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Parent's Guide

A Parent’s Guide for

Muskingum Valley Power

2019 – 2020


Quick Access: 

Overview of Our Program
Mission Statement of Our Program
Vision Statement of Our Program
USA Swimming's Mission and Vision Statements
Practice Rules
Contact Information
Parents' Guide To Swim Meets


Overview of Our Program


     The purpose and content of this swim team are:

  • To introduce the swimmer to the fun sport of competitive swimming.
  • To develop the skills and discipline of competitive swimming.
  • To instill good sportsmanship within the swimmer
  • To promote a positive self-image among all swimmers.
  • To explore the value of setting and striving for personal and team goals.
  • To enlighten swimmers how to function as responsible members of a group.


Mission Statement of Our Program


     The mission of Muskingum Valley Swimming, Inc. is to provide a safe, high-quality competitive swimming opportunity for families living in our region. 


Vision Statement of Our Program


     Muskingum Valley Swimming, Inc. strives to provide a safety conscience healthy, nurturing environment to develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities to enable success in life and the sport of swimming.


USA Swimming’s Mission Statement:


USA Swimming is the National Governing Body for the sport of swimming.  We administer competitive swimming in accordance with the Olympic & Amateur Sports Act.  We provide programs and services for our members, supporters, affiliates and the interested public.  We value these members of the swimming community and the staff and volunteers who serve them.  We are committed to excellence and the improvement of our sport. We are committed to providing a safe and positive environment for all members.


USA Swimming’s Vision Statement


To inspire and enable our members to achieve excellence in the sport of swimming and life.




  • All swimmers must be full members of the Muskingum Recreation Center.
  • Swimmers must be able to swim a minimum of 25 yards of freestyle and 25 yards of backstroke to be eligible for the swim team. 
  • A swim team is a competitive group.  It is not designed to be swimming lessons.  Swimmers whose skills are lacking quickly become frustrated and discouraged.  Coaches spend a lot of time fine-tuning strokes for our swimmers who need improvement in their technique.
  • Swim season is lengthy.  Winter team runs from September to March.  Summer team runs from April to July.  Swimmers must commit to practicing and competing during this time.
  • Attendance at meets is required.  If you can’t attend a meet you need to let the coach know as soon as possible so proper scheduling can be completed.  Missing swimmers can make relays difficult.  Your team is counting on YOU!
  • To swim at Championship Meets, swimmers must have achieved qualifying times in an event and must have participated in a minimum of three meets during the season.
  • Individuals who choose to discontinue participation during the season, should not expect to be reimbursed for any portion of their team or facility membership fees.



The practice is a time for the team members to improve their skills, learn new techniques and better their times. It is also a time for them to get to know one another better and have fun.


Currently, we have practice 4 days a week.  Older swimmers are encouraged to attend daily.  Experience in the pool is needed to help them advance and develop their skill sets. 


Younger swimmers and beginners typically attend 2-3 times a week.  They are welcome to attend daily, but often those who are 8 years of age and under, may become overwhelmed with this challenging environment and should be monitored by parents.


Practice takes place at the Muskingum Recreation Center pool in Zanesville.  Practice begins at 6 PM and ends at approximately 7:30 PM.  Please note, however, swimmers under age 12 may not enter the swimming pool until an MVP coach is on deck.  Some of the practice time can be spent out of the water doing dry land conditioning exercises.  We share the pool with other facility members.  With the large numbers of swimmers using the facilities, it is important that swimmers shower and change quickly before and after practice.

Occasionally practice will be changed or canceled due to a high school meet.  Listen for announcements at practice and consult the calendar.  Many of these notices are also communicated via text and e-mail, so please be sure that the team has at least one valid e-mail address for your family.


Weather can also be a factor in the winter.  If the Muskingum Recreation Center is closed due to weather conditions, we will not have a practice that evening.  There are times too when the weather deteriorates in the afternoon, and the pool closes early.  Updates will be sent via e-mail and/or text, plus notice will be posted on the web site, if possible.    Please use common sense when deciding to travel in poor weather.  Safety is our number one concern.     




Swimmers will need the following equipment for practice.  While owning your equipment is not required, it should be considered.  Shared equipment does have health concerns.  The following items are necessary:

  • Competitive suit – many swimmers prefer to wear 2 suits for practice to increase drag.  We recommend less expensive practice suits rather than daily use of the team suit as the chlorine quickly fades them.  Many boys prefer jammers rather than brief type suits, but it is up to personal preference.  Team suits are usually ordered as a group as this allows a team discount.
  • Goggles – quality competitive goggles are a must.  A spare set often comes in handy as they may break in the middle of practice.  Please do not buy goggles from the dollar stores.  They do not effectively seal around the eyes.  Also, do not buy the goggles with the nose covered.  Younger swimmers do not know how to breathe out of their mouths.  New swimmers initially have a hard time with goggles, but learn how important they are. 
  • Necessary workout equipment includes a kickboard, pull buoy, hand paddles, fins, and center snorkel.
  • Swim cap for girls and boys who have long hair. 
  • Water bottle – proper hydration is essential.
  • Towel for after practice as well as shower supplies and clothing for the outdoor weather.
  • Equipment bag.  A mesh bag or another type of bag that dries out quickly is best. 


Practice Rules


  • If a swimmer is to leave practice early, a note, email, or a visit to the coach (before practice) is helpful, so we know who is leaving and when.​
  • If a discipline problem should arise and a swimmer is removed from practice, the parents will be notified immediately after the practice, either by phone or in person.
  • All discipline problems will be handled at the coach’s discretion on an individual basis. However, if something becomes chronic, the swimmer will be suspended or removed from the team permanently without monetary reimbursement.
  • Please make your best effort to be on time for practice.  Our space in the pool and time slot is limited.   It is easier for the coaches to run an efficient practice when everyone is there to start together.
  • Please pick up children promptly from practice as others are practicing after us.
  • It is not the coaching staff’s responsibility to monitor the swimmers in the locker rooms.  As a team, we adhere to USA Swimming's Safe Sport protocol, which states: parents are requested to monitor their swimmers in the locker rooms to prevent accidents and incidents, especially younger athletes.
  • Proper use of pool equipment (kickboards, fins, pull buoys, etc.) is expected.
  • Appropriate behavior is expected from every swimmer, their family members, and friends at all times.
  • While Muskingum Valley Power strives to create a healthy and nurturing environment, in the unfortunate event of disruptive behavior, the ensuing protocol will be followed:
    • First Offense—be warned.
    • Second Offense—be asked to sit out for the day.
    • Third Offense—be asked to leave and the parent will be notified.
    • Fourth Offense—be suspended for a week from practice and a conference will be set-up between the coach, parent, and swimmer to determine continued membership. 





You are responsible for the following fees:

  • USA Swimming Membership to be a member of America’s Swim Team. 
  • Team Fee.  This fee is $630 for the short course season per swimmer and is used for general team administrative expenses and includes the USA Swimming Membership.  It is payable directly to “Muskingum Valley Swimming."
  • Entry Fees.  Most meets in which the team participates are known as an invitational and involve entry fees for each event.  MVP is required to advance these fees with the team’s entry form ahead of the meet, so to do this easily without having to ask for checks every week from every family, MVP provides a web site that provides up to the minute account balances.  Once a month, each family should review and pay their balance due.  If you are over thirty days delinquent, entry to additional meets will be prohibited.  If you are facing a financial hardship please take the time to discuss this with our coach; arrangements can be made to avoid this circumstance.
  • Team suit and personal equipment (goggles, caps, etc.)

Other expenses you may incur:

  • Heat sheets
  • Travel costs
  • Meals
  • Hotel costs (if you decide to stay overnight for long-distance meets or championship meets) 


Contact Information for Grievance and Conduct Issues:

Board Member and Coach:  Lance Lynch

E-mail Address:  [email protected]


Board Member:  Michael Headley

E-mail Address:  [email protected]

Cell Phone:  740-683-0130


Board Member:  Jessica Hoover

Email Address: [email protected]

Cell Phone:  740-507-7061



Guide to Swim Meets for Swim Team Parents:  Just the Basics


Twelve things to consider when planning for the swim meet:

1.       Bring some cash.  You may be charged admission as a spectator (usually under $5 per head); you may not.  It depends on the meet.  Most meets also sell “heat sheets”, which are a kind of program for the swim meet.  We will explain more on that later.  A heat sheet can be helpful especially for your first meet.

2.      Bring a Sharpie marker, a pen or pencil to write times on the heat sheet, and a highlighter.  You also may want a clipboard for your heat sheet.  Highlighters come in handy to mark the pages of the heat sheet which will allow you to better follow your swimmer’s events.

3.      Spectator seating at swim meets is usually in bleachers.  If you want to cushion or back support, you’ll most likely need to bring a stadium seat.  Some meets will have an area designated as “swimmer camp”.  Swimmer camp is an area in the building near the pool that you can call home during the meet.  It is a place for chairs, blankets, coolers, snack bags and anything else that you might need to get you through the day.  This area allows swimmers and their families a place to sit and relax together between events.

4.      Other than camp, don’t plan to sit with your swimmer.  Swimmers belong with their teams during the meet. 

5.      Don’t plan on going over to where the team is sitting to visit with your swimmer.  Only coaches, timers, officials and swimmers are allowed “on deck” (the area around the pool and where the swimmers are getting ready to swim) at meets. 

6.      If you want to take pictures, keep in mind that the flash from cameras interferes with the timing equipment, so flash photography is not permitted at starts.  It is a good idea to figure out how to avoid using a flash during the whole meet just to keep things simple.

7.      Swimmers need to stay hydrated and fed during meets.  Be sure to pack protein and high-quality carbs, not junk.  Those bodies are working hard.  Water bottles and/or sports drinks are a necessity. 

8.      Concessions are available at most meets.  That cash comes in handy again!

9.      You may be walking on wet tile floors. Wear shoes that will help keep you sure-footed.  That goes for your swimmer(s), too.

10.  Keep in mind that even though it might be snowing outside, it will most likely be warm and humid in the pool area.  Wearing layers is a good idea.  Your swimmer needs to have warm-up clothes to wear between their swim events, too.  Even though you are roasting, they might be freezing.  Encourage them to put something on between events.  This keeps muscles warm and kids healthy. Don’t forget a towel or two or three!

11.  Be prepared for quite a bit of downtime between events.  If you have children or other folks who need to be entertained, you may wish to have sleeping bags or blankets for them to sit on in the swimmer camp away from the bleachers.  Plan for needing more entertainment than you think.

12.  IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE LATE OR CAN’T MAKE IT TO THE MEET FOR WHATEVER REASON:  Call the coach as soon as possible, 740.683.7175.  Events and relays might have to be re-adjusted. You should keep the coach’s cell phone number handy.
ONCE YOU ARE AT THE MEET- Getting ready for the meet to start:

1.      Punctuality is a virtue.    Warm-ups usually start an hour before the meet, and swimmers need to be there ready to get in the water as soon as warm-ups begin.  The coach will decide if the swimmers will be swimming the entire warm-up period or for a shorter time.  Whatever the decision by the coach, swimmers should be available to swim when warm-ups begin.

2.      Big meets are generally divided into morning and afternoon sessions.  Morning start times are much more dependable than afternoon start times. Afternoon starts often depend upon when the morning session finishes.  Be prepared to hang loose a bit if your swimmer is participating in the afternoon session.  Also, be prepared to be a bit flexible about when the morning session ends.  Sometimes things can run late.

3.      Use the time before the meet starts to highlight your swimmer’s events in your heat sheet.  Heat sheets list the individual swim events, the participants in each event, the heat number, what lane each swimmer will occupy, and if the swimmer has a history of swimming that event, what his/her previous best time swimming in that event was.   To keep track of when your swimmer is competing, going through the heat sheet and highlighting each of your swimmer’s events can be useful.

4.      Now for the Sharpie marker.  Swimmers don’t have heat sheets, so how do they keep track of what events they are swimming?  The best way is by writing their events on an arm or foot.  Again, who knew?  Each swimmer will need to have on their arm or leg a grid showing the event number, the heat number, the lane number, and the stroke and distance.  Using a waterproof marker is kind of important to this process. The example below has the swimmer participating in 2 events.  In event 22, heat 3, lane 4, he/she will be swimming the 50 freestyle.  In event 35, he/she will be swimming in the first heat in lane 2 for the 200 individual medley.  The swimmer can keep track of what event number is in progress by watching the scoreboard.















1.      Since we’re on the topic of office supplies, the purpose of the pen or pencil is to record the time your swimmer achieves in each event they swim on the heat sheet.  Your swimmer can use this information to assess their performance in the meet.  The scoreboard will show the lane number and time.  Note that for 25M races there won’t be a time posted since there isn’t a touchpad timing device on the far end of the pool to capture the time, only people with stopwatches known as “timers”.

2.   Bullpens are crazy places.  A bullpen is a way to help corral the little guys and gals before a race.  Sometimes there can be upwards of 40 kids in a single event.  The race organizers line the kids up according to heat and lane so they are in the right place at the right time.  Swimmers can be in the bullpen for quite a while, so encourage your swimmer to pay attention and listen for directions.  Be nice to those working the bullpen.  Lining up 100 nervous 8-year-olds is kind of like organizing earthworms.  Relays and older kids normally report directly to the block.  This is where those heat sheets are essential.

3.      Be prepared for hearing that your swimmer has been “DQed”: disqualified.  The people you see walking around the pool with clipboards wearing white shirts and blue bottoms are swim meet officials.  One of their jobs is to make sure the swimmers follow the rules of the event such as; swimmers only are to use dolphin kicks during butterfly events, that the correct stroke is used (e.g. no freestyle during a breaststroke event), that the proper turns are performed at the end of the pool, etc.  When a swimmer is disqualified, this means the swimmer is not eligible for an award in that event, and their time is not recorded.  A disqualification in one event does not affect the swimmer’s other events for the day, so swimmers are encouraged to learn from their mistakes and do better next time.  At any time though, it is still hard to hear that you’ve been DQ’ed, especially for a new swimmer. 

4.      Swim team parents are some of the best cheerleaders that you’ll find anywhere.  When a swimmer is hanging in there and finishes his or her event, be sure to applaud the effort of the swimmer especially for those who struggle to finish.  Many spectators do this for all the kids, regardless of team.  That recognition can mean a lot when a swimmer may not be feeling great for coming in dead last half a pool length behind the rest of the field.

5.      Cheering on your swimmer and their teammates:  No, your swimmer probably can’t hear you cheering them on while they are swimming.  It doesn’t matter.  Cheer them on anyhow!  Keeping the team’s energy pumping is a good thing.  Remember that the swimmers need to be able to hear at the start though, so shhhh at the start, then go ahead and show them your support!

6.      Awards:  At each meet, there are different awards structures.  All finishers above a certain place may receive ribbons while those in the top may get medals.  Check the heat sheet for what the meet awards are, and what the rules are for collecting the awards.  Most meets prefer to send the awards as a team home with coaches.

7.      So how do you know where your swimmer placed in an event?  Results are usually posted out in a hallway on the wall after events.  It can take a while to compile official results, so please be patient with the volunteers running the meet.


Swimming Alphabet Soup

Swimming Strokes Abbreviations:

FR- Freestyle (Front Crawl)

BK- Backstroke (Back Crawl)

BR- Breaststroke

FL- Butterfly

IM- Individual Medley

FR – Freestyle relay

MR – Medley relay


Other Swimming Abbreviations:

IE- Individual Event

In an individual event, only 1 swimmer per lane is permitted. That swimmer will swim the entire distance for that event.

RE- Relay Event

In a relay event, there will be 4 swimmers per lane. Each swimmer will swim only once for that relay. The swimmer will swim a quarter of the total distance.

DQ- Disqualified

When a swimmer does not swim the stroke properly an official can disqualify them. A disqualified swimmer is not eligible for points or awards in that event.

SCR- Scratched

When a swimmer does not show up for a meet the coach will scratch the swimmer from their events.  A scratch at champs will eliminate the swimmer from all other events for the day.

NS- No show or DNS- Did not show

When a swimmer is not scratched but does not show for their event marshaling will say that the swimmer is an NS or DNS.

DNF- Did not finish

When a swimmer starts the race but does not complete the entire distance the swimmer will have no time and will not be scored. On the results, the final time will be DNF.


EX- Exhibition

Meets only allow so many swimmers from one team to enter in a swimming event.

Because of this, some swimmers will swim as an exhibition which simply means that the swimmer swims for a time and not for points.

NT- No Time

This is a marking used in the heat sheet when a swimmer does not have a prior time for the event they are swimming.



The Team Website This is the MVP team site and contains general information about the team.  You will also use this site to enter your swimmers in meets and events.  Links are available here to USA Swimming and related others which contain helpful information and video clips.

Updated 8/19/2019