Everything you ever wanted to know about swim team but were afraid to ask!

Q: What’s the difference between the swim club and the Larkey Sharks Swim Team?
A: Swimmers must be members of the “pool” (aka, the Swim Club), in order to swim for the Sharks (or swim team). A membership to the pool must be purchased and annual dues must be paid. The pool membership gives members the right to use the facilities during non-team hours. For more information, see the pool website (  An exception may be made for new members who are “trying out” the swim team ('Splash Fee' special for 1st year new swim team families), or for families who only have swimmers 15 years or older.  
Q: Do I have to be a member of the swim club, or can I just be a member of the Larkey Sharks Swim Team?

A:  All swimmers must be a member of the Larkey Private Swim Club ( in order to be a member of the Larkey Sharks Swim Team.  Exceptions are made for families who have all swimmers in the 15-18 age group ($100 Splash fee). NEW for 2020- unsure if you want to join the club? Ask about our 1-year swim team SPLASH FEE for NEW Swim Team families.  
Q: What is the difference between Larkey Sharks and Little Fins?

A. The “Little Fins” is a group of swimmers who are preparing for 6 and under swimming. Swimmers must be able to swim the width of the pool, unassisted, in order to be members of the Larkey Sharks.  For more information, click here for the Little Fins section.
Q Is my child ready for swim team?

A. Children need to be water-safe and have an attention span that will allow them to listen to instruction and do what the coach asks of them.  In order to be on the Larkey Sharks Swim Team, swimmers must be able to swim the width of the pool without stopping.  Swimmers who are not able to swim the width of the pool, but are otherwise water safe, are invited to join the Little Fins.
Q. I have a question that is not answered here. Who do I contact?

A. Please email your questions to a board member
. Erica Atencion ([email protected]) is also happy to answer any questions. 
Q. When does the swim team practice?
A. Practices begin in mid April and run to the end of the season (for specific practice times, see "Practices").  From late April through mid-June (while school is in session), practices are after school.  When school concludes, practices are in the morning.

Q. When do Little Fins practice?
A. For 2022 Little Fins practice begins on June 7 (Tues-Fri) and culminates with the Little Fins meet on July 19th.  Practices are Tuesday - Friday from 12:30 – 1:00 PM. (No practice July 1st).
Q: What are the typical events that team members swim?
A: The recreational pools are 25 yards long.  8 and unders swim one length of the pool, and swimmers 9 years and older swim two lengths. Swimmers may also compete in the 100 yard individual medley, which is one length of each stroke (4 lengths total).
Q: What should I bring to a swim meet?
A: Team suit, goggles, cap, extra towels and a sharpie pen to write your child’s events on their hand or upper back.  Bring a blanket or parka for cold evening (or morning) meets.  Bring a blanket or lawn chair to sit on and something for the non-competing individuals. While most meets serve food at reasonable prices, some parents choose to bring snacks or beverages.

Common Swimming Terms:

Complimentary Swimmer – This is a non-scoring swimmer who swims in an outside lane during a meet to obtain an officially recorded time. Swimming “comp” is done at a coach's discretion. Comp swimmers MUST tell the timer in their lane their name and that they are swimming “complimentary.”
Conference – Larkey swims in the Walnut Creek Swim Conference.  The biggest meet of the year is the Conference meet, usually held the last weekend of July or first weekend of August. Dual meets may be against teams within the Walnut Creek Swim Conference, or non-conference teams. When swimming against conference teams, conference rules are in effect. Conference rules dictate that swimmers may be entered in 2 individual events, 2 relays, and IM. The USS “NO FALSE START” rule applies, as do the current USS Short Course Swimming Rules.
We have more flexibility during non-conference dual meets to run extra heats of races, and less flexibility on Wednesday night meets because time constraints may limit the number of heats and events.
Disqualification of “DQ” – A swimmer may be disqualified by either the stroke and turn judge or the starter. DQs may occur because of illegal starts, strokes, turns or finishes. False starts in relays are also DQs. A coach will typically review the DQ with the swimmer at a later time so s/he can learn from the mistake.
Dual Meet – A competition between two teams. Most of Larkey’s meets are dual meets.
Event – A swim meet is made up of events which are organized by age group, gender, and stroke. The order of events is usually Medley Relay, I.M., Freestyle, Breaststroke, Backstroke, Butterfly, Freestyle Relay.
Freestyle Relay – Made up of four swimmers, each swimming freestyle. 8 and under swimmers compete in the 100 yd freestyle relay, in which each swimmer completes one length (25 yds). 9 and older swimmers compete in the 200 yd freestyle relay (50 yds. each).
Heat – A group of swimmers that start at the same time and swim in different lanes. An event typically consists of multiple heats.
Individual Medley (I.M.) – An event where the participant swims butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke then freestyle (in that order). In a 100 yd I.M., the swimmer completes one length (25 yds) of each stroke.
Lane Assignments – At home meets, Larkey usually swims in lanes 1, 3, and 5. For away meets, Larkey usually swims in lanes 2, 4, and 6. Heat and lane assignments are posted on the Meet Sheets by event and name.
Medley Relay – A relay consisting of four swimmers, each swimming one of the four strokes (Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly, Freestyle) in that order. 8 & under swimmers compete in the 100 yd medley, where each swimmer completes one length (25 yds). 9 and older swimmers compete in the 200 yd Medley Relay, where each swimmer completes two lengths (50 yds).
Pop Time – A swimmer is said to have “popped” their time when they improve on their best time for that individual stroke for the current season. Swimmers are rewarded with a "pop" treat on the Fridays following swim meets.
Scratch – A swimmer who is listed on the program who does not show up for a scheduled race is said to have been scratched.
Star Times – These are stroke time goals for the swimmers to work toward during the season. When each star time goal is met, they will receive a star on the boards and they will receive a star patch of the same color (white, blue, silver, gold) that can be put on their sweatshirt, towel, swim bag, etc.  Gold stars are also equivalent to county qualifying times.  For the current year's star times, go to the website and look under the header "Recognition."
Time Trials – This is the first meet of the season, but without an opposing team.  Every swimmer ideally swims every stroke to get a baseline time for each stroke.  There are no relays at Time Trials.