Parents' Handbook


Sturgeon Falls Swim Team 


Mission Statement

The primary objective of the Sharks Team is to provide swimmers the opportunity to reach their maximum potential in competitive swimming while promoting health and sportsmanship among the children and young adults of West Nipissing.

Welcome to the 2019-2020 Shark Swim Team season. Please take an opportunity to review this handbook with your swimmers.  THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.  Everything you need to know as a parent and swimmer should be included in this handbook.

We are very excited to see our swimmers excel at their personal goals.  It is also a time to develop new relationships amongst swimmers and parents. 

We hope you enjoy representing our team but remember to SWIM HARD and have fun.

Coaching Staff

Caroline Dawson                        Head coach

Roxanne Baribeau                      Assistant coach

Pat Keough                                Assistant coach

Committee executive 

Voting Members

President/ Registrar                    Nicolle Plante-Dupuis

Vice president                             Suzanne Gamon

Treasurer                                    Theo Tsiogas

Secretary                                    Annie Michel

Fundraising Coordinator             Natalie Dokis

Officials chairperson                   Vacant

Non-Voting Members

Team Registrar                            Nicolle Plante-Dupuis

Apparels Manager                       Nicole/Rob Lacasse



There is an annual registration fee for the season.  This helps offset the cost of the pool rental, affiliation fees, registration fees to Swim Ontario and coaching expenses.

The registration fees are as follows:

  • 10 & under :  $  800 fee               meet fees not included
  • 11 & 12 :       $  850 fee               meet fees not included
  • 13 and over   $ 950 fee               meet fees not included

In addition to the registration fee, there is an annual Refundable volunteer fee of $300.00.  The Club requires additional funds be generated over and above the registration fees and this is done through various fundraising activities. As volunteer hours are   accumulated the Refundable Volunteer fee is reduced. Please refer to the Teams Tiered Point System.

Payment is made at the time of registration to the Equipe Natation Sturgeon Falls Swim Team, ENSFST.  Dues are to be paid to the treasurer.  Installment payments may be discussed with the treasurer if needed.

All swimmers will be required to register through TeamUnify and payment by Master Card will be available through this sporting system. Team Unify will also provide invoicing on a monthly basis for additional cost such as Swim Competition and apparel fees


There is a cost to register your child in meets.  Swimmers usually swim 6 heats at a cost of up to $10.00 each.  This information will be available in Team Unify. 

If you committed to attending a meet and need to be absent for any reason, you are expected to pay for the meet registration cost since the team will be expected to pay for all swimmers that registered. 

Most meets do not allow flash photography.  During meets, parents are not permitted on deck with their children.  All places usually have viewing areas for spectators.

What to bring to meets

Warm clothes, water resistant shoes or sandals, swim suits, goggles, swim caps, two towels, healthy snacks and water.

Practice and Attendance

Swimmers 10 & under are required to attend practices 2 times per week at a minimum and swimmers 11 & over are required to attend practices 3 times per week minimally. 

Practice schedules

Seniors 13 & over

  • Tuesday and Thursday AM 7:00-7:45
  • Tuesday 7:30-9:00 PM
  • Wednesday 5:30-7:00 PM
  • Thursday 7:30-9:00 PM
  • Friday 5:30-7:00 PM
  • Saturday 8:30-10:00 AM

Junior B - 11&12

  • Tuesday 7:30-9:00 PM
  • Wednesday 5:30-7:00 PM
  • Thursday 7:30-9:00 PM
  • Friday 5:30-7:00 PM
  • Saturday 8:30-10:00 AM

Junior A - 10 & under

  • Wednesday 5:30-7:00 PM
  • Friday 5:30-7:00 PM
  • Saturday 8:30-10:00 AM

You must advise the coach if you cannot attend a practice.

Caroline cell: 705-492-7974

Pat cell: 705-491-2038

Roxanne cell: 705-840-9045

The coaches require the swimmers to be at practice at least 15 minutes prior to practice.  Swimmers should be ready to swim no less than 5 minutes prior to the start of the practice.

Swimmers should never leave the pool area without permission from their coach.

While coaches emphasize practice attendance, if a swimmer is too ill to swim they should not be sent to practice but please advise the coach.

All swim team members are obligated to act as guests while in any of the aquatic facilities (both athletes and parents).  Every member of the team needs to do everything possible to respect this privilege. 

Parents are welcome to observe the practices from the viewing area located on the second floor.  No parents will be permitted on deck this year.  It is important for your child to concentrate on the coach’s directives and focus on the practice and not be distracted by family or friends watching.

It is important to note that a swimmer cannot recover quickly from one practice session to another without adequate sleep, rest and good nutrition.  Just keep in mind that every practice is a dress rehearsal for the swim meets.  Practice does not make perfect. PERFECT PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT.

Practices are usually canceled the day before a meet.  This information is available on Team Unify, generally posted on the Swim Team Private Facebook page and coaches will advise all parents via email or personally if a practice is cancelled at the last minute.


Invoices will be available through Team Unify however swimming equipment needs to be paid in full to the treasurer or the equipment manager upon receipt of equipment. 

Meetings and committees

Parents are expected to attend general meetings which will be held once a month (September to June) and are required to participate in fundraising events.  It is important to note that our team fees are kept to a minimal due to the success of our fundraisers.

Communication Policy with the Coaches

Concerns about individual swimmers, the team, meets, or any aspect related to coaching should be communicated to the head coach at the appropriate times. 


  1. Parents or swimmers with concerns should talk directly to the head coach at the end of practice or other times arranged with the coach.
  2. Parents should avoid raising issues immediately before practice, during practice, or during swim meets.  If an issue is critical during those times, parents should communicate their concerns with the president.
  3. If an issue between parents and coaches is not satisfactorily resolved, parents and/or coaches should discuss the issue with the President.​


Nutrition is an important area of successful sports performance in any sport. Swimmers need to eat nutritious foods to compete and train to the best of their ability. Parents should encourage their children to eat nutritionally.  The meals that swimmers eat one to three days prior to competition are actually more important to performance that the pre-competition meal, because they contain the foods that will be stored as muscle glycogen and then used during competition.  Swimmers should increase the carbohydrate content and reduce the fat and protein of meals content two to three days prior to swim meets and continue this pattern until the competition begins so that caloric intake is not excessive.  Water should be your number one choice for a beverage.

Swimmers should bring water (and lots of it), fresh vegetables, yogurt, fresh fruit, real unsweetened fruit juices, rice cakes and bagels to meets.  Remember to eat healthy at meets – low sugar and low fat!! It is important not to eat something that you have never eaten before during a meet.

Rules of conduct for swimmers

All swimmers must abide by the Sturgeon Falls Recreation Complex guidelines at all times. 

Your conduct during practices, meets and fundraising events is a reflection of your team, your parents and your sponsors so please respect yourself and others.  Please remember that we are a guest team at all meets.

Your coach has the final say on your swimming.  If you are not acting appropriately, they will discipline you accordingly.  You may be warned about your behavior or be asked to get out of the pool.  If you act in a way that can harm or distract others, further disciplinary measures will be discussed by the head coach and your parent(s) or guardian(s).

You are expected to report to the coaching staff upon arrival at the meet, and prior to departing from a meet.  You need to report to the meet practice on time.  We warm up as a team, and our team sits and cheers together.   Swimmers should report to the head coach after each race to get feedback.

Swimming etiquette during practices

Swimmers will be sharing a lane with a number of others.  In order for practice to be conducted efficiently it is important that everyone follows the rules of swimming etiquette.

  1. If there are three or more swimmers to a lane, you will be swimming in a circle.  Stay on the side of the lane that the coaches designate.
  2. Tap the foot of the swimmer in front of you before passing.  If you are being overtaken at the turn, stop, and wait until the other swimmer has pushed off.
  3. The order in the lane is fastest to slowest.  If the swimmer behind you keeps catching up, allow them to move ahead of this line.
  4. If you need to stop, squeeze into the corner away from the incoming swimmers, so that they have sufficient room to turn.​



To a first time swimmer and new swim team parent, a swim meet can appear to be one of the wettest, wildest, and most disorganized events possible – wet and wild, maybe; but hardly disorganized.

Always arrive ten minutes prior to warm up time and report to your coach or other designated person.  Please organize that an older swimmer meet your child in the change rooms for their first meet so that they can show them the ropes.  Report to your coach and find your team area.  The coaches will organize your swimmer’s races at this point.  Parents can purchase a meet schedule at each meet which can vary in cost from $4.00-$10.00.  Ask another parent what to do with the schedule in order for you to understand when your swimmer and other swimmers are racing.

Bring a highlighter and pen.  Some teams also upload race information into Meet Mobile which is an app that can be purchased.

The coaches will write on your swimmer’s arm what event, heat, lane and distance they will be doing on that day.

Prior to warm ups, all swimmers should be cautioned to carefully jump feet first into unknown pools and water depths (this should be a lifelong habit). 

Older swimmers will guide your child to the Clerk of Course table then will guide them to where they need to sit while they await their turn to swim.  The older swimmer will be waiting for your child when they have completed their swim.  Your child will then go to see their coach for advice and encouragement. 

Nothing is more exciting than to see your child on the blocks for the first time.  Cheering is, of course, encouraged, but NOT while the starter is addressing the swimmers on the blocks.  Flash photography is not allowed during the starts because they can be confused with the strobe light of the starting signal and can cause your favorite swimmer to false start.

During the race, cheer for your swimmers but remember that no matter where they finish, they are all winners.  Swimming is unique in that swimmers can actually swim against themselves by bettering their previous times.  Smart parents emphasize this improvement from meet to meet rather than dwelling on who was first and last. 

Swimmers must learn to be proud of their good efforts in competition as well as in practice. Whether they win or lose, swimmers should act with class.  Congratulating opponents after a race should be a habit.

Occasionally a swimmer is disqualified (DQ’d) in an event for faulty technique.  This is understandable, as the rules for strokes and turns are quite specific and swimmers often get very excited during a race.  The official (dressed in white) will tell your child that they have been disqualified and the coach will be able to determine why a swimmer was disqualified and work on improvement during future practices. 

New racers should know that officials will be looking at them during their race so this means during their flips turns also.  The officials are there to ensure that proper technique is followed by all swimmers.   It is not appropriate for a parent, swimmer or coach to yell at or approach an official to question a disqualification.  This is considered unsportsperson like conduct and may result in penalties against your team.  Questions regarding disqualifications should be directed to your coach in a polite and respectful manner. 

Award ribbons are a big part of swimming, but they are not given out at the meet.  The ribbons will be given to the coach and they will be given out to the swimmers during the next practice.



Freestyle (“free”)

In the freestyle the swimmer may swim any stroke desired, but will normally swim the “Australian Crawl”.  Because it is “freestyle”, disqualifications are rare but may occur for such things as pushing off the bottom, using the lane as a pull, or failing to touch the wall at the turn.  The forward start front the starting platform is used, but swimmers may dive in from the deck level or start in the water.  There are two freestyle events, “long free” and “short free”.

Backstroke (“back”)

In the Backstroke the swimmer must stay on their back except during the turns.  Like freestyle, stroke disqualifications are rare but disqualifications on the turns are more common.  The backstroke start is made in the water with the swimmer facing the starting end of the pool, holding the platform hand grips, with feet submerged and placed against the wall.

Breaststroke (“breast”)

In the Breaststroke the swimmer must stay on their breast (except during the turns) and execute simultaneous horizontal arm strokes alternating with simultaneous “frog” kicks of the legs.  The forward start from the starting platform is used, but swimmers may dive in from deck level or start in the water.

Butterfly (“fly”)

In the Butterfly, arguably the most difficult stroke, the swimmer must stay on the breast (except during the turns) and execute simultaneous overhead arm strokes combined with simultaneous “dolphin” kicks of the legs.  The forward start from the starting platform is used, but swimmers may dive in from deck level or start in the water.

Individual Medley (“IM”)

In the Individual Medley the swimmer must swim one-forth of the distance using each of the above strokes in the following order: fly, back, breast, and free.  The forward start from the starting platform is used, but swimmers may dive from the deck level or start in the water.

Freestyle Relay (“FR”)

In the Freestyle Relay four different swimmers must each swim one-fourth of the distance using free style.

Medley Relay (“MR”)

In the Medley Relay four different swimmers must each swim one of the following strokes in order for one-fourth of the distance: back, breast, fly and free.