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Parent Handbook

Team Handbook and Parent Guide


With this guide we have attempted to provide as much information as possible for our ATAC families. For new members it will serve as an introduction to competitive swimming in general and to our team organization. We hope that having this guide and referring to it often will help you feel a part of the team and will encourage your active participation.



The Area Tallahassee Aquatic Club is a competitive swimming program sponsored by the Tallahassee Parks and Recreation Department and administered by Terry Maul, Head Coach and President of Performance Enhancement Enterprises, Inc. The team is a member of Florida Swimming, a division of United States Swimming.

Membership in ATAC is open to all residents of Tallahassee and the surrounding area, ages five and older. Registration is held year-round. All levels of swimming are represented, from the recreational seasonal league (4 seasons) swimmer to the international competitor. The team’s mailing address is 205 Baxter Court, Tallahassee, Florida, 32312.

Like most organizations of its kind, ATAC depends on the help of many volunteers to support the team. Our Booster Association, which consists of all parents with swimmers in the ATAC program, provides many support services, such as setting up swim meets, keeping records and fund-raising, to name just a few. Parents can expect to be asked to assist in team-sponsored functions.

Team History

The “City” Swim Team has been in existence since 1967, but the Area Tallahassee Aquatic Club was formed in 1979 with the combination of Narcoosee and the Tallahassee Swim Teams. ATAC has since become the standard of excellence in Tallahassee swimming and one of the top teams in the southeast. We are extremely proud of the success of our swimmers, which have included National Champions, Olympic Trials Qualifiers, US National Team Members, Senior National Qualifiers, National Top 16 Qualifiers, Southern Zone Champions, Florida Record Holders, and Florida All-Star Team Members.

Coaching Staff

The ATAC Coaching staff is made up of recognized professional coaches. The staff includes US National Team Coaches, Florida All-Star Team Coaches, and several assistant coaches with varied and extensive coaching experience. All coaches are USS certified and members of the American Swimming Coaches Association, one of the most comprehensive training and certification programs for youth coaching of any sport in the United States.

The coaches’ job is to direct the development of all swimmers in the program. The Head Coach is responsible for the philosophy and the implementation of the entire program. Each of the assistants has the responsibility of directing their group within the philosophy of the team. The ATAC staff is dedicated to providing a quality program that will allow every swimmer to reach their full potential.

Along those lines, the coaches’ responsibilities include:
• Group placement of each swimmer: The coach considers age, ability, practice and meet performance in determining the appropriate group for each swimmer.
• Stroke instruction and training regimen.
• Meeting participation and scheduling.
• Warm-up and evaluation of meet performance.

Meet the Coaches(Primary year-round coaching staff)

United States Swimming

(Parts reprinted from a “Tradition of Excellence” by United States Swimming) United States Swimming (USS) is the National Governing Body for amateur competitive swimming in the United States. At its headquarters office, located at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USS staff interact with 59 local swimming committees (LSC’s), athletes, coaches and volunteers at all levels to provide a variety of services to 270,000 registered athletes, 28,000 non-athletes, and 500 swim clubs.

USS was conceived in 1978 with the passage of the Amateur Sports Act, which decreed that all Olympic sports would be administered independently. Prior to this ACT, USS was the Competitive Swimming Committee of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) located in Indianapolis, Indiana. USS headquarters were moved to Colorado Springs in 1981.

Today, with its headquarters at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S. Swimming is a Group A member of the United States Olympic Committee. Independent and a model for all amateur sport national governing bodies, U. S. Swimming is in the vanguard of the Olympic movement around the world.

As the National Governing Body for the sport, USS is charged with the responsibility to formulate rules, conduct national championships, disseminate safety and sports medicine information, select competitors to represent this country in international competition, insure the development of its’ member clubs and age group swimmers.

USS hosts three major swimming meets each year --- the Phillips 66/USS Spring and Summer National Championships, and the U. S. Open, sponsored by Speedo America. Additionally, USS holds four Speedo/Junior National Championship meets each year --- two long course (50 meter pools) and two short course (25 yard pools).

Sixty-six percent (66%) of the revenues of the USS budget come from registration dues from athletes and membership fees from non-athletes and clubs. Without the support of its membership, USS could not offer quality programs to its members. The remaining revenues are generated through corporate sponsorship, United States Olympic Committee development funds, event income, publications and promotional merchandise.

Year-round athletes pay an annual registration fee of $25.00 plus the annual Florida swimming fee ($75.00 as of 9/1/19). Athletes have both liability and secondary medical insurance coverage.

ATAC is a club member of USS by paying the national fee of $100.00. Membership benefits include USS Rules and Regulations, membership certificate and certificate of insurance. Clubs joining USS have liability insurance coverage for approved insured activities.

USS is the ruling body of sanctioned swimming meets in the United States. USS meets are designed to protect the swimmer, provide fair and equitable conditions of competition, and promote uniformity in the sport so that no swimmer shall obtain an unfair advantage over another.

The International Center of Aquatic Research, dedicated in 1988, provides the opportunity for state-of-the-art research and testing in the sport. The information gained through this facility, which includes a swimming treadmill, will be applied to improving swimming performances.

Obviously, the “wet” side of the sport receives a tremendous amount of money and attention, but the “dry” side of the sport receives considerably study as well.

Coaches and athletes education play an important role in USS. Programs such as the successful Coaches College, presenting the most current coaching and scientific literature, assist coaches in their efforts to provide optimal training conditions for their athletes.

USS National Headquarters strives to educate and inform its’ membership through continued communication. Once a year, USS publishes an updated version of the USS Rules and Regulations, the final word in technical swimming rules. Splash is a bimonthly publication providing current and timely information of interest to all USS members. Lanelines, the USS Coaches Newsletter, is also included in Splash.

The USS Headquarters provides a variety of services and programs for its membership. Some of the additional services provided by USS are fund-raising activities, sports medicine programs, video resources and general information about swimming related activities. USS staff is available to assist in answering questions of providing additional information about United States Swimming. For information or assistance, contact:

USS National Headquarters
One Olympic Plaza
Colorado Springs, CO 80909
(719) 866-4578

Why Swim?

The United States Swimming (USS) age group swimming program is America’s largest program of guided fitness activity for children. Age group swimming builds a strong foundation for a lifetime of good health, by teaching healthy fitness habits.

Physical Development:
Many physicians and pediatricians consider swimming the ideal activity for developing muscular and skeletal growth. Why do doctors like it so much? Swimming develops high quality aerobic endurance, the most important key to physical fitness. In other sports an hour of practice may yield as little as 10 minutes of meaningful exercise. Age group swimming teams use every precious minute of practice time developing fitness and teaching skills.
• Swimming does a better job in proportional muscular development by using all the body’s major muscle groups. No other sport does this as well.
• Swimming enhances children’s natural flexibility (at a time when they ordinarily begin to lose it) by exercising all of their major joints through a full range of motion.
• Swimming helps develop superior coordination because It requires combinations of complex movements of all parts of the body, enhancing harmonious muscle function, grace, and fluidity of movement.
• Swimming is the most injury-free of all children’s sports.
• Swimming is a sport that will bring kids fitness and enjoyment for life Participants in Master’s Swimming Programs are still training and racing well into their 80’s.

Intellectual Competence:
In addition to physical development, children can develop greater intellectual competence by participating in a guided program of physical activity. Learning and using swimming skills engages the thinking processes. They improve by exploring new ideas. They learn that greater progress results from using their creative talents. Self-expression can be just as much physical as intellectual. Finally, their accomplishments in learning and using new skills contribute to a stronger self-image.

Team Philosophy

Goals and Objectives

The goals of the Area Tallahassee Aquatic Club include (1) the physical, mental, and moral development of youth through a competitive swimming program, (2) to have a swim team that is competitive at all levels of United States Swimming, and (3) the enjoyment of swimming by its participants. All participants in the program (coaches, athletes, and parents) are expected to support these goals and to conduct themselves in such a way as to help the team achieve these goals.

Our swim program emphasizes not just the physical and mental conditioning of a competitive swimmer, but also stresses the character building aspects of the sport; perseverance, dedication, the will to excel, caring for others, respect, self-confidence, and self-recognition of capabilities and limitations. One of the most challenging aspects of this part of our program is teaching our swimmers to recognize and support the successes of their teammates, and to realize how these efforts can have very specific and individual benefits to all swimmers.

Using competitive swimming as a vehicle for achieving these developmental goals requires that the swim program be individualized to serve youth of different ages and abilities. Swimming goals must be related to the role swimming plays in personal developmental goals; some swimmers choose to make swimming their primary and/or only organized extracurricular activity, while for others swimming is just one of many activities. Coaching is directed to help individuals achieve their own goals. The team will participate in meets at different levels to ensure that all swimmers may compete at levels appropriate to their ability.

While the program is structured to help each swimmer achieve personal goals, the individual is expected to make a commitment to helping the entire team. Development of team awareness and pride and excellence at all levels of competition is a team goal. We strive also to enable every swimmer to experience a sense of achievement. We strive to ensure that every swimmer sustains a love of swimming, and to keep our swimmers healthy, alert, confident, caring and effective human beings.

Team Structure

ATAC provides several training group options to provide for all levels of skill and goal orientation for children, adolescents, and adults.

The main sessions are conducted at the Trousdell Pool, Jack McLean Pool, and Myers Park Pool (Wade Wehunt Pool). Satellite sessions are conducted at Cairo, GA, Thomasville, GA, and seasonally at local country club pools.

ATAC offers a year-round competitive training and conditioning program, as well as Seasonal Leagues (all four seasons), which run for approximately 10 weeks each.

The only requirement for ATAC membership is that the child be able to swim one length of a 25-yard pool in good freestyle form. A member of the coaching staff will conduct a short water test any weekday afternoon between 3:30 and 5:30 PM during the school year to determine the appropriate group for the child’s skill level.

GROUP CHANGES: ATAC coaches will address group changes during each quarter. Since the new quarter begins on September 1, we will talk with swimmers and parents who will be involved in group changes and we will make those changes officially on September 1. You will be notified individually.

Average Ages 5-12
The novice group is intended to teach the children the four competitive strokes while improving basic physical conditioning. Swimmers in this group are encouraged to participate in in-town and some out of town competitions.

Average Ages 6-12
After the child has mastered the four basic stroke techniques, they will move to this level where the emphasis will be to improve physical conditioning while teaching the basic skills necessary for competition. This group will maintain a strong emphasis on developing correct habits in stroke technique. Swimmers at this level are encouraged to compete in in-town meets and occasionally travel to an out-of-town meet.

Ages 7-13
This level is divided into two levels of intensity (Pressure 1 and Pressure 2). Both levels are intended to move the child’s training experience to another level of intensity by increasing intensity and volume of training. The Pressure 1 group works at a higher level of intensity and volume of training than Pressure 2. Swimmers in these groups are encouraged to compete in all ATAC team competitions.

Ages 12-17
This group is intended to provide an opportunity for swimmers in middle school or high school to maintain a high level of physical conditioning without making the intense commitment to year-round swimming that is expected of the Pre-Senior and Senior groups. The emphasis will be improving stroke technique while maintaining physical conditioning in a healthy social environment. Swimmers in this group are encouraged to compete in in-town of meets.

Ages 12-16
The Pre-Senior group is made up of swimmers who have a need to increase volume and intensity beyond the Age Group offering, but are not quite ready to take on the demands of the Senior program. The emphasis of this group is to prepare the swimmers for Senior level training. Strength work in the weight room may be included with this group. Swimmers in this group are expected to compete in all meets.

Ages 12 – College Age
The Senior group trains at the highest level of volume and intensity provided by the ATAC program. Swimmers in this group are generally focusing on state and national level competition and area expected to make a high level of commitment to training. The training in this group includes morning and afternoon sessions, as well as strength training in the weight room.

College Age and above
The primary purpose of the Masters swimming group is adult conditioning. A coach is provided for this group and competitive opportunities are organized for those that are interested in competition as well as conditioning. Practice sessions are held in the early morning (three days a week) and during the noon hour (two days a week).

All Ages
The Challenger group presently meets one to two days a week, depending on the season, and is intended to provide an aquatic experience for children or adults with disabilities requiring more individual attention.

All Ages
“Swim America” – This group is a combination of a lesson/skill progression program and the novice swim program. Participants must be at least 5 years of age. Members of this group practice up to three times a week and may participate in summer league and local competitions. This program is being developed during the 2007-2008 season.

ATAC offers four seasonal league opportunities for swimmers that only want to participate during a specific time of the year. Each league season is approximately ten weeks in length with a one-time registration fee. League swimmers will be grouped within the Novice Bronze/Silver/Gold programs based on their ability. Each season will provide competition opportunities through scheduled “League Meets” as well as additional opportunities to compete in Developmental and Invitational meet offerings throughout the year.

Group Placement Consideration

When placing a child on the team for the first time, the coaches will place swimmers where they can be successful. When the swimmer falls between two groups, we will place the swimmer in the easiest group. We will promote the swimmer at any time it is felt to be in their best interest. Placing a swimmer in a group “over their head” for car pool or convenience reasons usually leads to a situation of poor self image, inability to keep up and eventually quitting the sport.

One of the most emotional aspects of competitive swimming is when a child’s friend is moved to the next level training group and the child is not. It can be a “tough call” for the coaches to make but the individual needs of the swimmer is the key consideration. Is the move from one group to another in the best long-term interest of the swimmer? Some of the following considerations are carefully taken into account when a decision is made to move or not to move a swimmer to the next highest level in our program. Usually, the coaches of the groups in question discuss the situation with the Head Coach; to be sure all areas of consideration are taken into account.

Ability to Train:Consistent ability to hold repeat times and intervals in all aspects (swimming, kicking, pulling, etc.) is the primary consideration for a group change. Swimmers must demonstrate that they will be able to handle the training load of the next practice group before they are moved. This is important for the “self-image” and success of the child. Even when placing swimmers on the team at a “tryout”, our rule of thumb will be; when in doubt, put them in to the lower group, they can always be moved up at the proper time and be successful. If you put them in over their head, they are likely to be demoralized and frustrated. This might influence the swimmer to leave the team early, vs. giving them time to grow, both physiologically and emotionally.

Attendance:A prime consideration to the team is the swimmer’s ability and/or desire to handle the amount of work needed to be in the next group level for a pre-determined period of time BEFORE being allowed to move up.

Attitude:ATAC considers attitude to be a prime factor for success. Can swimmers handle the increased stress with a positive attitude? Can they handle adversity or “bad luck” or are they devastated by minor setbacks? Does the swimmer enjoy practice? If not, is giving them more appropriate?

Social Age:Can the swimmer relate to future peers in the next group? Will they be socially accepted? Is the swimmer “socially” ready to move to a higher level? This is an important factor, yet usually not the over riding factor in determining a group move.

Techniques:Has the swimmer mastered the start, turn, and stroke techniques taught at the current level? Do they follow prescribed breathing patterns, etc.? Will they be able to “pick up the ball” with the new group, or become lost?

Competition Level:Contrary to popular belief, this is the least important category to consider. It can happen that a swimmer in a low level group can readily beat a swimmer in a higher-level group in meets. Remember the groups are designed for training, not meets.


Communication is the key to any successful relationship. The ATAC staff has established ways to get information to the parents and swimmers regarding every aspect of the swim team. However, to make the relationship work, parents and swimmers must also communicate with the coaches.

Contacting Coaches: When contacting the coaches, please be considerate. The best way to speak with the coaches is to meet with them before and after practice. They usually make themselves available for ten minutes before and ten minutes after practice to answer questions, provide information, etc. Sending a note to the coach with your swimmer is a good way to get information to them. You may also call the ATAC office at 891-3994. Please leave a message containing name, number and a good time to call and a coach will return your call within 24 hours. You may also contact the coaches by e-mail through the ATAC website (

Swimmer’s Folders: Most written information, such as meet information and schedules, time standards, etc., will be put in a file folder on deck that has your swimmer’s name on it. It is the swimmer’s responsibility to check their folder daily.

ATAC Newsletter: The team publishes the ATAC Newsletter monthly. Highlights of the latest swim meets, general information about upcoming events and announcements and group summaries from the coaches are covered in the newsletter.

Bulletin Board: The bulletin board in the TEAM ROOM at the Trousdell Pool provides meet information and entry summaries for the upcoming meets. It is the responsibility of the swimmer and parent to double check each meet entry after it is posted.

Parent Meetings: Parent meetings are held at the beginning of each season. Additional meetings may be scheduled if the need arises. These are designed to help parents better understand competitive swimming. They may also serve to educate parents about the ATAC philosophy or to address specific topics or concerns.

Announcements The coaches will make announcements during the beginning and ending of practices. The “white” board (in TEAM room) will also be utilized for announcements. It is the swimmer’s responsibility to relay this information to their parents.

ATAC Website: This site has everything a parent or swimmer would like to know about what’s happening in ATAC. Meet schedules, newsletter archives, time standards, photo galleries, interesting facts and links, etc. Additionally, each coach has an address under “contact us” where you can submit questions and/or information about your swimmers you would want to the coach to know.

Parental Roles

Parents……..Your Athlete Needs You:

To have a successful program there must be understanding and cooperation among parents, swimmers, and coaches. The progress your swimmer makes depends to a great extent on this three-way relationship. It is with this in mind that we ask you to consider this section as you join the ATAC Swim Team or reacquaint yourself with this section if you are a returning ATAC parent.

You create the environment in which your child matures and develops. Your child is a product of your values, the structure you have provided, and the model you have been. Human nature, however, is such that a parent loses some ability to remain detached and objective in matters concerning their children’s athletics. The following guidelines will help you keep your child’s development in the proper perspective and help your child reach their full potential as an athlete.

The coach is the Coach!:We want your swimmer to relate to their coach as soon as possible concerning swimming matters. This relationship between coach and swimmer produces best results. When parents interject opinions as to how the swimmer should swim or train, it causes considerable, and often times insurmountable confusion as to whom the swimmer should listen to. If you have a problem, concern, or complaint, please contact the coach.

Best Kind of Parent:The coach’s job is to motivate and constructively criticize the swimmer’s performance. This compliments the parent’s ability to supply love, recognition and encouragement necessary to make the child work harder in practice, which in turn builds the confidence, necessary to perform well in competition. This is especially critical when the swimmers may not be performing as well as they or their parents would like.

Ten and Unders:Ten and Unders are the most inconsistent swimmers and this can be frustrating for parents, coaches, and the swimmer alike! Parents and coaches must be patient and permit these youngsters to learn to love the sport. When a young swimmer first joins ATAC, there may be a brief period in which progress appears to “slow down”. This is a result of the added concentration on stroke technique, but this will soon lead to much faster swims for the individual.

Not Every Time:Even the very best swimmers will have meets where they do not do their best times. These “plateaus” are a normal part of swimming. Over the course of a season times should improve. Please be supportive of these “poor” meet performances. The older swimmers may have only two or three meets a year for which they will be rested and tapered. Physical development plays a key role in swimmers’ performances. In particular, growth spurts may negatively affect performance.

Family Nutrition:Swimmers should try to keep an optimum body weight and percent of body fat. Physiologists have found that female swimmers should be 10-18% and males should maintain 4-12% body fat for optimum performance. Remember growing children need special considerations. Every swimmer has individual needs. Parents should contribute to proper nutrition and eating habits (see the section on nutrition in this handbook).

Parent Responsibility:

Please make every effort to have your swimmers at practice on time and picked up promptly after practice is over. Coaches have other responsibilities as well (families, jobs, etc.) and should not have to adjust their schedule to accommodate a late parent. If you will be late please call the pool and speak with a staff member (lifeguard or coach). Realize that your child is working hard and give the support you can. Encourage a good diet and sleeping. They will serve your children well.

• The greatest contribution you can make to your swimmer’s progress is to be a loving supportive parent.

• One of the commitments made when you joined ATAC was to help work our own swim meets. We usually host two big meets during the year, one in June and one in January. We also run small developmental meets, usually one per month. Every family is expected to help run the meets, whether you help by officiating the meet, helping in concessions, or any number of other important jobs (Check the website on how to help).

• Fund Raising: Fund-raising projects do require the support of parents. Fund raising comes from sponsoring invitational meets throughout the year, swim-a-thons, as well as additional endeavors approved by the Booster Association. The success of these efforts depends on the contributions, mainly in the form of time and effort, of all ATAC parents. Money raised goes toward such things as travel, equipment, social activities, awards, and incentives for the swimmers, coaches and parents.

Getting Involved: The Booster Organization:

ATAC Booster meetings are held on a monthly basis, generally on the first Tuesday of each month at the Trousdell Gymnastic Center (next to pool). There are also general membership meetings held periodically. All of these meetings are open and all parents of ATAC swimmers are encouraged to attend and get involved.

Problems with the Coach?

One of the traditional swim team communication gaps is that some parents seem to feel more comfortable in discussing their disagreements over coaching philosophy with other parents rather than taking them directly to the coach. Not only is the problem never resolved in this way, but in fact, this approach often results in new problems being created. Listed below are some guidelines for a parent raising some difficult issues with a coach:

1. Try to keep foremost in your mind that both you and the coach have the best interests of your child at heart. If you trust that the coach’s goals match yours, even though their approach may be different, you are more likely to enjoy good rapport and a constructive dialogue.

2. Keep in mind that the coach must balance your perspective of what is best for your child with the needs of the team or a training group that can range in size of responsibility from 20-500 members. On occasion, an individual child’s interest may need to be subordinate to the interests of the group, but in the long run the benefits of membership in the group compensate for occasional short-term inconvenience.

3. If your child swims for an assistant coach, always discuss the matter first with that coach, following the same guidelines and preconceptions noted above. If the assistant coach cannot satisfactorily resolve your concern, then ask that the head age group coach or head coach join the dialogue as a third party.

4. If another parent uses you as a sounding board for complaints about the coach’s performance or policies, listen empathetically, but encourage the other parent to speak directly to the coach. The coach is the only one who can resolve the problem.

5. The best time to communicate your concern is when the coach isn’t busy with the swimmers. Please arrange a time to talk with the coach, possibly before or after practice.


Program Overview









13 & UP








13-14 "A"


11-12 "A"

10 & U "B"

















AM 1.25 HR.
PM 2.5 HR.

1.5 HR.

1.5 HR.

1.5 HR.

1-1.5 HR


Dryland: 30 min/day
Weights: 45 min 3X/wk

Stretching and Calisthenics
15 minutes per day









Local, Regional, National

Local, Regional


Local, Regional

Local, Regional


Coaches' Responsibility

Each group within the team has a specific training program designed to meet the needs of that particular group. The Head Coach is responsible for the design of the overall program, while the assistant coaches will see to the implementation of the training programs.

Swimmer's Responsibility

As a swimmer’s level of swimming ability increases so does their responsibility. The program is designed to encourage all swimmers to be “Senior” swimming bound. As swimmers improve, this becomes a commitment that requires a great deal of effort on all parts. Swimmers have responsibilities to the team, the coach, their parents, and most importantly, to themselves. Swimmers need to prepare themselves for a 100% effort each time they come to practice.

Swimmers will be required to bring specified training accessories (i.e. goggles, fins, etc.) to workouts. It is the swimmer’s responsibility to make sure these items are properly adjusted and that spares are readily available. Equipment adjustment and repair will not be accepted as an excuse to miss part of a training session.

Swimmer's Responsibility

Parents should see that the swimmers arrive on time and are picked up promptly after practice is over. The pool staff or coaching staff are generally on hand in case of emergencies no more than 30 minutes before or after practice. Again, if you will be late picking up your swimmer, please contact the staff.

Car Pool? There will be a folder in the ATAC office designed for car pool information. This is for the parents to utilize only. ATAC staff does not arrange car pools.

During practice the coaches are in charge of the team. In order to maintain discipline the complete cooperation of each child is essential. There may be times when it becomes necessary to remove a child from practice if they create a disturbance. They must remain on site and contact their parents if so directed by the coach.

We request that parents refrain from talking to swimmers during practice. If a parent must contact a swimmer during practice, it should be done through the coaching staff.


With our Novice program we generally encourage swimmers to participate in at least two to three practices per week. With our Age Group and Senior Program we consider attendance to be extremely important, and encourage regular attendance at all practices. If a practice is to be missed due to injury or illness, the coaching staff should be notified prior to the practice to be missed.


For practice each child should have a suit, and goggles and fins. Swim caps are optional but encouraged. At meets swimmers are encouraged to wear a team suit and team cap. The team cap is available through and is to be worn for competition only.

Team t-shirts (Garnet, Gold and White) are required for meets and special shirts are given to certain championship meet qualifiers. Team apparel is available for purchase through the Boosters and Total Team Wares(equipment sponsor).

Generally, any training equipment needed for practice will be provided at the facility. This includes kickboard and pull buoys, but no hand paddles. If they wish, swimmers are encouraged to purchase these and/or any additional training aids on their own.


Disciplinary action due to improper behavior or failure to follow team policy is the responsibility of the coaching staff who may impose sanctions ranging from a change in training opportunities, restriction from specific competitive experiences to complete dismissal from the team. Any disciplinary action resulting in a suspension period will be cleared with the Head Coach.

Swimmers shall be entitled to an informal conference involving any sanction. In the event of a suspension from the team in excess of one week, the swimmers shall have the right to appeal in a meeting with the Head Coach, the coach imposing the discipline and the swimmer’s parents. Any request for an appeal shall be made by the swimmer or parent to the Head Coach.

Examples of infractions and types of discipline:



Inappropriate training behavior. Horseplay, consistent unexcused tardiness, fighting.

Dismissal from practice, loss of opportunity to attend meets.

Inappropriate meet behavior. Late for warm-up or team meeting, missing events, horseplay.

Loss of relay opportunity, loss of individual event opportunities (USS sanction)

Disrespect of coaching staff. Verbal disrespect, refusal to follow instructions.

Loss of practice and/or meet opportunity ranging from one day to two weeks.

Behavior not consistent with the pursuit of excellence in competitive swimming, and/or damaging to the City of Tallahassee Aquatics Program (i.e., use of alcohol, use of drugs, vandalism, etc.)

Duration of suspension at the discretion of the coaching staff ranging from one week to a permanent dismissal.


Philosophy of Competition

All swimmers are encouraged to participant in meets when they are adequately prepared. Different types of competition are available throughout the year. Each swimmer will be instructed to enter only those meets in which they can expect to feel a sense of pride and accomplishment in their performance. Generally, our schedule includes one or two large weekend meets per month, and one small, local meet. Swimmers should consult with the coaches about what meets to attend.

Seasons - Long and Short Course

The swim year is divided into two seasons. The winter, or “short-course”, season runs from mid-September to mid-March. The meets are held in a 25-yard pool. The summer, or “long-course”, season runs from early April to mid-August. Meets are generally held outside in 50 meter pools (Olympic size).

Meet Schedule

Each season’s meet scheduleis available at the onset of the season. Swimmers are encouraged to compete in a meet once every three or four weeks. However, it is not mandatory to attend all the meets offered. The meet schedule is established with this philosophy in mind. Meets scheduled will vary in classification from developmental meets (open to all swimmers) to championship meets (qualifying times required). Pick the meets your swimmer will attend based on these classifications and your swimmer’s level of achievement. There will be a few meets designated as “TEAM” meets and these will take precedence over the other competitions. Each meet listed has indicators (x) for swimming groups that should make every attempt to attend.

Levels of Achievement

There are seven different age group classifications recognized by United State Swimming (the governing body of the sport): 8-Under, 10-Under, 11-12, 12-14, 15-16, 17-18, and Senior. The Senior classification includes any age registered swimmer who has achieved the prescribed qualifying time for the event. Not all age group classifications are offered at every swim meet. The swimmers age on the first day of the meet will govern the swimmers age for the entire meet.

Within each age-group there are different nationally recognized levels of achievement based on times. USS has implemented new national time standards beginning in 2007. The standards proceed through four levels or tracks of achievement: “C” track (C/CC/CCC), “B” track (B/BB/BBB), “A” track (A/AA/AAA), and “NTR” track (N/NN/NNN). Swimmers begin as “D” swimmers and as they improve they advance through the track standards. The times required for each ability level are published each year by United States Swimming. This permits fair, yet challenging, competition on all levels. The 2007 standards can be found on the ATAC website homepage under Time Standards.

In some cases, a swimmer may be in a different class in each stroke. An example: a “C” breaststroke time, a “B” freestyle time, and a “AA” backstroke time.

Some swim meets set certain qualification standards. In order to swim in a certain classification, a swimmer must have achieved the qualifying time for that particular classification.

Types of Meets

A meet is defined as a series of competitive events held in one program and may be in any of the following categories:

• Developmental:These meets are held locally to assist the swimmer in gaining experience and assessing how well they are developing their skills acquired during practice. Other teams may attend.

• Dual:These meets are between two teams. The Coaches will provide information about the competitive level that a specific Dual meet may dictate.

• Invitational:These are meets in which the swimmers and clubs are invited by the Meet Manager of the host team. They are the show cases of competitive swimming and the principal fund raising events for most swim teams. The level of competition is usually fairly high with swimmers attending from throughout the area. Invitationals are the vehicles for our more experienced swimmers to measure their progress against equally strong swimmers representing teams from Florida, Georgia, Alabama and sometimes even beyond.

• Championships:These meets, generally held for the State or Region, require performance standards and attract national caliber swimmers. Qualifying times for these meets may range from “B” times to “AA” times and sometimes even faster. Examples of these meets include Junior Olympics, Regionals, Junior and Senior Nationals and the Sunshine State Games.

• League Meets:The ATAC League has been set up to promote greater participation and opportunity for competition through a series of local meets. Each swimmer receives a ribbon for their place of finish or in recognition of a “Best Time”. All swimmers must be USS registered in order to participate. These often serve as an introduction to competitive swimming and are scheduled frequently during each of the four (4) seasons (Fall/Winter/Spring/Summer).

Competitive Classifications

Meets will be classified into categories for participation.

• Age Group (AG):A meet for any and all age groups. In Florida Swimming there are six recognized age groups: 8 & Under, 10 & Under, 11-12, 13-14, 15-16, 17-18.

• Junior:A meet for any registered swimmer 19 years of age or younger.

• Senior/Open:Competition in which events are open to all registered swimmers.

• Masters:A meet for swimmers 25 and older who are registered with US Masters Swimming.

• Open Water:Competition in which events are open to all registered swimmers.

Meet Policy

• All swimmers representing ATAC in meets other than designated team meets must clear entries with the coach of their group. Designated “team” meets take precedence over all other competition.

• An ATAC coach will be sent to a team meet if there are six (6) or more ATAC swimmers attending. In the case that there are five (5) or less swimmers at ATAC coach will make arrangements for a coach on deck at the meet to supervise the ATAC swimmers.

• ATAC swimmers attending non-team meets at which no ATAC coach is present must make arrangements to be under the supervision of a coach who will be on deck for the meet. Failure to do so could result in the swimmer not being allowed to swim in the meet.

• Communication between parents and coaches should be pursued when the coach can direct their full attention to the individual concerns. The coaches’ full attention should be directed toward the swimmers during practice and at meets.

• Swim meets are learning and success oriented experiences. Proper motivational vehicles are critical for swimmer’s overall development. The coaching staff will be glad to consult with parents and make recommendations concerning incentives.

Meet Entries

Procedures for Invitationals and Developmentals:

Obtain meet information: Several weeks prior to an individual meet, the swimmer will receive a meet information letter via email. Developmental meet information is distributed one or two weeks prior to the meet. Included in the information will be the date, time, location, required entry fee, order of events, entry deadline, and any special information about the meet (i.e. qualifying times, event limits, etc.) All entries for swim meets are done online through the team website. If a swimmer wishes to enter a meet, click on the attend meet button under the meet, click "yes" to attend and then click on events. Please carefully read the "swimmer notes" to verify the number of events that can be entered. Click save to exit. 

Procedures for Seasonal League Entries:

This procedure will follow the same process as with the Invitationals and Developmentals. 

Conversion of Times:

In accordance with Florida Swimming Rules, the following table is the only acceptable method to convert times. NOTE: This process may only be used for entry purposes with the approval of the Head Coach or Age Group Head Coach.

Short course yards to long course meters:
Let T = difference in number of turns between short course and long course. For short course yards to short course meters do not add T.

Meter Time = (Yard Time in Seconds x 1.1) + T

50 yard event to 50 meter event: T = 1
100 yard event to 100 meter event: T = 2
200 yard event to 200 meter event: T = 4
400 yard event to 400 meter event: T = 8
500 yard event to 500 meter free: Meter time=(500 yd. time in seconds x 1.1 x .8) + 8
1650 yard free to 1500 meter free: Meter time = 1650 yd. time + 30 seconds

Meters to Yards – Convert meter times to short course yard times follows:
Short course meters to short course yards, all distances:

Yard Time – (Meter Time Seconds)/1.1

Long course meters to short course yards:

Yard Time – [(Meter Time Seconds)/1.1] – T

For 400 meter free (LC) to 500 yard free: Yard Time – [(Meter Time Seconds)/0.80] – 8

Local Pool Lengths:

Trousdell Aquatic Complex – Short Course Yards and Long Course Meters
FSU Leach Center – Short Course Yards
Wade Wehunt (Myers Park) – Short Course Yards
Capital City County Club – Short Course Yards
Jack McLean Pool – Short Course Yards
Killearn County Club – Short Course Yards
Cairo Pool – Short Course Yards
Thomasville Milton Pool – Short Course Meters (Indoor)
Thomasville YMCA Pool – Short Course Yards

(Short Course = 25 yards or meters, Long Course = 50 meters)

Converted times will only be used if a swimmer does not have a time in a particular event. Where a swimmer’s converted time is faster than the cut off time in a particular event, the coach may choose to use the cutoff time in lieu of the converted time.

Entry Policies

a. All swimmers must be USS registered to be eligible to swim in USS meets.

b. Posted final meet sign-up deadlines (as indicated on meet information distributed to swimmers) will be viewed as final. No late entries will be allowed. Deck seeding of exhibition swimmers at any meet will be done at the discretion of the Head Referee based on space available and meet policies.


The oline system will not allow late entries. Deadlines are final. Some meets accept deck entries but this is limited by availability in heats.  There will be no exceptions to this policy, and it applies for all meet levels (developmental, competitive, championship, etc.)

d. The master entry list containing swimmers’ events will be posted on the ATAC bulletin board and website, prior to the meet (“Psych sheets”).

e. All entry times submitted will be official times obtained at a sanctioned or approved USS meet. A time, for entry purposes, must have been achieved within 12 months prior to the entry deadline for the meet. Qualifying times for Junior Olympics must have been achieved after September 1 of the prior year.

f. Once entries have been submitted for a given meet, a faster entry time achieved at a subsequent meet or time trial may not be submitted unless prior arrangements have been made with the Meet Secretary.

Entry Fees

Fees are listed on the meet information. Since there will be some variation, the following fee schedule is included only as a guide.




In Town Invitational

$4-7.00 per event entered,  $10.00 swimmer surcharge

Awards & Administrative Costs, helps with equipment replacement & coaches expenses

Out of Town Invitational

$5-7 per event entered, $10.00 swimmer surcharge

Helps w/ coaches' travel expenses, equipment replacement


$4.00 per day, $10.00 swimmer surcharge

Awards & Administrative Costs, equipment replacement, coaches expenses

For some meets a surcharge may be required. This is a charge added to the total fee. The team pays entry fees for relay events.

NOTE: There are no fees required for ATAC’s Seasonal LEAGUE Meets

Relay Policy

Age group relays will generally be organized based on the swimmers’ current best time for the strokes in the relay. The fastest composite will form the “A” relay. The next four fastest will form the “B” relay, etc. For 10 & Under relays, 8 & Under swimmers may also be considered in making up relays.

For the senior relays, the “A” medley relay will generally be made up of the fastest swimmer in each stroke. The next fastest will make up the “B” relay, and so on. The “A” freestyle relay will include the four fastest freestylers. Senior relay swimmers may be drawn from any age group.

Coaches may deviate from this guide based on their subjective assessment of what swimmers will make up the strongest team at a particular meet. Factors such as swimmers’ performances at that meet, behavior at these meets, and illness will be considered.

ATAC FLAGS Relay Policy

The ATAC FLAGS relays are comprised of the fastest available ATAC swimmers for all relays entered. The rules of the FLAGS meet require that at least two members of the relay team must have qualified in individual events for the meet. Once that rule has been met, you can utilize “relay only” swimmers from your officially registered team to make up the remaining relay positions.

The ATAC policy is to field as many teams as possible utilizing the fastest ATAC swimmers determined by official USS times. If we do not have enough swimmers to make up a relay, we will invite participants as “relay only” swimmers. If a swimmer has one of the four fastest times on the ATAC team for a particular relay, but has not qualified in an individual event, they will be invited to participate as a “relay only” swimmer.

The head coach has final decision on the make-up of the relays and as always has the option to make last minute changes in relay order or composition. This will rarely happen, but if a swimmer is ill, is not appropriately prepared physiologically prior to the actual competition, or for some other reason not performing as expected, the head coach may make changes in relays in order to field the fastest team.

Travel Policy

• Coaches are not required to be responsible for swimmers except at the meet site during the meet. Parents are responsible for transportation and supervision at all other times. The policy may be modified with the staff approval for team trips where swimmers travel to the meet by team van or bus.

• Each swimmer is responsible for their food, lodging, and travel expenses to out of town meets. Since invitational meets are often two day and sometimes three-day events, overnight accommodations are required. The ATAC Boosters, through the Reservations Chairman, will obtain group rates at a designated team hotel (posted on the website).

• The ratio of one parent to every four swimmers should be maintained if multiple swimmers travel with one adult. No swimmers may make a trip who have not made arrangements with a supervising parent or coach. No individual should take the responsibility of more than four swimmers. Gender appropriate chaperones must be adhered to regardless of parental approvals to the contrary. This policy may be modified, with staff approval, in special circumstances.

• Swimmers should consider sharing motel and gas expenses of the supervising adult. If a parent is taking the responsibility to transport and supervisor a child, those expenses should be a consideration.

• Any swimmer who is planning to use team transportation for part of the trip but not all must make prior arrangements with the supervising coach or parent. The swimmer’s parent must notify the supervising coach or parent of any special instructions regarding travel and/or accommodations.

• If a swimmer is involved in repeat offenses of behavior exceptions, that swimmer is subject to suspension (See Behavior).

Swim Meet Procedures - What to Expect!


Parent Responsibilities:

A meet itinerary will be posted on the ATAC website approximately two days prior to the first day of the meet. Warm-up times will be designated in this information.

Generally swimmers are required to be at the pool one hour and fifteen minutes prior to the start of the meet for the warm-up. Once your child has reported to the coach you will have some free time for yourself.

The best thing to do at this point is to locate and acquire a HEAT SHEET. This is the list of all swimmers by event and heat number. With this information you will know exactly to which event, heat, and lane your child is assigned. It also includes the entry time for each swimmer in the heat. Swimmers are seeded in each heat according to their entry time (usually the swimmer’s fastest time). You will notice that the fastest swimmers are assigned the center lanes, and the slower swimmers the outside lanes. The first heat w