Frequently Asked Questions
The Seals try to be as responsive as possible to questions from parents and swimmers. To maximize coaching time we ask everyone to not approach the coaches with questions that can otherwise be answered on this page, the Meets page or elsewhere on this website.
Q: How many days should my child go to practice?
A: Swimmers are asked to come 3 days a week at a minimum. If your child has more availability to come, or wants to come more often, we highly encourage it. The more children practice, the more improvement that is seen throughout the summer.
Q: What should my child wear to practice?
A: All swimmers need to wear goggles. It is preferred that the swimmers do not train in swim shirts or board shorts. These make it difficult to keep up with the group and to keep proper technique when they fatigue. Waterproof sunscreen with titanium & zinc work best for swimmers. A preference is Head Hunter tinted light brown. Available at Proof Lab and many other local surf shops.
Q: What are USA Swimming regulations?
A: To view the USA Swimming regulations please download a copy of the USA Swimming rulebook by clicking here and refer to page 24.
Q: Where is the Tam Pool located?
A: The Tam Pool is located at Tamalpais High School, 700 Miller Avenue (intersection of Camino Alto) in Mill Valley. Opened in January of 2010, Tam Pool is a state-of-art facility with 16 lanes.
Q: How much space is there?
A: The Tam Pool has plenty of space for chairs and tents around the perimeter. There is also a large grassy slope behind the pool. Inside the pool area will be bleachers for spectators.
Q: Where do I park?
A: Tamalpais High School has two large parking lots. One lot is adjacent to the pool entrance and another lot is at the back of the school (from Camino Alto make a left on Miller Avenue, drive past the school football field and make a sharp right onto Almonte. Travel back around and past the football and baseball fields and the parking lot entrance will be on your right. There is a short walk from this lot to the pool).
Q: Is food allowed on the pool deck?
A: Sorry, no food or drinks are allowed inside fenced pool area! This is a strict Tam Pool policy with the ONLY exception being water and water bottles. We will have monitors at the entrances during our home meets and we ask that everyone respect this rule at all times. We are guests of Tam High and our goal is keep this pool in as good a shape, if not better, as we found it. It is extremely important to our relationship with Tam High for everyone (including visitors) to follow this rule. Of course there will be our fabulous Snack Bar and BBQ during home meets just outside pool area and we encourage you to eat early and often from there - just don't bring it to the pool deck!
Q: Who are we sharing the pool with?
A: Tam High has an outstanding swimming and water polo program for high school boys and girls. Known as the Hawks (although the Girls water polo team have also been affectionately called the 'boneheads' ) we encourage the Seals to check out their meets and cheer for the 'home' team! You can find out more about Tam High by clicking here and about Tam Athletics by clicking here.)
Q: What time do we have to be at the meet? Does my child have to do warm ups?
A: Warm-up times vary at different pools throughout the league. Start times and warm-up times will be posted on the website, as well as with directions for away meets. Ideally, we suggest our swimmers be at the pool 15 minutes before warm-ups start.
Q: What time will meets start at the Tam pool and how long will they last?
A: Tenatively, meets will be starting at 10:30AM with warm-ups at 10:00AM. We anticipate that with the larger pool that even with the later start time, meets will still end at approximately 2:30PM.
Q: My child doesn't want to swim the events that the Coach has signed him up for what should I do?
A: The Coach picks the events based on where she thinks each child will excel the best in, and where they can see the most improvement from the past time that they swam the stroke. Children are encouraged to swim all events that the Coach signs them up for because most of the time they surprise themselves with how well they can do. If there is a serious problem with the stroke choices, please meet with the Coach separately and an arrangement can be worked out.
Q: My child has come in first in their race all season how come they haven't made any points?
A: Points for the meets are only awarded to the top 3 finishers overall in an event. Although everyone participates and works towards faster times, points are not awarded to everyone.
Scoring | Individual races our scored by the top 3 times for each event. First is 5 points, second is 3 points and third is 1 point. F or relays it is 7 points first, 3 points second and 1 point third. The no shut-out rule; If a team places first, second and third, the third place points are awarded to the opposing team.
Q: Can we leave early?
A: Please DO NOT leave early. Team participation in relays at the end of the meet is critical, as well as having support from team mates to do well. If there is a scheduling conflict, please talk to the Coach beforehand and work it out.
Q: Why does my child have to do warm ups if they aren't swimming for 3 more hours?
A: Warm-ups are important to introduce the kids to different pools and different racing areas. Each pool in the league has different blocks, and all swimmers should practice using them during warm-ups so that they aren't surprised at how they feel during the races. The same is true about practicing turns in different pools for all 9&ups. Some pool walls are composed of different materials, and it is better to be prepared going into the races, than shocked by something unexpected. Warm-ups also introduce your body to the water temperature, and help to get swimmers mentally prepared to race.
Q: Where should I stand to watch my 8 and under?
A: Do not stand behind the blocks with your children. It becomes an area that is too congested, and that's not good for anyone. Try to stand where you can see your child race without being in the way of swimmers, timers, or officials. There are line-up volunteers to make sure your child swims at the correct time, and the coaches are also behind the blocks to help encourage the swimmers.
Q: What events will my kids swim? (week before 1st meet) When will the Coach tell us?
A: Most beginner swimmers will only swim freestyle and backstroke until they have learned and are comfortable with the other strokes. The Coach will ask swimmers what they want to swim on Monday and Tuesday during practice, and from there she seeds the meet by Wednesday morning. If you have not told the Coach what you would like to swim by then, she will pick for you. It is too late to change events once the meet has been seeded. The Coach also may change your child's events if she feels they will succeed in a different event than the ones they chose.
Q: How do you write the Heats, Lanes and stroke?
A: An hand marking example appears here and there is also an example in the Seals roster book. Since the time before a meet is so chaotic, it's very helpful if you could check your swimmer’s heats and lanes online the night before and write on their hand in the morning- BEFORE coming to the pool.
Q: My kids name was mispronounced at the last two meets and we need to tell someone...to change this.
A: For each meet volunteer announcers have to try and pronounce over 1,000 names while also keeping track of the Events and Heats, making announcements and moving the meet at a fairly quick pace. Taking that into account, mispronouncing names is to be expected. They really are trying their best under very extreme circumstances so we ask you to please just 'grin and bear it'. At home meets the desk team does their best to remind the announcers when they get it wrong - in a nice way. We discourage our team from saying anything to a host team during away meets as we are guests at their pool.
Q: Where and When do I pick up my kids ribbons?
A: Ribbons are brought to the pool the Monday following a meet and are available through Thursday. Each child has their own slot in the ribbon box with their name so that they can easily find their ribbons.
Q: What is the order of the race? I'm so confused, there are relays at the very end and I was JUST told my kid is swimming in it?
A: The order is as follows:
It is an honor and a privledge to be a part of a relay. Medley relays start the meets and Free relays finish them. The Coach will be making up 3 relays for each meet held at a pool with 6 or more lanes. Because relays score more points than individual races, it is imperative that the Coach be told by 7:30PM Monday (via email or hand written note), if your child will not be available to race that week in the meet.
Freestyle relays can change on the day of the meet if children swim fast enough to make the top 6 in their age group. The top 6 swimmers are asked to compete in the free relays at the end. The coaches attempt to tell kids beforehand during practice, but sometimes they can't reach the kids until the day of the meet. This is why it is imperative that ALL swimmers stay until the end of the meet.
Q: My one son has a baseball game in the middle of the swim meet. How LONG will this take?
A: Baseball games are tricky. Email the Coach before the meet, and she can help you work out a schedule so that the child can swim and play baseball.
Q: Is my wife going to leave me because I forgot to put sun block on my kids?
A: Most likely. Just kidding!
Q: I left my parka at the last away swim meet can you help me track it down?
A: Unfortunately, the Seals does not have a Lost and Found. For lost items at home you can post a notice in the bulletin board case at the pool. If the item is lost at an Away meet please contact the pool directly (go to the MSL website - the link is on the menu to the left - to find each pool's contact information)
Q: I have a suit, but not a cap who can I speak to about getting one?
A: Swim caps are available through the Coach at practice or at the home meets at the clothing table, $15 silicone and $5 latex.
Q: My kid needs more hands on coaching is that suppose to happen during practice? If not how do they get it?
A: The Strawberry Seals coaches have fee based after practice lessons (usually on Sunday). Please contact them directly to schedule some time.
Q: I just found out I can't make it to the swim meet this week and I have a job. What should I do?
A: If you cannot, for whatever reason, fullfill the job you signed up for it is your responsibilty to find your own replacement. If you cannot find a replacement you must sign up for another job at another meet and contact the Volunteer Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Who do I talk to about my responsibilities (Timer, Set Up, Snack Bar, Helping with Clothing)
A: Talk to the Volunteer coordinators for each of the main volunteer areas.