Family Handbook

Swimarin Family Handbook







Table of Contents

1.   Welcome and Expectations for the Team

2.   Coach’s FAQs

3.   Required gear and optional merchandise

4.   Social Events

5.   Meets

6.   Volunteer Requirements

7.   Snack Bar Requirements

8.   Clinics, Private Lessons and Shark Pups

9.   Champs Meet

10.   End of Season Banquet













Welcome to Swimarin!


Our season runs from the beginning of March to mid-July with meets typically beginning at the end of April and occurring most Saturdays until the league-wide end of season meet in the middle of July.

Our practices typically occur every weekday (Monday through Friday at a time that is for the most part based upon your child’s age.)


It is not necessary to attend every practice. Our Head Coach recommends you attend as much as your schedule permits.  With this said, a good goal as families work with family schedules is any 3 days per week that you are able to attend.  This will offer the best opportunities for your children to see improvements in endurance, speed, and technique. However, your situation may be different based upon specific coach recommendations and your family’s schedule.


Practices will be held at San Rafael High School unless otherwise specified and may be occasionally cancelled due to events occurring at the high school or special events on our team.


Practice Times: (March to mid-May)

8&Under – 5:30pm to 6:15pm

9-10s – 6:15pm to 7pm

11 & Up – 7pm to 8pm


Practice Times; (Mid-May to mid-July)

8&Under – 5pm to 5:45pm

9-10s – 5:45pm to 6:45pm

11 & Up – 6:45pm to 8pm


First Practices:

The first two days of practice are for new families only. They are used as assessment days to determine if your child is swim team ready or if they require further lessons through our Shark Pup programming.


Note:  Your child may require more than one day of assessment, this is not uncommon for new and/or younger swimmers.



We practice in all weather conditions except when there is thunder and lightning.  It is generally more daunting for the parents than the swimmers to come to practice on rainy days – after all, the kids are getting wet in the pool anyway. They tend to really enjoy the rainy day swims – even if the adults loathe hanging out in the rain! We do recommend you keep your child’s belongings in the breezeway adjacent to the pool to keep it dry for after practice and many parents will bring a thermos with a warm drink for their kids after practice on rainy days.








Coach’s FAQs

Question: Are swimmers expected to show up for practice even if it is raining or windy?

Answer: Of course! Swimming is an all-weather sport, and it’s a lot more comfortable in the pool during a rainstorm than on a soccer field. We will cancel practice, however, if there is thunder or lightning in the area (We follow procedures in place by the American Red Cross for handling these and other unsafe conditions that could occur).

Question: How many practices is a swimmer supposed to attend each week?

Answer: As many as possible. At a minimum, we expect swimmers to attend three practices a week. This is especially important during the early part of the season as we emphasize conditioning and basic technique. If your child can’t make this commitment, please discuss this with us.

Question: My 8-U child is afraid to race. What do I do?

Answer: Most new swimmers are nervous before their first few races; some swimmers are always nervous.  As a parent simply encourage your child but please do not force them to participate.  Many swimmers will build up to their first meets participation.  There is no ordinary timeline that it takes a child to feel comfortable competing. Please be patient and remember that the stress this puts on you as a parent is usually nothing compared to the stress your child is feeling.  Our coaching staff is used to working with new swimmers and introducing the competitive side in different ways pending the swimmer.

Question: My child does not know how to dive, so how can he/she swim in a meet?

Answer: Your child will gradually become more confident with diving, especially once we go thru more diving drills during practice. We additionally offer seasonal clinics for more focus on dives if needed and additionally private lessons are available with our coaches.  

Question: My child still can’t (comfortably) swim 25 yards. How will he/she be able to compete?

Answer: Not yet.  Swimmers must be able to swim 25 yards without putting themselves at risk and have demonstrated this on various occasions to their coach(es).  Until they reach this point we will work on building endurance and strength in the water.

Question: What is the Shark Pups Program and when will it start?

Answer: The Shark Pups Program is designed to teach beginning and non-swimmers basic swimming technique after learning primary water safety skills.  The Shark Pups Program starts in May after the high school season ends. We also have additional Shark Pup Classes and private lessons year-round in collaboration with SOMA Aquatics.

Question: Are swimmers required to wear swim caps?

Answer: No, but caps do three things: 1) they create better hydrodynamics in the water which can lead to faster times; 2) they identify a swimmer by team which is most important for the coaches to watch swimmers races; and 3) they protect hair from the effects of chlorine. We strongly encourage and lead on the side of requiring swimmers wear a team cap at all meets.

Question: My boy swimmer doesn’t want to wear a Speedo-style suit. Is that required?

Answer: No, but a brief or shorty style is very strongly recommended. (Surf or recreational shorts produce so much drag that they discourage swimmers competitively in practice and in meets.)




Required Gear and Optional Merchandise

Every swimmer will need:

1.   At least one practice suit:  For boys this means jammers that can be purchased at any sporting good store or online. A good website for these is For girls this means a one piece swim team- type suit that fits snug. Inexpensive ones can be purchased at Costco at the beginning of the season or alternatively, at sporting good stores or on-line. It is best to try suits on in stores for sizing before purchasing on-line.  

2.   Team Suit: These are recommended for swim meet use only. They are navy blue with our logo silk screened on them. They identify your child as a Swimarin team member. We recommend these only be worn at meets so they do not wear out and can possibly be used for more than one season. They can be purchased at T&B sports or through T&B at our Splash –Off event at the beginning of the season.

3.   Goggles:  You should be able to get a good seal around the eyes with these before putting the straps around their head. Tighten so they are snug but not uncomfortable.  (A common goggle that typically works are the Junior or regular Speedo Vanquishers.)

4.   Swim Caps: These come in latex or silicone. Our team will give every swimmer who wants one, a latex Swimarin logo cap. Many swimmers prefer silicone caps, however which can sometimes last longer, and do not pull the hair like latex caps can.

5.   Towel: Bring a towel to every practice and a few to every meet to dry off after the pool.

Recycling Gear:  We encourage families to donate used gear their child has outgrown to Swimarin’s recycle box so families can save money on gear.



Optional Merchandise


1.   Swimarin Personalized Silicone Swim Caps: These can be ordered at Splash-Off or on the pool deck (keep your eyes on team e-mails to know when/how to order these.) They are sold in sets of 2 and can be personalized with your child’s name or a nick name. these last longer than latex caps and are more comfortable to wear.


2.   Sweatshirts: These can be purchased through T&B and are a cozy and nice looking item to keep your child warm on the colder days at the pool or around town. They can be personalized with your child’s name on the back.


3.   Pajama Bottoms: Great for wearing over your swimsuits to stay warm on the pool deck between events at meets. Can be purchased at T&B and personalized with your child’s name.


4.   Parkas:  These come in very handy at the beginning of the season when the weather is cold and often rainy. It makes the transition to and from the car to the pool more comfortable and enjoyable for the kids. These can be purchased early in the season.


5.   Team Towels: Large soft towels with a Swimarin Shark and

personalized with your child’s or family name.


6.   T-shirts: Show your spirit at your school or on the pool deck with Swimarin t-shirts in a variety of sizes (adult and child.)


7.   Hats: We typically sell baseball and lifeguard hats to keep the sun off your face and head during swim meets. Also great for beaches and baseball games!




Social Events


We have various social events during the season for team building and to get to know the Swimarin community better. These include:


1.    Family Social - held at the beginning of the season. A casual dinner for the swimmers and their families to get to know each other, the coaches, and the Board.


2.    Pizza Fridays – Typically about once a month we order pizza on the pool deck for after practices and ask families to bring a vegetable or dessert to share. It is open to all swimmers and families at a cost of $5 per person.


3.    Swim-a-thon -  One of the most fun nights of Swimarin! We swim laps to raise money for our team and there are many other contests and prizes during the night including prizes for laps swam, a raffle, a treasure dive, parent relays, and culminating in the famous greased watermelon polo! It’s a night not to be missed!


4.    End of Season Banquet -  Our chance to come together to celebrate the accomplishments of our swimmers throughout their season, to thank all you parent volunteers and coaches and to relax with a great dinner and awards ceremony. It is a special event that everyone enjoys. Make sure you don’t miss it!








Swim Meets


Swim meets occur nearly every Saturday from the end of April to mid-July. Every swimmer is expected to attend the meets. For new families, meets can feel overwhelming at first if you don’t know what to expect or what to do when you get to a meet. Also, because there are a lot of people at the meets, your child can feel overwhelmed if you are not prepared. Please read this section carefully and ask any board member if you have questions. Board members will be wearing bright green Swimarin polo shirts.


Tips for a successful meet:

1.   Arrive early to get a good spot to set up and get your swimmer ready to warm up with the team.

2.   If you are bringing a snack bar donation, bring to the snack bar first thing.

3.   Consider bringing a sport tent or other shade where your swimmer can hang out away from the sun. Bring camping chairs to sit in. Tell your child where to meet you after they get out of the pool after their event as parents are usually not allowed behind the blocks to meet them.

4.   Bring plenty of water and snacks (or money for the snack bar)and possibly books, etc for the kids to play with between events.

5.   Mark your child’s hand the night before so they know when/where to line up for their events. (see handmarking sheet below.)

6.   Have sunscreen and extra towels on hand.

7.   Pay attention to the meet so you are aware when your child needs to get ready to line up. This is imperative for a successful meet experience. For new swimmer and 8 and under swimmers, allow yourself extra time to locate them if they are playing with another swimmer and help get them ready.

8.   Have a positive attitude and a relaxed demeanor so your child will feel secure and be able to enjoy the meet.

Meet Format:  Every event (eg. Medley relay, freestyle, breaststroke, etc.) will be run in this order and then repeated for each event:

1.   8 and under girls

2.   8 and under boys

3.   9-10 girls

4.   9-10 boys

5.   11-12 girls

6.   11-12 boys

7.   13-14 girls

8.   13-14 boys

9.   15-18 girls

10.15-18 boys


The events in order are:

1.   Boys and Girls Mixed Medley Relay

2.   Freestyle

3.   Backstroke

4.   Intermission

5.   Breaststroke

6.   Butterfly

7.   Boys and Girls Mixed Freestyle Relay


Declaring attendance for meets: By Tuesday before every meet, you must log into the website to declare if your child is going to attend the meet and choose the events they are doing (up to 3 events not including relays.)  This is critical if your child is to be seeded for the meet! (Note:  The events may be changed by the Head Coach so think of this as what you would like to swim) You will get an email prior to each meet telling you exactly how to do this. Please remember to do this each meet or risk not being able to swim at the meet. Your coach will let you know if you are on a relay for each upcoming meet. If you have been chosen to be on a relay, congratulations! It is an honor – please make sure you are at the meet in time to line up for the medley relay at the beginning of the meet and stay until the end of the meet for the free relay.

Time Trials: Our first meet is our time trials meet which involves only our team. It is a meet to get baseline times for your child in order to be seeded appropriately in subsequent meets. We generally ask all swimmers to swim every event at this meet unless your coach advises otherwise. It is also our opportunity to learn various volunteering jobs which will be required for the season.


Dual Meets: Most meets during the season are dual meets against another team in the league. All meets occur in Marin at either our pool (SRHS) or at our opponents pool. You can see the meet schedule on our website once it is available.  Directions to each pool can also be found on our website.


All-Stars: This is an invite only meet that swimmers may qualify for based on times (qualifying times can be found on Marin Swim League’s website at You will be notified if your child has qualified for this meet.


Champs: Our league’s end of the season extravaganza meet with every team in the league. Everyone is required to attend and it is an amazing display of talent in our county.










Handmarking sheet


You will mark your child’s hand (or better yet, teach them to do it themselves) in Sharpie before every meet with their events, heat and lane numbers. This makes it easier for everyone to remember when they need to get ready to line up for their events.









Volunteer Requirements


Besides coaching, Swimarin is run entirely by parent volunteers (this includes the Board and leadership team and all jobs at the meets.) It takes nearly 90 volunteers to run every home meet. As you can see, there is a lot of need for volunteers to run every team in the league.


The number of volunteer jobs required each year is dependent upon the number of families registered for the team and the number of jobs needed to fill each season. It varies slightly from season to season.

You will be given an opportunity to sign up for jobs as we get closer to the start of the season. You can choose to sign up for jobs individually, sign up for a season long job, or take the lead on any given area.

Volunteering is a great way to meet other families, and to be a part of your child’s team experience.  Most people enjoy having a job at the meets because it makes the meets more interesting and fun. It also shows your child that you care about their sport.


Every family must volunteer.  That being said, if you really don’t want to volunteer, you can participate in our volunteer buy-out program (the cost of which will be determined by the number of jobs per family that are required. It has been $400 for the past few years.) Even if you buy-out, you will be required to volunteer at the Champs meet at the end of the season.


Some of the meet jobs typically available include:

·        Timing

·        Officiating

·        Snack Bar

·        Data Desk

·        Set up and tear down


Some season long jobs include:

·        Board positions (President, Treasurer, Secretary)

·        Events Coordinator

·        Merchandise

·        Volunteer Coordinator

·        Facilities

·        Snack Bar Coordinator

·        Awards


Descriptions of the jobs can be found under the Volunteer tab on the website at www. Once job sign-ups end, you are responsible for finding replacements for a job if you cannot make it. If you miss a job, there is a $125 penalty.  We would much rather have volunteers than money from buy outs and missed jobs.












Snack Bar


At every home meet, we run an amazing snack bar which provides tons of delicious food thanks to our volunteers and the food donations from our families. Every family is responsible for bringing a specific food donation for the snack bar at the home meets.


Your assigned food will be e-mailed to you by Thursday before the home meet. It is important that you read the guidelines on the website for exact specifications for your assigned item. (It takes the guesswork out of what you are bringing and provides consistency at the snack bar. It will tell you the necessary size, amount or preparation for the item to be donated.)


Bring your item to the snack bar as soon as you get to the home meet and make sure your name is checked off the list.


If you are going to miss a meet, ask a friend to bring your item for you. If it is a non-perishable item such as soda, you may be able to leave it in the swim office with your name on it during the week before the meet.

If you don’t want to bother with the snack bar donations (typically for 3-4 meets per season, you can participate in the snack bar buy out for $100 for the season.)







Shark Pups, Clinics and Lessons


Shark Pups: Shark Pups is a small group based lesson program designed to prepare your younger child for swim team. It is open to kids from ages 4+ who need help developing basic strokes to get them across the pool. It is not intended for kids under 4 or those who are not potty trained. If your child signed up for Swimarin but wasn’t quite ready for swim team, this is a great option to get them ready for next year.  Our Summer Sharks Pup Program begins in May (dates will be made available online) and runs weekdays Monday- Friday (or as specified) for approximately 2-3 weeks, depending on the session.

At the culmination of Shark Pups, the kids who are ready and meet the requirements to participate, have the option to participate in a “swim meet” (depending on our home meet schedule, this may occur in an actual meet or on a Friday fun day) where the child gets to do a timed 25 yard freestyle swim. It is a fun way to end the sessions and the kids are really proud when they do it!


Clinics and Lessons: Sometimes parents or swimmers want extra coaching for their child to work on a particular technique they are struggling with during regular practices. We offer one on one clinics with our coaches and smaller group clinics as the pool is available at an additional cost to the families.  Specific information will be announced with pricing pending the clinic.  


For Private Lessons Coach Jeremy is available most Sunday afternoons.  Private lessons are $45 per 30 min. lesson and can be arranged by emailing Jeremy at




Champs Meet


Our league holds an all team meet at the end of each season where every team comes together to swim against one another and determine who will be the Champion of the league.


There are 10 teams in the league and up to 1500-2000 swimmers so this is a big meet! The good news is, it is held at a big pool (Indian Valley Campus of College of Marin) and is divided into a morning meet for swimmers 11 and under and an afternoon meet for swimmer ages 13 and up. You only need to attend the portion of the day in which you have a swimmer.


Every team is required to volunteer to help put this meet on so we require all families to attend. (It is held the second Saturday of July each year.)

It’s a fun day showcasing some amazing swimmers in this county! See you there…












Awards Banquet


Our season culminates in an awards banquet the day after the Champs meet where we honor all the swimmers for the courage and hard work they showed during the season and have a chance to give thanks to our dedicated and talented coaches as well as all the volunteers (that’s you!) that make the season possible.


Kids and parents alike really look forward to this event as an important end to their season and a time to hang out with all their new friends. We have a catered meal, drinks and a really fun and relaxing afternoon celebrating the end of another great season.


Make sure you do not miss this important end of season event.

Information on how to RSVP will be sent out toward the end of the season.