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Parent Handbook

Parent Handbook

Updated 11/4/12

Welcome to the Delmar Dolfins. We are one of the oldest swim clubs in the Capital Region, celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2013!   We are a private, nonprofit organization whose purpose is to promote the sport of age-group swimming. We strive to provide a positive atmosphere in which to learn and develop the skills of competitive swimming. The Dolfins Swim Club is registered with USA Swimming, the national governing body for amateur swimming in this country. All members of the Delmar Dolfins Swim Club, our coaches, and all officials at swim meets are registered as members of USA Swimming. As members of USA Swimming, we compete only with registered clubs.

Membership

Membership in the Delmar Dolfins Swim Club is contingent on available space and is open to individuals who meet all the following criteria:

  • Between the ages of 6 and older
  • Able to pass a swim test administered by the head coach
  • Payment of Delmar Dolfins dues

The benefits of competitive swimming include the following:

  • Opportunity to meet people and make new friends
  • Participation in one of the most beneficial forms of cardiovascular exercise
  • Development of the lifetime sport of swimming
  • Development of time management skills, self-discipline, and sportsmanship

Your swimmer will continue to reap the benefits of participation long after his or her association with the Delmar Dolfins.


History

The Delmar Dolfins Swim Club was founded in 1963 by a group of parents in the Town of Bethlehem and by the former Bethlehem Central athletic director, Ray Sliter. Their purpose was to create an organization to promote and encourage the sport of age-group swimming. The original club, which consisted of 34 members, met for practice with Coach Sliter twice weekly at the indoor pools in the school district. In 1973, the Dolfins began using the Elm Avenue Park pool as their summer home. During the 1980s, the Dolfins were host to the annual Adirondack District Long Course Swimming Championships at the Elm Avenue Park.

Organizational Structure of the Delmar Dolfins



The Delmar Dolfins Swim Club operates according to bylaws, which explain the purpose of the club, membership, and board of directors. The board of directors manages the swim club. It consists of six elected officers—a president, a past president, a president-elect, a recording secretary, a corresponding secretary, and a treasurer—and nine other elected board members.

The coaching staff includes a full-time head coach, Doug Gross, and additional part-time assistant coaches.

Each parent member of the Delmar Dolfins is invited and encouraged to attend monthly meetings of the board and participate in its work.


Board of Directors

2008-2009

President: Amy Zemering

President-elect: Rod MacDonald

Past president:

Corresponding secretary:

Recording secretary:

Treasurer: Debbie Erickson

Officials coordinator:

Legal counsel:

Membership coordinator: Doug Gross

Volunteer coordinator:

Grievance coordinator:

Social coordinator:

Board members: Carolyn Ginsburg, Cremilda Liz Schuster

In addition, Mindy Derosia serves as equipment sales coordinator, and Paula O’Donnell serves as safety coordinator.

About Our Coaches

All Dolfin coaches must meet the high criteria set forth by USA Swimming. Each coach is a certified lifeguard and has first aid and CPR training for the professional rescuer. Coaches are also required to take a safety training class for swim coaches. All the above requirements must be kept up to date for a swim coach to remain in good standing with USA Swimming and the Delmar Dolfins Swim Club.

Doug Gross
Our full-time head coach is Doug Gross. Doug came to us in October 1996. His responsibilities include supervising the assistant coaches and ensuring that each coach knows every swimmer. Doug sets the practice schedules and coaches’ schedules and establishes groupings for the team.

Doug came to the Dolfins with more than 20 years of swim coaching experience. Formerly a competitive swimmer himself, he served as the head coach of the Glens Falls YMCA Gators swim team for more than 13 years, later moving to Holyoke as program director and swim team coach for the  YMCA. Doug lives in Clifton Park with his wife, Jackie.

 

The Season

USA Swimming recognizes two seasons within each calendar year. The season beginning around Labor Day and ending mid-March is referred to as the short course swim season. During the short course swim season, practices are indoors only and all meets are recognized to include “yard” events. There are as many as 20 or more opportunities each year to compete in USA Swimming meets. In the short course season, most meets occur during the winter months. There is also a long course swim season, which begins for the Dolfins in April and ends in early August. The long course season uses both the indoor pools and the 50-meter pool at the park. Meet events are recognized as “meter” swims. Dolfin practices are offered twice daily during late June, all of July, and early August. The morning practice is offered from 6:45 to 8:45 a.m. at the Town Park swimming complex. These practices are available to all Dolfin swimmers.

 






 

Trial Memberships

Trial memberships are available to new members. Prior membership in the club disqualifies any swimmer from trial eligibility. The purpose of the trial membership is to give families an opportunity to try the sport of age-group competitive swimming prior to making a substantial financial commitment. Trial memberships last for two swim weeks; the fee is $60. 

Club Communication and Notification

The main means of communication is the club web site: www.delmardolfins.com. Each swim family and coach also has a file in the “club mailbox,” which is kept on the pool deck at the high school; some of the mail folders are kept at the Albany Academy. It is important for parents and swimmers to get into a daily habit of checking the web site and mailbox for the latest information on practice schedules, schedule changes, meet announcements, newsletters, awards, and so on. Other means of communication include the head coach’s e-mail list and the bulletin board at the high school.

Equipment

In addition to a team suit for competitions, your swimmer will need at least one other practice suit. Contact the equipment sales coordinator for assistance in obtaining supplies. Goggles are needed for better visibility and protection against the irritation of pool water. Be sure the goggles you buy are comfortable and watertight. The equipment sales coordinator stocks swim caps, including team caps.

The Delmar Dolfins Swim Club encourages the use of the official team suit and a swim cap at all USA Swimming meets. Suits are ordered each fall. The fall order is done through the equipment chairperson and requires prepayment. It is recommended that the team suit be worn only for competition to avoid natural deterioration from exposure to pool water. Wearing the team uniform at meets helps create a team atmosphere and enables coaches and spectators to observe and cheer our Dolfins.

Lost and Found

You are strongly encouraged to label all your swimmer’s equipment. Labeled equipment found at practice can easily be returned to the swimmer. Unlabeled equipment floats around the pool deck and pool office and generally disappears. Swimmers should keep all swim bags and personal belongings on the pool deck and not leave anything in the locker rooms during their practice session. The locker rooms may be used simultaneously by others. The club is not responsible for lost items.

The Parent’s Role

As the parent of a competitive swimmer, your main responsibility is to provide a caring environment for your swimmer. This support will encourage your swimmer to feel good about his or her interest in competitive age-group swimming. Show your support by ensuring your swimmer’s attendance at practices and swim meets.

Parents are not participants on their child’s team but contribute to the success experienced by the swimmer and his or her team. Parents serve as role models, and children often emulate their attitudes. Strive to be a positive role model. Most important, show good sportsmanship at all times toward coaches, officials, opponents, and teammates.

Be enthusiastic, but remember that your child is the swimmer. Swimmers need to establish realistic goals. Parents should not impose their own standards. It is far better to set goals of improvement than goals of winning.

Volunteering

All parents registering with the Delmar Dolfins Swim Club are required to participate in volunteer support services. There are many options.  Throughout the year, we host two to three USA Swimming meets and need every family’s involvement for success. We also ask that you participate in fund-raising as it occurs. It is the volunteer efforts of individual parents that allow for the existence of the club.

Grievances and Complaints

As in any large organization involving significant numbers of parents and their children, the Dolfins cannot always be all things to all people. Although conflicts in our club are few, they occasionally arise, and we have a protocol for dealing with them.

If you have a complaint about administration of the club, coaching, finances, other swimmers’ behavior, other parents’ behavior, or other related matters, please contact any member of the board of directors. Your concern will be addressed by the board of directors or mediated by the Grievance Committee.

Safety and Behavior

The board of directors and coaches want all Dolfin activities (practices and social activities) to be safe for swimmers, coaches, families, and spectators. To this end, we ask that all members follow the rules of the facility being used, listen to coaches, and follow directions.

Practice is not a time for fooling around. Swimming can be one of the safest sports available to youth. Yet, just one incident can turn it into a dangerous or deadly activity. Swimmers must act responsibly for their own safety and for the safety of others. Disruptive behavior and not following protocol set forth by the coaches are detrimental to the swimmer and the team. Coaches receive the support of the board of directors in benching swimmers during practice. If swimmers are benched for the evening, they are not allowed to leave practice early. They must participate in any cleanup of equipment their group is responsible for, and they must stay until their group is dismissed.

The Delmar Dolfins board of directors reserves the right to terminate the membership of any individual whose behavior places the Delmar Dolfins Swim Club in an unfavorable light or jeopardizes our participation in any pool use or sporting event. All Delmar Dolfins swimmers are expected to demonstrate good sportsmanship and act as appropriate ambassadors for the club. They should act as role models for other swimmers when wearing the Delmar Dolfins logo.

Locker Rooms

Dolfin coaches are not in charge of supervising swimmers once they have entered the locker rooms. Individual families must be responsible for their own swimmer in the changing areas. Locker rooms should be used with expedience and left in the same state in which they were found. Any swimmer caught defacing property at any Dolfin-related activity will have membership privileges suspended, and the board of directors will review the situation to determine whether the suspension should lead to termination of membership rights.

Accidents or Injuries

The club has a volunteer parent in the role of safety officer. In the event of an accident or injury, no matter how minor, please contact the safety officer and immediately fill out an accident report. Forms are in a folder in the mailboxes. All accidents are subsequently reported to USA Swimming. When a report is filed, you will receive a form from USA Swimming discussing USA Swimming secondary medical coverage. If you have concerns about safety in the swim club, please contact the safety officer or the club president.

Practices

Generally, the Dolfins use the Bethlehem Central High School, the Albany Academy, the Bethlehem Central Middle School, and Elm Avenue Park pools for their primary practice locations. The club does not guarantee any practice location or steady schedule. These should be expected to change on a regular basis. The club depends on the school district for pool time and space at the high school and middle school; these pools are occasionally not available for reasons such as swim meets, chemical imbalances, and so on. In these cases, practice will be moved to the Albany Academy.

Practice groups meet Mondays to Saturdays. The head coach determines specific practice groups. Swimmers are placed according to what is appropriate for their ability. The head coach makes this determination. Parents should not expect that their swimmer will be placed in the group of the family’s choosing for other reasons, such as car pool purposes, established friendships, preference for time and days of a practice group, or parents’ opinion regarding the swimmer’s ability. Swimmers who show steady improvement will be moved as necessary to another group. These moves can occur at any time in the season to accommodate the individual swimmer. An assistant coach, with the approval of the head coach, may do this.

Attendance

The club sets no requirement regarding a minimum number of practices, although coaches may suggest a practice guideline for individual swimmers. Our head coach recommends the following:

  • 7 years and younger: 2 to 4 practices a week
  • 8 years: 3 to 4 practices a week
  • 9-10 years: 4 to 6 practices a week
  • 11-13 years: 5 to 6 practices a week
  • 13 and older: 6 to 8 practices a week

Age-Group Swimming

USA Swimming Age Group programs and rules govern participation in competition. The USA Swimming program provides fair and open competition for USA Swimming members age 18 and under. Its purpose is to encourage maximum participation, provide an educational experience, enhance physical and mental conditioning, and develop a rich base of swimming talent. Participants compete in different age groups depending on their age on the first day of the meet. The Dolfins belong to the Adirondack district. Typically, meet competition falls in the following age groups: 8 and under; 10 and under or 9/10; 11/12; 13/14; and senior. Swimmers always compete with their own sex. Graduating up to the next age level of competition is referred to as “aging up.” This occurs on the swimmer’s odd-year birthday.

Logbook

Most swimmers keep track of their accomplishments in a swimmer’s logbook. Parents find keeping one of these to be an invaluable tool when signing up for meets. For about $3, logbooks can be purchased from our equipment sales coordinator or at a swim meet.

A logbook allows swimmers to keep track of each individual timed swim they participate in. There is room for the date, the venue, the stroke, the distance, the time, and your comments. When times are kept in this chronological fashion, they serve as a real incentive to improve one’s personal best time and give a sense of achievement and accomplishment. When swimmers enter a swim meet, they will be able to look up their best time in their logbook and enter it on the meet entry form.

Time Standards

Knowledge of USA Swimming time standards helps swimmers and their families chart progress and realize personal goals. They also provide swimmers with an opportunity to find out how they measure up against other USA Swimming age-group swimmers. They are available from USA Swimming’s website, and are included in the back of the printed version of this handbook on pages 25 and 26.

Officials

All USA Swimming meets have swim officials on deck. These are the people you see wearing white shirts and shorts. They start the events and also walk up and down the sides of the pool watching the swimmers. They are all volunteers, trained by and registered with USA Swimming. Most of them are parents just like you. If you are interested, the procedure for becoming an official is simple:

  • Attend a three-hour training clinic.
  • Complete a take-home, open book test on USA Swimming rules and regulations.
  • Perform an apprenticeship with an experienced official for four meets.

Training clinics are usually held each fall. For more information about becoming an official, please contact the Dolfins’ officials coordinator.

Swimming the Strokes

There are specific standards set forth by USA Swimming for all strokes, starts, and turns. For details, refer to the publication “USA Swimming Rules.” Rules are modified from time to time, and coaches will keep swimmers informed.

In freestyle, the competitor may swim any stroke he or she wishes. The stroke most often seen in freestyle events is the front crawl stroke. The alternate overhand motion of the arms and alternating up-and-down flutter kick characterize this stroke. The forward start is used. Any type of turn is acceptable, but when turning, some part of the swimmer’s body must touch the wall. The swimmer finishes when some part of the body touches the solid wall or timing pad at the end of the pool. A common reason for disqualification is failure to touch the wall when turning.

In backstroke, the swimmer swims on the back using an alternating motion of the arms and a flutter kick. Some part of the swimmer’s body must touch the end of the pool on turns. The swimmer is not permitted to turn over onto the front during the race except when performing the backstroke front flip turn. The coach will teach this turn to your swimmer when he or she is ready. The coach will let the swimmer know when he or she is ready to use the turn in competition. The finishing of the backstroke occurs when some part of the swimmer touches the solid wall or timing pad at the end of the pool. A common reason for disqualification is failure to remain on the back.

In butterfly, the swimmer performs a simultaneous overhand stroke of the arms while doing an undulating dolphin kick with the legs. In the kick, the swimmer must move the legs together and
may not use a flutter, scissors, or breaststroke kick. The swimmer must touch the wall with both hands simultaneously when turning and when finishing. Underwater recovery of the arms and one-hand touches on turns and finishes are common reasons for disqualification in both the butterfly and the breaststroke.

In breaststroke, the swimmer is required to move both arms underwater simultaneously in the same horizontal plane. The kick is similar to the action of a frog. No flutter, scissors, or dolphin kick is permitted. Except on the pullout after the start and on each turn, the swimmer’s hands are not allowed to pull past the hip line. On the turn and at the finish, the swimmer must touch the wall with both hands simultaneously with the shoulders in line with the surface of the water.

In the individual medley, the swimmer swims one, two, or four laps of each of the four strokes in the following order: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle.

Meets

By its very name, the purpose of competitive swimming is to compete and that means attending swim meets! Individuals seeking membership in the Delmar Dolfins Swim Club should understand that we are a competitive team, not a recreational team. Swimmers should be willing to accept the responsibility of membership and participate in meets.

For many new swimmers, taking the first step and going to their first competitive meet is a big undertaking. Our coaches understand this and are happy to share information about each meet and what meets may be good for beginners.

When you are notified of meets, you should read the meet announcement carefully and ask your child’s coach whether that meet would be appropriate for your swimmer. If your coach suggests that your swimmer’s friend participate in a meet but doesn’t make the same suggestion to your swimmer, the coach surely has a good reason. There are appropriate and inappropriate meets for all swimmers.

NOTE: If a swimmer is attending a meet, that swimmer must have a parent or guardian in attendance; it is not acceptable to drop off a swimmer at a meet and leave him or her unsupervised.

The Dolfins participate in the following types of meets:

  • Intraclub meets
  • Dual meets
  • Developmental meets
  • Invitational meets
  • Championship meets

Intraclub meets are practice meets that acquaint new and old swimmers with the competitive process. They reinforce the skills necessary for meets and do not involve any non-Dolfin swimmers. Intraclub meets are held several times throughout the season to assist swimmers at all levels to prepare for USA Swimming competition. They are meets at which Dolfin swimmers attempt to improve themselves or try events they have never swum before. Intraclub meets help our youngest and newest swimmers learn more in preparation for USA Swimming meets. They also provide an opportunity for our seasoned, more capable swimmers to mentor the newer swimmers. The intraclub meets are an excellent opportunity to nurture the abilities of all our swimmers.

Dual meets take place between two clubs. They are low key and informal. Swimmers sign them-selves up on the Dolfins bulletin board. There are no fees associated with dual meets. Ribbons are generally awarded to each heat winner.

A developmental meet is a USA Swimming meet, following all rules and regulations set forth by the governing body. Fastest swimmers are generally excluded. Swimmers who swim faster than the established cutoff time are typically awarded a certificate announcing their achievement. At USA Swimming meets, the swimmers’ awards are given to the coach at the end of the meet. The coach will then distribute them to individual mailboxes at the next practice.

An invitational meet is for any swimmer, unless cutoff times are listed in advance. Swimmers are placed in heats according to their seed times, swimming slowest to fastest. The swimmers with the fastest six or eight times, without regard to heat assignments, win awards.

At a championship meet, events are first swum as preliminary heats for ages 11 and up. Heats are mixed, with the fastest swimmers in the same heats as the slower swimmers. The fastest six or eight from preliminaries will swim in a finals heat later in the day. Often, the next six or eight after those will swim in a consolation finals heat. Younger swimmers participate as in an invitational meet.

Participation in a district championship meet is restricted to swimmers who are members of that district. Cutoff times are established for championship meets. Adirondack typically offers a developmental championship meet and a Junior Olympic championship meet at the conclusion of the short course season in March as well as a championship meet for all swimmers at the conclusion of the long course season in July.

USA Swimming Registration Number

Each swimmer is assigned a personal USA Swimming registration number. This number is used to identify swimmers when they sign up for meets. The ID number is easy to remember. It is composed of:

  • Swimmer’s date of birth: (mm/dd/yy)
  • First three letters of swimmer’s legal first name
  • First letter of the swimmer’s middle name
  • First four letters of the swimmer’s last name
  • Example of a registration number: 040991MOLEHOWL

About Entering USA Swimming Meets

Announcements for USA Swimming meets can be accessed by clicking the Meet Schedule button on the home page of the Dolfin web site  The Dolfins head coach establishes a Dolfins team deadline for signup for a meet. Dolfin web site.

 

Coaches, not parents, sign swimmers up for relays. Relays consist of four swimmers of the same sex and age group. There is a box on the meet entry form to indicate interest in relays. The coach will determine the swimmers for each relay, submit the entry form, and the club will pay the fee. When swimmers are chosen for relays, they need to plan to stay for the event. Swimmers who do not stay for relays may be excluded from subsequent team relays. It is very difficult for the other swimmers when one leg of their relay departs from the meet, leaving them unable to participate. Relays are usually same sex and same age-group swimmers. They are offered in distances of 100, 200, and 400 yards and meters. USA Swimming teams will offer both freestyle relays and medley relays, in which each swimmer is assigned a stroke as his or her leg of the relay. Relays can be very exciting for both the swimmers and the spectators.

Eastern Zone Championships

USA Swimming divides areas of the country into small units for organizational purposes. The Delmar Dolfins Swim Club is a member of a Local Swimming Committee (LSC) known as Adirondack Swimming. The Adirondack swimming district is defined as that portion of New York State east and north of Oswego, Onondaga, Cortland, Broome, Sullivan, Orange, and Dutchess counties. The Adirondack district is one of 12 districts in the eastern zone.

Each of the 12 districts conducts a championship meet at the end of the short course season. The fastest two swimmers in each age group, each sex, and each event from each district are chosen to compete against each other at a location within the zone for the Eastern States Zone Championship Meet. (Long course zones are also conducted. Entry requirements are slightly different, so swimmers should check with their coach.)

To be eligible for zones, it is necessary to sign up in advance and qualify for the team by meeting all the minimum criteria. In the past, some swimmers have been excluded because they, or their parents, underestimated their ability or rate of improvement. If you think that your swimmer may be close, it is always best to take a chance and apply.

Signing Up for a Swim Meet

1. Announcements for USA Swimming meets can be accessed by clicking the Meet Schedule button on the home page of the Dolfin web site; some hard copies will also be available at the pools for those who don’t have access to the Web.

2. Read all the information carefully. Some meets exclude fast swimmers, and some meets exclude just developing swimmers. Pay attention to things like cutoff times, how many events are allowed per swimmer, the fees for each event, the $1 per person surcharge, and that all checks are made out to the Delmar Dolfins, not the club sponsoring the meet. We collect the checks for entries, make a deposit to our account, and send one check for our team’s meet entries.

3. Find your swimmer’s age group in the meet announcement. Swimmers may sign up only for their own age group with the exception of any swimmer being able to swim events labeled “open” or “senior.” Swimming in these groups when not your own age group should be done only by experienced swimmers and with the coach’s recommendation. Most swimmers should only enter events in their own age group.

4. Girls’ events are usually odd-numbered events, and boys’ events are always even.

Going to a Swim Meet

  • Find out where you’re going. Most meet announcements will have directions. If not, check the handbook. Consider car pooling, convoying, and so on.
  • Find out what time warm-ups begin for your swimmer and when the meet begins. Most meets are held in two sessions—morning and afternoon. You need only attend the session in which your swimmer swims. Allow for plenty of time to get where you are going.
  • Wear something cool because pool areas are usually beastly hot. You should also bring a sweater because the bullpen (the area in which you hang out until your swimmer swims) is usually a gym or cafeteria and may be chilly.
  • Some meets require that swimmers check in, a procedure called “positive check-in.” Make sure your swimmer checks in with the clerk of the course when you arrive. This is usually right inside the entrance to the meet. Failure to check in at a “positive check-in” meet usually results in the swimmer being disqualified from his or her first event or possibly all events.
  • Purchase a meet program. You will find all your swimmer’s entry information listed in the meet program along with that of all other participants. Use a highlighter to mark all your swimmer’s events, as well as those of other Dolfins.
  • Locate the Dolfins’ assigned area of the bullpen. This is the area where you and your swimmer may stay between events. Swimmers roll out their sleeping bags and parents set up lawn chairs in this area. (Occasionally the swimmers are asked to stay on deck with the coaches.)
  • Parents assist with timing. USA Swimming meets are timed electronically with the assistance of two backup human timers. Each swim club represented at a swim meet is required to provide timers for the entire meet. For large meets, parents will get timing assignments in advance; they will be notified of these assignments by phone or e-mail, and the assignments will also be posted on the web site. At smaller meets, parents present at the meet informally decide on timing shifts to cover the assignment. All parents are expected to participate. It’s the best seat in the house. Don’t worry about lack of experience. It’s simple, and stopwatches are provided.
  • Parents should make sure their swimmer warms up. The swimmer should go down on deck prior to the beginning of the warm-up session and consult with the coach. It is important to follow the recommendation of the coach. After warm-ups, your swimmer should dry off and keep warm. Find out where events are being seeded. Seeding means preparing the swimmers in their correct order. Swimmers should always have their cap and goggles handy.
  • After the race, the swimmer goes immediately to the coach for feedback. If the coach is with another swimmer or watching another Dolfin compete, your swimmer needs to be patient while waiting. A printout of the electronic results will be posted in a specified area near the pool, usually within 15 minutes of the race. Check the results and record your swimmer’s time in your program. Later you can record it in your swimmer’s logbook.
  • Swimmers are occasionally disqualified (DQed) during their event. Reasons for a DQ range from false starts to performing strokes, turns, or finishes incorrectly. DQs are judgments made by the USA Swimming officials. The official will explain to the swimmer the reason for the DQ. The coach will reinforce this judgment. Parents should not question the judgment of an official. DQs can be difficult for swimmers and parents to accept, but they do happen to every swimmer sooner or later. It is helpful if the parent accepts the fact that USA Swimming has high standards and that the same standards apply to every swimmer. Performing the skills of swimming in accordance with USA Swimming standards is part of the discipline process that makes swimming a character-building sport.

Writing on a Swimmer’s Hand

By writing information in waterproof ink on the back of the swimmer’s hand, the swimmer can watch and listen for his or her events to be seeded and remember what the events are. This also allows the swimmer to check whether he or she is in the correct heat and lane.

The information on the hand represents the swimmer’s individual events at the meet the swimmer is attending. Make up your own shorthand; for example, "4/3/5 100fr" might mean 100-yard freestyle: event #4, heat #3, lane #5.

Stuff to Bring to the Meet

Experienced Dolfins recommend bringing the following:

  • Team suit
  • Goggles—well-adjusted and leakproof
  • Extra goggles just in case
  • Team swim cap—or two in case one rips
  • Sweatshirt and sweatpants—maybe two sets
  • Team jacket, if you have one
  • Towels—two or three are needed because the swimmer dries off after warm-ups, between events, and when changing to go home
  • Plastic water bottle and/or drinks in containers other than glass
  • Sleeping bag
  • Pillow (optional)
  • Folding lawn chair for parent
  • Quiet activities: homework, books, Walkman, playing cards, and so on
  • Highlighter to mark your swim program
  • Ballpoint pen to write on your swimmer’s hand
  • Stopwatch (optional)
  • Food (almost all meets sell inexpensive concessions: coffee, juice, soda, hot dogs, pizza, sandwiches, baked goods, and so on)
  • Money for a program ($2 to $10)—they’re helpful, but you’re not obligated to buy them; equipment is usually for sale
  • For summer meets: sunscreen, insect repellent, hat, sunglasses
  • Good luck charms!!!

Some of these items may seem unnecessary, but when you arrive at your first meet, you will soon understand the value of each and be glad you brought them.