Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What affiliation does the Sea Dragons swim team have?

A: The Sea Dragons swim team is part of the Chesapeake & Potomac Swimming League, made up of nearly 20 teams from Northern Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.  These 20 teams are all part of the YMCA association.  http://www.cpsl.info/   The Sea Dragons are also a member club of Potomac Valley Swimming.  

Q: What is USA Swimming? 

A: As the National Governing Body for the sport of swimming in the United States, USA Swimming is a 300,000-member service organization that promotes the culture of swimming by creating opportunities for swimmers and coaches of all backgrounds to participate and advance in the sport through clubs, events and education. 

Membership is comprised of swimmers from the age group level to the Olympic Team, as well as coaches and volunteers.  Members can get involved through our more than 2,800 clubs across the nation. 

We encourage Sea Dragons to become members of USA Swimming, which allows many more opportunities to compete, especially close to home.   Our coaches are registered USA Swimming coach members and will take athletes to meets throughout the year, even when the YMCA season has finished.  http://www.usaswimming.org

Q: What is Potomac Valley Swimming?

A: Potomac Valley Swimming (PVL) is the governing body for competitive swimming in the National Capital Area.   PVL is a member of USA Swimming.  When Sea Dragons become members of USA Swimming, it is through PVL.  To register go to http://pvswim.org/register.htm and click on the 2014 Athlete Registration link.  Under Club Code, select UN/Unattached (no team affiliation).  The cost is $77 for 9/1/13 – 12/31/14. 

Q:  Do we need to be members of the YMCA to join the team?

A:  Swimmers must be Full Privilege members of the YMCA in order to compete with the Sea Dragons.   

Q: What swimming strokes does my child need to know to join the team?

A:  We welcome swimmers of all abilities.  If your child is 5-18 years old and can swim 25 yards (length of the pool), they can join the team.    

Q: What strokes do swimmers use in competition?

A: Swimmers compete in freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly.

Q: I just want my child to swim better. Does he/she have to compete?

A: Our team is a competitive swim team and it is our goal to have all athletes compete.  If you have specific questions regarding your child, please discuss them with a coach.

Q: How many practices does my child need to swim each week?  Where can I find the practice schedule?

A: Each swimmer is assessed before the season begins and is assigned on that basis to a swim practice group.  Coaches will evaluate swimmers mid-season and make adjustments as children improve their skills.

The coaches will recommend a certain number of practices each week based on swimmers ability and desire for competition.  

The practice schedule is posted on our team website.  If you have further questions about practices, please discuss them with a coach.

Q: What are the age groups for swimmers? What is the age cut off?

A: The age groups are 8 and Unders; 9-10; 11-12; 13-14 and 15-18. The age cut off for the C&P league is November 30th.   Your child will swim the entire season the age they are BEFORE this date.    

Q: May I stay and watch practice?

A: Yes, parents are welcome to watch practice, but we kindly ask that you do so from the lobby, not the pool deck.  Having parents on the pool deck interrupts practice and creates a distraction for the athletes.

Q:  What types of meets are there?

A:  The Sea Dragons compete at Dual Meets (2 teams competing against each other); Invitationals  (large meets with as many as 15+ teams competing).  They can take place in one day, or over a weekend.  There is usually a small fee to enter – typically $5-$6 per event.  Some invitationals require qualifying times.  The coaches will let athletes know if they are able to enter these meets.   Additional meets include Districts and Championships, both of which require qualifying times.

Q: How many meets must my child attend?

A: Dual meets are extremely important and families should make every effort to commit to participating.   These meets are between just two teams and it’s essential we have athletes competing in every event .   We typically have four dual meets during a season.  Invitationals are a great way to get additional meet experience and for swimmers to drop times.  It is up to each family how many invitationals to compete in, but we strongly encourage full team participation. 

 The meet calendar is posted on our website. 

Q:  Where are the meets?

A:  The meets are held at other YMCAs or aquatic facilities in the area. The meet schedule will include locations and directions to each event.

Q: What events will my child swim in at a meet?

A:  Coaches will determine the events that each athlete will compete in based on a number of factors.   Meet sheets will be sent in advance so swimmers know what events they are competing in.

Q: How are relay teams selected?

A: Relays teams are assigned based on hard work and attendance at practices, not just fast times.

The coaches will determine which athletes will participate in a relay and which leg/stroke (for Medleys).  

Q:  I have some questions I would like to discuss with a coach.  When is the best time to talk /what is the best way to reach them? 

In general, it is best not to talk to the coaches during practice but to talk to them before or after.  Some coaches are also available by email.  Please check the Coaches section of our website for contact information.

Q:  My child has woken up sick the day of a meet and will not be able to compete.  Who do I contact? 

A:  We understand emergencies come up and children get sick.   Please call or text if you will not be attending a meet previously committed to, or will be late. It’s extremely important to make sure coaches know who will not be competing – especially if the swimmer is on a relay team.  We will provide coach phone numbers in advance of a meet.

Q: Where are meet results posted?

A: Meet results will be posted on our website.

Q: What parent volunteer opportunities are there? How can I help?

A: It can take more than 50 people to put on a successful meet, all of whom are volunteers. It is expected that all families get involved. Please see the Family Handbook for opportunities, discuss with the Team Rep, or check out our website on ways you can help.  There is a job for everyone!