Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can my child try the Piranhas without cost to see if he/she likes it?Yes. If your child decides not to join the team in the first week of practice, you will receive a full refund. After practice on Thursday, May 4th, no refunds will be offered. Just fill out a team registration form so we have emergency contact information and include your refundable registration fee.
2. What are the Piranhas registration fees? What does the team do with the fee money?
Fees are $135 for the first non-high school swimmer from a family, the price drops to $120 for your second swimmer and $60 for your third. High school swimmers are $50, and there is a $330 family out-of-pocket maximum no matter how many swimmers are in a family. The Piranhas use the money to rent meet pools, pay the head coach’s and assistants’ compensation and purchase trophies, ribbons, insurance, equipment, etc., for the team. There is also an additional $8 processing/registration fee for each family account. This is a direct cost from our supplier.
3. What if my child doesn't know how to perform all of the strokes well?
Training intensity and duration varies by skill level, age, maturity, etc. The head coach and staff will help make this assessment. Everyone was a beginner once. Our people remember that and will help your child improve his/her technique.
4. If I have children in different age groups, will I have to go to different locations for practice?
No, each group has a dedicated leader during each practice at the same practice pool. However, they may practice at different times.
5. Can my 9-year old swim with my 12-year old at practices?As a rule, no; but it could change with the coach's opinion of swimmer's ability. A swimmer may be swimming below age group level, or above age group level. Swimmers normally receive the most effective age-group-specific training when they practice within their age groups.
6. Will my child be required to attend swim meets?
Yes. Participation in meets is the reward for all those practice hours! Swimmers must participate in two of the five regular-season meets to swim in the post-season Champ Series meets and receive a Piranhas’ year-end trophy.
7. Will my child swim with others his/her own age? What will they do during the season?
The Piranhas are a team of 120+ swimmers, ages 5-18. Your child will swim against his/her own aged swimmers. At practice sessions, swimmers will be coached to improve their swimming skills and endurance. Your child will practice with other swimmers of similar ability. At meets, there is the opportunity to compete against swimmers from other Clear Lake-area swim teams. The emphasis is on each swimmer's improvement, not on scoring points. In meets, girls swim against girls and boys swim against boys.
8. My child knows how to swim, but is not experienced as a competitive swimmer. Are the Piranhas right for him/her?
We believe so. The Piranhas are committed to teaching/developing talent and good technique in every swimmer, no matter what the starting point.
9. My child cannot swim currently. What can the Piranhas do to help?
The Piranhas require swimmers to be water-safe and to be able to swim the length of the pool prior to practicing with the team. If this is not the case then swimming lessons would be a more appropriate first step.
10. How can I get involved with the Piranhas as a volunteer?
Don’t worry, we’ll ask!! One of the Piranhas’ greatest strengths is its large group of talented parent volunteers. We welcome new additions with open arms, and all parents are required to volunteer at the home meets in some respect. Below is an excerpt from our Piranhas Handbook which lists the duties and responsibilities of each volunteer position. Some require free training which is provided by our league, but most do not. We have a volunteer position suitable for every type of piranha parent! Please feel free to ask any board member if you have any more questions. The volunteer positions are as follows:
VOLUNTEER POSITION DESCRIPTIONS
Equipment set-up or take-down — For home meets, this involves positioning tables, chairs and electronic equipment (Friday pm) and benches and shade canopies (early Saturday am). “Many hands make for light work” when setting up and then storing these necessary items after the meet (early afternoon). For away meets, this job involves hauling and building shade canopies (early am) and dismantling them after the meet (mid-afternoon).
Concessions— a key function to ensure our team’s solvency. Work only at home meets setting up concessions, selling refreshments, or cleaning up concession area after the meet. Everyone is asked to make food/drink item donations during the season, so please look for the sign-up sheet at practice and be generous.
Ready benches— Assist the clerk of course by distributing entry cards and placing swimmers in lane order on the ready benches for their heat; also, maintain order in the ready area. Help ease concerns of younger swimmers by delivering them to their appropriate starting block.
Timers— Time swimmers using stopwatches and record times on the swimmer's entry card. Three timers are in each lane, and the head timer will have backup watches in case you or your stopwatch goofs. A great “up-close” location to see some swimming, especially if you like wet feet!
Runners —Collect entry cards and disqualification slips from timers and take them to the scoring table. During the 25-yard events, runners earn their title: first collecting entry card from swimmers on the blocks then getting them to their respective timers at the other end of the lane.
Scorers —Verify official times and places of swimmers in each heat; help with computer data entry during the meet and help verify scoring.
Ribbon writer — identify the appropriate place ribbons and attach a label with each swimmer's results (recording the swimmer's name, event and official time). File ribbons for distribution at Monday practice. May be among the last to finish at a swim meet but always in the shade!
CERTIFIED MEET OFFICIALS [CCSL training required]
The CCSL provides short clinics to train parents to fill these positions. Familiarity with competitive swimming and a working knowledge of CCSL rules are essential and available through the league handbook provided with training. To maintain certification, officials must attend training each year (unless a USA Swimming or TISCA official).
Piranhas swimmers are best represented when the rules are fairly interpreted by Piranhas’ parents. Relying on other teams to supply officials on our behalf leaves Piranhas’ swimmers at a disadvantage and places our meets in jeopardy. Training to become a stroke & turn judge is the first step for most of the certifications. Please consider stepping forward to become a meet official and key member of your child's swim team.
Referee - The senior official at a meet; has final authority in all decisions and rule interpretations.
Starter - Calls swimmers to the starting blocks; starts each heat; and handles false start disqualifications.
Stroke & turn judge - Judges the technical form of strokes or turns according to league and USA Swimming rules; responsible for disqualifying swimmers and explaining reason for disqualification to swimmer/coach in an effort to improve swimmer's performance.
Clerk of course - Determines eligibility of competitors, manages heat and lane assignments, scratches and substitutions; oversees the distribution of entry cards, and changes to heat and scoring sheets. Tracks the setting of team and league records and certifies the meet record.
12. Do the Piranhas require fundraising?
No, our volunteer support and low cost structure allow the Piranhas to thrive on modest registration fees and limited external, non-intrusive fund-raising such as Randall's Good Neighbor Program and the Kroger Share Card. We do have one voluntary fundraiser each year such as a car wash or a swim-a-thon, but participation is voluntary. Participation in the optional fundraiser does help to keep our registration fees as low as possible.
13. How long does the Piranhas’ season last?Practice begins in late April. Practice sessions are held after school until school is out for the summer. During the summer practices are held in the morning until the end of the season in late June or early July.
14. Where do the Piranhas practice?
We practice at the Bay Glen neighborhood pool on Mabry Mill Rd. During the summer, we also use the Bay Glen neighborhood pool on Oak Chase on Thursdays.
15. How often does my child have to practice?
No one ever has to come to practice; however, very few swimmers improve their techniques and times if they don't come to practice. Practices are held every weekday and swimmers are encouraged to attend as many as possible. We know there will be instances to cause a missed practice occasionally.
16. Who manages the Piranhas? The Piranhas are managed by an unpaid board of directors consisting of swimmers' parents. The board hires the team's head coach, assistant coaches and takes care of the administration of the team.
17. How do I find out if practice is cancelled? With 120+ swimmers, making that many phone calls is impractical. We utilize group email lists and our website as the main means of communicating with parents quickly throughout the season. Thus, it is imperative to submit your email address when registering and to check our www.pinelochpiranhas.org website frequently. It is updated almost daily during the season. We do not practice if there is thunder/lightning, but DO hold practice if there is only a mist or drizzle and it is not too cold. Also be sure to follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter to receive updates.
18. Can my child be a member of the Piranhas and still swim for a year-round USA Swimming team? Absolutely! We are happy to have USA Swimming athletes as part of the team.
19. Do I have to be USA Swimming-registered to swim?
No, we do not require swimmers to be USA-registered. USA Swimming is an organization based in Colorado Springs, CO. It is the national governing body for competitive swimming in the United States and selects the Olympic swimming team and its coaches. Although the Clear Creek Swim League follows USA Swimming rules, joining that organization is not a requirement.
20. Can my child swim for the Piranhas and still play soccer, basketball, do dance or gymnastics and play piano? Yes! Many Piranhas swimmers are active in other sports and activities. How much you decide to practice is your decision.