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FAQs

Swim Team FAQs

What is Swim Team Open House and why do I need to come?

  • Representatives from our Merchandiser, SuitUp, will be available to properly size all swimmers for team swim suits for the season. Our team suit is a different brand than the last 2 years; the suit also comes in 2 different female cuts and 2 different male cuts in order for each swimmer to choose their most comfortable swimsuit style. We STRONGLY recommend being professionally fitted at the Open House.
  • Open House is an opportunity to meet the Highlands Coaches, reconnect with other Highlands Swim Team families, and to pick up your team t-shirt and swim cap. Stop by to have all of your questions answered or just to say "Hi!" and grab an ice cream sandwich! We look forward to seeing you!

What equipment will my swimmer need for practices and meets?

Every swimmer should have the following equipment:

  • Good fitting pair of goggles

  • Swim cap - (our coaches prefer for all swimmers to use a cap) - Standard HS cap is included in Swim Team Registration fee.

  • Practice/Team suit - Practice suits are lycra jammers or briefs for boys and lycra one piece suits for girls. Board shorts and bikinis are not appropriate for swim practice or meets.

  • Water bottle - Keeping our swimmers hydrated at all times is very important!

  • Swim bag - Encouraged to keep track of all swim equipment and personal belongings

  • Towels 

  • Sunscreen - Apply, apply, apply!

  • Insect Repellent - Optional, but recommended, particularly during Monday night meet

 

Where can I purchase swim team equipment?

  • Swimmers will be sized for Team swim suits during Open House at Highlands on May 18, 2019. If you missed the Open House, visit SuitUp (University Mall Retail Store, 10631 Braddock Rd. Fairfax 22032).

 

Do swimmers need to attend both morning & afternoon swim practices?

  • Swimmers are encouraged to attend the morning practice for their age group. See Swim Team Practice Schedule. To accommodate schedules, we have an afternoon practice for those swimmers who are unable to attend their designated morning practice. Some swimmers choose to attend both their regular morning practice and the afternoon practice, but it is not required.

 

What happens during Swim Team Assessments?

  • All 8 & under swimmers will be assessed by our Head and Assistant Head coaches during three scheduled pre-season Sunday evening dates or the first 2 days of swim practice. Coaches will observe each swimmer individually to determine proper placement. Swimmers may be referred to Swim Team, the Mini Whompers Developmental Program, Club Group or Private lessons. We have designed our practice schedules to allow for easy transition between programs. During the season, swimmers can, and often do progress from one program to another. Parents are asked to respect the assessments made by coaches.

 

How will my swimmer know where to go during practice or a meet?

  • Highlands is very fortunate to have 2 main pools. The pool located closest to the bathhouse is referred to as the “Lower Pool.” Mini Whompers practice in this pool. All Swim Team practices and home meets are held in the Competition Pool located on the upper deck with the diving well. Coaches and Team Reps will be on deck to direct the swimmers where to go. At meets, the Coaches, Team Reps, and Meet Volunteers (usually dressed in blue bottoms and white tops) will ensure swimmers are in the right place at the right time.

 

At practice, will the coaches be able to tell if my swimmer needs help?

  • The coaches keep a careful watch on the swimmers in each lane. In addition, for the 8 & under practices, at least one coach will be in the water in each lane assisting the swimmers and encouraging them.

 

What do I do if I need to speak with a Swim Team Coach?

  • To ensure the safety of all of our swimmers, we must insist that parents refrain from congregating around the pool lanes during practice, and particularly during swim team assessments. The pool deck becomes very crowded and swimmers may become distracted. Swimmers usually perform best if parents are not in the immediate area. Parents are welcome to watch practices from the bleachers or pool chairs located on the perimeter of the pool. If parents have questions or concerns, please send them an email, see them after practice, or find the Team Rep. Thank you for helping to keep all swimmers focused and safe.

 

Who do I contact if my swimmer is interested in Private Swim Lessons?

 

*****How can I become more involved with the team?*****

  • Summer Swim Team does not work without volunteers. We are always looking to train new officials, and there are many deck and weekly volunteer duties that require no training at all. Being a timer or a marshal at a B Meet is a great way to get a feel for what's going on up on deck and flipping pancakes on a Friday morning allows you to meet other swim parents and watch the swimmers connect and get ready for the weekend and Monday night meets! Please find a way to say “yes” and volunteer in some way. We wouldn't ask if we didn't need you, and we will never ask anyone to do a job they cannot handle.

 

Who are all of those officials in blue and white and where did they train?

  • There are many officials on deck at the meets, including the Starter, the Referee, the Chief Timer, the Clerk of Course, the Stroke and Turn Judges and, in A Meets, the Relay Take-Off Judges. The officials require training by the NVSL. The NVSL holds clinics each summer to train for these positions. Please contact a Team Rep, Kelli O’Shaughnessy or Meggie Scogna for a training schedule.

 

Who are all those people at the table area during a meet and what are they doing?

  • Every meet requires the work of numerous table volunteers. There are the Table Chiefs who check the times on the time cards in every event and put them in place order. There is the Data Coordinator who carefully enters every single swimmer time into the team computer. There are the folks putting labels on the swimmers’ ribbons. At A Meets there are also Scorers who keep track of the team scores and the Announcer, the voice of the Whomping Turtles!

 

When my swimmer is with the team during a meet, will my swimmer get lost? Can I go up and see my swimmer?

  • No, your swimmer will not get lost. There are plenty of coaches present at each meet to supervise the swimmers and to help get the swimmers where they need to be when they need to be there. Swimmers are encouraged to stay with the team during meets to ensure that they get to each of their events. Yes, you may go to the team area and check on your swimmer, but there is no need to stay.

 

What are Time Trials? Does my child have to go to Time Trials?

  • Most teams in the NVSL have Time Trials about a week or two after practice begins and before the first meet of the season. Time Trials are an opportunity for swimmers to get times in as many strokes as they’d like in a meet-like setting. Swimmers are encouraged to swim all four strokes and may be asked to swim a stroke that not considered their favorite. There is no scoring in Time Trials. The only swimmers attending Time Trials are Highland’s swimmers.

  • Each swimmer should try to swim at Time Trials, as it offers the coaches an opportunity to see the swimmers perform the different strokes in a meet-like setting. A swimmer not able to make Time Trials will have an opportunity to get recorded times at a later B Meet.

 

What’s the difference between an A Meet & a B Meet?

  • B Meets are meets designed to give developing swimmers a chance to compete and improve their skills. B Meets are not NVSL sanctioned and are not scored meets. There are no relay events at B Meets. B Meets are held on Monday evenings. Warm ups for the home team begin at 5:00pm, followed by warm ups for the away team at 5:30pm. B Meets begin at 6:00pm. Swimmers are encouraged to swim two events plus Individual Medley (IM). A swimmer is eligible to swim any event in a B Meet except an event for which that swimmer earned a first, second or third place in the immediately preceding A Meet. Swimmers may sign up for the B meet online in the Swim Meet section of the Events tab on our Homepage. Ribbons are awarded to every swimmer.

  • A Meets are different from B Meets because A Meets are NVSL sanctioned, include relay events and are scored. A Meets reflect our team’s standings in our Division. A Meets are held Saturday mornings for five consecutive weeks beginning near the end of June. Swimmers qualify for these meets based on their times at Time Trials and at A and B Meets, as well as the coaches’ evaluation of how the team can best match up against our opponent for that week. Our team will have three swimmers for each event in each age group. A swimmer can only swim in two individual events at an A Meet. The swimmers scheduled for the A Meets may change from week to week because of improved times or absences. Sometimes there are unfilled spots, especially in some of the older age groups, and a younger swimmer may be asked to swim in an older group. Every point counts in a meet and there have been plenty of times that points have been scored by a swimmer swimming in an older age group. Swimmers should be aware if they will be swimming in a relay. Relay events are at the end of the meet. If a swimmer needs to leave the meet early, the Head Coach must be informed prior to the relay events.

  • The list of swimmers for A Meets will be emailed to the team as early as Tuesday evening. If a swimmer is not going to be in town, please Decline the A meet located on the Swim Meets tab under Events on our Homepage.  It is helpful to contact the Head Coach or Team Reps as soon as possible after receiving the email. If you are scheduled to swim in an A Meet and become ill or have an emergency, contact the coach immediately so that she can substitute another swimmer. Any corrections should be made by Thursday morning before our information is transmitted to our opponents. Substitute swimmers must also be notified in the event of illness or emergencies, or we won’t have enough swimmers present to fill the lanes.

  • Warm Ups for A Meets start at 8:00am for home meets or 8:30am for away meets, and each meet will begin promptly at 9:00am. A Meets are usually finished by 11:30am. Swimmers and their families are invited to lunch after each meet. Lunches are held at Highlands after home meets, and at a destination to be announced for the away meets.

 

Can you swim in A Meets and B Meets?

  • Yes, though only those swimmers that have qualified for A Meets, as described above, can swim in A Meets. All swimmers can swim in B Meets.

 

How are meets scored?

  • The score is kept at A meets for the NVSL. In the individual events, a first place finish earns 5 points, a second place earns 3 points, and a third place finish earns 1 point. Relays are scored as 5 points for the winner and 0 points for the loser. There is no scoring at B Meets.

 

Why do the coaches need to know if we will be out of town for an A Meet?

  • If your swimmer qualifies for an A Meet, it is imperative that the coaches know if your swimmer will be out of town for that meet so that the coach can substitute another swimmer in that event.  We never want to have an empty lane at an A meet!

 

What happens with all of the swimmers’ times?

  • All of the swimmers’ times from Time Trials and A and B Meets are entered into the team computer by the Data Coordinator. The A Meet times are also sent to the NVSL.

 

Where can I find my swimmer's times?

  • All recorded times can be found on our TeamUnify webpage.  Once you sign into your TeamUnify account, go to “My Account” > My Meet Results.  Also, your swimmer’s times from A Meets can be found on the back of the swimmer’s place ribbons and on the NVSL website. A swimmer’s times from B Meets can be found on the back of the swimmer’s ribbons. All swimmers receive ribbons with their times, even if a swimmer does not place in the top six. The ribbons are a great way to keep track of every swimmer’s progress throughout the season, especially those swimmers who do not regularly swim in the A Meets.

 

What is Relay Carnival?

  • Every summer on the Wednesday evening after the third A Meet of the swim season, each of the divisions comprising the NVSL holds a Relay Carnival at one of the division’s pools. Every team in the division may send one, and only one, relay team for each event competed at the Relay Carnival. Only relays are swum at the Relay Carnivals. The Division Relay Carnivals are scored meets. The winning team is officially recognized and receives a trophy. Times from the Relay Carnivals of all the NVSL divisions are collected, and the relay teams with the top 18 times are invited to the All Star Relay Carnival.

 

How do the coaches select the relay teams?

  • Just as for A Meets, swimmers qualify for relay teams based on their times at Time Trials and at A and B Meets, as well as the coaches’ evaluation of how the team can best match up against our opponents.

 

What are Divisionals?

  • Divisionals is a meet held the Saturday after the fifth and last A Meet of the season. Each of the six teams in the division sends its two fastest swimmers in each event, for a total of 12 swimmers or two heats for every event. In addition to the individual events that are part of the A Meets, the IM events are included in Divisionals. No team scores are kept for this meet; it is for the individual swimmers.

  • Each swimmer can swim only two events. If a swimmer has one of the top two times in more than two events, he/she will be able to pick the events in which he/she wants to participate. This opens up slots for other swimmers. In addition, not all teams enter two swimmers for each event. When this happens, other teams have an opportunity to add an additional swimmer from their team. These slots are filled based on who has the fastest time in the division. For seeding purposes at Divisionals, your fastest A Meet time is used. This is true even if you have a faster B Meet time. If you do not have an A Meet time for the event, then your B Meet time is used.

  • The times from each of the NVSL Divisional Meets are collected, and the swimmers with the top 18 times, plus two alternates, are invited to swim in the Individual All Stars.

 

What is Individual Allstars?

  • Individual All Stars is always held the first Saturday in August. The swimmers with the 18 fastest times in each event from Divisionals qualify for All Stars. Two alternates are also designated. There are three heats for each event at All Stars. No team scores are kept for this meet; it really is for the individual swimmers.