Practice Info

Practice Information

(Click on the  Calendar tab  to see the practice schedule by group)

Generally, the Dolfins use the Bethlehem Central High School, the Albany Academy, the Bethlehem Central Middle School, and Elm Avenue Park pools for their primary practice locations. The club does not guarantee any practice location or steady schedule. These should be expected to change on a regular basis. The club depends on the school district for pool time and space at the high school and middle school; these pools are occasionally not available for reasons such as swim meets, chemical imbalances, and so on. In these cases, practice will be moved to the Albany Academy.

Practice groups meet Mondays to Saturdays. The head coach determines specific practice groups. Swimmers are placed according to what is appropriate for their ability. The head coach makes this determination. Parents should not expect that their swimmer will be placed in the group of the family’s choosing for other reasons, such as car pool purposes, established friendships, preference for time and days of a practice group, or parents’ opinion regarding the swimmer’s ability. Swimmers who show steady improvement will be moved as necessary to another group. These moves can occur at any time in the season to accommodate the individual swimmer. An assistant coach, with the approval of the head coach, may do this.


The club sets no requirement regarding a minimum number of practices for Group 1, 2 3, or Senior Group. Our head coach recommends the following:

  • 7 years and younger: 2 to 4 practices a week
  • 8 years: 3 to 4 practices a week
  • 9-10 years: 4 to 6 practices a week
  • 11-13 years: 5 to 6 practices a week
  • 13 and older: 6  practices a week

Age-Group Swimming

USA Swimming Age Group programs and rules govern participation in competition. The USA Swimming program provides fair and open competition for USA Swimming members age 18 and under. Its purpose is to encourage maximum participation, provide an educational experience, enhance physical and mental conditioning, and develop a rich base of swimming talent. Participants compete in different age groups depending on their age on the first day of the meet. The Dolfins belong to the Adirondack district or the Local Swimming Committee (LSC). Typically, meet competition falls in the following age groups: 8 and under; 10 and under or 9/10; 11/12; 13/14; and senior. Swimmers always compete with their own sex. Graduating up to the next age level of competition is referred to as “aging up.” This occurs on the swimmer’s odd-year birthday.


Most swimmers keep track of their accomplishments in a swimmer’s logbook. Parents find keeping one of these to be an invaluable tool when signing up for meets. 

A logbook allows swimmers to keep track of each individual timed swim they participate in. There is room for the date, the venue, the stroke, the distance, the time, and your comments. When times are kept in this chronological fashion, they serve as a real incentive to improve one’s personal best time and give a sense of achievement and accomplishment. When swimmers enter a swim meet, they will be able to look up their best time in their logbook and enter it on the meet entry form. As memebers of the USA Swimming, Dolfins are able to access thier electronic log book via On Deck Parent, a Team Unifiy application that maintains individual swim records.  

Time Standards

Knowledge of USA Swimming time standards helps swimmers and their families chart progress and realize personal goals. They also provide swimmers with an opportunity to find out how they measure up against other USA Swimming age-group swimmers. They are available from USA Swimming’s website.


Swimming the Strokes


There are specific standards set forth by USA Swimming for all strokes, starts, and turns. For details, refer to the publication “USA Swimming Rules.” Rules are modified from time to time, and coaches will keep swimmers informed.

In freestyle, the competitor may swim any stroke he or she wishes. The stroke most often seen in freestyle events is the front crawl stroke. The alternate overhand motion of the arms and alternating up-and-down flutter kick characterize this stroke. The forward start is used. Any type of turn is acceptable, but when turning, some part of the swimmer’s body must touch the wall. The swimmer finishes when some part of the body touches the solid wall or timing pad at the end of the pool. A common reason for disqualification is failure to touch the wall when turning.

In backstroke, the swimmer swims on the back using an alternating motion of the arms and a flutter kick. Some part of the swimmer’s body must touch the end of the pool on turns. The swimmer is not permitted to turn over onto the front during the race except when performing the backstroke front flip turn. The coach will teach this turn to your swimmer when he or she is ready. The coach will let the swimmer know when he or she is ready to use the turn in competition. The finishing of the backstroke occurs when some part of the swimmer touches the solid wall or timing pad at the end of the pool. A common reason for disqualification is failure to remain on the back.

In butterfly, the swimmer performs a simultaneous overhand stroke of the arms while doing an undulating dolphin kick with the legs. In the kick, the swimmer must move the legs together and
may not use a flutter, scissors, or breaststroke kick. The swimmer must touch the wall with both hands simultaneously when turning and when finishing. Underwater recovery of the arms and one-hand touches on turns and finishes are common reasons for disqualification in both the butterfly and the breaststroke.

In breaststroke, the swimmer is required to move both arms underwater simultaneously in the same horizontal plane. The kick is similar to the action of a frog. No flutter, scissors, or dolphin kick is permitted. Except on the pullout after the start and on each turn, the swimmer’s hands are not allowed to pull past the hip line. On the turn and at the finish, the swimmer must touch the wall with both hands simultaneously with the shoulders in line with the surface of the water.

In the individual medley, the swimmer swims one, two, or four laps of each of the four strokes in the following order: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle.