I am new to swimming. How to I find out more about terminology and techniques?

The USA swimming website is a great resource for parents who are new to the world of swimming. Click here to find out more about the basics of competitive swimming.

What is the competitive team vs pre-team?

The competitive team is for those athletes that have experience on a summer or winter swim team, know all four strokes, and can handle a minimum of an hour long practice.  The pre-team is a step above swim lessons but for those future swimmers that need to still learn all four strokes and have not yet competed in swim meets.

What is the SAL?  What is USA Swimming?

The Suburban Aquatic League season runs from September to early February. Practices are offered 4-5 days a week. Meets are Saturdays beginning in November. There are 5 regular season meets, invitationals (optional), up to two team championship meets and one individual championship meet. For many families/swimmers that is sufficient; others need more.

Swimmers in the USA program swim more yards during practice and travel to meets throughout the mid-atlantic region. USA swimming is the equivalent of a ‘travel team’ or ‘tournament team’ in other sports. USA Swimming picks up after the SAL season and runs until June.  If you are not sure if your swimmer is ready for our US program SAC coaches are happy to help you make the decision. Swimmers that are 8 years or older and can swim a 25 under 20seconds with coaches approval.

How do I keep up with everything that is going on at SAC?

We have several communication methods at SAC. Use them all and never miss out on what is happening.

  • The Calendar!  We strive to keep the calendar accurate. You can rely on it being up to date.

  • The swimmers portal will provide you with information on upcoming events as well as results from meets.  The EVENTS tab will be your best friend!

  • Weekly emails are sent out to inform you about what is going on at SAC on a week by week basis.

If we have a scheduling conflict is it ok to attend practice when it is convenient?

No! Your swimmer can only attend the practice that corresponds to their registration group. This assures that there is a safe number of swimmers in each lane. But also proper insurance coverage for your swimmer is contingent upon the fact that they are attending the practice which corresponds to their registration paperwork.

Is it OK to approach the coaches with questions?

Yes, of course! However, try your best not to approach coaches during practice. That is their time to focus on your athlete. The best time to approach a coach with questions is at the end of the evening. If your child is in an early practice and it is not convenient for you to wait until the end of the evening you may email the coaches 
How do swim meets work?

First, coaches must know if your swimmer is attending a meet. You will use Team Unify to inform the coaches which meets your swimmer will attend. If you do not indicate your attendance for a meet your swimmer will not be included in the meet lineup.

The boys and girls head coaches put five or six hours and a lot of thought into constructing a lineup. Please be considerate of their efforts and do your best to inform them of any changes to your swimmer’s attendance as early as possible before the meet.

If you need to change your swimmer’s attendance status after the deadline, please email them directly.

Are SAL members required to participate in all meets?

SAC strives to develop competitive diving and swimming skills. To accomplish this, members are required to participate in the majority of scheduled meets. SAL requires a minimum of two meets (40% participation) during the 5-meet dual meet season to be eligible for championships .

Can I leave a meet after my swimmer is finished?

Never leave a meet early unless you have checked and received an OK from the head coach. SAC participation in Suburban Aquatic League dual meets is a team effort. Your athlete should be in attendance, as part of the SAC team, for the whole meet. This demonstrates good sportsmanship and fuels a team environment.

All parents and participants must pitch in to cleanup after meets and assure that we leave the facility in good condition. The pool is used by many groups, SAC is a guest at this facility. 

I want to watch my child swim. Why do I have to work at meets?

We all want to watch our swimmers participate in meets. But meets would not even be possible without the parent volunteers it takes to run them. Volunteering is a great way to learn more about the sport of swimming and to get to know other parents on the team.  Its also the best seat in the house!

The four meet job assignments can be fulfilled during time trials, regular season dual meets, or Conference and League Dual meets. However, jobs for Conference and League meets will be limited, because Meet Directors may wish to have experienced families work these jobs. Also when signing up for an invitational, a parent may be asked to time a portion of the meet which does not count toward the 4 meet job requirement.

Finally, we may ask families to work A or B champs if needed.

If your family committed to a meet job, but cannot complete it please find a replacement. 

Is there an end of season championship meet?

There are a few, actually. There are team championship meets and individual championship meets.

Just like throughout the season, team championship meets are held separately for boys and girls. If either (or both) team record is good enough through out the season they will be eligible to compete in the Central Division Swimming Championship meet. 
League and Division Championships are individual competitions (no team scoring, but there are relays) Note: Athletes must have competed in at least 40% of dual meets to be eligible for League Championships. There is a limit on the combined number of entries (3 individual, 2 relays) for League and Division Championships. NOTE: in past years, League Swimming Championships were designated as "A Champs" and Divisional Swimming Championships as "B Champs". SAL diving still uses the "A" and "B" designation.

Mike Kennedy Memorial League Swimming Championships is the league individual championships and only swimmers/divers with the top times/scores in the entire league will compete in each event (18 plus, 2 alternates). Coaches notify swimmers/divers of their entry after the league seed meetings, which occur following the League Dual Meet Championships and Last Chance meets.

How do I find out if my athlete will qualify for League Championships?

The SAL tracks individual times/scores and updates the "Top 50" throughout the season. (Click here for SAL Top 50 listings) Coaches attend a seeding meeting after the Last Chance swimming and diving meet to place eligible swimmers into the events (remember - only 3 events for any athlete, including swimming, diving events at Divisional and League meets). Many athletes that are not in the initial "Top-18" will make League Champs depending on how many are scratched from the event in front of them. SAC coaches will contact those athletes entered for League Championships promptly after the SAL seeding meetings in late January.