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Swimming FAQ's

SAL FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • When does practice start?
    • The Suburban Aquatic League (SAL) team practices begin mid-September. Specific start date will be on the home page of the website
    • USA Swimming  practice starts the same date as SAL practice
  • How many practices should we attend each week?
    • Practices are offered 3 nights/week for the SAL team, plus Saturdays in September and October.  
    • US Team practices are offered 4 nights/week for 10 & Under, 5 nights/week for 11 & Over
    • Swimmers are encouraged to practice as often as possible.  
  • Can my swimmer come to practice late or leave early?
    • If a swimmer comes late or needs to leave early, they must bring a note to practice
    • Coaches know there are always exceptions especially when it comes to school work however, it is very important for all swimmers to arrive on time for practice.  We ask that swimmers are on deck with caps and goggles on ready to get in the pool at least 5 minutes prior to practice start.
  • Can I drop off my swimmer and not stay for practice
    • YES however, it is VERY important that swimmers are picked up timely.  Once swimmers leave the deck, parents are responsible for swimmers.  Coaches need to be on deck coaching and cannot monitor locker rooms, school hallways or outside of the building and ensure swimmers are picked up timely. 
  • How will my swimmer know which practice to attend?  When will the groups be posted?
    • Coaches will evaluate all swimmers Monday, Wednesday and Thursday the first week of practice.  Swimmers will be placed in the appropriate group for their skill level and endurance ability.  
    • Communication of practice groups will be made via email following evaluations. 
  • Does WCAC close registration?
    • Yes, WCAC closes registration based on number of registrants.  WCAC will take wait lists and add swimmers once practice groups are assigned if room permits. 
  • What are dual meets?
    • Dual meets are meets between WCAC and one other team.  In the SAL league WCAC is part of the Central division and will compete against each of the teams in the division during the season.  For the "regular season" there are 5 dual meets, held in November and December.  Meets are held on Saturdays.  Boys and girls teams compete separately.  If one team is home, the other team is away. 
    • In January there are 2 dual meet ‘championships’.  These meets are held to determine WCAC's final placement in the division and the conference.  The first meet is the dual meet conference championship.  The second is the league dual meet championship.  Swimmers must have competed in at least 2 regular season meets to be eligible to swim in the championship meets.    
  • When do dual meets start?
    • Dual Meets start in the first weekend in November.  The schedule is determined by the Suburban Aquatic League.  Once it is available to WCAC, it will be posted on the WCAC website and communicated to families.  The schedule will also be published on the Suburban Aquatic League website www.suburbanaquatic.org.  
  • What time are the meets?
    • Meet start times are determined by each club.  These times are typically established by clubs by October.  WCAC will put meet times on the website.  You can also check the SAL website www.suburbanaquatic.org by going to the menu on the left.  Click under ‘League Information’ then on ‘League Directory’  Scroll to the bottom of the page and you will see information for each team.  Please note this information is often not updated for the current season until Mid October. 
    • All WCAC home meets have warm up at 10:00am and 10:30am start time
  • Are SAL members to required to participate in all meets?
    • WCAC is a competitive diving and swimming team. Swimmers are encouraged to participate in all dual meets during the regular season.  
    • Swimmers MUST participate in at least 2 dual meets prior to December 31st to be eligible to swim in the dual meet and individual championship meets held in January and February.  This participation rule is a SAL rule.  
  • What is the age cutoff date for a swimmer?
    • For SAL, the age determination date is the swimmer's age as of October 31st.  For example, if your 10 year old turns 11 on November 1st, that swimmer remains in the 9/10 age group for the season. 
  • How many events will swimmers swim in dual meets? 
    • Coaches would like swimmers to swim in every dual meet in the season.  They will make an effort for each swimmer and diver to compete in at least 4 events - minimum of 3 events per meet (this includes relays) However, there may be occasions when this will not be possible due to the competitive nature of the SAL.  There is a limit to the length of the meet so when competing against larger teams and/or if the meet is during Championship season, there may be a limit to the number of unofficial heats.  Participation will be determined by the coaching staff.
    • Coaches will determine what events swimmers swim during dual meets.  This is a competitive swim team and coaches are trying to be competitive when swimming against other teams.  If swimmers would like to select what events they swim, they can swim in one of the many invitational meets throughout the swim season.  There is more information on invitationals in this document.
  • What is the Mini Team?
    • The Minis program is practice group for those children who want to participate in the competitive program, but first need additional work on their strokes, strength and/or stamina.  Minis typically consist of participants five to eight years old.   In order to qualify for minis, participants should be able to complete  one length of the pool without stopping, touching bottom or lane line.  The goal of mini team is to gain necessary skills and stamina to participate in higher level practices and meets.  Minis will participate in SAL dual meets, but events may be limited and will be based on their ability to swim strokes.   
    • Minis can compete in invitational meets sponsored by other clubs in the league.  This is a great opportunity for younger swimmers to compete against other swimmers and to try additional events.
  • What are invitational meets?
    • Invitational meets are optional meets, hosted by other SAL teams.  They are often held on Sundays and are open to any league member.  These meets offer swimmers the opportunity to compete individually against swimmers of similar ability from other cubs from across the Suburban Aquatic League. 
    • Swimmers may select what events they want to swim.  There is an entry fee for each event.  Swimmers can earn medals and ribbons at these meets.  
    • Registration for invitationals is run through the WCAC website.  Meet entry fees are collected online and submitted to the host club for all WCAC swimmers.  
    • More information on invitationals will be available in late September once schedule is set by the league.
    • WCAC will send coaches to invitiationals that have a minimum of 5 swimmers attending.
    • NOTE:  When participating in invitationals, WCAC may be assigned volunteer positions by the hosting team.  If your swimmer is participating in the invitational you will be asked to help.  The volunteer position(s) will be shared by all parents of swimmers who are attending.  This volunteer requirement does not relate to WCAC volunteer needs for dual meets.  Therefore if a family has ‘opted out’ and paid a fee to WCAC to not volunteer, it does not apply to invitational meets.  
  • What are the League and Division Championship Meets?  Which meet should my swimmer attend?
    • League Championship ("A" Champs) is the league individual championships where only swimmers and divers with the top18 times/scores in the entire league by event are eligible.  Coaches notify their swimmers/divers of their eligibility for League Championships.  Swimmers can participate in individual events and/or relays.  Note:  Athletes must have competed in at least 2 regular season dual meets to be eligible for League Championships.  
    • Division Championship ("B" Champs) is the individual championship open to all eligible swimmers and divers in a specific division.  Each division in SAL holds their own championship meet.  Swimmers are seeded according to their best times for a particular event.  Note:  Athletes must have competed in at least 2 regular season dual meets to be eligible for Division Championships.  
    • There is a limit on the combined number of entries (3 individual, 2 relays) for League and Division Championships.  Therefore is a swimmer has qualified for an event in League Championships, they are not eligible to swim the same event in Division Championships.   
    • Diving Championships: League Diving Champs are held on the same weekend as League Swimming Championships.  Division Diving Championships are usually held on the prior weekend, at one location, with the results for each event determined by division
  • 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.  Go to the SAL website and click on ‘Top Times’ 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.  WCAC coaches will post the list of athletes entered for League Championships promptly after the SAL seeding meetings in late January.
  • Why is it so important to sign my athlete out of a meet that they cannot attend?
    • A lineup is created by considering a number of factors.  Coaches must consider seeding, being competitive against the other team, number of events for each swimmer and relays.  It is a very long, complicated  process that can take up to six hours to create.   
    • If a swimmer does not sign out by the deadline, this can create additional work for the coach.  They must revisit, make changes which can have a ripple effect throughout the line up.  What is even worse is swimmers who do not show or who are late.  This can cause a major disruption that requires the coaching staff to divert attention and energy, away from the athletes in attendance, to rearrange entries.  This is particularly disruptive for relays.  Coaches want to devote all of their energy at a meet to the swimmers who are present and ready to swim.
  • How do I sign my athlete out of a meet?
    • Each dual meet during the season is posted on the WCAC website as an Event.  There is a button to Edit Committment on the event which provides the ability to declare availability.  The declaration must be made by the Monday night prior to the meet.  If no response is received is will be assumed that the swimmer is NOT attending the meet.
    • For illness and situations that cannot be avoided after the declaration period has closed, direct communication with the coaches is required in an effort to give them as much time as possible to make updates to the line up before arriving on deck.  
  • My swimmer has finished...is it OK to leave the meet?
    • WCAC swimmers are part of the WCAC team.   Swimmers should be on deck for the entire meet.  This shows sportsmanship as well as showing that the meets are a team effort.  If your swimmer does need to leave early, they must tell the coach.  Part of the online meet declaration has a notes section where families can inform coaches if a swimmer will be arriving late or will need to leave early.  
  • Locker Rooms and Pool Deck
    • All swimmers must respect the facilities of the Wissahickon School District.  We are guests in their facilities.  This means that during practice and meets, swimmers must cleanup and assure we leave the facility in good condition.  Food & snacks from the snack bar should be eaten in the lobby (WSD policy).  Please place all trash items in the bins .  Please also remember this at away meets!     
  • I still have questions about WCAC!!
    • On the left side menu of the home page there is a "Contact Us" button.  Feel free to send us an email with your question and we will respond as soon as possible.  
    • If you have specific questions regarding your swimmer, please email either the boys or girls head coach.  Coaches are not able to discuss questions during practice.  We ask that parents do not enter the deck and approach coaches during practice or meets.  This is for safety purposes.  The coaches are on deck to focus on swimmers and practice.
    • WCAC Board members are also happy to answer questions.  Please see the toolbar above for the board member's contact information. 
  • Does WCAC have any post season sessions?
    • Once the winter season ends, WCAC offers clinics which are open to WCAC team members and the community.  
    • The US Team continues training and competition following the winter season.  To participate in post season training, registration in the USA Swimming program is required.  
    • The US Team trains February through July.