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The Perfect Swim Meet:
Tips for New Parents and Veterans too!

We would like to remind parents of both veteran and new swimmers alike of several important points concerning swim meets at Swim Meets

 Please, turn OFF your cell phone. If you simply must have your phone on, TURN OFF THE SOUND AND PUT IT ON VIBRATE !

* Flash photography is absolutely forbidden at the start of a race. If you want to take pictures of your swimmer, either turn OFF your flash or wait until the race has started to take a picture. Flash photography lead to false starts, which may lead to swimmers getting disqualified.

* There is a clearly marked area in front of the bleacher seats by the finish where STANDING IS NOT PERMITTED. There are signs and tape indicating the extent of this area - you really can’t miss it. If you want to stand at the fence, please respect those who are sitting in this area and move further down. Children are permitted to sit at the fence in this area, but they must remain seated so the people behind them can still see the finish.

* At the end of EACH and EVERY RACE, the kids should remain in the water until EVERYONE in their heat has finished . Sportsmanship is a big part of the swimming program at Fairfax Station, and it is decidedly unsportsmanlike to hop out of the water before everyone is finished. Often, swimmers also shake hands with the competitors in adjoining lanes. Remind your children of this practice.

* If you are not an official or a swimmer, YOU DO NOT BELONG ON THE POOL DECK . The coaches are responsible for your children during a meet and they will get them where they need to be.

* If you are a swimmer, YOU BELONG ON THE POOL DECK WITH THE TEAM. One of the coaches’ biggest problems at the developmental meets is finding swimmers for upcoming events. If your swimmer comes to visit, give them a quick hug and remind them they belong on the deck with their team.

* Sportsmanship is important (see above), and it’s customary to clap for good performances both by our team and the opposing team.

* PLEASE help clean up at the end of the meet. Many hands make for light work!

FairfaxStationFlyers - 10 Commandments for Swimming Parents

10 Commandments for Swimming Parents

by Rose Snyder, Managing Director Coaching Division, USOC Former Director of Club Services, USA Swimming
(adapted from Ed Clendaniel's 10 Commandments for Little League Parents)

I. Remember that swimming is your child's activity. Improvements and progress occur at different rates for each individual. Don't judge your child's progress based on the performance of other athletes and don't push him based on what you think he should be doing. The nice thing about swimming is every person can strive to do his personal best and benefit from the process of competitive swimming.

II. Thou shalt be supportive no matter what. There is only one question to ask your child after a practice or a competition - "Did you have fun?" If meets and practices are not fun, your child should not be forced to participate.

III. Thou shalt not coach thy child. You are involved in one of the few youth sports programs that offers professional coaching. Do not undermine the professional coach by trying to coach your child on the side. Your job is to provide love and support. The coach is responsible for the technical part of the job. You should not offer advice on technique or race strategy. Never pay your child for a performance. This will only serve to confuse your child concerning the reasons to strive for excellence and weaken the swimmer/coach bond.

IV. Thou shalt only have positive things to say at a swimming meet. You should be encouraging and never criticize your child or the coach. Both of them know when mistakes have been made. Remember “yelling at” is not the same as “cheering for”.

V. Thou shalt acknowledge thy child's fears. New experiences can be stressful situations. It is totally appropriate for your child to be scared. Don't yell or belittle, just assure your child that the coach would not have suggested the event or meet if your child was not ready. Remember your job is to love and support your child through all of the swimming experience.

VI. Thou shalt not criticize the officials. Please don't criticize those who are doing the best they can in purely voluntary positions.

VII. Honor thy child's coach. The bond between coach and swimmer is special. It contributes to your child's success as well as fun. Do not criticize the coach in the presence of your child.

VIII. Thou shalt be loyal and supportive of thy team. It is not wise for parents to take swimmers and to jump from team to team. The water isn't necessarily bluer in another team's pool. Every team has its own internal problems, even teams that build champions. Children who switch from team to team find that it can be a difficult emotional experience. Often swimmers who do switch teams don't do better than they did before they sought the bluer water.

IX. Thy child shalt have goals besides winning. Most successful swimmers have learned to focus on the process and not the outcome. Giving an honest effort regardless of what the outcome is, is much more important than winning. One Olympian said, "My goal was to set a world record. Well, I did that, but someone else did it too, just a little faster than I did. I achieved my goal and I lost. Does this make me a failure? No, in fact I am very proud of that swim." What a tremendous outlook to carry on through life.

X. Thou shalt not expect thy child to become an Olympian. There are 250,000 athletes in USA Swimming. There are only 52 spots available for the Olympic Team every four years. Your child's odds of becoming an Olympian are about .0002%.

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