How do I find the swim club practice schedule?
All registered swimmer families are on the GA email list. You will receive the weekly schedule, called the Weekly Splash, via email. It is also posted on our website on a link off the homepage. A schedule is emailed each week, usually on Tuesdays, and covers two weeks at a time. Practice times follow a general weekly pattern but may change as needed to accommodate the GBN and GBS high school swim teams and water polo teams. Check the Weekly Splash each week for current practice times and locations.
What should my swimmer bring to practice?
Suit – it’s easier if the swimmer comes to practice in a swimsuit. Girls need one-piece suits. Boys may wear either a jammer suit (like bike shorts that come to mid- thigh) or a brief. Most boys choose the jammer style. Please NO baggy shorts (the kind boys wear at the pool in the summer) as the drag will slow them down a lot.
Towel – we may NOT use the high school towels
Goggles – we recommend an extra pair in the swim bag
Swim cap – required for girls, optional for boys. There are two types of caps: latex and silicone. Some kids prefer the feel of one to the other, or find one kind goes on more easily than the other. All swimmers should get a team cap with their name on it, which can be ordered through the Swim Team Store in annually in the fall and the spring.
Deck shoes – flip flops, crocs, waterproof sandals, etc. Swimmers need to wear pool shoes on deck and in the locker rooms for all practices and meets for sanitary reasons. We suggest an extra pair in your swimmer’s bag for days they forget to pack them.
A drink – water or sports drink, no ice, NO GLASS CONTAINERS OF ANY KIND
Shampoo – (optional) if your swimmer will shower after practice
Warm hat and jacket – stay warm and healthy
*** Put your swimmer’s name on everything please***
Equipment: For swimmers in the Pre Gator and Junior Gator groups, we provide equipment such as kickboards, fins, etc for use during practice. Mighty Gators provide their own fins. All Silver and Gold Group swimmers need to bring their own equipment bags to each practice. Equipment can be purchased through our outfitter, The Swim Team Store.
What if I need some of the items in the above paragraph?
We are PROUDLY a SPEEDO- sponsored team, so we ask that you purchase Speedo brand items. We use the Swim Team Store as our gear outfitting company. You may order from The Swim Team Store online (link from our team homepage – GA Team Store) and your order will be shipped to your home, or you may visit their Wheeling store.
Team suits: We ask all swimmer to purchase our team suit for meets. The Swim Team Store carries our team suit, and orders may be placed online and shipped to your home.
Practice suits: It’s helpful to have a few practice suits, as they take time to dry between practices and are sometimes misplaced. If you see a sale rack of suits at any store, feel free to shop! Just please remember that girls need to be in one-piece suits and boys in a jammer or a brief as described above.
Where does my swimmer go upon arriving at practice?
First, check the schedule to see if your swimmer is at GBN or GBS. All groups use both pool locations for practices. On the Weekly Splash we indicate “South” in blue and “North" in green lettering.
At GBN, please drop your child off on the south side of the pool area and enter GBN through the doors to the left of the fitness room windows. (Do not use the north lot for drop off or pick up; that is reserved for staff.)
At GBS, check the practice schedule to see if your swimmer is using the old six-lane pool (“OP”) or the new eight-lane pool (“NP”). Unlike at GBN, there are separate entrances and separate locker rooms for each pool. Please drop off on the west side of the school across from the baseball fields if your swimmer is in the new pool (NP) and on the east side facing Pfingsten if your swimmer is in the old pool (OP).
Complete directions to the pools and parking at GBN and GBS are posted on our website.
Your swimmer should go through the locker room and out on deck. The kids take everything out with them: coats, backpacks, etc. Nothing is left in the locker room or in the high school lockers. There will be areas on deck, by group, for swimmers’ bags. It is easiest if the kids come to practice with their swim suits on under their clothes so they don’t need to change in the locker room and can walk directly to the pool deck.
IMPORTANT: Unlike our Swim America lessons, parents may not bring kids out on deck or come into the coaches’ office. Swimmers should go through their respective lockers rooms to the pool deck, where there will be coaches to greet them and guide them to the right spot.
May parents watch practice from the balcony?
Yes, but we ask that you refrain from any interruptions to the practice, including communicating with your swimmer and/or their coach during practice. This is very distracting to the swimmers, who should be completely focused on the coaches at all times. Most parents do not stay; they take advantage of this practice time to accomplish errands or tasks at home.
How can parents talk with their child’s coach?
Many of our coaches are part-time with other full time jobs during the day. We are lucky to have such dedicated people willing to help make your children better swimmers. We have four lead coaches that handle e-mails, questions and concerns. Kelly Brown is the GA Head Coach and responds to all questions about the team as a whole. Sam D'Andrea is the Head Silver Group Coach. Amy Oliphant is the Head Developmental Coach, responsible for Pre Gators, Junior Gators and Mighty Gators. If a meeting needs to be set up with a coach, Kelly, Sam or Amy will set that up based on availability. Our coaches have families they would like to spend time with after practices.
What is a typical practice like?
Practices begin with meeting time, stretches, and finally swimming. In the early weeks of practice, the meeting time is longer and very important in our developmental groups. Coaches want to get to know their swimmers and have their swimmers get to know each other. Swimmers in all groups stretch before getting in to warm up their muscles and learn to avoid injuries. During the swimming portion, we focus a lot on stroke development. You may notice or hear about some unfamiliar drills like “shark fin”! Developing good stroke technique is critical to a swimmer’s success, far more important than the number of yards swum during practice.
What is DL or dryland on the practice schedule?
Dry land practice is comprised of on land exercises and activities which build strength, speed, coordination and conditioning. Dry land skills are part of the total package to allow each swimmer the best opportunity for consistent improvement. Please be sure your swimmer has proper athletic apparel for all dryland sessions when attending.
Where do I meet my child after practice?
Many parents of new swimmers park and meet their swimmers in the hall outside the locker rooms. Plan that your swimmers will be in the hall 10 minutes after practice ends if they don’t shower at the high school and about 15 minutes after practice ends if they do shower. Moms may go in the girls locker room to meet daughters, and dads may go in the boys locker room to meet sons; parents may not enter the opposite gender locker room. Please make sure your child is able to be independent in the locker room. This is a requirement of all swimmers on our team. Parents may not walk their swimmers on deck to practice or meet them on deck after practice; this is an insurance liability for GA.
You may also direct your swimmer to meet you outside while you wait in your car. Please keep in mind that there are often events at the high schools that can make the parking lots very congested. Swimmers need to wait indoors for their ride and may return to the pool deck and ask a coach to use the office phone in the event that their ride has not arrived in a timely manner. A coach will always be present at the pool until the last swimmer has left.
PLEASE MAKE A PLAN WITH YOUR SWIMMER FOR EACH SCHOOL’S DROP OFF AND PICK UP LOCATION. GA has detailed pool information on our website to help you make your plan. Please be prompt in picking up your swimmer, arriving no later than 15 minutes after the practice ends.
***An important note on the locker rooms*** Please remind your swimmer that we are guests at the high schools and must be respectful of facilities in the locker rooms. Children are welcome to shower, but they must bring their own towel and shampoo and wear their deck shoes in the locker room as well as on deck. Respectful, responsible, safe behavior is a must at all times. Once again, remind your swimmer never to leave any belongings in the locker room during practice.
What if my swimmer is late for practice or has to leave early?
Of course it’s best if swimmers are on time and stay for the entire practice. But if your swimmer is late for practice or needs to get out early, please send a note to the coach with your swimmer. Thanks!
How many practices per week should my child attend?
Pre Gator: Attend at least 1 practice per week
Junior Gator: Attend at least 2 practice per week (4 practices offered per week)
Mighty Gator: Attend at least 2 practices per week (a minimum of 4 practices offered per week)
Silver and Gold group swimmers have different attendance policies that are posted on our website and will be discussed by coaches.
Do I tell the coach if my child will be absent from practice?
In general, no. Our practice schedules are flexible, allowing for families to choose each week what practices are best for their swimmers to attend. If your swimmer will miss more than a week due to illness or family travel, an email to the coach is helpful.
What can I do to help my child with practices during the week?
The best thing you can do for your swimmer is to be a supportive parent in all ways. This includes providing your swimmer the opportunity to attend as many practices as they desire, providing them with proper nutrition before and after practice, reinforcing your coaches messages regarding being on time, paying attention and giving their best effort, and showing them how proud you are of them every day.
How do we find lost items?
Items left on deck are placed in the lost and found box, in the coaches’ office at GBN or in a bin on deck between the pools at GBS. The coaches are happy to show your swimmer where the boxes are located. Items left in locker rooms are usually placed in empty lockers, so have your swimmers check there. Items with names are more likely to find their way successfully back to their owners! Also please remind your swimmers not to leave anything in the locker rooms during practice. Everything should go out on deck with the kids.
Are there practices during school breaks?
We offer some practices during Thanksgiving week for fall swimmers. During the two week school winter break around the holidays, practices are offered for swimmers enrolled in the winter season. The practice schedule times will vary a bit during the two weeks according to the practice needs of the high school boys. There is no GA season during schools’ spring break.
What if I still have questions about practices?
The registration email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, can also be used for most common questions. You can expect a reply within 48 hours, often sooner. If you have a specific question about your individual swimmer, please email the lead coach for the group:
Gator Groups: Coach Amy at email@example.com
Silver Group: Coach Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org