Team Handbook


Wayside Waves Youth Swim Team

Welcome to the Wayside Waves Swim Team.  This is a recreational age-group swim team of the Wayside Athletic Club of Marlborough, MA.  Our swimmers are ages 6-18.  To be elligable for the team, swimmers ages 5-10 must be able to swim at least 25 yards (one length of the pool) in both Freestyle (Front Crawl) and Backstroke, while swimmers ages 11-18 must be able to swim at least 50 yards (2 lengths of the pool) in both Freestyle and Backstroke and have a basic understanding of both Breaststroke and Butterfly.

Our Team will strive for individual improvement while working together as a team in a fun and challenging way.  The sense of accomplishment brought about by individual performance as a result of commitment and hard work is a goal we want the swimmers and parents to focus on for the season.  Your place in an individual race or our win lose record is important but it is not more important then becoming a better person and swimmer.

Wayside Waves has a 4 season approch to the sport of competitive swimming.  Spring (the end of March through the beginning of June) and Fall (the second week of September through the end of October) are our non-competitive clinic seasons, while Summer (the last weeks of June through the first weekend of August) and Winter (November 1st through the beginning of March) are our competitive seasons.

The Spring and Fall Clinics, we focus on refining and gaining skills and techniques.  We start from the beginning and review all the strokes, one stroke per week, using drills to refine techniques.  We practice starts, turns, and finishes.  We might do timed trials or mock meets.  We also do fun relays.

In the Winter season, Waves take part in the Metro Swim League which is made up of other clubs and recreational centers in the area.  This season is 8-10 weeks with meets on the weekends and a championship meet in March at Boston University.  In order to participate in the Winter Metro Swim League Championships a swimmer must compete in at least 4 meets during this season, however, swimmers are encouraged to attend all meets. During the Winter season. a swimmer's age is determined by their age on November 1st of that year's season.

The Waves' Summer Season is in the MetroWest Summer Swim League.  This league is made up of 9 area teams.  The season is short, only 7 weeks long.  Some of the meets may be scheduled on week nights however most will be on the weekends.  The Championship meet for this season is scheduled on the first Saturday of August and is held at Milford High School.  In order to be elligable to participate in the summer championship meet, a swimmer must compete in at least 2 summer MSSL meets during the season.  A swimmer's age is determined by his/her age on June 1st of that year.

The Wayside Waves requires a commitment from both the swimmer and the parent.  We expect participation at all meets and practices.  More information on the seasonal meets as well as the dates and times will be made available as soon as possible.

The coaching staff:

Head Coach: Susan Morse    email: 

Coach's Objective:

  • Improve strokes so swimmers can compete in all 4 stroke events.
  • Improve endurance
  • Encourage each swimmer to swim better and smarter at each meet
  • Show Team Spirit
  • Have fun


Every swimmer should have goals.  We ask that you talk to your swimmers about goals. What are your swimmer's goals?  What are your goals for your swimmer? 

We do have some basic goals for all the swimmers and when time permits we will talk with swimmers about individual goals. 

When we talk or when you talk to your swimmers about goals, please make sure they are realistic, you can measure them and that they are achievable.

Goals, such as "I am going to swim in the Olympics and break the world record in 100 Freestyle" are great, but are long, long term goals.

A goal, such as "I am going to drop 5 seconds in my freestyle time this year" is measurable and we can work with your swimmer to try to accomplish this type of goal.

What is the sport and what are the risks:

Swimming, for the most part is an individual sport that functions in a team environment.  Many swimmers will improve week after week but they will improve quicker if they swim with their peers.

Swimming, like all sports, can cause physical problems.  Unlike contact sports, swimming injuries at this level are relatively uncommon.  Some problems that are inherent to swimming are shoulder and knee problems.  These are usually overuse injuries.  Other physical problems that sometimes arise are swimmers ear and skin or eye irritation.


Practice is the time to work on and improve your skills, speed and endurance.  This is a time to try new things under the coach's direction and see what will work and what will not work.

Practice is the time to concentrate on your skills and changes to your skills so that at meets it will feel more natural and more instinctive. Generally we do not want swimmers trying new things at meets unless they have worked on it during practice.

Swimmers are grouped in lanes based on ability.  Swimmers will be moved to different lanes based on the daily workout and what they may need to work on the most.

During a practice we will work on various skills needed to compete in our league.  We will sometimes slow down enough that what we do in the water looks like a swim lesson.  Some times we will put in a lot of hard yardage.  Most practices will be somewhere in-between.  Even when the swimmers are working hard, we try to give feedback on a regular basis.

Practice Rules

  • Come ready to swim - this includes having your suit, goggle and cap ready and on, towel, water bottle, fins, etc. (having a back-up pair of goggle is very helpful)
  • Leave your problems at the door.
  • Do as much, if not all, of the practice.
  • When the coaches are talking, listen. 
  • Ask if you do not understand what is going on.
  • Please go to the bathroom before practice not during practice.
  • Do not hang on lane lines.
  • Bad behavior will not be tolerated.  Continue bad behavior will result in suspension from the team.
  • You should bring a water bottle and fins to every practice.


Swimming Etiquette

We use circle swim.  You always stay to the right when swimming on your front, an always to the left when on your back.

Move out of the way of other swimmers especially at the ends of the lanes.

If you are swimming faster then the person in front of you tap them on the foot and go in front of them when you get to the next wall. (Do not grab their foot or them)

If someone taps your foot it means you must let them pass you at the wall.


The meets can last a few hours and the air in the pools can range from cold and damp to hot and humid.  You should dress appropriately (layers).  Swimmers should have their team swim suit, at least one towel (two is not a bad idea) a sweatshirt or light jacket to stay warm and some type of foot wear (sandals or flip flops) Parents you should dress in layers so you can stay comfortable.  While at a meet, swimmers should have something with them that will keep them occupied.  Things like game pads, tablets and ipods/phones tend to disappear.

The swim meet routine is as follows:

20-30 minutes before the warm ups start swimmers should arrive and check in with the coaches and then get ready to get in the water.

Warm up - this is a time for everyone to get acclimated to the pool (this is especially important at away meets.)  There is no diving allowed during the first few minutes of the warm up.  Swimmers will have a small workout to swim and they should concentrate on how their stoke feels and also how the pool feels.

About 5-10 minutes before the meet starts we try to get the team together to start lining the swimmers up for their events.  Many of the teams we swim against have bullpens where parents from the host team will line the kids up. 

Start of the meet - If we are on the pool deck, swimmers need to cheer on their team-mates and be ready to go to the bullpen or to the starting blocks when it is time to do so.

Freestyle Relays are held at the end of the meet.  These can be very exciting and a lot of fun to watch.  We encourage all swimmers to stay until the end and cheer on our team.

End of meet - please make sure that you pick up the area where you were sitting.


There are expectations from everyone and for everyone.

 Expectations that you might have of the coaches

That the coaches will work with your child to help improve your child's skill and knowledge of the sport of swimming.

Coaches will be reasonable, fair, understanding and consistent.

Coaches will have a plan for each day.

 Some of the expectations the team has for parents.

Parents will let the coaches coach.

Parents will support and encourage their child.

Parents will not put their expectations on their child.

Parents will not relive their successes or failures in sports through their swimmers (the child is swimming not the parents.)

Some of the expectations the team has for swimmers

To come to practice, ready to practice.

To respect swimmers, parents, officials and coaches.

To work hard.



Winter Championships are split into two sessions, with the swimmers 10 and under swimming in the morning and the swimmers 11 and older swimming in the afternoon.  Exact times should be available by the beginning of February.

Summer Championships are swum in the same way as the season with the ages all mixed in according to events.


At the end of the season we will hold an awards night.  Traditionally we hand out participation awards.  We also try to recognize swimmers for some swimming accomplishments made during the season. 


Web Site

The team web site is We try to update the site on a regular basis. 


Meet Sign up

All swimmers must go online and declare their meet intention (going or not going.)  This must be done no later than Wednesday before a meet.  In the summer, for weekday meets, you must do this at least 5-7 days in advance.  During the winter season all meets are on the weekend, usually only on Saturdays.

A copy of the lineup will be posted about 1-2 days before the meet.

Parent Help

We need a lot of parental help at meets.  Every family is expected to volunteer at least two times during the season.  If we do not have parent volunteers then our swimmers will be at a disadvantage and there is the possibility that we would have to forfeit the meet.

How to communicate with the staff?

If it is a quick question you can talk to us before or after practice, otherwise please either call or send us an email.

How we communicate to the team ? This will be done, mostly through the team web site or through emails I will send out.  I will try my best to only send one a week but sometimes a lot of things come up quickly or I get a lot of question on a topic not covered in the weekly email.  We try not to hand out notices at practices because they just end up on the floor at the pool or in the locker rooms.

If you have gone more than a week without an email from me, please let me know and I can make sure you are on our team list.

If you do not have email please talk to the coaches so we can make sure you get the information that the team is sending out.




updated 5/21/2019