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Everything You Wanted To Know BLOG

Welcome to the “Everything You Wanted To Know About Club Swimming” blog

We are taking questions that YOU, our members, ask and providing answers, or at least direction, to your inquiries.

If you come up with a question, feel free to post it via Google Forms at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd24CKGOnIcuKziPfB9OhoGL325yocGW_JOdvB-YA02_3j0Sg/viewform

Each week one of the coaches will tackle the questions and we’ll send out the responses to the entire team so everyone can benefit. Questions will be anonymous, so no one will know who asked them! (Some questions will be combined or edited for clarity)

August , 2021
This week’s questions were answered by Coach Chris

Is there a way we can know a practice was cancelled due to weather before arriving?

Yes, there is! Both sites use the “Remind” app (not Twitter) to send out immediate information when we cannot access the website or when we need to get info out in a hurry – like when the weather changes and we nave to cancel/shorten practice. You do not have to download the app. You only have to “opt in” to receive these texts. Information on how to do this is posted on our website under the “For Parents” tab > FAQ – Remind App Notifications.

Here is a quick link: https://www.teamunify.com/SubTabGeneric.jsp?team=sebarsc&_stabid_=189255

Can the Blue group swimmers come any day Monday -Friday that they want to? And can they change which days they want to come week to week?
Except for the Green group, swimmers in the other groups may choose to attend practices any day that they are offered. We do this to help families juggle their schedules. Since those schedules can change week to week, changing the days a swimmer attends a practice may change, also.

For the Blue and Silver groups, we recognize that most swimmers only attend an average of about 3 times per week. For the PreSenior and Senior groups, more attendance is encouraged, as these swimmers are putting a greater focus on their swimming and need the additional training time to keep up.

When creating the curriculum for each group, the coaches will change which strokes or skills are emphasized each day on a week-to-week basis. Therefore, in the course of a month a swimmer will have the opportunity to get instruction on all skills even if he or she comes on the same days each week.

Is there a way to get my child extra practice in one specific skill or movement that doesn't seem to be improving with group practice?

Some children pick up certain skills more quickly than others. That is normal in any learning environment. Therefore, I counsel to be cautious about evaluating your child as being so deficient in a skill that he/she is in need of special, extra coaching.

That being said, if your child has expressed concerns about struggling with a stroke or skill, please feel free to contact the child’s coach to determine if extra tutoring is truly needed. Sometimes the coach may be able to pay a little more attention in practice to the concern the swimmer has in order to get them “over the hump” with a skill.

So, what if the coach agrees that some extra, private lessons are called for? Here’s where we get into a conundrum: Both pools we operate out of (FHP, KAC) do not allow for people to make outside income using their facilities. In other words, we cannot schedule private lessons there. If there is another facility available, then it would be the coach’s prerogative to agree to take on that added lesson with their schedule at a price mutually agreed upon with the parent.

My daughter wants to start swimming in meets, but we've never done that process before and we need some guidance. Can you walk us through how to get involved in our first meet?

Outstanding! Meets are great place to have fun with her friends and see where her progress is with her swimming! Swimmers in all of our practice groups are eligible to compete. We encourage our them to participate in meets, as that helps give them a focus as to why they are doing all this “stuff” in practice.

If she feels hesitant about signing up for a meet, have her talk with her coach to see if he thinks that she is ready. Not only will that help her learn to advocate for herself with adult authority figures, it will give the coach an opportunity to either affirm her goal or to direct her as to what she needs to do if she’s not quite ready to compete.

Now it’s time to sign up!

There is a video on the website explaining the procedure. It is under the “BSC Videos” tab > “How To Sign Up For A Swim Meet”
Here is a quick link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-xtxDjpfzo

Please note: We only open up meets once we have received the meet information so you know what you are signing up for. Once the meet has been opened to sign up, there will be an “Edit Commitment “ button on the meet page.

How do we get feedback on how our kids are progressing (and acting!) when we never see the coaches? How can we get updates about progress and potential to progress?

With the restrictions in place to keep people off the pool deck during practice, we realize that it is not as convenient as walking up to a coach after practice to inquire about your child. However, we are happy to discuss your child’s progress – and any other questions you may have. (Hint: If your child is behaving particularly badly where we need your guidance/input/support, we will contact you!).

There are several ways you can facilitate this:

1. Email the coach. You can find all of our email addresses on the team website. Go to the “About Our Club” tab > Contact Us
2. Set up a time to call and talk with a coach over the phone. You may do this by email or text.
3. Set up a time to talk with a coach before or after practice. Please be aware that during practice times our focus needs to be on the swimmers in the pool. Sometimes a coach may go immediately from running one practice group to running another. If your child is in that first practice group, it may not be feasible for a coach to talk with you immediately after his practice. In that case, one of the other options may be used.

As a further note: We are not trying to hide anything we are doing at practice. At Freedom Hall, parents have the ability to observe practice from outside, using the large windows surrounding the pool. At the Kingsport Aquatic Center (currently) parents may observe from the lobby or from the balcony bleacher area. At Sullivan South pool, parents may observe from the outside doors.

September 20, 2021

This week's questions were answered by Coach Chris

One of my friend's kid want to join the school team but only has time for club practice time. Can the kid stick to the club swimming but still register for the school team? How often does the school team have meets with other schools?

The club team and the school teams are two different programs. A child can do both during the same period of time. However, the attendance policies for the school team are set by that team’s coach. Since I’m not sure which school your friend’s child would swim for, I suggest that they ask the coach of that school team what his practice requirements will be. The school coach will also be able to let you know the school’s meet schedule.

When the kids are swimming on Middle/high school swim team, what happens to the monthly dues during the months there is school swim season? Will the monthly dues cease until the school swim season is over?

As was mentioned in the answer above, the club team and the school teams are separate programs. If a child elects to swim on the high school/middle school team, the family has three options:

1. Continue to take advantage of the club meets and practices (and continue paying the club fees).

2. Elect to drop off the club for the duration of the school season. One could not then swim in any club meets nor participate in any practices held exclusively for the club. (You will have to inform our office manager of this choice. We will not automatically stop your fees.) NOTE: It is team policy that if a child swims for the Barracudas for part of a month, fees are owed for the entire month.

3. Continue to support the team financially by paying the monthly fees, even though you may elect not to participate in any club meets. (This is particularly relevant to the Johnson City site, as the reason that the coaches there can also coach the high school/middle school is that they are being paid a living wage by the club.)

Each family needs to make the decision that is best for their children, their schedule and their financial situation.

Can we find out what stroke(s) are practiced each day? My swimmer will miss at least one day of the week and that day varies. I don't want to miss the same stroke practice each week. 

You will need to inquire from your child’s coach. The coaches do have a general plan in place for the season. However, based on practice and meet performances, weather disruptions, or just a recognition that a certain stroke or skill needs more attention than was originally planned for, the curriculum can be modified at the coach’s discretion. Therefore, a season-long schedule is probably not going to be available.

Can you offer guidance/suggested routines for dryland workouts that complement their time in the pool? (I'm a novice parent to a blue team swimmer who is looking to up her game and focus solely on swim as her physical activity. She has goals of competing in her first meet by end of this year. )

That is a  great goal that your daughter has! Our Blue swimmers have a wide age range, though most tend to be younger. Her individual coach would be able to better address what specifically she needs to help her reach her goals.

After we sign up to swim in a meet, where and how do we pay the meet fees?

Once the club sends in its entries for a meet, a list is sent to our Office Manager for billing purposes. The amount you owe is added to your account. If you have elected to pay by credit card or bank draft, that amount will automatically be paid to the club. If you have elected to pay by check, the amount you owe will be shown on your account statement, which comes to you via email at the beginning of each month. Just send a check to the club.

We post the amount you will owe for each meet on the meet page on our website so you know beforehand how much you will owe.

Can you explain what factors in to when a swimmer gets moved up to the next level?

Moving up to the next practice group involves a combination of stroke technique mastery, mental maturity, endurance, level of commitment, age and social group. The coaches want to be sure that the technique basics are there before moving a child to a group where more advanced techniques will be taught. For example, moving from our Green to Blue groups requires knowing the freestyle and backstroke; moving from Blue to Silver requires knowing those two strokes plus breaststroke and butterfly.

The maturity of the swimmer is also taken into account. Since practices are sometimes longer in the upper levels, the ability to stay on task and follow directions becomes more necessary. The longer practices will also mean that a swimmer’s stamina needs to be taken into account.

As a swimmer gets ready to move from the Silver to PreSenior group or the PreSenior to Senior group, the coach will discuss the level of commitment needed to be successful and not fall behind in those groups. If a child is not ready for that level of commitment, it may be best to remain in the lower group – still having fun and improving – until his/her commitment level catches up with his/her physical abilities.

Because mental maturity and physical fitness tend to increase as a child gets older, age does play a factor. Another factor that the coaches may consider is the social group that the child is in. If we see a group of swimmers who are great friends and enjoy being with each other, we may elect to move that whole group up at one time in order to keep them together. That group bonding goes a long way in keeping the sport fun for them!

My daughter raised a point worth hearing more about. Her last Coach focused very heavily on stroke. Conditioning was important, but he placed more emphasis on stroke details. She feels the opposite is true on the Barracudas, i.e. more emphasis on conditioning. True or not true? What is your general philosophy in bringing up a junior swimmer? What is the correct balance? Does it change by the swimmer's group?
We take a long-term approach to the swimmers’ participation in the sport. As such, we do emphasize technique throughout our program. Even at the National level, the swimmers still are trying to improve their technique and doing stroke drills and taking time in practice to accomplish this.

There are two ways to get faster in our sport: One is to be more efficient (technique) and the other is to be in better shape (training). We work on both sides of that equation. You are correct that the balance changes as an athlete moves through the program.

The more beginner swimmers obviously are just learning the sport and the majority of their time is focused on technique. As a swimmer progresses through the program, the training side of the equation increases. Especially in the PreSenior and Senior groups, the amount of training vs. technique does change based on the time of the year (more technique earlier in the season) and the competency of the swimmer (more proficient swimmers can train more without losing their efficiency).

Since I know who wrote this, I can understand that your daughter may feel that she is spending more time on the training end than with technique. Some of that may be due to her joining later in the LC season and/or hitting more training days than technique days so far this fall. Have her talk with me if she has concerns.

We just registered for our first non-summer event. When will we know details of the event like meet order / times? Also are there other coordinated activities like team hotel etc?

Congratulations on your first meet! It will be both fun and confusing – but keep asking those questions that come up.

When a meet is open for sign-up on our website, a copy of the meet information is also published on that meet page. While some things may change due to meet logistics, the general order of events will stay the same. You will be able to read through that meet info to find out which events are being held on which day. The general times of the meet will also be listed, thought those could be adjusted based on the number of swimmers who enter the meet and how long each session will last.

One caveat: The event starting times on any timeline are not definitive. In other words, if a timeline says an event will start at 1:43 PM, that is only an estimate. If the meet is running faster or slower than anticipated, that event may start earlier or later than the published time.

The week of the meet, we will publish on the meet page on our website when the swimmers will need to be at the pool for warmups. Be sure that they are there on time and that they check in with a coach when they arrive. After the warmup, there is usually a short break (10-15 minutes) to get everything organized and then that session of the meet will begin.

We used to try to organize team hotels. We would call around and try to arrange a good deal for a block of rooms. However, we found that now people are getting even better deals on their own through internet searches or rewards points.

At away meets, families may arrange to all go out to dinner together. The parents sit at one table and the swimmers sit with their friends at another. Everyone wins!

How can we get updates about his progress and potential to progress?

With the restrictions in place to keep people off the pool deck during practice, we realize that it is not as convenient as walking up to a coach after practice to inquire about your child. However, we are happy to discuss your child’s progress – and any other questions you may have.

There are several ways you can facilitate this:

1. Email the coach. You can find all of our email addresses on the team website. Go to the “About Our Club” tab > Contact Us
2. Set up a time to call and talk with a coach over the phone. You may do this by email or text.
3. Set up a time to talk with a coach before or after practice. Please be aware that during practice times our focus needs to be on the swimmers in the pool. Sometimes a coach may go immediately from running one practice group to running another. If your child is in that first practice group, it may not be feasible for a coach to talk with you immediately after his practice. In that case, one of the other options may be used.

What happens with blue level swimmers in 8th grade? Will he compete at some point?

Any swimmer in any practice group may participate in a meet. If your child has indicated an interest in doing this you can sign him up on our website. (There is a video showing how to do this under the BSC Videos tab on the website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-xtxDjpfzo

If he is unsure whether he is ready for a meet, have him ask his coach.

Is twitter the only way to get info on cancellation of practice?

Actually, Twitter is NOT the platform that we use to alert members if practice is canceled. If the cancellation is sudden (like for weather) we use an app called Remind. You can elect to receive the notices via text and/or email. If it is a scheduled cancellation (like a high school meet) we will note that on the website.

You do not have to download the app. You only have to “opt in” to receive these texts or emails. Information on how to do this is posted on our website under the “For Parents” tab > FAQ – Remind App Notifications.

Here is a quick link: https://www.teamunify.com/SubTabGeneric.jsp?team=sebarsc&_stabid_=189255