Parent education

Swim parents first responsibility: Your child will be allowed into the water only after you have presented the coach on deck a receipt of your on-line registration, USS registration form (with birth certificate for first time registrations) and dues and fees are paid or current. Parents must read and become familiar with all information and policies contained on our web site. 

10 Commandments for Swimming Parents

Swim Meet procedures

Swimming definitions

more.... USA Swimming Parents education link


1. Thou shalt not impose your ambitions on thy child.     Remember that swimming is your child’s activity. Improvements and progress occur at  different rates for each individual. Don’t judge your child’s progress based on the performance of other athletes and don’t push them based on what you think they should be doing. The nice thing about swimming is every person can strive to do their personal best and benefit from the process of  competitive swimming.


2. Thou shalt be supportive no matter what.    There is only one question to ask your child after a practice or a competition - "Did you have fun?" If meets and practices are not fun, your child should not be forced to participate.


3. Thou shalt not coach thy child.    You are involved in one of the few youth sports programs that offer professional coaching, do not undermine the professional coach by trying to coach your child on the side. Your job is to provide unconditional love and support and a safe place to return at the end of the day. Love and hug your child no matter what. Tell them how proud of them you are.  The coach is responsible for the technical part of the job.

You should not offer advice on technique or race strategy or any other area that is not yours. And above all, never pay your child for a performance. This will only serve to confuse your child concerning the reasons to strive for excellence and weaken the swimmer/coach bond.


4. Thou shalt only have positive things to say at a swimming meet.    If you are going to show up at a swimming meet, you should be encouraging, but never criticize your child or the coach. Both of them know when mistakes have been made. And remember “yelling at” is not the same as “cheering for”.  You also may want to consider being positive anytime you are around the pool.


5. Thou shalt acknowledge thy child’s fears.    A first swimming meet, 500 free or 200 IM can be a stressful situation. It is totally appropriate for your child to be scared. Don’t yell or belittle, just assure your child that the coach would not have suggested the event if your child was not ready to compete in it. Remember your job is to love and support your child through all of the swimming experience.  Most of their fears are one’s you have given them.


6. Thou shalt not criticize the officials.    If you do not care to devote the time or do not have the desire to volunteer as an official, don’t criticize those who are doing the best they can.   You too can be trained to be an official in an afternoon.


7. Honor thy child’s coach.    The bond between coach and swimmer is a special one, and one that contributes to your child’s success as well as fun. Do not criticize the coach in the presence of your child, it will only serve to hurt your child’s swimming.


8. Thou shalt be loyal and supportive of thy team    It is not wise for parents to take their swimmers and to jump from team to team. The water isn’t necessarily bluer in another team’s pool. Every team has its own internal problems, even teams that build champions. Children who switch from team to team are often ostracized for a long, long time by the teammates they leave behind and are slowly received by new team mates. Often times swimmers who do switch teams never do better than they did before they sought the bluer water.


9. Thy child shalt have goals besides winning.    Most successful swimmers are those who have learned to focus on the process and not the outcome. Giving an honest effort regardless of what the outcome is, is much more important than winning. One Olympian said, "My goal was to set a world record. Well, I did that, but someone else did it too, just a little faster than I did. I achieved my goal and I lost. Does this make me a failure? No, in fact I am very proud of that swim." What a tremendous outlook to carry on through life.


10. Thou shalt not expect thy child to become an Olympian.     There are 280,000 athletes in USA Swimming. Only 2% of the swimmers listed in the 10 & Under age group make it to the Top 100 in the 17-18 age group and of those only a small percentage will become elite level, world class athletes. There are only 52 spots available for the Olympic Team every four years. Your child’s odds of becoming an Olympian is about .0002%.


 Swimming is much more than just the Olympics. Ask your coaches why they coach. Chances are, they were not an Olympian, but still got so much out of swimming that they wanted to pass the love for the sport on to others. Swimming teaches self-discipline and sportsmanship; it builds self-esteem and fit­ness; it provides lifelong friendships and much more. Most Olympians will tell you that these intangibles far outweigh any medal they may have won. Swimming builds good people, like you want your child to be, and you should be happy your child wants to participate.

Swim Meet Procedures

1.   Warm-Up

  • Warm-ups are always conducted by a member of the coaching staff; parents should not be involved with the warm-up procedure.
  • Swimmers will be expected to report to the team area 75 minutes prior to the start of the competition.
  • Team members are required to warm-up with the team unless excused by the coach
  • It is important that swimmers and parents understand that a good warm-up is an essential part of a successful performance. Each athlete in the program deserves every opportunity available to be successful. Warm-up is one of those opportunities!

2.   It will be customary for us to have a “team area” at meets and to sit together as a group. This helps promote team unity and spirit. When a swimmer first arrives at a meet, he should find the team area.

3.   A team meeting will be convened 15 minutes prior the start of each competition session. All team members will be required to attend.

4.   Swimmers should obtain a heat sheet and check to see if they are properly entered in their events. If there is a mistake, it should be discussed with the coach so they can take corrective action.

5.   At the conclusion of each race, the swimmers are asked to come immediately to the coaching staff present at the meet. This gives the coaches an opportunity to discuss the race with the swimmer and add positive comments concerning splits, stroke techniques, race strategy, etc. Parents who are so inclined should discuss the technical aspects of a race with the coach and not the swimmer. If a warm-down area is available, swimmers are to warm-down first, then report directly to the coaches.

6.   Input from parents or swimmers is welcome, but the coaches will determine which events a swimmer will compete in. Team members are never to scratch or late-enter an event without first consulting one of the coaches. In a meet with preliminaries and finals, it is expected that any one qualifying to swim in the finals shall do so unless excused by the coach.

7.   As a matter of courtesy to the officials and meet host, parents should generally stay off of the deck unless serving in an official capacity.

8.   Similarly, as a matter of courtesy, all questions swimmers or parents may have concerning meet results, an officiating call, or the conduct of a meet, should be referred to the coaching staff. They, in turn, will pursue the matter through the proper channels.

9.   On away trips, all swimmers will be required to attend all sessions of the meet unless excused by the head coach.

10. Swimmers will be expected to rest and conserve energy between events and sessions and to remain in the team area while at the pool.

11. If there is an extended period of time between the pre-meet team warm-up and the swimmer’s first event, the swimmer should briefly warm-up a second time approximately 30 minutes prior to the event if a warm-up pool is available. 

12. Unless excused by the coach, all swimmers competing in a finals session will be expected to stay with the team until the end of the session to support their teammates.

13.  Whenever there is a formal awards presentation at a meet, it is expected that swimmers be prompt, wear the team uniform and cooperate fully at the presentation.



Age Group Competition - A meet for all registered swimmers up to and including age 18, who have met the qualifying time standard for a specific event(s).
Bonus Consolations – A finals event consisting of swimmers who place in the third tier of swimmers during preliminaries.
Button Time – The recorded time started automatically and stopped by a button depressed by a lane timer when the swimmer finishes an event.
Consolations or Consoles - A finals event consisting of swimmers who place in the second tier of swimmers during preliminaries.
Deck Seeding – a procedure of assigning swimmers to lanes and heats immediately before each event.
DQ – Disqualification.
Event – A portion of a meet competition broken down by stroke and oftentimes by age, gender and relay type.
Final – The portion of a competition in which just the top swimmers of the meet compete. A “final eight” event consists of the fastest eight swimmers from the morning preliminaries.
Heat – A portion of an event. An event may require multiple heats to determine what swimmers make finals.
Heat Sheet – A sheet produced by the Clerk of Course that assigns a swimmers heat and lane placement.
IM – Slang for individual medley, an event in which the swimmer uses all four competitive strokes in the following order: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle.
Lane lines – The dividers used to delineate the individual lanes. These are made of individual finned disks strung on a cable which rotate on the cable when hit by a wave. The rotating disks dissipate surface tension waves in a competitive pool.
Leg – A portion, normally one-quarter, of an individual event or relay event, of the event.
Long Course – A pool configured for swimming with a 50-meter long race course. World records may be set in long course and short course competition. The main USA Swimming long course season is during the summer months. The Olympic Games as well as all major international competitions are conducted long course.
LSC – Local Swimming Committee of USA Swimming, Inc.
Meet Program – A program consists of heat or psych sheets for the preliminary competition of a meet.
Official – A judge on the deck of the pool. Various judges watch the swimmer’s strokes, turns and finishes or are timers.
N/T - No Time. A swimmer uses this when entering an event he/she has no established time for.
Official Time – The time established by an official which is entered into the meet final records.
Preliminaries or Prelims - The portion of a competition that determines which swimmers qualify for the championship and consolation finals in the events.
Psych Sheet – A ranking of swimmers by event and time.
Q-(minus) - Qualifying times that have not bettered the Arizona time standard.
Q+(plus) - Qualifying times that have achieved or bettered the Arizona time standard.
Sanction – The qualification of a meet in order for it to be officially recognized.
Seeding – The method of placing swimmers in lanes in order of their entry times.
Senior Competition - A meet for all registered swimmers 15 and over, or those who have met the qualifying time standard for a specific event(s).
Short Course – A pool configured in 25-yard or 25-meter lengths. USA Swimming, Inc. conducts most of its winter competition in 25-yard lengths including the Speedo Junior Championships in the spring. NCAA swimming competition uses the 25-yard format. Most of the world swims short course meters in the winter (25-meter pool). The fastest times swum in a 25-yard pool may only gain U.S. Open or American record status.
Split – A swimmer’s intermediate time in a race. Splits are registered every 50 meters (or25 yards depending on the pool and equipment on hand) and are used to determine if a swimmer is on record pace.
Taper – The resting process in training for swimming competition. During the middle of their swimming season a swimmer may work out 10 to 15 thousand meters (8 to 10 miles) each day. As major competition draws near, the swimmer will “taper” off the distances swum each day. A perfectly designed taper will enable the swimmer to compete at their peak capability and is one of the most difficult aspects of swim coaching.
Time Trials – Events that are offered during the regular competition to allow swimmers a chance of achieving official times.
Touch Pad – The area at the end of each lane in the pool where a swimmer’s time is registered and sent electronically to the timing system and the scoreboard.
Unattached – A term used to identify a swimmers team affiliation in lieu of being officially attached to a team within the LSC.
USS – United States Swimming: the former name of USA Swimming Inc., the national governing body for amateur swimming in America.
Warm-down – Used by the swimmer to rid the body of excess lactic acid generated during a race.
Warm-up – Used by the swimmer before the race to get their muscles loose and ready to race.
Watch Time - The recorded time from a watch started and stopped manually by a lane timer.