Welcome New MACR Sharks Swim Families!

Thank you for considering the MACR Sharks Swim Team for your child.  Swimming with the Sharks brings together many opportunities for your swimmer by being in the only team in the Cedar Rapids area to be able to offer both YMCA and USA Swimming Competitions.  Our dual registered status allows swimmers to determine just how competitive they want to be with their swimming program.  Our goal is to provide the very best coaching regardless of the program your child enrolls in.  Swimming with the MACR Sharks provides lessons for a lifetime, both in competitive skill development and the development as whole for your child.  In additional to quality instruction from highly qualified coaches, the MACR Sharks strive to instill teamwork, leadership, sense of belonging and independence in each of our young athletes.  We are looking forward to having you as part of the MACR Sharks Swim Team family!

Please read the information below to learn more about swimming for the Sharks.  Each swimmer will need a team suit and possibly other equipment depending on their swim group.  A full list of swim groups can be found under the Training Groups tab listed above.

We hope this page will help our "New Swim Families" have a much better understanding of the team.  Please click on one of the items below that is underlined to get more information on the particular topic.

Joining The Team

Swim Team Requirements

Practice Schedule

Recommended Equipment


Championship Meets

What To Do At A Swim Meet

When You Arrive At The Meet

Joining the Team

Swimmers can join the MACR Sharks at any time throughout the year.  The MACR Sharks offer year round training and competition opportunities in both USA Swimming and YMCA Swimming competitions.  Some meets do have eligibility requirements based on when you join the team.  These requirements will be discussed fully with you if applicable, depending on the time of the year that you join the MACR Sharks Team.

Swim Team Requirements

The MACR Sharks welcomes all new members to the team! New swimmers are provided with a free team evaluation to help us place them in the group most appropriate to their development as a swimmer.  Swimmers must be able to complete the basic requirements for their given practice squad.  These requirements are in place to ensure swimmers progress and feel empowered by their progress both at practice and in swim meets.  All swimmers develop at different times.  We want to be sure that swim team is the right fit for your child at this time. 

We consider swimming with the MACR Sharks a family affair - meaning we want to have you, the parent, involved as much as possible.  There's no better way to show your swimmer that you are invested in their chosen sport by offering to help out.  Jobs usually center around swim meets - there are many jobs to do and we will provide guidance and training in jobs that you may want to try but are unsure of.  Our goal is to have parents sign-up for at least two shifts over the course of thee season to work at a MACR Sharks Home Swim Meet.

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Practice Schedule

Practice times are arranged by ability and age groups.  Each squad has specific training goals that we want our swimmers to master before moving up to the next group.  This progressive approach to technique development ensures your child has the skills to build upon as they move through the program. If you have a conflict with your designated practice time, please see Coach Donald. 

Each swim group has recommended practice times.  We feel the times noted are a good representation of both ages and abilities for each group.  We want our swimmers to be excited about coming to practice.  Too much practice can over time lead to burnout, which in turn can lead them to dropping out of swimming as they approach high school level.   Please try to attend the recommended number of sessions for your swimmer.

  • Your child will need to bring goggles a competitive swimsuit, a swim cap (optional) and a towel to each practice.  Board shorts and bikini's are not considered appropriate attire for competitive swimming.

  • It is important to be on time for practice and ready to swim with goggles and caps on so that your swimmer will have the advantage for a proper warm-up time.

  • Practice schedules will be updated as needed on the calendar page for each squad.  You can also view attendance and practice set information using our MainSet program.

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Recommended Equipment

The most important piece of equipment for competitive swimming is a suit, followed closely by goggles.  Selecting the appropriate suit and goggles will allow your swimmer to progress at a steady pace.  Drag/Resistance is the 'biggest enemy' of a swimmer, therefore suits must be as drag free as possible.  We like to think 'less is more' at least with general competition/practice suits.  Page 2 of our clothing catalogue features a Guide to Swim Suit Selection.  You can view this by clicking here.  Good fitting goggles are a necessity for competitive swimmers.  Googles need to be of good quality to reduce the amount of 'fiddling with them' at practice and to help them stay on during dives.  Nothing breaks a swimmers confidence more than having to worry about their goggles coming off on the first length of a 4 length swim race.  The goggle selection noted in our guide are tried and tested favorites that tend to hold up better than others in practice and competition.  The third most important item, especially for our younger swimmers are swim fins.  We will spend a lot of time on kick development and body position as these are the fundamentals in which strong technique can be built on.  If you have any questions on items such as suits, googles, and equipment, do not hesitate to shoot us an email.

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Dual and Tri- meets are practice for the championship meets. It is when our team swims against one or more teams. They can be located either at our pool or at our opponent’s location. These meets are important to attend because it gives your swimmer an opportunity to get accustomed to swimming in meets, a chance to have their swim recorded and logged to see improvements, while at the same time creates camaraderie within our team.

During most dual and tri-meets, swimmers will usually swim up to 3 individual events and maybe a relay event or two.  The hosting team may elect to include alll of the events from the list or create a specific type of meet (such as a sprint only meet)  The events that you enter into the meet are entirely up to you.  If you need any advice on what to enter feel free to email us or talk to your coach.  Swimmers will also be able to swim in relays.  Coaches will select swimmers for relays to make up as many relays as possible.  If for some reason you are unable to swim in the relay, please let us know during the meet entry process so that we can exclude you from that particular relay ahead of time.  It is unfair for the other three members of the relay team to pull out of the relay after it has been set - therefore we need to know ahead of time.  To get an idea of the typical event list please look under the Time Standards tab on the website.

Warm-ups can vary based on the location of the meet.  Warm Up times for each meet will be posted on the website and communicated via email. ALWAYS BE SURE TO CONFIRM MEET WARM-UP AND START TIME.

Be sure to arrive by the start of warm-up.  This promptness will also ensure adequate time for the swimmer to adjust to the opposing teams pool and get the proper amount of time to warm –up, which will help eliminate injuries such as muscle strains.

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Championship Meets

Championship meets are important to attend. These are “team” meets where our team’s combined score could qualify us for a banner. These meets are large and more formal. There are many teams participating. Swimmers can be disqualified due to incorrect technique of starts, strokes, turns and finishes, therefore throughout the season we will work to make sure swimmers are swimming legal strokes.   Medals are awarded for finishes 1st through 3rd as well as ribbons through 8th place.  Team points are also awarded through 8th place.

As a team we like to try to get together for a team supper and or event during the season and/or championship meet time.  This is a great opportunity to meet other swim families away from the pool for once.

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When going to any meet, bring the following:

  • Goggles (extra pair, if possible)

  • Swim Cap - required for competition. Must be a Sharks swim cap.

  • Swim Suit(s)  - Race Brief/Suit.  For Championship Meets your swimmer may want to wear a 'tech suit'

  • Towel(s)

  • Permanent marker and highlighter for heat sheet

  • Snacks (usually available for purchase at a snack bar; some locations do not allow coolers)

  • Bottle of Water or Sport drink

  • Shoes that can get wet and easily slip off when ready to swim

  • Folding chairs for both you and your swimmer (s)

  • Championship Meets: Highlighter, pen (for heat sheets) and permanent marker for writing heat/lane information on the swimmers hand

  • Game boys, DS, books, card games are useful to pass time between heats. You are responsible for these items

  • Wear your Sharks apparel; we are a big team and it is great to be able to show it off.

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Check you swimmers(s) in with the coaches.  Make sure they get to their warm up area.  If you leave the team area with your child it is your responsibility to make sure your swimmer is lined up when it is time for them to swim.

Find yourself a place to situate your chairs. There is usually a MACR Sharks Team area. You can find it by looking for people wearing our team gear. If you are at a championship meet, purchase a heat sheet and identify your child’s placement in the events so that you know when your child will swim. Write event #, heat/lane information on your swimmers hand, so they will be sure which heat/lane they are in.

After warm-ups, the meets usually progress by gender, event and age group.  Girl’s events will always be odd numbered and boy’s events will always be even numbered.  Most large meets will have scoreboards that have the event number listed.

Below is an example of the events scheduled for a meet:


Event # 1 - 11&12 Years - Girls - 50 Yard Butterfly

Event # 2 - 11&12 Years - Boys - 50 Yard Butterfly

Event # 3 - 12-21 Years - Girls - 100 Yard Butterfly

Event # 4 - 12-21 Years - Boys - 100 Yard Butterfly

Event # 5 - 9&10 Years - Girls - 200 Yard Freestyle

Event # 6 - 9&10 Years - Boys - 200 Yard Freestyle


The events are separated into what they call “heats”.   Each “heat” is comprised of the number of swimmers for which there are lanes available.  For example, at our pool we have 6 lanes so we swim 6 swimmers at a time.  Some pools will have 8 lanes.  There will be multiple heats for each event.

Relay Teams are chosen based on Coaches discretion and will be posted on the bulletin boards prior to the meets.  Be sure to check with the coach before you leave a meet because your swimmer may be in a relay.

We hope that this information was helpful.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact Paul Brown ([email protected]) or Donald Pirrie ([email protected]) for more information.

Want to learn more?  Check out the Glossary of Swimming Terms link below.  This page will give you a complete list of swim team lingo :)


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