MACS Frequently Asked Questions

The following is a detailed list of common questions and answers about the team. If you still have a question, please call us at (303) 690-7100 or simply send an email.

1.  How do you place swimmers in groups?

We strive to place swimmers in a practice group in which they will receive the practices necessary for their level of stroke technique, endurance, and maturity. Group placement is a coaching decision based on what is best for each individual and the practice group. As the swimmers move up through the groups other factors will also come into play such as their attendance percentage, work ethic, and training pace.

In early years emphasis is on technique and love of the sport, later years consist of more demanding physical and psychological challenges so that swimmers can achieve their maximum potential. Here is a description of each practice group.  For more information on the different MACS groups, click here.

2.  How often are group changes made?

We typically move swimmers within our group structure once or twice per year: September and late March or early April. Moves to Group 3 and the Senior/Sectional groups are typically only once per year: September. Sometimes there will be a few moves within the lower level groups in the spring. If your child is moving to a new group you will be notified by the beginning of March or the end of July. 

3.  May parents attend practices? What is our role?

Spectators are not allowed on the pool deck. If you stay and wait for your child please stay in the bleachers and do not come onto the deck. Please do not attempt to communicate with your child during practice (go to them, hand signals, etc.) While at practice it is best for the children to have one authority figure in sight so that they are paying attention and developing a good athlete/coach relationship. It is important that your child has one coach and does not receive mixed messages or different advice than what our professional coaches are giving them. We ask that you respect this relationship and we recommend that you come to us with any questions or concerns as they come up. Coaches are available via email and are usually at the pool before and after practice and are happy to answer questions when the swimmers are not in the pool. The best thing you can do for your child is to encourage his/her commitment and let them know you support and love them no matter how they perform. Our coaching staff will take care of all of the correction and teaching. Swimming is a difficult sport and the kids will learn a lot about success and failure and how to deal with both.


4.  What is the coach’s role?

The coaches are responsible for placing swimmers in practice groups. This is based on the age, maturity, commitment, and ability of each individual. Sole responsibility for stroke instruction and training rests with the coaching staff. Each group’s practices are based on sound scientific principles and are geared to the specific goals of that group. The coaching staff will make the final decision concerning which meets swimmers may attend. Coaches direct and make final decision regarding meet entries.

At meets, the coaching staff will conduct and supervise warm-up procedures for the team. Immediately following each race, the coaches will offer constructive criticism regarding the swimmers performance. Relay team members are selected by the coaches.

For more information on our coaches’ credentials, click here.

5.  What is MACS practice attendance policy?

We do not have an attendance policy for Mini Macs, Group 1, Group 2, or Seniors. The rest of the groups have a policy and you can get this from the group's coach. Of course we recommend that you try to get to as many practices as possible in order to see the most improvement and to feel a member of the group. The swimmers who are most likely to quit the sport are the ones who have the lowest attendance. It can be frustrating when a child feels behind the group because he/she has not been there on a regular basis. We also realize that at the beginner level, many kids are involved in other activities too and we believe this is good for them and do not expect them to choose one activity.

For Mini Macs and Group 1 swimmers, we offer 3 practices per week and we recommend attending 2. For swimmers who are close to moving up to Group 2, swimmers should start attending 3 days per week.  Group 2 swimmers are beginning to do more structured workouts and longer swimming so they will feel the effect of their attendance much more than Mini Macs and Group 1 swimmers. We recommend they commit to at least 3 of the 4 practices they are offered. Senior swimmers will also be involved in more difficult practices and building a lot of endurance so it would be a good idea to strive to attend at least 4 of the 5 offered practices.

Here are some helpful practice guidelines:

  • For the swimmers protection, they should arrive at the pool no earlier than 15 minutes prior to their workout time. They should also be picked up no later than 15 minutes after their practice is over.
  • Occasionally, most of a practice group may be attending a meet, in which case you will be notified of a practice change or cancelation.
  • While at practice, the swimmers are the responsibility of the coaching staff. During practice sessions, swimmers are to stay in pool area.
  • Spectators are not allowed on the pool deck unless it is an emergency. Spectators may sit in designated areas. This encourages attention level and swimmer-coach communication.
  • Coaches need to be contacted if swimmer is to be out of the water for an extended period of time due to vacation, illness, or injury.
  • Swimmers are required to bring specified equipment to practice (i.e. goggle, fins, etc.). Swimmers are also responsible for their equipment.

6.  Do we need any equipment?

Each group uses different equipment. You will need to ask your group coach what equipment he or she requires. The equipment listed below will help get you started:

Swim Suits: For practices you will need a suit. We recommend wearing a different suit for practice than meets because suits do wear out with extended use. Try to find a less expensive practice suit and keep and another tighter fitting suit exclusively for meet use. MACS places an order for team suits several times of year. These suits are navy blue and have the MACS logo on them. Boys: Swim trunks are not recommended because they weigh a lot and make swimming with proper body position extremely difficult. Many boys prefer to wear a pair of jammers (the thigh length tight suits) instead of a regular speedo. All our boys have their own preference.

Goggles: Every swimmer need goggles during practice and competition to enhance vision and protect their eyes from the effects of chemicals in the water.

Cap: A latex or silicone swim cap is recommended for practice and meets to cut down resistance and to protect the swimmer’s hair from the effects of chlorine. At meets we require MACS caps be worn.

Swim Fins: These are used in all groups. Fins are worn on the feet and used for stroke technique and speed assisted training. If you buy fins on your own please be sure they are swim fins and not dive fins.

Pull Buoy: Usually made of Styrofoam, this device is placed between the legs to isolate the use of the arms. The pull buoy is used to strengthen the arms and is sometimes used for stroke work.

TECH SUIT INFORMATION-The USA Swimming 12 and Under tech suit ban goes into effect September 2020- No more tech suits allowed for 12 and Under swimmers at that time unless a swimmer quaifies for Junior Nationals. There was some misunderstanding among coaches in CO and many of us thought we were banning them this September. Many LSC's have already put their own ban in place and we didn't get on top of thatIn light of that, MACS will continue with our current policy: NO tech suits for 10 and Under swimmers and 11-12 Year Olds may only wear a tech suit once they have qualified for the Short Course Colorado State Championships. They may only be worn at a Championship meet (prelim/final) or at the Loveland meet in February (if you already have State times and want to wear the suit once before wearing it at State). We are completely happy for swimmers not to wear them at all. Save your money! They are unnecessary for younger swimmers. Here is a good article with some reasons.

7.  Where do we get the equipment?

MI Sports is our preferred equipment provider. MI Sports out of Denver & Loveland is usually at most of the bigger meets in the Denver area including our own MACS meet in October. MI sports sponsors many Colorado Swimming functions and their prices are more than competitive, plus MACS gets a discount. If your swimmer does not attend the larger meets and you still need equipment you can shop MI sports in Denver (4025 E Iliff) or shop online at MI Sports can also be reached at 1-800- 693-3539.
MACS orders team suits several times a year. They are navy with MACS logo on them. You will be notified when ordering is taking place and you swimmer will be given an opportunity to try on various suit styles. If you miss the order and need a team suit contact MI sports directly. (there are additional set up charges but are still fairly reasonable)

8.  Does MACS have team apparel?

We know swimmers and their families are PROUD TO BE MACS, so throughout the year MACS will sell team apparel and spirit items including team shirts, towels, water bottles, tattoos and a few other fun items. Due to budget restraints we take orders for these items in advance of the purchase. Watch your emails for details. Parents: It is much easier to identify other MACS parents at swim meets if everyone is wearing a MACS shirt.

9.  Where can we find answers to our questions?

You will have many questions about MACS and the sport of swimming in general. We have various methods of communication available to help you answer them.

Coaches: You can always ask your coach before or after practice or at a time that is convenient for both of you.

Website: We have a great website where you can find all kinds of information such as team updates, meet information and results, volunteer opportunities, forms, our newsletter, and various helpful links.

Newsletter: We generate a quarterly newsletter distributed via e-mail. It contains swimmer’s achievements, current fundraising efforts, kid’s quotes, and coach’s notes.

10.  How do I communicate with MACS?

E-mail is the primary method of communication for MACS. It is the most efficient and effective way to pass on information with speed and accuracy. It will be used for billing and to communicate practice changes, meet details such as warm up times, parking information, and more. Watch for other email messages every couple of weeks with important team news. Parents may also approach the coaches before or after practice with any questions. 

11.  What is MACS’ philosophy on competition?

MACS engages in a multi-level competition program with USA Swimming, that like our training program, attempts to provide challenging, yet success-oriented competitive situations for swimmers of all ages and abilities. The following outline our philosophy:

We emphasize competition with oneself. Winning ribbons, medals, or trophies is not our main goal. Even if the swimmer finishes first, but has swum poorly in comparison to his/her potential, he/she is encouraged to do better. The individual’s improvement is our primary objective.

Sportsmanlike behavior is of equal importance of improved performance. Respect for officials, congratulations to other competitors, encouragement to teammates, determined effort, and mature attitudes are examples of behaviors expected and praised.

Swimmers are praised for improving a time, but they can also have a good swim without improving on their best time. There are different goals for each meet and each swim based on what we are working on in practice, time of year, and age and experience levels.

Swimmers are taught to set realistic, yet challenging goals for meets and to relate those goals to practice to direct their training efforts.

Swimmers are prepared and encouraged to compete in all swimming events, distances, and strokes. This policy promotes versatility and encourages the swimmer to explore potential in the wide range of events offered in competitive swimming. Often times, a swimmer’s best stroke changes as his/her body goes through physical changes.

12.  How often and when are meets held?

We aim to offer one meet per month for all of our swimmers, and there may be some months where we attend two. Beginner swimmers will not be encouraged to attend a meet until they have been on the team for a couple of months. Meets are chosen by the coaching staff. USA Swimming, Colorado Swimming, and the Suburban Swim League offer different levels of competition and we choose the appropriate meets for the swimmers we send. Many meets have either minimum or maximum qualifying standards. So, we do not all attend the same meets. Every meet on our schedule will have a coach in attendance. You may not always have your group's coach in attendance. The season’s meet schedule will be finalized and out early in October following Colorado’s scheduling meeting.

Most meets for Group 1 and Mini Macs will be held Sunday mornings and are sponsored by Suburban League Swimming. These meets are in the Denver Metro area. They typically have a 7:00 am warm up and 8:00 start and last until approximately 11:30 or 12:00.  Most meets for 
Groups 2,3,4, and the Senior groups are held Saturday and Sunday with 12 and under athletes in the morning and 13 and older athletes in the afternoon. Often there is a Friday night session as well and typically Group 3 and up swimmers will attend. These meets are held in the Denver Metro area, Fort Collins, and Colorado Springs. 

13.  How do we sign up for a swim meet? 

An email notification from Team Unify will be sent out when meet sign ups are open for a particular meet. You will choose which sessions your child will attend and the coaching staff will choose the events. Meets are sent out by group. Occassionally you will receive a notification for a meet that your child does not qualify for. There will be notes in the "important notes section" that explain more about the meet. This will include whether it is a qual meet or not.

14.  What meets do the most advanced swimmers participate in?

  • Qualification meets have some type of time standard that a swimmer must meet in order to enter.
  • Mile High Championships. Short-course. Some events have time standards.
  • Zone 2. Long course. Similar minimum qualifying standards but no max. Colorado Swimming is divided into 5 geographic zones. Metro Denver is in Zone 2.
  • State +% (min and max)
  • State Championships. Short-course 14 & Under. Long course all age-groups
  • Mid-Western All-Stars. Colorado selection meet for swimmers 14 and younger. Currently, CO selects the top 10 swimmers in each age-group and gender based on times swum during the short-course season up to the entry deadline.
  • Zone Championships- team selected by Colorado’s current criteria. At this time the requirements are 3 zone qualifying times, one priority qualifying time (set by Colorado), or 2 zone qualifying times and a top 3 finish in one of those races at long course state
  • USA Sectional Championship Meets. USA Swimming is divided into 8 geographic sections. Each section holds its respective Sectional Championship meet twice annually. Colorado competes in the Western Blue Section with AK, AZ, HI, ID, MT, OR, UT, WA, and WY
  • US Open, Olympic Trials, Pan-Am, Pan-Pac, etc. are additional meets which USA Swimming members at this level attend.

15.  What is swim meet protocol?

  • Find coach and let him/her know you’re there
  • Be on time for warm-ups
  • Sit with team at meets
  • Buy meet program
  • Write event numbers, heat, and lane on body
  • Warm-up with team
  • Listen or look for first and last call board if there is one
  • Have child speak with coach prior to and immediately after events
  • Disqualification (DQ) is a part of learning the sport of swimming. This occurs when a swimmer has committed an infraction of some kind; e.g.freestyle kick in a butterfly event. A disqualified swimmer is not eligible to receive an award for that event nor can their time be used as an official time
  • Parents are not allowed on deck unless they are serving in an official capacity
  • All questions regarding meet results, an officiating call, or the conduct of the meet, should be referred to the coaching staff
  • Session typically last 4 hours
  • If relays are included, they are usually at the beginning or end of session.  State relays will be announced ahead of the meet so you know to be there. Relays are chosen by the coaches and the best aggregate time is used to create them.  You will be billed for participation after the meet
  • Swimmers are expected to stay hydrated during competition
  • Swimmers should come prepared to meets. This includes their suit, cap, goggles, sweats, socks, and towels (please bring more than one of the pre-mentioned, as they can fail or become soaked). Blankets, chairs, and other items to stay comfortable between events is highly recommended. Games, books, cards, and other items to keep swimmers occupied with teammates is also highly recommended. Please pack healthy food and snacks, and water.
  • Parents: the pool area is usually very warm. Dress appropriately. Meets can be long; a book or project can keep the time between races from going slowly!

16.  Who participates in championship meets?

One of our team goals is to qualify and send as many swimmers as possible for the Championship meet(s). The Championship meet is a special experience and extremely important in the athletes development. If a swimmer works hard to qualify please send him/her to the meets the coach is encouraging him/her to attend. It is a let down to miss the championship meet if a swimmer has properly prepared for it and it will cause a decrease in motivation for future preparations. To insure that our swimmers are properly prepared for their championships:

Meet attendance and participation throughout the entire season is important. USA Meets offer the experience necessary to prepare for the championships.

Practice habits must be within our recommendations for the group the swimmer trains on. Consistency is the key word.

There is always a higher level to strive for; for many swimmers the state championship is not the ultimate goal. It is a seasonal goal that will lead to Zones, Junior and Senior Nationals and beyond. The goal is to be as prepared as possible and perform to the best of one's ability at the meet, not just to qualify for the meet.

Typically swimmers who attend the qualifying meets are on groups 3 and up. There will usually be a handful  10 and Unders from group 2 as well.

17.  What about team travel?

Most seasons MACS swimmers are able to travel for swim meets, typically one per year for group 3 or 4 level swimmer. More experienced and older swimmers can travel up to 5 times per year.