October 23, 2015
Welcome to FAST! We know you have many questions about swim meets, the website, and how we operate. In this tab we will try to provide you with some basic information to get you started.
Communication - Once you have established your account with FAST, your email will be added to a distribution list maintained through our website. Standard communication is via email. If you have questions about your account, fees, or about website log in issues, please contact your FAST Parent Rep via email. If you have questions about swim meets or practice, contact your swimmer's Coach.
Practice Schedules - For the Practice Groups at the Minerva DeLand pool, Deborah will email all swimmer families the practice schedule each week. To receive the schedule, you need to have an active account inclusive of an email address. Keep in mind that FAST will not have access to the pool on regular school closing holidays and when schools close early due to inclement weather.
Signing up for Swim Meets - Coaches select the meets FAST attends. Some selected meets are only for swimmers 12 & Under, some only for swimmers aged 13 & Over, and some for swimmers of all ages. For Swimmers aged 12 & Under, Deborah will post the meet information on the website, and will send an email notice alerting you that a meet is open for swimmer registration. To sign up your swimmer, log in on the website, click on the "Events" tab, and scroll until you find the meet/date you are looking for. Click on the "Commit" button to sign-up your swimmer. If you need to leave the Coach a note (like a late arrival or early departure) you can do that in the "Notes" dialogue box. Then make sure to scroll to the bottom of this window and click the "SAVE" button (don't forget this part!). Only sign-up your swimmer for meets that are selected for his/her practice group! That is all you have to do. Coaches will select the events for swimmers, and FAST pays the collective entry fee for the Team. Your account will then be billed for the meet fees. Once the entries have been received and accepted by the host team, the Coach will post an Entry Report on the website that shows the entries for each swimmer.
Basic Info About Swim Meets - All meets that FAST participates in are sanctioned through USA Swimming via the Niagara LSC (Local Swim Committee). Many are Invitationals, which are often divided into sessions according to the age of the swimmer. For swimmers aged 12 & Under, a session can last up to 4 hours. For these meets, we recommend swimmers bring two dry towels, comfortable, warm clothing to wear over their suits between races, flip-flops, and a sleeping bag/blanket/big towel to spread on the floor. The entries for these meets are submitted in advance (about a week) to the meet host, who often takes on the responsibility to organize the swimmers at the "Clerk of Course" to get them to their races at the right time. Swimmers are called by event number to report to the Clerk of Course to get lined up. This staging is often in a near by gym, cafeteria, or hallway, and announcements are made so swimmers know when to report there. At these meets, kids will often stay in the gym, cafeteria, or corridor between events, and parents are welcome to stay with your kids in these areas. Coaches will typically be on the pool deck watching the competition, and talking with swimmers immediately after they race. Swimmers should go see a Coach immediately after every race. After chatting briefly with a Coach, swimmers will return to the gym/cafeteria. Swimmers are also welcome to leave swim meets after their last race, but must check in with the coach before changing into clothes and leaving (your swimmer may be needed to swim in a relay later in the session).
Another general type of meet that FAST pariticpates in are GVSL meets, which is the Genesee Valley Swim League. These meets typically involve two or three local teams, with no or only miminal entry fees, and last for up to 2.5 hours. At these meets, swimmers often will remain on the pool deck with the Team and Coaches during the competition. They should still bring warm clothing, towels, and deck shoes, but blankets are not necessary. It is required that swimmers stay with the team on deck, as the coaches will be responsible for organizing kids to get to their races. Coaches will not search for kids in locker rooms, in the bleachers, etc., so please reinforce remaining with the Team and Coaches with your swimmers. These meets are GREAT meets for all FAST 12 & Under swimmers, new swimmers and those who have been on the team for several years.
It really helps your swimmer be less anxious if they know what events they are competing in before arriving at the meet. Additionally, we strongly recommend writing your swimmers event number and descriptions (i.e. Event #11, 25 backstroke) on their hand BEFORE arriving at the meet. Please write it on their hand - they won't remember, and the Coach will not have time to tell each swimmer this information. Kids do get anxious about missing their events, but writing their events on their hand before arriving at the meet makes it much easier to help them all. You will find this information on the "Entry Report" that is posted on the website for the meet (in the "Events" area of the website).
All swim meets require volunteers to help operate the meet. Parents with new swimmers can get involved by Lane Timing at meets. Once you learn a little about our sport, there are other ways you can help out. One strict rule in swimming is that only Swimmers, Coaches, and people assisting with meet operations can be on the pool deck. This is the rule for ALL meets. Parents are also not allowed in locker rooms at meets, so swimmers who need help getting ready for swim meets should put their suits on at home before coming to the meet.
Team Suits: Swimmers should have a FAST Team suit, which is royal blue with the FAST logo. FAST typically maintains a small inventory of suits to sell to members at a price that is cheaper than what you would pay retail. Team suits should only be worn at swim meets, not at practice, so they maintain good color and condition. The typical cost for regular team suits is $45 for girls suits, $35 for boys jammer suits. Team suits should fit tight, and they always stretch to a custom fit. They should not "bunch" or have any wrinkles when worn. They will look small, really small, when new. Coaches are happy to assist with sizing. FAST also has a team cap, typically solid red with the "Together We Are FAST" logo printed in blue, outlined in white. These are only available from FAST Coaches, and are usually available in silicone (more durable, $15 each) or latex ($5 each). Let coaches know if you need either a team suit or cap for your swimmer(s).
More to follow!