Frequently Asked Questions

Following are some commonly asked questions. If you still have questions after reading through these, please contact any of the practice group ambassadors, parent advisory board members, or coaches.

How do I register for the team?
2020 Registration will be online. 

When's the last day to register?
You can register up until the last day in June 15, 2020. Any refund requests after the first meet must be approved by MVCC Management. 

What's the team's refund policy?
A full refund of swim team fees
made before May 15, 2020. Requests made between May 16 and the day before the first swim meet qualify for a 50% refund. Requests made after the first swim meet must be reviewed by MVCC Management on an exception–only basis. If you have any questions about the team's refund policy, please contact Parent Advisory Board Leader.

As a parent, how am I expected to behave during practice?
During practice, your child is best served by focusing on his or her coach. Parents should stay in the bleachers or deck chairs. It's important to emphasize that during practices, coaches are the adults the kids should be paying attention to. It's confusing to kids to not know who's in charge, so let the coaches do their job.
If your child is upset, it's important to let the coaches handle it. In some cases, it may be best if you leave the pool deck entirely. As we all know, most kids behave better when their parents aren't around. Our coaches have lots of experience in dealing with kids of all ages, so rest assured that your child will be safe. You'll be surprised at how empowered your child will feel when you let them work things out with their coach by themselves. As parents, our job is to be supportive and foster independence. Leave the coaching to the coaches. 

How do I know which practice group my child should be in?
Coaches will use the preseason Sunday practice to begin assessment of your child/children so that by the time the season actually begins, they'll have the suggested practice group.

I feel like my child should be in a different practice group. What should I do? 
If you've been to a couple preseason practices already and feel like your child belongs in a different group, please talk to the Head Coach either BEFORE or AFTER practice to discuss your concerns. 

How many times should my child practice each week? 
For all practice groups, three times per week is plenty. If there are weeks where you can't make that, no problem - just come when you can. And, of course, if your child wants to come more, that's great!

How do I know if practice has been cancelled?
We will use the mobile phone and email info in our website to send a message. Please make sure it is up to date. 

Do I need to tell a coach if my child is going to miss practice? What about meets? 
Unless you'll be missing a week or more, you don't need to notify coaches that your child won't be at practice. Meets, however, are a different story. If you don't plan to attend a meet, please decline the meet on the team website under events. This is especially important for relays, as three other children are affected if your child doesn't show up. 

I'd like my child to get some additional help with a specific skill (starts, turns, stroke refinement, etc.). What options do I have? 
The coaching staff is available for private coaching sessions. Please contact the Head Coach for times and fees (charged to your MVCC member account).
If I have questions for the coaches, when and how should I ask them?
The best time to speak with a coach is before or after practice. During practice, they really need to focus on the kids. You can always email the coaches to set up a time to talk, or ask them briefly when would be a good time to chat. 

My child has special needs. How do I work with the coaches to address these?
You know your child best. If he or she has special needs you want the coaches to be aware of, please speak with the Head Coach before or after a pre-season practice. Or, you can set up an appointment to review your concerns. After speaking with you, the Head Coach will then bring your child's needs to the attention of the other coaches. 

Please keep in mind that our coaches are on the pool deck to coach the entire team and ensure the safety of all swimmers in and around the water, and may not always be in a position to monitor your child exclusively. 

What should my child wear to practice?
Any competition-style suit is appropriate for practice and goggles. 

Should my child wear a swim cap? Is it required?
Your child should wear a swim cap if their hair is long enough to touch their eyebrows (in the front) and is below the ears on the sides and back.  During practices, your child can wear any cap s/he wishes. During meets, all swimmers are required to wear an MVCC team cap. We have ordered new swim caps for this season, which will be given to all swimmers as part of your registration fee. 

Swim caps are critical for any swimmer with longer hair. While pulling hair back in a ponytail can suffice in a pinch, a cap works much better to keep hair out of a swimmers' eyes and mouth. Having hair in your eyes or mouth impedes proper stroke technique and will hinder your child's progress. 

Do you have any goggle recommendations?
Goggles are extremely personal; what works for one swimmer won't work for another. The best way to find goggles that fit is to try them on before purchasing -- without putting the strap over their head, have your child push the goggles against their eyes. If they stick without the strap, they're a good fit. Most goggles have an adjustable nose piece as well, which may also need to be adjusted for a proper fit. If possible, try a few different kinds of goggles to see which ones fit best -- ask another swimmer to borrow theirs, perhaps. 

How do swim meets work?
Coaches will finalize meet entries a few days before each meet and post these to the Meets page on the team website. You'll want to bring a copy of the entry sheet to the meet. Each child is generally entered in two or three individual events, and may be on one or both relays. Summer swim meets almost always start with a medley relay (one swimmer swims each stroke in the following order - back, breast, fly, free) and ends with a free relay. Relays and individual events progress by stroke, from youngest to oldest. For an example, click here for a typical meet schedule.

All swimmers should be at warm-ups at the designated time. After warming up, you can write your child's event numbers on their arm, along with a brief description of the event. For the younger kids (8-under), an assistant coach will help round them up and usher them to the heating area for their events. Older kids will need to keep an eye on the current event number and the event being called to the heating area. At Mount Vernon, the current event number and the event being heated are posted at the top of the slide. When a first call is made for an event, swimmers in that event should report to the heating area immediately. In the heating area, they will be placed in the appropriate heat and lanes. If a swimmer misses their event, they can ask a timer or the starter if they can swim in a subsequent heat. Many times there's an empty lane in a later heat that they can use. 

Ideally, swimmers should visit their coach both before and after each event. Before an event, the coach will offer advice and reminders; after an event, the coach will provide feedback, split times (if applicable) and congratulations. Each swimmer should ask a timer in their lane for their time and report that to their coach, as well.  

The first meet is always hectic, for parents and swimmers alike. If you're a first-time parent, stay calm and feel free to ask one of the more experienced parents for help and advice.

PLEASE NOTE: Parents are not allowed in the heating area! The heating area and the area behind the blocks are for swimmers and timers only. 

Does my child have to go to every meet? 
No, your child can attend as many or as few meets as you like. We highly encourage meet helps your child feel like they are truly part of a team! We just ask that you decline the meet under events on the website a week in advance if you won't be at a meet. This is especially important for relays, as three other kids are affected if your child doesn't show up. 

Are team suits required for meets? What about caps? 
Team suits are not required, however, they are very strongly encouraged. A solid black suit can be work in lieu of the team suit. We want to project a team image, and team suits and sweats go a long way toward this goal. In terms of meet suits, the following League rule applies:

"Swim suits for boys may not extend above the navel or below the knee and for girls may not cover the neck or extend past the shoulders or below the knee. No zippers or fastening devices are allowed other than the waist-tie that is part of the swim suit. If for medical reasons your child needs to wear a swim shirt (in an official swim meet), a formal letter must be submitted to your coach who will then request FSA board for approval."

Swim caps, on the other hand, are required for meets for both boys and girls. These help the coaches locate our swimmers on the starting blocks. Too often, one skinny blond kid looks just like another! Team caps have been ordered and will be given to all swimmers prior to the first meet. 

What should we bring to swim meets?  
Summer mornings in June can be pretty chilly, especially at home meets. For those meets, you'll want to bring warm clothes (sweatshirts, parkas, gloves, hat, boots)  and even a sleeping bag or blanket to wrap up in after warm-ups. It generally warms up later, so you'll also want to bring shorts and sunscreen. In terms of food, meets generally last 3-4 hours, so bring plenty of snacks and water. Most meets offer some sort of concessions with breakfast burritos and other snacks, but it's always a good idea to bring healthy choices from home. Donuts and candy don't make the best options during a long swim meet.

Another great tool for swim meets are Sharpies and highlighters. You'll want a Sharpie to write your kid's event numbers and information on their arm or leg, and a highlighter to highlight their events on the meet entry sheet. 

Are meet warm-ups really necessary? 
Yes. Meet warm-ups are CRITICAL. While younger kids don't require as much physical warm-up as older kids do, it's a very important habit to establish. In addition, the medley relay is always the first event of the meet, and coaches need to see that all relays swimmers are at the meet as expected. Furthermore, it's not fair to the swimmers who do come to warm-ups to see other kids arriving late. Coaches have the discretion to find a relay replacement for your child if he or she is not at warm-ups.

For the League and State meets, you can talk to a coach about skipping warm-ups if your child is only swimming a relay or individual event at the end of the day, For regular dual meets, however, the coaches expect all swimmers to be at warm-ups on time. 

Who decides what events my child swims at meets? What if I want my child to swim different events in the next meet? 
The coaching staff will do their best to have kids swim a variety of events. Sometimes, they'll enter your child in an event to expand his or her experience; other times they'll want your child to swim something in which he or she is close to making a League or State qualifying time. If you have specific requests, feel free to contact the coaching staff. You will also be able to enter events through the website for your child if you prefer. 

I’m happy to volunteer. Where do I sign up and what kind of things can I do?
For meets, we'll be posting signups via the website. These will generally be available a week or two ahead of each meet. These signups include duties like timing, heating, setting up chairs and tables, data entry and other meet-related tasks. You'll be given an opportunity to sign up for a job that interests you a week in advance. If all jobs haven't been filled 2-3 days before the meet, we'll have to assign jobs to anyone who hasn't signed up

There are also a number of general volunteer jobs that are more general. These include filing ribbons and other information in family folders, planning team social events, bringing donuts to Friday practices, and the like. Signups for these jobs will also be available closer to the regular season. For more information on volunteering, please review the information under the Volunteer tab.
Finally, one of the best ways you can help is by becoming an official. In order to host swim meets, we must provide a minimum of three stroke and turn officials at each meet, plus a starter. Ideally, we'd have anywhere between five and seven officials at every meet. This makes it so much more fun -- with five officials, we'd be able to rotate on for 30-45 minutes, and off for 30 minutes. If you have any experience with competitive swimming (age group, high school, triathlons, even watching your kids for a few years), you can become an official. It only takes two hours to become certified -- a one-hour classroom session and a one-hour pool demonstration (don't worry, you don't have to get wet!).

How do you track my volunteer hours? 
Volunteer hours are tracked on the team website. 

What if I don't meet my volunteer requirements? 
If you're unable to meet the hourly requirement, the team will charge your Mount Vernon Canyon Club Member Account for $100.00 at the end of June if hours haven't been met and another $100 in july. Once hours are met, your account will be refunded the $200. The proceeds will be used next year to cover team and coach expenses. 

I have some general questions about the swim team. Who should I ask? 

Start with the head coach or a board member.