Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)




I’m not sure if my swimmer can swim the length of the pool on their own.  What can I do?

You are welcome to do a “Trial Week” the very first week of practice.  There is a $25 non-refundable fee.  If your swimmer decides to join the team the $25 will be applied to the sign-up fee.  We also strongly encourage you to look into a few private lessons to get your swimmer comfortable and ready for swimming.


We have Summer Vacation plans and I know we are going to miss a meet or two.  Should we still join?

Yes!  We understand that this is a summer league and that families have lots of things to do.  We encourage your swimmer to come to as many practices and meets as possible.  If you know you are going to miss a meet  just let Coach Terry know ahead of time so he can work around it.


Does it matter which swim practice my swimmer goes to?

The 6:00am practice is restricted to 13 & older or by approval from Coach Terry.  Other than that feel free to come to whichever practice best suits your schedule on any particular day.


What are "Stroke & Turn Sessions" and why are they important?

Stroke & Turn sessions are held twice a week in the evenings - weather permitting.  (Be sure your email and cell phone are "verified" in the system to receive any change or cancellation notices.)  All swimmers are welcome.  The Coach will break swimmers into groups and each group will work on specific things.  It might be working on a specific stroke or diving off the blocks or working on flip turns.  The groups will usually rotate between several different focus areas.


Do I need to contact anyone if my child can't make a practice?  What about a meet?

There is no need to contact anyone if you can't make it to a practice.  However, if you know you are going to miss a meet please contact Coach Terry ASAP.   He fills the event and builds the relay teams based on who he believes will be there so the earlier you can tell him, the easier it is for him to adjust the schedule.


What does it mean to "sign up" for a meet?

If you know your swimmer will be at a meet, you will need to sign them up.  Go to the "Meets/Events" tab and click on the Meet date.  Follow the directions to sign up your swimmer.  You can even pick the 3 individual events that your swimmer wants to participate in - just keep in mind that the coach has to make the final decisions and may move your swimmer to a different event.  Be sure to check ALL of the meet information that gets emailed out the night before.


What are the volunteering expectations?

Because swim team may well be one of the most volunteer intensive sports, wrequire every family to volunteer for at least one position at each meet.  As a team, we are required to provide a certain amount of volunteers at every meet to fill certain positions.  There are a variety of positions ranging anywhere from checking in the swimmers at the start of the meet to working the heating area to doing a timing shift or even becoming a Stroke & Turn official.  More details on Volunteering can be found under the "Volunteers" tab.


What equipment do I need to purchase and where can I get it?

Swim team does not require much equipment or gear. We do have "team" swimsuits that may be purchased thru Swim N' Things for a discount.  (Tell them you are with the Dam West Dolphins.)  The suits offer excellent coverage and are very durable.  We encourage all swimmers to have a "team" swimsuit but understand that not everyone is able to purchase one.  For girls, make sure it is a one piece suit with good straps that will keep it in place.  For boys, trunks will work but "jammers" are better.   For more information please go to the "Swim Gear" tab.





What do we need to bring to meets?  Do we have to have one of those huge tents?  Can we buy food?

You do not need a huge tent.  You are welcome to bring one but space is always limited and it is first come, first served.  Also, some pools will not have the space for them or even have rules against them so be sure to read ALL of the Meet Instructions the night before a meet.  You are welcome to bring small tents or umbrellas for shade.  Again, just be aware of the space and the rules of the pool.  You can bring your own food and every pool has their own concession stand as well.  Please see the "Meet Instructions" link under the "Meet Information" tab.


Why do I have to sit in the “Team Area”?

In the event that a swimmer is missing from the heating area or behind the blocks, junior coaches (or even other parents) will be sent to look for the swimmer.  It is quicker and easier to find them if everyone is in the same area.


How can I tell which Event is in the pool and which Events are in "Heating"?

At our pool you will see a sign near the Starter & Meet Ref.  (Look for the umbrella.)  The number showing there is the Event currently in the pool.

At the entrance to the Heating Area (aka, the baby pool) you will see a sign with 2 numbers.  These are the Events that are currently in Heating - meaning they are sitting on the benches or may already be behind the blocks ready to go next!  Be sure to keep a close eye on these!

Away pools may use a similar system but many of them vary.  Some may use only a partial system or possibly none at all.  Be sure to listen to the announcer when s/he is calling out events.


Why do I have to stay until the very end of the meet when my swimmer is already done?

Even if your swimmer is not scheduled for a relay there is always a chance at the end of the meet that they could be called upon to fill a spot on a relay.  Relays are big points and Coach Terry works hard to put together relays in all of the events.  We have even had a 5 year old swim with the 15-18’s to complete the relay team!


I signed my swimmer up for specific events.  Why did s/he get moved to a different event?

Whenever possible, Coach Terry tries to let swimmers pick the events that they most want to do. However, there can only be so many swimmers per event so, for example, if everyone signs up for the 25M Freestyle and no one signs up for the 25M Butterfly he will have to move swimmers to the other events.  Plus, he encourages everyone to stretch and grow as swimmers by trying new events.


Why are Relays so important?

Relays are worth more points than the individual events and this is often where we make up points.  (See "Scoring" under the Meet Information tab.)


Why did my swimmer get moved to a different relay?

Sometimes a swimmer on a particular relay will need to leave or gets sick and the Coach will need to make last minute adjustments in order to create a new relay team.  This can  involve juggling multiple swimmers to different relays at the last minute.


How do I mark my swimmer for a meet?

Please see the “How to Mark Your Swimmer” link under the “Meet Information” tab.


Are there ribbons or awards for the dual meets?

Yes!  Swimmers get ribbons for all of their events and when they beat their own best time they get a “Dolphin Dollar” which is worth 25 cents at the Dam West Dolphin Concessions.   (I guess “Dolphin Quarter” doesn’t sound as cool.) 

Every Monday there should be a grey file folder box sitting on the table behind the blocks.  Each family will have a folder with their name on it.  Ribbons and Dolphin Dollars can be picked up from there.  If you don’t see the box, ask a coach to go get it.





It’s my swimmer’s first year and I doubt they’ll make it to Championships.  Why should I go to Prelims?

We are very proud of the fact that over 95% of our swimmers usually swim at Prelims and about the same percentage of those swimming qualify for Championships in one of more of their events.  Our expectation is that every swimmer participates at Prelims.  Please DO NOT underestimate your child’s chances of making it to Championships, even if your swimmer has just started summer swim team this year.  Every year we have parents tell us how surprised they were that their child made it.


For Prelims, how do they determine which age group is on which day?  It seems so random.

Once the Division has complete rosters for all the teams, they will break it down by age group in an attempt to split it as equally as possible into 2 days.


What are Prelims and how do they work? 

Prelims determine which swimmers will go on to the Championships.   Prelims will fall on a Monday & Tuesday once all 5 dual meets are done.  

Only Individual Events run on these days (no relays!) so the meets go very quickly.

To qualify to participate in a swimmer’s Individual Events at Championships they are REQUIRED to swim their event at Prelims.

The top 16 swimmers in each event go on to the Championships.  The top 8 swimmers will swim in the “Medal Round” while swimmers 9-16 will swim in the “Ribbon Round.” 

It is important to do well at Prelims as it will determine whether your swimmer is swimming for a medal or a ribbon. 

Example:  If your swimmer was #10 at Prelims they are in the Ribbon Round.  So even if they swim the fastest time of everyone in their event at Championships, the best they will do is a 9th place ribbon (the equivalent of 1st place in the Ribbons.) 

If your swimmer does not make the Top 16 but makes it to 17-20 please be on stand-by.  A vast majority of the time there are scratches on the day of Championships and many swimmers make it into their event after all!


We weren’t able to make it to Prelims or my swimmer didn’t qualify for Championships.  Should we still go to Championships?

Yes!  All swimmers are eligible to swim on the relays!  This is the one event where all the swimmers pull together as a team to help the Dolphins win our Division Championship.  We have been fortunate to have dedicated swimmers each year, who could not make Prelims, but still came to Championships just to swim with their fellow teammates on relays.  

Championships are usually very close and having all our kids there to participate in relays can make a difference. One year, our team won the Division Championship by 1 point!  Because of relays!!!  Relays have made a huge difference in our last two Championship wins.