Parent Guide

A Letter to Our Parents

Dear New and Returning Thunderbirds Parents,

The start of a brand new season is upon us, and we are very excited about this upcoming year.  We wish to welcome all new and returning T-birds.  We are looking forward to a rewarding and fun season.


We take a great deal of responsibility in providing a safe and productive environment for our athletes and look forward to working with each of you as partners in this endeavor. Throughout the competitive swimming experience parents and guardians hold a vital role in the success of the swimmer. You must continually reinforce the swimmer and support the program and coaching philosophies that you have chosen.


We encourage each of you to take an active role in our Thunderbirds Family. This may mean a variety of things; timing, score keeping and other meet volunteer opportunities, assisting in the planning and executing of non-swim activities and many other behind the scenes tasks.  We look forward to working with each of you this season.


As always, if you should have any questions please feel free to contact Head Coach Alfredo Riullano at


Thank you,


Coach Alfredo, Coach Michael, Coach Brett, Coach Jannina, and Coach Christian




Parental Involvement



The most valuable source of inspiration and motivation for the swimmer is his/her parents.  More than anyone else, swimmers seek their parents’ admiration and approval.  A highly motivated swimmer reflects his/her parents’ enthusiasm. Parents play a vital role in the development of their athlete as a swimmer, a team player and a great sport. The Thunderbirds coaching staff will work closely with each of you to ensure your swimmer is as successful as he/she wants to be both in and out of the pool. 


Daniel Brand wrote an article on the role of swim team parents, which includes the following guidelines:

  1. Give encouragement to the swimmer when needed
  2. Get the swimmer to practice regularly and on time
  3. Attend all meets
  4. Become an active member of the Thunderbirds and JCC community
  5. Help with rides to away meets
  6. Help you swimmer keep records of their times and events for each meet to compare and discuss
  7. Set an example of a healthy attitude towards competition—one you would want your child to see and follow
  8. Check with the coach whenever you have a question pertaining to the team program or your child’s participation in it


A Coach is A Coach and A Parent is A Parent


Giving encouragement does not mean stroke correction. Please leave the training to the coaches. If you have any questions or concerns about the training needs of your child, please see a coach. 


60% of information given applies to all swimmers; the other 40% will be given as necessary by the coaches. Please do not assume when a swimmer is doing a stroke incorrectly that he/she has not been told by the coaches, or that the swimmer is not trying to correct this habit.  Swimming performance is not produced by a direct cause and effect relationship. There are many ways to teach a given technique and there are many techniques that can produce a given result. Habits are difficult to break; some are never completely eliminated. 


We strive to teach and provide opportunities for young people to learn responsibility, self reliance, team support, ability to face challenges, and satisfaction from meeting and exceeding challenges. Our roles as coaches include setting the appropriate challenges before each swimmer, prepare them to meet these challenges, cheer them on and praise them for a job well done or encourage them to try again. In life as in swimming, one often fails several times on the way to a success and it is an essential and difficult life-lesson to learn. The ups and downs of competition and training expose young athletes to the realities of success and failure. We ask that you as parents support your swimmer as they work hard to meet the challenges set before them. 


Practice and Meet Conduct


Swim Practice:

  • No parents are permitted on deck during practice
  • Please drop your swimmer off either in the lobby or at the 5th loor locker rooms
  • If your swimmer requires pick up confirmation, please be visible to a Coach at the time of pick up
    • You may pick up at the 6th floor family changing room or come up from the 5th floor locker rooms via the inner staircase
  • Your young athlete must be prepared with full practice gear - suit, cap, goggles and water bottle
  • Swimmers who are more than 5 minutes late for practice will be sent to call their parent and return home


**Please note, swimmers should be packing their own gear bags. Excuses regarding a parent, guardian, babysitter or nanny not packing their swim bag properly will not be tolerated. Swimmers will be sent home if they are unprepared for practice.**


Swim Meets:

  • All parents are encouraged to attend all home and away meets
  • Please make yourself available to provide rides for parents without cars whenever possible
  • Volunteer for a variety of jobs 
  • Cheer on every swimmer on every team
    • It is incredibly discouraging to be the last swimmer in the pool with no one cheering you on
  • Do NOT coach your swimmer before or after events
  • Turn your swimmer away if they come to sit with you - they should be with their team at all times during meets
  • Display exemplary sportsmanship and everyone will notice - kindness is contagious
  • Swimmers are not permitted to leave prior to the end of a meet, please do not allow your swimmer to ask if it is okay to leave early