About the Lansdowne Lightning Swim Team

Welcome to the Lansdowne Lightning summer swim team! Having fun is the most important thing we can do. Most of the kids don’t care if we are in a top division or a bottom division. We’d all like to be division champions, which usually means going undefeated, but only one team out of five can usually claim this honor. Personal development is what is most important and for a swimmer that means improving your times. Our goals are to establish a healthy environment that encourages the kids to do their best, recognize the swimmers’ contributions and provide a memorable experience for the entire family.

We’ve all taken our kids to soccer, baseball, or other sports and probably stood by as two or three parents ran the team. Swimming is not like that. We can’t run a swim program without parental help! In fact, it takes over 50 parents to time, officiate and score a typical swim meet…not including the manpower needed for pool set up and tear down, running the concessions area or non-swimming team activities.

Swimming is unique in that there’s a place on the team for anyone eighteen or younger who can swim across the pool without assistance. How many other sports have kids five years old to eighteen years old and their parents on the same team participating in the same competition? It’s wonderful!


Although swimming is considered an individual sport, our summer league is structured with an emphasis on the team. Any team is only as good as the people on it; therefore, our expectations are simple:

  • Have fun!!!
  • Do your best – it’s a lot more important than being the best.
  • Pay attention to the coaches: With over 100 swimmers, disruptions aren’t fair to the other swimmers.
  • Keep your commitments! We plan on your being available for all swim meets unless you tell us you’re not available.

During the first week of the Clinic, coaches may require swimmers to demonstrate this minimum requirement.  Those swimmers unable to complete the task will be given a partial refund.

Swim Team Policies

The Lansdowne Lightning is a recreational swim team. We are part of the Old Dominion Swim League (ODSL). Our team seeks to develop individual swimmers physically. We also teach the kids about sportsmanship and what it is to be a part of a team. We hope this experience with the Lansdowne Lightning will help all swimmers to grow both in the sport of swimming and within themselves.


Membership on the Lansdowne Lightning is open to all Lansdowne residents from age 4 - 18. We may not accept outside swimmers, as the Lansdowne HOA requires that all families swimming with the Lansdowne Lightning be residents of Lansdowne. Families must be current with Lansdowne HOA dues in order to swim with the team!

Coaching Staff

The Lansdowne Lightning board hires the coaching staff. The coaches are responsible for all training and instruction of the swimmers. Coaches will be available for questions from parents. However, if you need to speak with a coach this must be done through email or conversations after practice. During practice it is very important for the coaches to stay focused solely on the swimmers. Also, when your child’s practice is over, another one may be starting. Please be aware of this before approaching the Coaches. The Coaches are responsible for the swimmers during practice and cannot be distracted. This is very important for everyone’s safety!


The Lansdowne Lightning uses the www.lansdownelightning.com website to post all messages regarding meets, practice times, etc. See Coaches button on Lansdowne Lightning website for Board Members and Coaches contact information. Please make sure that the information in your on-line account is accurate. This is our best way of communicating with our 200+ swimmers. Be sure to check the website daily for the latest changes and information.

Parent Meeting

Parents of all new and returning team members are required to attend the Parent Meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to review any changes that have come up over the winter, meet the coaches, meet the board, familiarize yourself with plans for the season, and answer questions that you may have.


All swimmers should have a good pair of goggles. Speedo makes a good pair of goggles (Jr. Hydrospec), which can be found at any local sporting goods store or Ida Lee. Goggles can be found at your local Kohl’s, Target etc. Swim Caps are required for girls and boys with long hair past ears at practices and meets. Caps with team logo are available for purchase from the team. Contact our Spirit Wear Coordinator, for more information.

Our team suit can be purchased on-line.

Items needed for practice:

  • 2 pairs of goggles
  • Towel(s) 1 or 2
  • Practice suit, PLEASE DO NOT wear your team suit to practice if possible as the color can fade due to the chlorine in the pool.
  • Possibly a sweatshirt/jacket especially for the first several practices where the water is still cool and the air as well.
  • Swim cap if applicable

Items needed for meets:

  • 2 towels 1 to sit on in your age group section on the deck and 1 to dry off with.
  • Bathing suit (team suit preferred)
  • A sweatshirt/jacket for those early morning meets
  • Sunscreen
  • Team Swim cap if applicable
  • 2 pairs of goggles, bring extra goggles just in case one breaks
  • Possibly a sweatshirt/jacket especially for the first several practices where the water is still cool and the air as well.

Please write your child’s name on everything!

Non-Swimmer Supervision

The Lansdowne Lightning requires that a parent or other designated adult supervise all children. The coaching staff is not responsible for non-swimmers. Non-swimmers will not be allowed into the pool during meets. Meets are very busy times. It is for the safety of your younger children that we ask you to arrange for their supervision while you are working at the meets. Exchanging childcare with another parent may work well.

Old Dominion Swim League

Old Dominion Swim League (ODSL) is comprised of approximately 25 teams, from all over Loudoun County. They are as follows: Belmont Sharks, Brambleton Bettas, Broadlands Piranhas, Courts & Ridges Lightning, Eagles at Exeter, Evergreen Meadows Makos, Franklin Park Stingrays, Greenway Gators, Ida Lee Eeliminators, Kincaid Forest Stingrays, Lansdowne Lightning, Lenah Run Froggers, Loudoun Valley Torpedos, Lovettsville Dolphins, Loudoun Valley Viperfish, Potomac Crossing Barracudas, Potomac Station Sailfish, Red Rock Rockets, Rivercrest Riptide, South Riding Stingrays, Spring Lakes Dolphins, Stoneleigh, Stone Ridge Sharks, Tavistock Tsumanis, Woodlea Manor Watermocs.

Swim Team Schedule

The Lansdowne Lightning Schedule is posted under Events.

Practice Times

Practice Schedule is part of the Lightning Schedule.

Practices need to start on time and be uninterrupted. If parents want to talk to any of the coaches, please email them or wait until after ALL practices have finished. Also, remember that our practices are back-to-back. When your child’s session is over, the coach may be starting the next group’s practice, and not be available for personal discussions.


The coaches will be working on the basics at first (kicking, stroke drills, etc.), slowly moving toward full swim strokes. The coaches will talk with the swimmers in each age group and let them know what they need to work on. Swimmers will be broken up into different lanes depending on their stroke ability.

Swimmers need to attend weekly practices to be considered to swim in a meet. If you have conflicts with your time please email the coaches as soon as you can so another time can be worked out.

Discipline: If a swimmer becomes a problem and disrupts other swimmers during practice, a coach may dismiss him or her from the rest of that practice. The coach will contact the parents to discuss any ongoing discipline problems.

Social Calendar

Dates and events are subject to change and are managed and produced by the social committee.

Times Trials

At the beginning of each swim season, Time Trials gives the swimmers the opportunity to participate in a mock meet setting and establish their initial times for the season. At time trials, your swimmer’s time for each race will be important in seeding the meets throughout the season, and can also be used as a motivating tool to encourage improvement.  For returning swimmers and their families, it is a good time to refresh themselves with how a meet runs, and new swimmers and their families will get a taste of what a meet is like. Parent helpers will be required for this meet, as well as all meets. If you are a parent and new to the team, time trials will give you a good feel for how a meet is run, where you need to be and how exciting it is to cheer on your swimmer.

Swim Meets

Participation on a swim team is a big time commitment for the parents and swimmers. Swim meets take place on either or both Saturdays and Wednesdays. Arrival times for Saturday meets are usually to be on deck by 7:00 am, ready to get in the water by 7:15 am. Wednesday evening meets usually require the swimmers to be on deck by 4:00 pm and ready to get in the water by 4:15 pm. Saturday morning meets start promptly at 8 am and Wednesday evening meets start promptly at 5 pm. Please check the website for any changes to meet times/places and on deck times.

All swimmers should come to the meet, prepared to swim, with their caps and goggles on. Due to parking issues it is necessary to arrive ready to get in the water. Please drop your child at the pool entrance, when necessary, due to parking restrictions. At our pool and other teams’ pools please be aware of and obey any “NO PARKING SIGNS”. It is imperative that every meet begins on time! 

Meet Events

All competitions are by age group and gender except where it calls out for mixed gender or mixed age for relays. The lengths of the individual races are as follows:

Age Distance Age Distance

6 & under:

25 meters


50 meters


25 meters


50 meters


50 meters (25 meters butterfly)

15 – 18:

50 meters

The swim events are Freestyle, Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly, Medley Relays, Individual Medleys (IM), and Freestyle Relay.

An IM (Individual Medley) is for swimmers that can swim all four strokes in one race. The order of events would be Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and Freestyle. A coach will determine if a child can swim an IM based on their performances at meets and practices. All strokes are 25 meters; the total for the IM would be 100 meters. A swimmer must have a legal stroke for all four of the strokes to be considered for an IM.

A relay will consist of 4 different swimmers in their age group. Each swimmer will swim 25 meters of an assigned stroke. The order of strokes is Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly, and Freestyle for the Medley Relays.

Swimmers should sign to swim a maximum of 3 Individual events and up to 2 relays at each meet.

Meet Check-In

Swimmers are required to check in with their Age Group Coordinator and/or Coach at least 30 min before the meet starts. Failure to comply with this rule will cause the swimmer to be dropped from relays and individual events. Home team warm-ups begin at least 30-45 min prior to meet start time. Swimmers need to check in before warming up.

During a Meet

Swimmers should remain in the age group area designated by an age group sign during the meet. This allows swimmers to rest between races and to be found in time for their events. Playing cards or reading is encouraged during this time. Also, it sure is a great time for socializing with their age group friends! If for some reason a swimmer needs to leave the team area (i.e. Bathroom, getting something to eat, seeing their parents) they should notify their Age Group Coordinator before leaving. Remind the parents that it makes it easier if they come to check on their swimmers versus letting the swimmers going to see them because the child maybe swimming in the next event. Swimmer will not be allowed into the pool while the meet is going on (whether the meet is at our pool or another teams).

The Age Group Coordinator volunteers get the swimmers lined up in order of heats/lanes. It is the swimmer’s responsibility to stay in their place once the Age Group Coordinator has put them there. If the swimmer needs to go to the restroom they must notify a volunteer or the Clerk of Course.

If a swimmer needs to leave before his/her event they will need to notify their coordinator or they will be considered a no-show. The ultimate responsibility belongs to the swimmers!

Missed Meets

Every parent (or swimmer) is required to designate online for each meet whether or not your swimmer will participate in the meet. Pay attention to emails regarding deadlines. Seeding meets takes time. Adding swimmers after the fact is not easy and in most cases cannot be done. If you do not designate for a meet we will assume your swimmer is not swimming. With our new timing system we will not be able to add swimmers at the meet. If you designate yes and then cannot come you must let the Coach know. Sometimes we have to scratch a relay because we were not notified of a swimmer not attending and it hurts the others that wanted to swim. If you are a no-show and you do not communicate that, you let down the other swimmers on that relay team. The swimmers look forward to the relays and really enjoy working with the other swimmers on that relay team. Once a meet is seeded and merged with the other team it is very difficult to add swimmers. It is critical for the success of the meet to know who will and will not be able to attend the meet. If you need to leave early or arrive late you need to also let the coach/team manager know.

Post-Season Meets

There are two (2) types of “Post- Season” meets. The Divisional Meets and the All Star Meet. There will be an alternate structure for the Divisional Meets. This alternate structure will not impact the regular season structure or schedule. This structure will be determined by the board each year to ensure that each Divisional Meet will have approximately the same number of teams and swimmers. The All Star Meet is only for those that meet qualifying times.

Post-season Meet Criteria and Qualifications

Any swimmer that competes in at least two (2) League-sanctioned meets during the current regular season will be eligible to compete in one (1) of the two (2) Post-Season meets. A swimmer may only swim in one (1) Post-Season meet, either Divisionals or All-Stars, but not both. A swimmer without an official league time (NT) in an event cannot swim that event in the Divisional Meets or the All-Star Meet.

The League will establish an initial cut time for each event equivalent to the 16th fastest time from the previous year’s All-Star Meet.

The League Board will establish a committee to re-evaluate the initial cut times after the 2nd meets of the season. The goal of the new cut time will be to establish a benchmark where the swimmers with the top 24 fastest times will go to All-Stars.

Any swimmer to achieve a time better than the final cut time will qualify for All-Stars. There may be ultimately more than 24 swimmers in an event in the All-Star Meet.

If a swimmer qualifies for 1 event for All-Stars, the swimmer may choose to go to All-Stars in the qualified event OR go to his/her Divisional Meet in any other event except the one qualified for in All-Stars.

If the swimmer chooses to swim at his/her divisional Meet, the swimmer forfeits the currently qualified for spot in All-Stars.

Inclement Weather Policy

Please note the Coton Pool House closure due to thunder or lightning.  If thunder or lightning can be seen or heard all patrons and staff must clear the deck of the pool. The pool will remain closed for 30 minutes from the last sound of thunder and 1 hour from the sight of lightning. You can also check with the Coton Pool to confirm if the pool is opened or closed, phone number: 571.333.0665.

Ribbon Policy

Ribbons are awarded to swimmers for every meet and race they compete in. No ribbons will be given out at the meets. Ribbons will be handed out at the next practice after the meet whenever possible.

Ribbons can be found in the Ribbon Box, filed in a folder under the first letter of the last name of the swimmer. The box is out at every practice.

All questions about ribbons should be directed to the Board Chairman. Please email the board chairman, Jeff Ferguson, with any questions you may have. Please let him know your swimmer’s name, the race, meet and what the problem is. Any information will be helpful in tracking down and correcting the problem.


All ages are eligible for placement ribbons 1st – 6th place as well as participant ribbons for swimmers who participated in the swim meet. If a swimmer places after 6th place, they will get a participation ribbon only. This is for individual events and relays. If a swimmer is disqualified (DQ) they will receive a participation ribbon only. Heat winner ribbons are given out for each heat at the end of that heat. The heat winner volunteer will distribute them to the swimmers.