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FAQs

For all details and information: read the Team/New Parent Handbook or contact a board member from the Coaches page.

When is registration open?

Registration for the next season begins in mid-February through the start of the season.

Am I ready for Swim Team?How do I know if my child is ready for swim team?

Criteria for new swimmers age 5-8 includes the desire to learn, ability to do the back float and get across one length (25 meters) of the pool independently. Older swimmers should be able to swim 50 meters without stopping. Children who are comfortable in the water and want to be on the team are most likely to have a high rate of improvement. For swimmers age 8 & under, a three-day evaluation and trial period is available at the start of the season prior to paying fees, to ensure your child's readiness. Please make arrangements with the Membership coordinator.

Is my child required to try out?

No, Trails does not require an evaluation. However, evaluations are available the first three days of in-water practice if you are unsure of your child's fit for swim team. Please make arrangements with the Membership coordinator.

When will my child practice?

Practices are weekdays for 45 minutes to two hours, between the hours of 6am and noon, depending on your child's age (as of June 1 of that year). Oldest swimmers practice first, ending with the youngest age group. As soon as the practice schedule for the year is available it will be posted on the site under Practice Schedule. The previous year's schedule is posted to give you a general idea, though it does change from year to year. However, because the summer swim season is short, practices will begin before school lets out, which means afternoon/evening practices for the first few weeks. In addition, there are skills clinics that focus on stroke technique, starts and turns on some Monday and Wednesday nights.

What happens if my child misses practice?

Attending swim practice regularly is very important. The more a swimmer practices, the faster he/she will swim, which is better for individual and team results. However, all practices are optional. Coaches should be notified in advance by email if practice will be missed or if a swimmer will be late or need to leave early.

Where are meets and practices?

Trails' home pool is Algonquin Lions Armstrong Memorial Pool. It is located at 599 Longwood Drive in Algonquin near Algonquin Middle School and Eastview Elementary School. The pool is a 6 lane 25 meter outdoor pool. Away meets will depend on the schedule and the teams in the conference but are generally within 45 minutes. As soon as they are available, dates and locations are posted on the Team Calendar and on the Events page.

What does my child need?

For a full list of recommended gear for practice and meets, see Team/New Parent Handbook.

For updates to apparel information, visit the Apparel link on the Home page.

Swimsuit. Swimmers should have at least one suit for practice and one suit for meets. These suits should be one-piece for girls and boys wear "jammers," similar to bike shorts. Popular brands are Speedo and TYR, though whatever the swimmer is comfortable in is acceptable. We do ask that all swimmers have a solid blue suit for meets to give the team a unified look.?The Trails Swim Team, like every other team, has a team suit. Wearing a team suit is optional, but recommended. The team suit is solid navy blue with a white Trails logo. A high-quality Speedo brand and a Lifeguard store brand at a lower price point are available. Suits will be available to try on at the In-Person Registration and Suit Try on in April.

Note that when buying a swimsuit, do not buy it big for growth. Just remember a swimmer needs to swim fast, and the more loose material there is dragging through the water, the slower the child will swim. Racing style suits can be purchased at a local sporting goods stores or on-line.

Swim Cap. Swim caps are a requirement for all girls at practice and in all meets. While they are optional for boys, they are recommended especially at meets. You may wear any cap, however, customized Trails swim caps will be available for purchase at the beginning of the season. You can order caps with or without your swimmer's name.

Goggles. Goggles should be tight fitting ... they can easily slip off when the swimmer dives into the water. Speedo Vanquisher has been a favorite of many Trails swimmers, however, your swimmer may wear whatever is comfortable. Having a spare pair on hand is a good idea as well.

Fins. Fins are not a requirement but may be of use especially for 8&under or new swimmers. Fins can help ensure correct technique from the start.

Swimoutlet.com is a popular resource for purchasing swim equipment. For questions on any apparel items, please contact apparel@trailsswimteam.org.

What do all these terms mean?

Backstroke: Backstroke is one of the four swim strokes, swam face up. The head is back, the back is arched, and a flutter kick is used while the arms alternate (one then the other). Swimmers cannot roll past 90 degrees from their back as they stroke and cannot roll onto their sides or stomach when approaching the finish wall. Many younger swimmers have a tendency to do this to see how close they are to the wall. They will be taught to count the number of strokes they need to take after they pass under the flags hanging across the pool.

Breaststroke: Breaststroke is one of the four swim strokes in which a person lies face down in the water and extends the arms in front of the head, then sweeps them both back laterally and simultaneously under the surface of the water while performing a frog kick, or whip kick. The two hands must touch on the turn and finish level and simultaneously.

Bullpen: The bullpen is a place where swimmers line up prior to their event. Normally, swimmers are called to the bullpen a few events before their event number. At the Trails home pool in Algonquin, numbers are posted by the bullpen telling swimmers when they should report for their event. The bullpen is especially helpful for younger swimmers so we know where they are, and they know what they are doing!

Butterfly: Butterfly is one of the four swim strokes, in which the arms are thrown forward together out of the water while the feet kick up and down using the dolphin kick (the feet and knees are together on the kick). The two hands must touch on the turn and finish level and simultaneously.

DQ/Disqualify: When a swimmer “DQ’s” it means that at some point during their event they performed an error and have been disqualified from the event. The swimmer will not “place” in the event and no points or awards are earned. If one swimmer on a relay team DQ’s, it eliminates the whole relay team. The most common errors swimmers get disqualified for include improper stroke, improper turn, and improper start. Look for the officials in white at the end of the lane your child is swimming in—if their hand goes up, you can bet your swimmer probably just “DQ’d”. The judge or the coach will tell the swimmer why they were DQ’d so the swimmer will know what they need to work on to improve.

Dual Meet: A dual meet is a swim meet where there are two teams competing. Our dual meets are scheduled on weekday evenings and will be swum against another team in our conference, either at our home pool or away at their pool.

Exhibition Swim: If there are lanes open in an event, by agreement of the coaches, a swimmer, regardless of age or gender, can fill a lane as an exhibition swimmer. They do not score points for the team, but the swimmer may get personal best, and more importantly, he/she will get a time for that event. It is also good practice for the swimmer.

Flip Turn: A flip turn is mainly used during the freestyle stroke to quickly reverse directions at the end of the pool. In backstroke it is a different technique and needs to be learned correctly in order to avoid a DQ. The goal of the flip turn and pushing off from the wall is to transfer the energy and momentum the swimmer has built up in one direction so both get refocused in the opposite direction. If done correctly, doing a flip turn can help a swimmer take seconds off their time.

Freestyle: Freestyle is the most common of the four swim strokes, also considered the front crawl with the flutter kick, but any stroke is legal as long as you do not touch the bottom of the pool or lane lines in to propel yourself forward and do touch the walls on turns. This style is generally the fastest.

Free Relay: A Free Relay event consists of a team of 4 swimmers, each swimming one quarter of the total distance. All swimmers swim freestyle.

Heat: When there are more swimmers for an event than there are lanes in the pool, there are multiple “heats” for the event. The order of finish is determined by the total number of swimmers. A swimmer can win their heat and still not place overall in the event. , however, some meets do have heat winners to recognize the accomplishment of being first in your heat. This format is used primarily at Invitational and Championship meets.

Heat Sheet: There will be a heat sheet printed and posted prior to the start of the swim meet (after positive check in closes) that lists the swimmers’ names, event numbers, heat number and lane assignments. It is imperative that you find the sheet and write down your swimmer’s event information.

IM/Individual Medley: An Individual Medley event consists of one individual swimming all four strokes. The strokes have to be swum in a specific order, which is: Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, Freestyle. This order is different than the Medley Relay! The best way to remember the stroke order for an IM is to think that the swimmer should swim the most strenuous stroke, Butterfly, first while they have the energy, then the rest of the strokes are in alphabetical order.

Invitational: An invitational is a swim meet where several teams compete against each other. Invitationals are longer meets with several teams participating.

Manpower: The term used for the people needed to run a swim meet. There are lots of things that need to happen to host a swim meet, and everyone needs to do their part. We rely on parents to “work” at each home swim meet to help make the meet run smoothly and efficiently. Some jobs include timers, runners and working in the bullpen to help the swimmers line up for their events. See the “Swim Meets” section of this guide for more information on Manpower.

Medley Relay: A Medley Relay event consists of a team of 4 swimmers, each swimming a specific stroke for one quarter of the total distance. The first swimmer swims backstroke, the second breaststroke, the third butterfly and the fourth swims freestyle. The best way to remember the order is to put them in alphabetical order.

Personal Best: The fastest time a swimmer has personally achieved in an individual event. “Personal best” ribbons are given to swimmers who achieve a personal best time.

Place: The term used to determine the order in which swimmers finish their race. In dual meets, swimmers who place first, second or third will receive a ribbon. In the Conference meet and the Trails Invitational a swimmer will be awarded if they place 1st through 12th. Relays get only 1st t dual meets and 1st through 3rd place at Conference and the Trails Invitational.

Positive Check-in: Some large meets may require all swimmers to check-in prior to the meet. This is designed to prevent empty lanes from missing swimmers and allow speeding up of the meet. Check-in usually closes 15 minutes after the start of warm-ups. If you do not check-in, you will be scratched (eliminated) from the meet. Coaches will inform the swimmers if a meet requires positive check-in.

Scratch: To be removed from a meet or event.

Two Hand Touch: The two hand touch is the touch that needs to be used at the wall for both the breaststroke and the butterfly. Both hands need to touch the wall on the turn and at the finish.

 

 
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