Frequently Asked Questions
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GENERAL / NEW ATHLETES
BILLING / PAYMENT POLICY
PRACTICES / TRAINING / EQUIPMENT
What is SNOW Swimming?
SNOW Swimming is a competitive USA Swimming team that trains athletes in the four competitive strokes: Freestyle, Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly, as well as starts and turns. Our program offers different tiers of training, depending on commitment and ability level. Our programs range from athletes looking to improve their stroke mechanics to athletes looking to compete at the national and collegiate levels.
Where can I find more information about your team?
We've got plenty of information available for families to view online and can be found through the following links, or through the main page of our website:
Pricing and Billing Policies
How is SNOW Swimming different from my summer league team?
SNOW Swimming is a USA Swimming program, whereas summer league and neighborhood teams are not. We compete and train at a higher level, as well as race at much larger meets. Typically, summer league will offer two meets per week (A/B meets or A/A meets, depending on your league). But, year round teams will usually compete once a month, using these meets as a benchmark to see how our athletes are progressing.
My swimmer would like to begin swimming but has not learned or had any lessons/training experience. Do you offer private lessons?
SNOW Swimming does not offer private lessons, nor are we a lessons program. All athletes that intend on joining the team must be legal in Freestyle, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and Butterfly.
We're completely new to SNOW -- where do we begin?
All new athletes must be evaluated before registering and joining the team. This incudes programs such as Stroke Clinic, Summer League Prep, or our Home School programs.
I'm interested in having my swimmer evaluated for the team, where can I do that?
You can sign up for evaluations at the linked page below:
New Swimmers and Evaluations
Do you make appointments for evaluations?
Unfortunately, we do not set appointments for evaluations. We try and hold them frequently enough so that families can find a date that works best with their schedule.
How much do your evaluations cost?
Nothing! Our evaluations are completely free!
My swimmer has competed with a USA Swimming team before, do they still need to be evaluated?
Potentially. Please reach out to Ross Hawks ([email protected]) with the following information:
- Full swimmer name, age, and gender
- Practices per week
- Duration of practices per week, including dryland training
- Average distance (yards or meters) per practice
If we find that the information you've provided is enough for us to accurately place your swimmer in one of our programs, they will not need to be evaluated.
My swimmer has already been evaluated/placed into one of the SNOW's programs, where can I begin registration?
Registration and payment can be made online, through our team website. Click on the "Start Registration" button, found on the right side of the home page and follow as directed.
My swimmer has previously swam for SNOW, but not for at least a year. Can they start with the same program they stopped with? Do they need to be re-evalauted?
Potentially. Depending on the age that your athlete stopped swimming, they made or may not need to be evaluated to ensure they are still in the right group. Please contact Ross Hawks ([email protected]) about how to further proceed.
Do you offer Long Course Training?
Yes, we do offer long course training, but only to our year-round programs. Long Course training begins after Memorial Day each year.
Do you offer Masters Training?
No, we do not currently offer any Masters programs.
Do you offer Triathlon/Triathlete Training?
No, we do no currently offer any Tri-specific training programs. Although, we do have many athletes that use their swim training with us to supplement their Tri training elsewhere.
How do I make payments?
Payments can be made either electronically through the team website with a credit card, or by check. Please mail all checks to the following address:
10755 Riverscape Run, Great Falls, VA 22066
What's the difference between your billing programs?
Our team offers three different types of billing programs: Sessional, School-year, and Year-Round.
Each type of billing program is specific to certain training groups and cannot change. For example, our Olympic Way program is considered Sessional, which means you can choose which sessions (Fall, Winter, or Spring) you'd like to attend. Say you'd like your athlete only to swim in the Fall and Spring -- this is possible in Olympic Way since you need to re-enroll at the beginning of each session. Our School-year and Year-Round programs are contract groups, where you don't get to choose which sessions you'd like to train/compete. These groups have an allotted commitment period that athletes must attend and pay for. Say you want your athlete to train in Junior Bronze, only in the Fall and Spring -- this is NOT possible because your athlete is committed to the year, which includes the winter session.
This can be read about further on our billing policies page.
What should my swimmer expect from a SNOW practice?
ALL SWIMMERS are expected to follow these simple but important team guidelines. They are:
- Listen and follow the coaches’ instructions
- Follow Pool Rules
- Be courteous and respectful to other patrons of the pool, your teammates and your coaches
- Be prepared for practice by arriving 15 minutes early and having all of your equipment ready
- Have a positive attitude with a determination to work hard
- Strive to become a better athlete at each practice
- Encourage your teammates toward excellence
- Be a team “builder,” not a team “divider”
- Attend scheduled practices
As a swimmer’s level of ability increases, so does his/her responsibility. This program is designed to encourage all swimmers to be the best that they can be. As swimmers improve, this is a deep commitment that requires great effort on all parts. A swimmer has responsibilities to the ream, the coach, his/her parents, and most importantly to themselves. Swimmer need to prepare themselves for 110% effort each time they come to practice.
Swimmers will be required to bring specified training accessories (i.e. goggles, fins, etc.) to workouts. It is the swimmer's responsibility to make sure these items are properly adjusted and that spares are readily available. All equipment should be clearly labeled with the swimmers name.
READING THE CLOCK
The ability to read a clock during training is extremely important, as swimming is a time-based sport. Different facilities use different types of clocks (digital or analog); swimmers will need to know how to use both.
Where can I purchase SNOW equipment and apparel?
Almost all items can be purchased through Sport Fair, Inc. in Arlington, VA. You may place orders over the phone and Sport Fair will ship them to you for a nominal shipping fee.
Sport Fair, Inc.
We also occasionally open our online store, through Sport Fair or AresWear, where you can order customized team gear online. These are only open during short parts of the season and families are notified when it is available.
Do you cancel practices for inclement weather? How will we know if practices are still on/canceled?
At Claude Moore, we do not cancel practices for thunderstorms of inclement weather, unless the facility directs us to do so or if the facility itself is closed. Ida Lee does close down their pool temporarily when there are thunderstorms.
At our outdoor facilities, we will pull athletes out of the water if there is thunder and lightning present. We will wait 30 minutes after the last thunder/lightning is seen and will try to get the swimmers back in, weather and time permitting.
We try our best to hold practices as much as we can, but will contact families via email and post a notice on the team website if any facilities are closed and we have to cancel practices.
Why does SNOW need to adjust locations and times for the Winter session?
During the winter session, Loudoun County Public Schools also needs use of the pools we rent for their competitive high school swim teams. Because the county gives them priority space, SNOW must make the necessary adjustments to schedules and locations so that our athletes still have an appropriate amount of training for the whole year. We understand that it can make scheduling difficult for families, and are more than happy to help reach out to other families to set up carpools for athletes.
Fortunately, our Fall and Spring schedules are the same, so changes only need to be made for a few months.
Are there attendance rules/policies for SNOW?
Each training group has specific attendance requirements appropriate for the objectives of that group.
- The least possible interruption in the training schedule will produce the greatest amount of success. The club does, however, encourage younger swimmers to participate in other activities in addition to swimming. The expectation level of the coaches to attend practices increases as swimmers move to higher groups.
- Plan to stay the entire practice. The last part pf practice is very often the most important. Usually, there are also announcements made at the end of each practice. Please notify your group coach prior to practice or send a note if your swimmer is to leave practice early.
- Occasionally, most of a practice group may be attending a meet, in which case you will be notified of a practice change or cancellation.
- SNOW has an obligation to act as guests while in the recreation centers (both swimmers and parents). Every member of SNOW needs to do everything possible to respect this privilege. Any damages to recreation center property may result in financial liability of the swimmer’s parents.
- Parents are allowed to observe practice from the bleachers. Please do not try to communicate with any swimmer during the practice. This is not only distracting to the swimmer, but can also be distracting to the entire team, as well as the coach.
- Senior Gold and Silver programs have strict attendance requirements. Athletes that do not meet the requirements may be asked to train in a lower tier.
Does SNOW have rules for the team, similar to those of a school team?
SWIMMER CODE OF CONDUCT
- Any swimmer who is known to use alcohol, drug, or tobacco is subject to suspension from the team.
- Never interfere with the progress of another swimmer, during practice or otherwise.
- At all club functions, whether practice, meets, or social gatherings, we expect each swimmer to behave in such a way that their actions reflect positively on the team.
- All members of the club, parents and swimmers, should continue to protect and improve the excellent reputation that the club has throughout the state and country.
Would it be beneficial to get my swimmer some extra lessons?
SEPARATE, OUTSIDE, OR ADDITIONAL TRAINING POLICIES
SNOW swimming is committed to providing the best coaching and programming for all athletes on the team. The curriculum, training cycles, competition schedule and stroke instruction and development are planned carefully for all training groups.
The SNOW program is an all-inclusive program, providing a safe and productive season for all that adhere to the recommended training and competition schedule. Given that the final performance analysis for those athletes who follow the program as required comes back to the team. SNOW feels that for the vast majority of SNOW athletes and coaches would be best served by not engaging in outside stroke technique instruction. It is our belief that the negative issues and risks of engaging in this type of instruction far outweigh any positive effects for both athletes and coaches.
Additionally, we would like to ensure that all SNOW members respect the coaches’ role in a swimmer’s career. The coaching of swimming should be left to the talented and qualified coaches on SNOW’s staff. Please refrain from crossing that line of coaching your own child at our training facilities.
Registered SNOW swimmers may not also take additional instruction from private swim tutorial services. This includes but is not limited to any after practice lessons and weekend programs.
High school and summer league swim team coaching is an exception to this policy. We also endorse USA Swimming clinics and university run swim camps.
Parents of SNOW athletes who believe they have extenuating circumstances, which would require altering this policy for their athlete, may apply in writing for an exception.
How often does SNOW compete in swim meets?
SNOW likes to offer all programs on the team an opportunity to race at least once a month. This includes our Stroke Clinic, Summer League Prep, and Homeschool program. Some meets are designated for specific groups and ages, and some meets have athletes that need to be coach selected or have qualifying times. For a list of dates and meets that we will be attending for the year, please visit the Meet Schedule page on our website.
What's the difference between Open / Mini / Distance / Qualifier / Championship meets?
- Open meets: There are open to all athletes, and do not have any time standards that need to be met. you can usually enter these meets without a time in events that you'd like, with the exception of some distance events.
- Mini meets: These are often catered to the younger demographic of swimmers. Here, athletes are no older than 10 year olds, and will compete in shorter distance events, such as 25's and 50's. These meets do not usually have time standards that need to be met.
- Distance meets: These meets are specifically for longer events, such as the 1000 Freestyle or the 1650 Freestyle. Swimmers that attend this meet must be approved by their coaches or invited to compete.
- Qualifier meets: These meets have specific time standards that need to be met, either NST (No Slower than) or NFT (No Faster than). This means that if your athlete has a time outside of the time range required, whether slower or faster, they cannot compete in that event.
- Championship meets: These meets are for qualifiers and coach selected athletes only. All championship meets have time standards that have to be met in order to compete.
I’ve heard about travel meets - how do they work?
SNOW provides the coaching staff, the chaperone staff and the necessary arrangements for these trips.
While parents are welcome to travel to watch their child swim, parents are expected to stay outside of the ”SNOW Team Bubble”: In other words, if you choose to attend one of our team travel meets you will be able to watch your child swim but all of our SNOW swimmers will travel as a team, eat meals as a team, and stay together as a team. Additional fees for these travel meets will apply.
What's the difference between a psych sheet and a meet program?
Psych sheets list the swimmers by event based on their times from fastest to slowest.
HEAT SHEETS / MEET PROGRAM
Heat sheets are organized by event number. The key piece of information parents and swimmers need is on the Heat Sheets/Meet Programs (they go by either name). Heat sheets are arranged 1st by event (stroke/distance) then heat and finally lane. Find the swimmer’s name under the bents they are swimming, then the heat and lane. It is helpful to write these 3 numbers on the back of the swimmer’s hand in permanent marker (and explain the meaning of the numbers) BEFORE the meet.
Note that there are many events, each with several heats. Sometimes the sheets are available before a meet; otherwise you will buy the sheet at the meet. Some of the longer events in a meet may require a procedure called positive check in.
What is Positive Check-in?
In some cases, your athlete will need to positively check-in for their events. This means that your swimmer will need physically to sign in, upon arrival to the meet, in order to show they are in attendance and intend to swim their specific event(s). This ensures that lanes are filled.
If your swimmer fails to appear for an event that they have checked into, there are certain penalties that your swimmer will have to take, depending on the meet host’s rules. Swimmers that do not check in by the deadline are scratched from the event.
For meets, what do I need to know and what do I need to bring?
Swimmers should pack two sets of clothing for the meet – one to wear between events to stay warm, and one to wear before and after the meet.
Be sure to have your swimmer eat BEFORE HEADING TO THE MEET. Some facilities do not allow food on deck, so please do NOT send your child to the meet carrying a full meal. Water and sport drinks are acceptable. Energy drinks are not, and will be confiscated if a swimmer is seen with one. Please use sound judgement when deciding on snacks to send for swim meets. Healthy choices would include, but are not limited to, the following: bagels (no cream cheese), fruit, dry cereal, or plain pasta.
ARRIVING AT THE MEET
Please arrive 15 minutes before warm-ups begin, as bleachers and sitting area for the swimmers fill up very quickly. This way, swimmers can get settled in and ready for warm-ups without having to rush. Coaches will also be able to see which swimmers are present, easily.
Most meet locations do NOT allow parents to sit on the pool deck with their swimmers. There are specific designated areas for parent to sit and watch their children swim. If you have a younger swimmer, be sure to discuss where you will drop them off and pick them up, once they are done for the day.
Video games are NOT allowed on deck at SNOW swim meets. Please encourage social interaction, reading, drawing and card games instead.
How do meet warm ups work?
SNOW swimmers will warm-up as a team, in designated lanes. All swimmers participating in the meet are required to do warm-ups. Coaches will sometimes give some swimmers specific instructions and times to arrive if their events are towards the end of the meet. If you have conflicting schedules and cannot make warm-ups on time, speak with your swimmer’s coach ahead of time to make adjustments. Swimmers that intentionally skip warm-ups without permission will be sent home from the meet.
NOTE: During warm-ups, swimmers MUST enter the water feet first.
During the meet, will a coach speak with my athlete?
Swimmers are required to speak with their coach, before and after their race. When speaking to their coach after each race, the swimmer will get feedback on their race that they can use to improve their swimming. If your athlete approaches you immediately after their race, please encourage them to speak with their coach about how they did.
Can I speak to my child during a meet?
Some swimmers like to speak with their parents between events; this is fine as long as it is brief and the swimmer comes back to the team area.
Where do I get meet results?
Results are typically posted in a specific location throughout the meet. This is the place to view your swimmers time and finishing places. Swimmers may leave when they are done swimming. They are also posted (usually the following morning) in your OnDeck app.
As a parent of a SNOW swimmer, what do I need to know?
YOUR ATHLETE NEEDS YOU
To have a successful program there must be understanding and cooperation among parents, swimmer, and coaches. The progress your youngster makes depends to a great extent on this triangular relationship. It is with this in mind that we ask you to consider this section as you join SNOW Swimming and reacquaint yourself with this section if you are a returning SNOW Swimming parent.
You have done a great deal to raise your child. You create the environment in which they are growing up. Your child is a product of your values, the structure you have provided, and the model you have been. Human nature, however, is such that a parent loses some of their ability to remain detached and objective in matters concerning his/her children’s athletics. The following guidelines will help you keep your child’s development in the proper perspective and help your child reach his/her full potential as an athlete.
THE COACH IS THE COACH
We want your swimmer to relate to his or her coach as soon as possible, concerning swimming matter. This positive relationship between coach and swimmer produces the best results. When parents interfere with opinions as to how the swimmer should swim or train, it causes considerable, and often times insurmountable, confusion as to whom the swimmer should listen to. If you have a problem, concern, or a complaint, please contact the coach.
THE BEST KIND OF PARENT
The coach’s job is to motivate and constructively criticize the swimmer’s performance. It is the parent’s job to supply the love and positive encouragement. Recognition and encouragement are necessary to help the child work harder in practice, which in turn gives them the confidence to perform well in competition.
NOT EVERY TIME
Even the very best swimmer will have meets where they do not post their best times. These “plateaus” are a normal part of swimming. Over the course of a season, times should improve. Please be supportive of the “poor” meets. The older swimmers may have only two or three meets a year for which they will be rested and tapered.
FAT CATS DON'T FIGHT
Swimmers are expected to keep an optimum body weight and percent of body fat. Physiologists have found that female swimmers should be 10-18% and males should maintain 4-12% body fat for optimum performance. Parents should contribute to the education of proper nutrition and eating habits (see the website for a piece on nutrition).
Please make every effort to have your swimmers at practice on time. Realize that your child is working hard and give all the support you can. Encourage good sleeping habits and a healthy diet. They will serve your children well. The greatest contribution you can make to your swimmer’s progress is to be a loving, supportive parent.
As a parent, how can I help the team?
Check your e-mail for sign up geniuses where you can donate to hospitality when we host meets.
PARENT PARTICIPATION AT MEETS
Timing is a great way to help the SNOW community. This important part of each meet is actually quite easy and fun. Timers help run the meet. While helping, you get a lot of benefits. You get the best view of the swimmers, you will interact with parents of swimmers on other teams and you will share the positive attitudes towards swimming that happen on the pool deck during meets.
SNOW is a great community and timers represent our team positively at the meets. In this effort we will require that each family do their part. Each family will be required to time a minimum of three (3) meets this year. Parents must conduct themselves in a sportsmanlike manner at all times during swim meets.
If you are volunteering – timers/runners – please stay until the meet is over.
What is a USA Swimming ID?
A USA Swimming ID is used for all athletes that compete in USA Swimming sanctioned meets. This includes meets hosted by our team, or any other local USA Swimming team. This ID is used to archive all of their swims and best times in the USA Swimming SWIMS database. Your athlete's ID is built from the first three letters of their first name, their middle initial, last name, and birthdate. For example, if John Doe Smith was born on February 29, 2000, his USAS ID would look like the following:
If you registered your athlete with no middle name, or if your athlete's name is too short to complete the pattern, any missing characters would be filled with an asterisk. For example, if Jane Doe was born on January 9, 2010, her ID would look like the following:
Where can I find my athlete's USA Swimming ID?
You should be able to find your athlete's USA Swimming ID under their team account.
What is an LSC?
An LSC is a Local Swimming Committee. It is the is the local level of USA Swimming. Each LSC is a separate entity, with each being an individual member of USA Swimming, although all act on behalf of USA Swimming on the local level. LSCs are the local administrative organization responsible for the registration, support and governance of the USA Swimming member swim clubs in their designated region. Over 2800 swim clubs across the US are registered with USA Swimming through their respective LSCs.
More can be read about Local Swim Committees on USA Swimming's website.
What is SNOW Swimming's LSC?
SNOW Swimming is a part of the Potomac Valley Swimming LSC. It encompasses many of the swim teams in the Virginia, Maryland, and DC Metropolitan area.
Potomac Valley Swimming's website has lots of additional information for families, such as the LSC meet schedule all time standards for our local championship meets.
Does SNOW have awards?
SNOW TEAM RECORDS
SNOW maintains both LC and SC team records. These records are maintained on the SNOW website under the Recognition tab. When a record is broken, a black team cap is given to the new record holder. Record holders may purchase replacements as long as they still hold the record. Record holders that have their record broken may continue to wear a black cap until it wears out.
ANNUAL AWARDS BANQUET
SNOW holds a banquet each spring, where coaches recognize swimmers for their hard work throughout the year.
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