that in mind
when you are asking yourself: "What do I want my child to get out
of USA Swimming?" There are many other benefits besides winning.
WHAT IS EXPECTED FROM A WAC
1. "YA GOTTA WANNA" If you want to be successful and
achieve all that you are capable of achieving as a swimmer, then
you have to want to work hard. Only you can fulfill that desire to
work hard, and only you control how successful you are. Swimming is
a sport in the true sense of the word, because there is only one
swimmer, the water, and the watch. There is a direct
relationship between effort and results. Just being tall,
strong, or well coordinated will not do it alone. In the end, the
others will be outdone by the smaller swimmer who has the desire to
work harder and swim better.
2. Personal effort is the key to your success. Take
advantage of every opportunity to get better. In the sport of
swimming you have limited opportuniities to practice your
sport. Pools aren't on every corner or at the school
playground. Practice time is the only time you swim.
Welcome the opportunity to practice and compete, and work as hard
as you can at each opportunity. Come a few minutes early to
practice so that you are prepared to jump right in the pool and get
to work. Don’t skip any part of the workout, and complete
every part of the workout to the best of your ability.
3. BE OUTSTANDING IN YOUR FIELD PHYSICALLY. No other sport for
kids requires as much training and hard work. When you swim a hard
two hour workout, you burn as much energy as if you had run a
marathon. You need to take care of your body in order to swim hard
and well. Smoking, drinking, or taking drugs are all obviously
forbidden for any swimmer. And a lot of junk food like candy and
pop are not really useful for your body. Although it’s fine
to have sweets from time to time, your working body needs lots of
good complex carbohydrates like fresh fruits, vegetables, grains
cereals, and breads, and frequent hydration with water (8-10
glasses daily), fruit juices or athletic drinks. Finally, a good
night’s sleep is imperative. If you are good to your body,
your body will work great for you.
4. YOU MUST TAKE CARE OF YOUR MIND AND SPIRIT. If
your mind is preoccupied with other things, like the homework that
you put off, then you won’ be able to fully concentrate on
your swimming. Take care of your other responsibilities before
coming to the pool, then you will focus on your training. Just as
important is your spiritual health. If you are weighed down by a
bad attitude, anger towards others, or the hurtful words you said
to a teammate, you won’t have the heart to do a good job.
Remember to treat others the way that you would like to be
treated, both in and out of the pool.
5. STRIVING TO WIN AS OPPOSED TO STRIVING NOT TO LOSE. Climb on
the blocks with a positive can-do attitude. If you have truly
worked hard as you can at practices, then you will do the best you
can at that particular time. Strive to win, and winning can mean a
small drop in your time, or a better stroke technique. Don’t
think in terms of losing. And when your swim is done, stay on to
root for your teammates. Be a big-hearted generous winner in every
WHAT PARENTS CAN EXPECT AT A WAC
Parents are usually welcome to watch at any WAC practice.
Coaches may choose to close certain practices but they will notify
both parents and swimmers if closing practice to observers is
necessary. If you do stay to watch practice, the coaches only
ask that you stay on the sidelines and do not interfere with your
child’s practice. The coach will have written a workout
on the board for your child, or given verbal instruction. That is
what the child is supposed to do. You may have an opinion regarding
how your child is doing, but keep it to yourself. The coach is
watching, and will comment as he/she deems necessary. If you have
any questions, feel free to discuss them with the coach before or
after the practice. A final word of wisdom: Children commonly
resent having their parents watch them work out, and do a better
job if the parent is not there. Think about that. Again, this is
your child’s activity.
SUGGESTIONS FOR MAKING A PRACTICE
1. MAKE SURE THAT YOUR CHILD IS PREPARED FOR PRACTICE.
Especially with little ones, make sure that all of their
equipment is in their bag. It is embarrassing for a child to be
delayed in order to ask others for a pair of goggles or a swim cap,
or to have to tell the coach that they forgot their equipment. Make
sure they have everything they need. If you have any questions
about the necessary equipment, reference the required equipment
list for each training group or ask a veteran parent. Your child
may develop a preference in goggles, for example, and there are
places where you can obtain these at a cheaper cost. It is not
unusual for a swimmer to go through several swim caps and a few
pair of goggles in one season. And one suit will not be enough. The
chlorine will eat away at the lycra very quickly. Again,
there are places where you can obtain practice suits at a lower
cost. The head coach has access to specialized swimming
providers or a veteran parent can give you suggestions.
2. MAINTAIN THE EQUIPMENT.
The equipment list helps you to purchase for your swimmer the
accessories s/he needs to train and compete well. You are
responsible for taking care of that, and will have to pay the
replacement cost if it is lost. A mesh bag is a good way to keep
all of it together, and will allow the kick board, etc., to dry out
by hanging it on a hook somewhere. The suits must be rinsed out
after each practice and meet in order to extend the life of the
suit. You can hand wash the suits in Woolite or something similar,
but all that is really needed is a good soak in clear, COLD water.
Then lay it out somewhere to dry. DO NOT put them in the washer or
drier. Caps need similar care, or they get sticky and thin. Rinse
the caps in cool, clear water, and then allow them to dry. A quick
dose of Talcum powder will keep it from deteriorating. As your
child gets older, she/he should be responsible for maintaining the
HEALTH CONCERNS AND ISSUES
1. MONITOR FOOD INTAKE.
Do not give your child a large meal right before practice.
It’s better to give them a small, high carbohydrate snack
about an hour or more before practice: a bagel with cream cheese,
muffins, cereal, or fruit. Then after practice, once the child has
rested a bit, a larger meal will be welcome. Some children will
experience an increase in their appetites due to the amount of
calories burned during a workout and some children will not. This
depends upon each child, individually. Similarly, be sure your
child is well-hydratred. Swimmers sweat more than most other
athletes because the pool water keeps washing the sweat off as it
is formed, and the body is trying to stay cool continually.
It’s a goof idea to bring a water bottle filled with water or
sport drink (like Gatorade) to practice.
2. ATHLETE’S FOOT AND PLANTER’S WARTS
Provide your child with deck sandals so that he/she avoids
walking on the cement floor in the rest room and on the pool deck.
Tell the child to keep his/ her bag pool side, preferably up off
the floor on the bleachers. Showers are available for you children
to use, but keep in mind that hundreds of people use them weekly.
3. ACHES AND PAINS
Your child’s muscles will be sore. That’s normal for
first time swimmers and experienced swimmers at their first few
practices. A warm soak in the tub is typically the best solution.
An over-the-counter pain medication may be useful as well, but,
eventually, your child won’t feel any lasting pains.
She/he will get used to the workouts, and ironically, feel muscle
aches after the end of the season when there are no more practices.
The kids call this PSWS or Post Swimming Withdraw Syndrome. Any
severe or continuing pain, especially in the shoulder or knee
region, should be discussed with one of the coaches and a
4. HAIR CARE.
There are several excellent products on the market for removing
the damaging chloramines from swimmer’s hair, if you want to
spend the extra money. Any shampoo, however, is good enough to
remove the chloramines and the dirt. The swimmers should wash their
hair and rinse off the body after each practice, just to remove any
5. MENSTRUAL CYCLE.
It is not uncommon for girls to have diminished periods or skip
them altogether when in training. When a girl has low body fat
(which is typical for competitive athletes), the body limits the
menstrual process. It returns to its normal status once training is
stopped. If this happens, inform the coach so that the workouts can
be tapered off a bit, so as not to interfere with nature.
It happens. And when it does, your child’s swimming
performance will most likely change to adjust to the new body and
mind that is developing. Patience and support are recommended. It
is not uncommon for some girls to slow down as a result of puberty
due to the tremendous changes taking place and the enormous amount
of energy being used in the process. Others speed up after puberty.
Each child is unique.
It is common for swimmers or long distance runners of both sexes
to experience growth only during the off season, and then in large
spurts. This is very common in swimmers who have little or no body
fat, so do not be alarmed. This also depends on the child.
You will find that the WAC parents are some of the nicest people
in the world, and certainly the most supportive and rowdy group of
swim parents in Ohio Swimming! They are prepared to help any
new parent with any questions you may have. One of the benefits of
being welcome at practices is that you can meet some of the parents
and ask questions. Many of them have been around for a long time,
and have a wealth of information. Don’t hesitate to ask!
SOME IMPORTANT TERMS TO
1. SHORT COURSE (SC).
The winter season, using a 25 yard or "short course" pool. The
first practice usually begins in mid September and the Championship
Meets are in March. Most USA swimmers swim short course.
2. LONG COURSE (LC).
The summer season, using a 50 meter, or "long course" pool. The
first practice begins in mid April with the Championship meets
being in late July or early August. Many swimmers take the Summer
"off", but keep in mind that the rest of the world and the Olympic
competition is done in "long course" pools, and practice in a 25
yard pool is no substitute for the training that is acquired in the
longer meter pool. The meets, which mostly take place outdoors, are
much more relaxed and less crowded.
3. SUMMER LEAGUES.
The coaches encourage WAC swimmers to represent summer clubs in
dual meets and championships while they are swimming the WAC long
course season. If you belong to a country club or a club with a
pool, you are more than welcome to have your child participate in
those league’s meets, whether or not you are registered as a
WAC long course swimmer. USA Swimming rules, however, require
that you be an officially registered member, in good standing, of
WAC in order to compete in long course meets. Keep in mind that
short course training and competition should in no way be
considered a replacement for long course practices or meets. In
summer, for long course meets, long course training is best, and it
is encouraged in the Summer in order to build endurance. But any
swimming is better than no swimming at all. If you have any
questions about this, discuss them with the coaches.
4. CLERK OF COURSE.
This is the person who runs the show at the meet. For your
swimmer, the show we refer to her is the bull pen. Your child will
be required to check in with the clerk’s desk or tent, unless
the coach indicates that she/he has already taken care of it. Your
child will circle or check his or her name to indicate that they
are in attendance and prepared to swim. Sometimes the swimmer will
only have to check in once in the beginning of the meet and other
times the child will have to check in before each event. Most
often, the coaches take care of check-in, especially in short
course. The announcer will give instructions over the PA
system during short course meets about which age group swimmers are
required to report and check in at the bull pen, and again, you can
always ask another parent or the coaches. Generally, the more
experienced swimmers will help the less experienced swimmers.
5. THE DECK.
The roped off area around the pool, or the entire pool area.
Parents are not allowed on deck, and a USA official will ask you to
leave the deck or eject you from the meet if you cannot show
current membership and proper certification. It is better to find a
good spot in the stands with the other parents.
To pull a child from an event. This should only be done for
medical reasons after consulting with the coach. No parent should
encourage a swimmer to scratch, and a swimmer should keep in mind
that she/he may be needed for a relay entry.
The following strokes are used in the events or races over
Freestyle: The most common swimming stroke known as the crawl
stroke. It utilizes an alternating arm stroke with a flutter kick,
although a swimmer may use any stroke during a freestyle event.
Backstroke: An alternating arm stroke done on the back with a
Breaststroke: Simultaneous arm strokes from the breast with a
Butterfly: Simultaneous arm strokes from the shoulder with a
Individual Medley: A combination of butterfly, backstroke,
breaststroke and Freestyle, in that order.
THE FOLLOWING EVENTS ARE SWUM BY FOUR INDIVIDUALS IN SEQUENCE.
Medley Relay: Backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle,
in that order.
Freestyle Relay: Each individual swimming freestyle in sequence.
IN THESE EVENTS, THE COACHES WILL TYPICALLY (BUT NOT
ALWAYS) CHOOSE THE FOUR FASTEST SWIMMERS IN THAT PARTICULAR MEET TO
BE ON THE "A" RELAY, THEN THE NEXT FOUR FASTEST FOR THE "B" RELAY,
8 AGE GROUPS.
8 & Under (Mini), 9-10 or 10 & Under, 11-12, 13-14,
15-16, 15-18, 15 & Over, Open (any age) and Senior (12 &
over). The swimmer’s actual birth date determines placement
at any given meet.
Disqualified. Every child is DQ’d at some point in their
career. Keep in mind that there are specific rules governing each
stroke that certified USS judges use in determining whether the
stroke was "legal". Swimming legally is important because a legal
stroke is a faster stroke, and legal swimmers keep the competitive
playing field level and fair for all swimmers. You may think
that the stroke looks great, but it may be in violation of USA
rules. The official will tell your child why she/he was DQ’d.
If the swimmer does not understand what the official said, the
swimmer should ask the coach ASAP so that the coach can talk with
the official immediately following the call. A DQ should be looked
upon as a necessary evil from which the swimmer can learn. Ask the
coach if you don’t understand why your child was DQ’d.
NEVER question the official.
All of the swimmers can’t swim at once, so the event is
divided into heats in which all of the lanes are filled as much as
possible. There will always be a minimum of three swimmers in each
heat (except in pre-seeded events), and the heats run slowest to
11. HEAT SHEETS.
The official listing of events in the order that they are swum.
The heat sheets are usually sold at the door for a few dollars.
As mentioned under "HEATS", the slower swimmers in an event swim
in the first heats, the fastest in the last heats. The swimmers are
seeded by heat and within each heat according to their times so
that each swimmer can, ideally, swim to the best of his or her
ability. The fastest swimmer in each heat is seeded in the center
lane (lane 3 in a 6 lane pool - lane 4 in a n 8 lane pool). There
are different types of seeding, but generally, the fastest are in
the last heat. Seeding cannot be changed at the meet and sometimes
your swimmer will be seeded at an older, slower time. That is
because the coach had to send in the entries generally 3 to 4 weeks
before the meet, thus your swimmer’s better time had not yet
13. TIME STANDARDS.
You will hear swimmers talk about getting their
"cut." Time standards are established for
qualification into various meets. These times are created at the
local, state, regional, zone, sectional and national level.
Both minimum (swimmer must be as fast or faster than) or
maximum (swimmer may not be faster than) the qualifying time.
GETTING READY FOR THE
BEFORE THE MEET PREPARATIONS.
ALWAYS check first your folder in the boxes at the pool and
second, the WAC web site [http://www.wacswim.net/WAC]
for meet information and up to the minute announcements. The
web site will contain specific meet information, order of events,
etc. well before the weekend the meet is scheduled. The
coaches communicate specific meet entry information via flyers in
your folder, and meet entries will also be posted on the web site
at least a week before the meet is scheduled to begin. Both sources
will provide information about your child’s entry, the
location of the pool, warm-up times, hotel reservation
information, and more. If you are not sure about anything, ASK.
It’s better to ask questions than to have a child miss a
warm-up or a meet.
If the meet is far away, a parent volunteer will typically have
made arrangements for a block of rooms at a nearby motel. Once we
notify you of the specific hotel and block of rooms, you are
personally responsible for calling and confirming your room on YOUR
personal MC/VISA. The number to call will be posted in flyer
information or on the web site. Do that as soon as possible so that
your room is confirmed as reserved. Also, directions to pools will
be made available for each parent in hard copy and on the WAC web
site. Again, if you are not sure, ask. The coaches have been to
most of the pools in Ohio, Indiana and elsewhere, and know how to
get there. Give yourself plenty of time to get there for the
The coaches have tents for shade, but you may wish to bring your
own. Other musts: Money for heat sheets, pencils, highlighter pen,
sunscreen, umbrella (for shade or rain), an old bedspread or
blanket, cooler with ice, water and drinks, all swim equipment.
Other ideas: cut-up fruit, bagels and creamed cheese, muffins,
walkman or radio with headsets (to help the swimmer get his or her
mind off of swimming for a while), pillow, books. Note that food is
usually available for purchase at swim meets (along with T-shirts,
goggles and suits), but you may wish to bring your own.
Except for the tent and umbrella, same as above. In addition: a
stadium seat or chair pad for hours in uncomfortable bleachers,
walking shoes for taking a stroll outside or around the halls. Keep
in mind that it may be 20 below zero outside, yet the inside of the
natatorium is invariable quite warm and muggy, so it’s best
to wear short sleeve shirts or go sleeveless underneath your winter
coat. The swimmers will typically set up down on the deck or in a
room specifically designated for swimmers, and will use the
bedspread or blanket for stretching out in between events.
WHERE TO SIT AND WHAT TO DO.
In the bleachers with friends or other team
parents. Cheer for all of the kids on the
team. You will be surprised at how an active level of
involvement on your part makes the time pass more quickly and
familiarizes (and endears) you with other swimmers and parents on
the team. Wear your team T-shirt, keep track of the action in
your heat sheet, and share your admiration for good WAC swims with
other WAC parents and swimmers. WAC parents are admired state
wide for their loud and enthusiastic cheering, so much that
parents of swimmers in other clubs have cited our parents’
behavior as their model for their "team cheering" activities at
meets. If this is not to your liking or inconsistent with
your nature, find a quiet corner in the natatorium or
building to read or do some office work in between events.
WHAT NOT TO DO.
Do not compare your child’s time to any other swimmers. Do
not complain about how poorly your child is doing. Do not gossip
about other swimmers or parents. And if you do not see an event or
get your child’s time, do not panic. The times are always
posted on a wall somewhere for everyone to see, and your child will
always welcome a big hug and listening ear when she/he sees you, no
IN THE OFF SEASON
There are several formal committees which help run things for
WAC. The coaches and swimmers benefit from and appreciate your
volunteer efforts. Contact the Coach Jim if you’re interested
in getting involved in any of the following:
WAC BOOSTER BOARD
As you can see on the WAC web site, the booster board, may
be composed of up to 11 parent officers and members. This board is
responsible to plan and conduct all fundraising, social and meet
activities for the club. We conduct four major social events,
two fundraising activities, and one charitable support activity
each year. Committees composed of booster and non booster
board parents will be convened throughout the year to realize the
successful execution of these events. If you are interested
in contributing to the success of our club, participating in
planning and executing these events is the best way to show your
interest. Express your interest in helping, or direct your
questions, to the Booster Board President or the Head
Coach/Owner. Veteran parents can also help you get involved.