Below are answers to some of the more common questions our families have from time to time.
1. How do I enter swim meets?
With our new system all meet entries are completed on line. After you've signed into your account, go to the EVENTS tab and find the swim meet you are wishing to enter. The program allows you to "commit" to the event and/or enter events that your swimmer is eligible to swim in. **Be sure that you have discussed entry into the meet with your child's coach. As you check off the events your child's previous best times (or NT if they have not yet swum this event) will be shown. After you save these entries your child's coach will review them and make edits, if necessary. After the entries have been sent to the host team your account will be charged for the meet entry fees. This charge will appear on your next invoice.
3. What happens if I forget to turn in my meet entry form on time?
If a swimmer misses the deadline for entering a meet they may still be able to late-enter the meet. This is accomplished at the meet with the clerk of course. Any swimmer late entering a meet must bring a copy of their USA Swimming registration and a copy of their best times from the SWIMS database. If a swimmer decides to deck enter at the meet they must make payment to the host team at the time they enter. Fees for deck entering are double the regular fee. Swimmers are discouraged from depending on this option for entry into the meets. Coaches use the meet entry reports to configure relays and late entered swimmers will probably not be used on any relays.
4. What do I need to do if I decide to "take the summer off"?
This question that is asked more than any other question. If a swimmer decides to take a leave of absence from the team they must notify the team office in writing (e-mail preferred) 30 days prior to the first day of the leave. We do not have policy to "take the summer off". Our team operates year-round. "Taking the summer off" is the same as withdrawing from the team. Upon their return, if there is space available in their training group, swimmers may rejoin by completing a new registration packet and paying the appropriate fees (MARS registration is required; USAS registration fee only if not current). Failure to notify the team of the leave in writing at least 30 days in advance will cause continued billing each month. If a swimmer returns they must pay any outstanding balance on their account.
5. What happens when the pool is closed, and why?
Occasionally something happens at one of the pools that causes it to temporarily close. These rare closures are usually the result of water chemical problems, high school meet scheduling, or severe weather. We fully support the high school programs in all of the area school districts. We are an important part as a "feeder system" for these programs. From October through January the Grapevine pool may be closed several times for a scheduled high school meet. Swimmers are notified well in advance these dates and are usually given the opportunity to train at another MARS pool. In the case of pool closure for water chemical problems or severe weather, every effort is made to notify the swimmers as soon as possible. Unfortunately we are often given little or no notice for these types of closures. Please check your e-mail often for messages, especially if severe weather is threatening. You may always call the team phone line for information (817-271-1537). We also utilize the phone tree system to help you stay informed of pool closures and other team events. If the pool is closed Pre-Comp swimmers may make-up any missed classes by making arrangements with their coach.
6. What if my swimmer has a scheduling conflict today and can’t make it to practice? Can I make up the practice?
Generally, no. Practice times are arranged to maximize our pool space and coach - swimmer interaction. Altering those times (except in the case of a pool closure) is not conducive to maintaining a high quality level of instruction. We are not able to reschedule missed classes for short illnesses or occasional scheduling conflicts. We do offer a "make-up" day for all groups on Saturday mornings at UTA and GCISD year-round.
7. What is my families fundraising commitment?
MARS no longer has a family fundraising requirement. The team does organize 1-2 fundraisers per year. Every family is encouraged to participate in any fundraising effort for the team.
8. How many volunteer hours must I have each year?
Currently, we require families to log 18 volunteer hours (2018) each calendar year. We ask for your help in running our team by volunteering to help out with some of our team activities. We offer a wide variety of volunteer opportunities within the team. We are always looking for folks to volunteer to work as certified officials. Training classes are being held constantly to certify officials. Please see the Coach Lauren for more information.
9. How do swim meets work? How long will I be there?
Swim meets will seem very strange to those of you not familiar with them. A lot is happening, but most people will seem to be sitting around doing very little. Most meets in our LSC are designed to be completed within 4 hours in each section. Most teams do a good job with this. The 8 & Under sections typically last only 1-2 hours. Meets are typically Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday affairs with available events on each day. Most swimmers will have approximately one meet per month, or about 10 per year. Don’t be afraid to ask your swimmer’s coach if you don’t understand something. There are no "stupid questions". The following link is a page that one of our former MARS parents, Rebecca Dark, wrote to help parents with their first swim meet (first swim meet). Additionally, here is a link from USA Swimming on the Role of Parents.
10. When and where do I need to get a team suit?
Swimmers are not required to purchase a team suit until they begin swimming in meets. Team suits may be purchased from D & J Sports in Dallas. MARS is a Speedo sponsored team. The official team suit from Speedo is the Launch Splice in Navy/Red. Contact D&J Sports to order a suit. Be sure to tell them you’re with MARS. All MARS swimmers must wear the team suit in competition (except Pre-Comp). All MARS swimmers must also wear a team cap (girls & boys) in competition. There is a D&J Sports link on the home page of our website.
11. When do I get my t-shirt and cap?
MARS team t-shirts are ordered by the team each fall or as needed. Each new or renewing member gets a new t-shirt and cap when their registration fees are paid. Swimmers should see their coach if they have questions.
12. Are there parent’s shirts or other MARS team apparel available?
At MARS we design and make most of our non-Speedo clothing and act as our own official team apparel vendor. Extra team clothing, parent shirts, and spirit items are available through our website. Please contact the MARS office (817-271-1537) with any questions.