Handbook

MERRIMACK MANIACS HANDBOOK– 2019

New and veteran swimmers, this is your go-to guide for the Merrimack Swim Team!

Head Coach:                Elizabeth Lofgren (lofgrenbb@yahoo.com)

A-Meet Reps:               Catherine Swezey (catherineswezey@yahoo.com)

 Sarah Thatch (thatch_sj@yahoo.com)

B-Meet Reps:                Alicia Green (aliciawgreen@yahoo.com)

 Caroline Smith (caroline@smithwdc.com)

Swim Team Chair:         Susan Eagle (susan_eagle@yahoo.com)

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

GENERAL INFO: Important dates & team overview

MEETS: Differences between meets

PARENT RESPONSIBILITIES: Declare your swimmer & volunteer

SWIMMER RESPONSIBILITIES

WEEKLY RUNDOWN: Parent deadlines & weekly overview

FAQ

 

GENERAL INFO

MERRIMACK MANIACS: One of six teams in Division F of the Montgomery County Swim League (MCSL).

DUES: Vary based on pool membership (Equity or Summer Affiliate) and by age group. Team registration and dues must be submitted before a swimmer may participate in a meet. Dues go towards coach salaries, MCSL fees, software, supplies, food, the awards banquet and more. Unfortunately, we do not pro-rate for missed practices (i.e. vacations) or provide sibling discounts.

8U ASSESSMENTS, TIME TRIALS & SWIM SUIT FAIR: At the start of the season, Merrimack coaches assess swimmers to determine their level and initial meet line ups. Attendance is vital.

8U ASSESSMENTS: If your swimmer is a new 8 & Under (8U), a 2018 Mini Maniac, or a 2018 Gold swimmer, you must sign up HERE for an assessment so coaches can appropriately place your child.

  • Tuesday, May 21, 3:45 - 5 pm
  • Friday, May 24 at 4:30 pm - 6 pm
  • Monday, May 27 at 3 pm
  • Tuesday, May 28 at 4:00 pm

Coaches will notify parents by MAY 30, 2019 indicating the appropriate group for your 8U swimmer. PLEASE DO NOT REGISTER FOR SWIM TEAM ON TEAM UNIFY UNTIL AFTER YOU HAVE RECEIVED A COMMUNICATION FROM THE COACHES. Registration fees vary by group.

TIME TRIALS: Saturday, June 8, 2019 -- 8am-12pm. All swimmers are expected to attend.  Times will be used to determine initial meet line-ups. 

SWIM SUIT FAIR: Sport Fair” will be at Time Trials. “Sport Fair” sells our team suits and swim accessories. The team suit is not required (though strongly encouraged for A Meets) and suits from previous seasons are welcome. You may also go directly to Sport Fair to purchase your suit (5010 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22207).

PRACTICES: See PRACTICES & GROUPS for specifics. Please note: times are subject to change.

AWARDS BANQUET: Sunday, July 21, 2019 

 

MEETS:

A- MEETS: Saturday mornings

  • Structured, competitive meets for the fastest available swimmers.
  • Consists of 50 events that include freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and the individual medley (IM). 
  • Includes boys’ and girls’ medley and freestyle relays.
  • Coaches build meet line-ups based on swimmer’s fastest times and availability FAQ: How does a swimmer get into an A-meet?
  • MCSL rules limit swimmers to a maximum of three individual events -- plus the IM and one relay event.
  • Swimmers may not participate in the same stroke in both an A-meet and the following B-meet.
  • NOTE: Coaches will build a line up that they believe will score the most points overall.  In some cases, swimmers will not swim their favorite or best events.
  • At the end of the season, team results determine division ranking.
  • Only A-Meet times count towards All-Star qualifying times and end-of-season qualifying meets such as Divisionals and All-Stars.

B- MEETS: Wednesday evenings

  • Inclusive meets giving swimmers an opportunity to swim competitively, record official times, and win ribbons.
  • Coaches place swimmers in events when they believe the swimmer is ready: a legal stroke is a big factor.
  • Because of wide participation, meets have numerous heats.
  • Meets are not scored and do not include relays.
  • Swimmers may not participate in the same stroke in both an A-meet and the following B-meet.
  • Times do NOT count towards All-Star qualifying times and end-of-season qualifying meets such as Divisionals and All-Stars.

END- OF-SEASON MEETS: There are different qualifying factors for each of these meets. See FAQ for further explanation of each of these meets.

  • Coaches Long Course Invitational: July 9, 2019
  • Division F Relay Carnival: July 7, 2019 (Tentative)
  • Divisionals: July 20, 2019
  • All-Stars - Relay Carnival: July 27, 2019 (6:30am-9:30am)
  • All-Stars - Individual: July 28, 2019 (7am-11am)

 

PARENT RESPONSIBILITIES:

Our team is powered by PARENTS. We ask that parents:

  • Declare their swimmer’s availability by midnight Sunday for that week's B&A meets.
  • Volunteer at least twice per season for B-meets.
  • Volunter at every meet A-meet in which their child swims.
  • Are familiar with the Weekly Rundown.
  • Supervise their children at meets. Coaches are not responsible for children at meets. If parents cannot attend a meet, another caregiver must be present.

COMMIT TO MEETS: Esentially an RSVP.

  • For all meets -- A & B -- parents must “commit” or "decline" their swimmer.
  • Please avoid last-minute changes! 
  • If your swimmer can’t make it, please give the coaches ample time to either find a substitute (for A-meets) or streamline line-ups (for B-meets).
  • While A-meets are for the fastest swimmers, we encourage you to declare when your swimmer is available for them: swimmer times and availability shift all summer and, therefore, so do line-ups. 

Insider Tip: Save time! Sit down with your summer calendar and COMMIT or DECLINE for the season all at once. You likely already know when you're going on vacation! While you’re at it, sign up to meet your volunteer requirements (details below).

HOW TO COMMIT OR DECLINE A MEET:

  • Go to COMMIT TO MEETS
  • Select "EDIT COMMITMENT" for the meet you want. 
  • Click your child's name. 
  • Pick "yes" or "no" from the drop down menu. 
  • IMPORTANT: SELECT DAY 1 / SESSION 1 
  • Click "Save Changes" 
  • You'll be asked "Do you really want to save changes?" Click Yes 

VOLUNTEER ROLES: Most jobs do not require training, experience, or certification.

For A Meets, the expectation is that each family volunteers at each meet their child swims, since there are fewer families to fill needed roles.

For B Meets, the expectation is that each family volunteers for at least two meets.

HOW TO VOLUNTEER:

  • Go to “ COMMIT TO MEETS
  • Select desired “MEET”
  • Select “JOB SIGNUP”
  • Sign up for your desired volunteer position

No training/ certification: Timers (always needed!), runners, ribbon writers, snack bar, ice pick-up, Friday morning donut pick-up, A-meet coffee delivery, away meet tent pick-up/set-up/return, pep rally help, awards banquet and more.

Training/ Certification required: Informal training is needed for clerk of course and automation. MCSL requires certification for referees, starters, and stroke & turn judges. All of these roles are designated before the meets and must be filled to begin the meet. Teams that do not fill these slots must withdraw.

Training occurs in the spring and is posted on the MCSL website.

 

SWIMMER RESPONSIBILITIES:

Swimmers must be aware of their meet commitments (whether they or their parent has opted to “attend” or “decline”) and change commitments per the deadlines detailed in the Weekly Rundown. For emergency last-minute changes, a swimmer must contact Coach Elizabeth in a timely fashion. 

ADDITIONAL EXPECTATIONS:

  • Get plenty of rest before meets
  • Be prompt for pre-meet warm-ups (generally an hour before home meets & 30 minutes before away meets)
  • Know every event you are swimming and the event number. Pay attention to the Clerk of Course and report to the Clerk of Course when your name or event is called.
  • Stay in the team area, particularly younger swimmers.
  • Cheer for the team and support teammates.  
  • Do not jump in the pool at any time. Swimmers who jump in before a race is finished or to stop a swimmer who’s made a false start will result in disqualification.
  • Help clean up the team area after a meet.  

 

WEEKLY RUNDOWN:

SUNDAY: 11:59pm – deadline to declare swimmer availability for the coming week’s B & A meets.

TUESDAYS:

  • Weekly Pep Rallies at the pool - for everyone! 
  • B-meet line-up emailed to parents and posted to Team Unify
  • 6pm deadline for B-meet changes due to Coach Elizabeth.

WEDNESDAYS: B-Meets

THURSDAYS:

  • Parents emailed A-meet line-up.
  • 8pm: Deadline for A-meet changes due to Coach Elizabeth. Please avoid last-minute changes! If your swimmer can’t make it, give the coaches ample time to find a substitute. There’s always another swimmer eager to swim in an A-meet. 

SATURDAYS:

  • A-Meets. 
  • Team Lunches: Per tradition, parents and swimmers gather for lunch after the meet. Location varies and is announced at meet.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Q. What kind of commitment is summer swim team?

A:  The Maniac team is almost entirely parent run, so we ask for a significant commitment from each family. For specifics on parent and swimmer responsibilities, please see above. If your child swims at both A- and B-Meets, you are expected to help at both. 

Q: How does a child end up in an A-meet ?

A: Coaches determine A-Meet line-ups. Their decisions are based on a swimmer’s availability and times in previous A- and B-Meets along with other factors. The deciding factor between two swimmers can come down to tenths or hundredths of a second.

Q: My child swims fast, but isnt very competitive.  A-meets sound like too much pressure.

A: You know what’s best for your child. Feel free to declare your swimmer available only in B-meets and decline A-meets. At Merrimack, our primary goal is to encourage a love of swimming. Discuss specifics with coaches (just kindly do it before or after practice). And please consider attending A meets for fun. Sometimes, kids want to swim in an A meet after seeing one firsthand. 

Q: When can I talk to the coaches? Can I email them?

 A: For the safety of all our swimmers, please do not talk to coaches during practice. They’re always available before or after practice. You may also email Coach Elizabeth with swimmer specific swimming questions or your reps (merrimackswimteam@gmail.com) with all other questions. 

Q: What is the Relay Carnival?

A: Each division has a Relay Carnival in which all the teams in that division compete (for 2018, Merrimack is in Division F). In the Relay Carnival, there is one team per lane and all events are relay races. Coaches put together relay teams based on several factors including a swimmer’s times and availability. If a Merrimack relay team wins at the Relay Carnival, they qualify for All-Star Relays at the end of the season (see next question).

QWhat  is Coaches’ Invitational Long Course ?

A: Invitations to the meet -- held on July 9, 2019 -- are based on a swimmer’s best time at the first three A meets. The eight fastest swimmers in the league for each event compete against each other in an outdoor 50-meter (long course) pool

Q: What are Divisionals? 

A: The Divisionals meet is the championship meet for our division, Divison F (division standings change each year). Coaches select the fastest two swimmers – based on A-meet times --  in each event in each age group to compete against the other teams in Division F. Each swimmer may swim a maximum of 3 individual events, so the third fastest swimmer may also be invited to swim. Divisionals are July 20, 2019.

QWhat  is an  All- Star  time and why  is it a  big deal?

A: All-Star nominating times are set by MCSL. To qualify, a swimmer’s time must be recorded in an A-Meet. All- Star Swimmers are the fastest in County. At the end of the season, MCSL hosts two All-Star meets: Individual All-Stars and the All-Star Relay. The Individual All-Star meet invites the fastest 16 swimmers in each event from the County. The All-Star Relay is composed of relay teams who won their division’s Relay Carnival. The All-Star Meets are July 27-28, 2019.