Pacific Swimming

                                                 Healthy Competition

Why should I consider swimming for my child?

Swimming lessons provide the most efficient platform to learn the basic swimming skills that all of us should know. Our ability to become a proficient swimmer is within all of us and is best supported by a swim team format. Moving freely in a three dimensional world where your weight is only a fraction of what you are used to, is nothing less than fun! As we teach kids to let go of their earth-conditioned functions, they discover a world with new rules to which they adapt rapidly, boosting their sense of self and pushing the limits of the "impossible". Swimming offers an opportunity to learn about many lifelong skills like courage, acceptance, perseverance and respect. Most parents initially show an interest for the sport by the fact that their children will learn a life saving skill. However, active participation will bring so much more. Swimming also helps your child understand the physical benefits one receives from regular exercise, and is one of the very few sports that offers professional coaching staff.


What Makes the Marlins Special?

The team is a very inclusive program that focuses on bringing swimming to everyone, because one does not need to be a fast swimmer to reap the benefits. We offer each swimmer a gradual approach to competition by keeping track of specific skills performed during practice; measuring improvement helps goal setting. We provide our swimmers with the opportunity to participate in practice meets every few weeks, friendly home meets to help kids feel part of a team, and eventually we offer them the opportunity to participate in more serious away meets when they are ready. We focus on helping kids understand what they are doing and why they are doing it and we are careful not to let competition solely define what the program is about. In addition, we provide a very welcoming experience for you, the parents. We understand that your commitment to the sport is likely to be timid at first, while you child figures out if swimming is going to be their focus. For this reason we do not expect new parents to do more than support their kids during this new adventure. That said, after a few years on the team we do expect you to help and give back.


What can I expect if my child joins the team?

As most things in life, you get as much as you put in. The Marlins swim team is no exception. The highly qualified coaches are committed to making a difference for your child, but for this to happen it requires a minimum level of participation. The coaches expectations vary with the different groups but it also takes in consideration the swimmer’s goals. Regardless, our approach to swimming is through technique. We often tell our swimmers that they are what they practice and therefore to be an efficient swimmers, one must repeat correct strokes and drills.

Do I have to be a member of the Rafael Racquet & Swim Club to join?

No. The Marlins team is a program of the Rafael Racquet Club. RRC club members do get a priority sign-up for all club's programs, but the club’s bylaws allow its programs to be attended by both members and non-members. The Marlins benefit from this privilege. The team appreciates your support in fostering good relations with the Rafael Racquet Club. With this in mind, there are a few rules for our non-members in the program: Swimmers will not be allowed in the water before practice time unless they are club members. Marlins swimmer are required to use the outdoor showers and deck changing rooms. Swimmers need to exit the pool promptly at the end of practice. Swimmers must respect the club’s property.


How can my child join the team?

The first thing you should do is call Coach Buffy at 456-1153 or e-mail her [email protected] You will be able to discuss your options and make sure that the program is the right fit for your child. Then you will need to follow the registration process and choose the practice group for your child based on your conversation with the coach. This registration process focuses on collecting all the administrative information as well as payments prior to try-outs. The team is in high demand and all the training groups are capped. We do turn away swimmers for the Spring/Summer sessions as well as for the Fall session.


Does my child have to try-out for the team?

You must attend try-outs in order for the coaches to confirm that your child is ready for swim team and that you chose the most appropriate group. Some sessions do not have specific tryouts, so you may want to call Buffy for more information. Your child will get a feel for what will be expected of them during their first 2 practices of the session. If you decide not to continue after that period you will receive a full refund. If, however, after 3 practices you realize that your child is no longer interested in swim team, you will receive a refund minus $100.00. And after 4 practices there will be no refund.


Can my child just participate in one session or do they have to swim all year?

We have broken our season, which goes from September to July, into 3 sessions. Fall (Sept - Dec), Winter (Jan - April) and Spring/Summer (April - July). We strive to make our program accessible to all levels of commitments so that an older swimmer who wants to train hard and get ready for high school swimming has the ability to practice all year, but also so that a younger swimmer who is still unsure about the sport can get a meaningful experience for a session while being able to continue exploring other sports the rest of the year.


Are swim meets mandatory?

No! That said, the coaches will encourage all swimmers to at least check out one of the home meets. Ultimately, we see meets as a mean to an end, one of the many tools we have at our disposition to help the swimmers measure their progress. Also, our League Championships are reserve only to swimmers who have participated in "away" meets.


How many practices per week should my child attend?

The more the better. New swimmers on the team are more likely to quit the sport if they do not attend a minimum of 2 swim practices per week. Not only this will enable the coaches to get to know them faster and better, but it will give your kids a better chance to feel like part of the team. No matter what the coaches try to make swimming fun, do not let this fool you, swimming is hard work! The consistency and frequency of your child exposure to swim practice is the biggest factor in their ultimate choice to continue with swimming or not. Another factor to take in consideration is that training in swimming is a team sport. Do realize that no swimmer will work as hard alone in their lane, peer pressure (the good kind) is essential for anyone to push themselves a bit harder. Sharing such a small amount of space, 7 feet wide x 25 yards, with 6 or 8 other swimmers does require good amount of sharing space, managing egos, communication, trust that everyone is doing their part and learning a certain number of rules that helps the lane stay fluid and safe. This kind of learning environment can only come from working as a team as often as possible.


Do I need to participate in any fundraisers?

No. The team’s registration included in your dues contribute towards the funds necessary to run the team. You will not be asked to sell wrapping paper or cookie dough!


I want to be an involved parent on the team, what are my options?

There are 4 areas for parent to be involved with the team. One is social activities. Any fun events that bring swimmers and parents together is very important for the team. If you have an idea and it does not conflict with swim meets, training or another social event at the club, then the coaches will help you with the logistics. Another is any jobs that are required at away meets. Typically, we have to provide enough timers to cover a lane. This usually depend on how many swimmers we take to a meet. Once a year, when we attend our July Championships, we will be required to sell meet programs, announce and provide timers for one lane. An important job that will benefit the team is Stroke and Turn Judge. This position requires a certification from our Zone, but is becoming essential for the zone to run its meet. Our zone enforces a fine for teams who do not provide enough judges. Last but not least, is any jobs necessary to run our home meets: Computer Data Entry. These persons are responsible for the entry of swimmers times during the course of the meet. Ribbons and Posting. These persons are responsible for labeling and filing ribbons in their appropriate folders. This job can be done during the week following the meet. Lane Runner. Responsible for collecting lane sheets from the timers and carrying those sheets to the desk for computer entry. Head Timer. Responsible for organizing timers into their lanes with stopwatches and lane sheets. This job also includes being a back-up timer for each race. Timers. The responsibility includes recording the time of the swimmers in your lane onto the appropriate lane sheets. Starter. The starter’s responsibility is to announce the event being swum and to appropriately start each heat of the meet. Set-Up Crew. This group of people are responsible for arriving early to the meet and preparing the deck so it is ready for the meet to commence. Clean-Up Crew. This group of people are responsible for staying after the meet to put everything from the deck back to its storing place.


How come the Marlins don't belong to Marin Swim league?

In 2000, the team left the Marin Swim League to join USA Swimming. The MSL did not provide a format that served the majority of the swimmers on our team, it boils swim meets down to a rigid dual meet format with lose / win outcome that gives little flexibility to ease our swimmers into competition. In addition it restricts the events offered to sprints only ignoring the fact that longer events help set the proper training base for the future of the kids who decide to make swimming their sport.


How do the coaches coach the team?

In general, the coaches get involved with all the swimmers on the team. Junior Marlins, Group 1 and 2 are focus on stroke development with an increase in volume as the kids go up in level. Group 3 have planned practice rotating the theme everyday (free / back / Medley, etc.). Some practice focus on specifics like turns or dives if the weather permits it. All practices have a "warm-up" which typically stays the same for the younger groups and varies with the theme for the older groups. Kicking is a big part of what the kids do at all levels of swimming. Anywhere from 30% to 50% of swim practice can be done kicking. Freestyle is the main stroke practiced followed by backstroke. Fly and breastroke are usually practiced during individual medley days. The coaches try to talk to every swimmer at every practice.... it’s not always doable, but that’s the goal. We love the kids to be on time and we forgive occasional tardiness. We strongly recommend that you speak with the coaches if you know your child is going to be late consistently because of a schedule conflict. We do have favorites amongst the kids like the one who have mastered the 3 words "hello", "goodbye" and "thank you", the kids who try, who show respect to their teammates and their coaches, but we don’t hold grudges and we will give your kids chances until they get it .... and they all get it, eventually.


How do the coaches decide which group my child should be in?

The obvious is skill and maturity. Ideally we want the kids to be challenged in way that create achievable short and medium term goals for them. We also try to balance the equation technique / volume. Typically, a lesser volume and a lower speed help set-up the proper stage for great learning. One of the question we ask ourselves as we consider moving a swimmer up into the next group is how much will the increase in volume and speed affect the technique? If the affect is minimal and can be addressed as a short term goal then we have a successful move.


How will the coaches communicate with me?

All of the general communication to the swimmers and their families is done by e-mail (announcements or newsletters). Our website allows us to define specific targets so as to not overload you with non-relevant e-mails. Coaches will call you or e-mail you specifically if they need to contact you regarding your child. We strongly suggest you make appointment with the coaches if you would like to discuss anything with them.


What kind of equipment will my child need?

It depends on the group your child will be swimming in. We would like ALL our swimmers to use goggles. Some of the younger swimmers have a hard time with goggles, but we will keep encouraging them to try. If your child has hair long enough to fall in their eyes or mouth when wet then he/she must wear a swim cap. During swim practice any swim suit will do as long as it stays on during dives and is not too baggy (boys surf shorts). UV shirts are OK if the shirt is snug on the swimmer’s body, but not allowed during competition. The team provides kick board, but in group 1-2, swimmers need fins and group 3, the swimmers will need to get a pair of fins, agility paddles, snorkels, and tempo trainer.


Are private lessons available from any of the coaches?

Yes. 30 minutes lessons are available with any of the coaches scheduling permitting.