Team Best Practices/Policies

MLA 201: Team Policies

Re-registraton each season:

It is important for our club to re-register every season (short course & long course) to provide numbers for us concerning team growth, revenue vs. expenses, etc.  Also, team insurance, apparel sizing, and waiver documents need to be updated for accuracy - which can be done quickest through our online registration. Therefore, each family will need to re-register their swimmers every short-course and long-course season.   

Refund Policy:

MLA has a limited refund policy on team membership.  Families new to MLA are encouraged to spend a week attending practices to determine if our club is a good fit for you.  Once a full-season or 3-month payment is made, there are no refunds.  Exceptions to this policy can be made to accommodate illnesses and other unforeseen issues that might arise.   

Communicating with MLA coaches:

Our goal is to have quick responses to your questions.  As you know, good communication is vital but more than not can be very challenging.  Your coaches receive upwards of 50+ emails a day from apparel brands, meet hosts, USA Swimming, Michigan Swimming, the HCAC, etc. making the need to facilitate messages to appropriate channels for quick responses.  

If you have a question concerning any Club items such as registration, what to do on meet days, volunteering, Swim-A-Thon news, etc. please contact Coach Jim at [email protected]

For questions regarding our Red, White, and Blue Groups or the Macatawa Swim School, contact Coach Ian Townsend at [email protected]

For questions regarding meet set-up or meet entries, please contact our Meet Director, Sara Kadzban at [email protected]

For questions about swimmers in any of our Senior (15&Over) groups, please contact Coach Jim Whitehead ([email protected])

For questions regarding team billing, please contact Coach Norm Vermeulen at [email protected]

Note: All important Club communication including news for social events, meets, etc....will be done by email so we encourage you to read them!

How are practice groups determined?

MLA's practice groups were created with your swimmer in mind.  Truly.  We encourage your swimmers to "use," their professional coaches to get where they want in this great sport.  Their placement into a training group is simply to group like-skilled and like-minded swimmers so they can work on the skills needed for advancement.  Group placement can split up peer groups from time-to-time.  However, having swim groups with too diverse of skill sets can actually stunt development of the entire group.  Your MLA coaching staff will keep all of these factors along with others in mind when choosing the appropriate group for your swimmer.  Our goal as a team is to develop every swimmer to their individual potential regardless of what path they need to get there.  


Expectations for practice attendance:

There are no practice expectations of any kinds for all White & Red groups.  We believe it is up to our professional MLA coaching staff to create an environment at every practice that your swimmer will want to attend.  This commitment made by your swimmer's own choice, is far stronger than any threat or mandatory policy any coach can issue.

The Blue and Black High Performance groups require a rigorous commitment meaning swimmers need to balance their scholastic, social, and swimming calendars accordingly.  Beginning in the 2017-2018 season, swimmers in these groups will be required to attend 90% of their posted practices each month.  They will be given a monthly progress report if they fail to reach their expectation to allow them to rectify their attendance the following month and remain in the group.  

Do we need to notify coaches for missed practices?

In the event of missing practices for an extended amount of time, or missing practices for a medical situation, please message your group coach.  This message is important to us because it allows for your coach to make adjustments to practice planning for your athlete.  When an athlete is away from practice for an extended amount of time, we like to send a quick letter letting them know that they are missed by their coaches and teammates.  It is always nice to be missed!  

If your swimmer is simply out of school for the day or have an appointment that will keep them out of the water for a single day, do not feel like you need to send us an explanation.  Also, if you are keeping your swimmer out of school for illness, please have them skip practice for the day.  

What does my swimmer need at practice?

The MLA team equipment can be purchased prior to practicing at Making Waves Swim Supply store in downtown Holland.  You simply let the MW staff know which group your swimmer is in and they take care of the rest.  The equipment bag is designed to be a small purchase if necessary when your swimmer advances group to group each year.  

If you are purchasing the equipment on your own, please attempt to hold to the following brands and types as they each serve a special purpose:

  • Net bag for toting their gear in wet environments.  May be any brand at this time.  
  • Finis agility paddles.  These are not training paddles but paddles that encourage a proper "hold" of water.  Most paddles for sale are for training purposes and do not translate.  
  • Snorkel.  The best brand we use is TYR as the snorkel has fewer parts to lose and break as other brands do.  The TYR snorkel is durable and reliable.
  • A set of fins will be necesary.  

Note: please have your swimmer put their names or special markings on all of their gear.  ​

Swimmers are also required to wear MLA caps only at practices as we strive to do all of our work as a team!  They will receive their practice cap upon arriving to their first practice.  Appropriate dryland attire should be on hand at all practices including tennis shoes - no sandals.  Lastly, a water bottle is required at all workouts for all groups.  

Are we required to attend meets?

Yes, although we understand it is not possible to attend all scheduled meets.  MLA is a competitive swim program and we like to see our athletes in as many competitions as possible.  Meets are scheduled approximately once per month meaning there are about seven meets during the Short Course (SC) season.  During Championship season, we expect swimmers to swim in the highest Championship meet they have qualifying times for.  We understand that some families wish their swimmers to be in the water for exercise purposes only and are not interested in the competitive side of the sport.  This is not dissimilar to joining a basketball team and not attending games.  Swimmers whom attend less than two meets per season risk not being eligible for MLA the following season.  


MLA Safety Policies:

MLA Travel Policies: 

Athlete Protection:

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