What is the overall philosophy of the competitive swim program at the Sussex Family YMCA?

The mission of the program has always been to develop "good swimmers and great kids." The lessons learned through competitive swimming will last a lifetime. Over the past few decades, SFY swimmers have had success at all ages in many different levels of competition. The goal of the program is to give kids a foundation of skills for life and provide them the opportunity to compete and excel based on their talent, skills and level of commitment.

We teach our swimmers to develop a set of priorities that starts with family and school, followed by swimming and other activities. We teach that goals and accomplishments will be achieved based on each individual’s set of priorities.

To help kids get to their goals, there are a variety of different training levels that fit nearly every degree of competitive swimmer. A coaching staff with a unique blend of skills, passion, and experience leads the program.


Swim Practices

How does my child move from one group to another?

The groups are based on age and ability and movement from one group to the next is based on achievement of test sets and coaches recommendations.

Can my child attend a practice with another practice group due to a conflict?

A swimmer should practice with their own group, unless they are told otherwise by a coach.

Can my child practice with the winter team but not participate in the dual meets?

No. In the Fall/Winter and Summer seasons, each swimmer must participate in our dual meet program (C&P League; DSA). Participating in competition is an integral part of being a member of the team.

For our spring season, swimmers are eligible to participate in our practices as there are only a few optional invitational swim meets. The High School Training Program is also an exception to this policy.

Can my child swim at SFY if they participate in another sport?

Yes, many of our swimmers participate in other sports. Part of being a good athlete is being a well rounded person. Participation in a variety of activies and sports aids kids in reaching our objective of being a part of developing “great kids.” If you are concerned about conflicts due to participation in other sports or activities, it is best to talk to your childʼs practice coach about this.

Does my child need to attend all the practices?

Swimmers are placed in practice a group to ensure the practices are age appropriate. Swimmers are expected to attend as many practices as possible, but we understand swimmers have other commitments. It is best to discuss your practice plans with your childʼs practice coach.

What equipment do I need to buy for my swimmer?

At a minimum, swimmers need a bathing suit and goggles and a swim cap is also recommended. Each training level has a recommended list of equipment found HERE.

Do I need to buy a team suit?

Yes, we ask swimmers to purchase the team suit. A team swim cap is also required for athletes who wear swim caps. Team suits can be ordered any time from our partner, The Swim Shop. A “Try-on Day” is generally held at the beginning of each competitive season to allow swimmers to assess the best fitting suit for their competitive level. Most, if not all, of the additional swimming equipment is available at The Swim Shop.

Swim Meets and Competitions

What are the different meets?

The types of meets that may be available during a swim season include dual meets, USA Swimming meets, and YMCA Invitational meets. While the various types of meets may sound confusing, they are just variations on the same concept of a swim meet. The difference is usually who sponsors the meets. YMCA Swimming and USA Swimming have adopted the same technical rules for competition.

DUAL MEETS – Dual meets are the meets within the YMCA C&P swim league for our Fall/Winter program and the DSA for our Summer program. These leagues represent other YMCA competitive swim programs in the region and/or local private swim clubs in our area. Each season, there are 3 to 5 dual meets per team. The Fall/Winter season runs from late September through February. The meets are usually held on a Saturday, some at home, some away. The Fall/Winter season culminates with a league championship meet in late February. The Summer season generally runs from June to July. Each season there are dual meets on Monday and Thursday, some at home, some away. Summer season also offers Invitational meet opportunities which are generally on weekends. The Summer season culminates with a championship meet at the end of July.

USA SWIMMING MEETS – These are meets accredited by USA Swimming. Many of these meets have time standard requirements for entry. USA Swimming meets allow swimmers to swim different events/distances than are offered at C&P swim meets. Some are local, some require travel and overnight stay.

YMCA INVITATIONALS – These meets are sponsored by a YMCA competitive swim team. These meets, like USA Swimming meets, allow swimmers to swim different events/distances than are offered at the C&P dual meets.

What are the YMCA District and National swim meets?

The meet referred to as Districts are the YMCA East Field South District Championships swim meet. This is a swim meet, usually held in March, against other YMCA swim teams from Maryland, Delaware, and Northern Virginia. To swim in the meet, swimmers must obtain a qualifying time (link on our Team website) in each event for which they swim at Districts.

YMCA Nationals (Y—Nats) are two swim meets (short course in the spring and long course in the summer) against competitive Y swim teams from around the country. Qualifying times must be met to participate in the meet.

What is the structure for USA Swimming meets?

USA Swimming establishes time standards, or "Cuts" for some of its major meets. Many meets are open for all swimmers. Swimmers are always striving to make their next cut, this encourages age group swimmers to “step up their swimming” to the next level. This allows swimmers at each age group to see where their times are relative to national standards and set personal goals to achieve the next time cut.

Who goes to which meets and who decides?

The coaching staff selects which swim meets each age group will attend. This is done at the beginning of season. Parents can choose which of the selected USA Swimming and Y invitational meets their age group swimmers attend and in which events they swim. All swimmers are expected to swim in Y dual meets and championship meets for which they qualify.

What are ʻwarm-upsʼ before the meets?

Like most sports, it is a good idea to thoroughly warm up before a swim meet. The idea is to warm up the muscles so to help prevent an injury. For the purpose of a meet you will have warmed up enough that you are not making a cold start and are ready to go all out from the start. Warm-ups also allow the swimmers to learn the intricacies of each pool (e.g., back stroke count).

How long are the dual meets?

The dual meets last around 3 hours. Keep in mind all swimmers will need to arrive at the pool prior to the meet to warm-up and must stay until the meet is over.

Will I have swim meets every weekend?

Swimmers will not have a swim meet every weekend. The swim team will have between 3 and 5 dual meets between early November and late January. In Summer, dual meets are scheduled in evenings during the week. Swimmers are expected to swim at all the dual meets.

Additional invitational and USA Swimming meets are scheduled throughout Fall/Winter and Summer swim seasons. Attendance at these meets is not required and it is up to each family to determine, which, if any, of these meets they attend.

For swim meets, can my child pick his or her events?

For the dual meets, league champs and districts, the coach will make the line up. This is to ensure that all swimmers can participate based on the meet line up and what best meets the team and swimmers interest. For some USA Swimming and Y Invitational meets, parents and athletes pick events. For other meets, the coaching staff selects events. Remember that good event selection can encourage development in and out of the pool. Coaches may recommend or change events based on this philosophy. If a swimmer in unsure of what to sign up for, consult with the practice coach what would be the best events to choose.

Who is allowed on deck during practice, meets?

For safety reasons only coaches and swimmers are allowed on the deck during practices and meets. Coaches are available to discuss specific issues before or after practice, if prior arrangements are made. Please refrain from approaching coaches at meets, they are focusing on helping all the children at the meet.

General Information

How can a parent get involved? To whom should a new parent talk to volunteer?

Because of the numerous volunteering opportunities that exist, there is something for everyone’s interest and desire. Timers, officials, concessions operator, banquet volunteers, team coordinators, party organizers, timing console operations, and many more are examples of positions that need to be filled. Coming soon will also be a Parent Advisory Committee which will be responsible for guiding our team volunteers and organizing events for fundraising and celebrating our swimmers’ success.

For now, please contact our team manager, Erika Schrader email below). She would love to answer any questions you may have about any of the roles or any of the training opportunities. A list of some of the volunteer roles available can be seen on our Team website.

What are the parent volunteer expectations?

Fortunately at SFY, we have always been blessed with wonderful parent volunteers who are dedicated to the activities of their children and who selflessly give of themselves to the program. For those of you who are new to SFY, we depend on the support of 100% of the parents whose children swim in the program. All swim meets are run completely by parent volunteers. For each home dual-meet, over 22 volunteers are needed. Away meets require more than 10 volunteers. And, for special SFY hosted championship meets such as the SFY Undertow Invitational many, many more volunteers are required. Additionally, there are many “behind the scenes” activities that occur peripherally on the day of a swim meet where we can use your talents and time.

As part of the volunteer process is the Y of Delaware requirement that all volunteers complete Safe Sport training (more below); it is expected that at least one adult for each family will have completed the Safe Sport training prior to our first seasonal meet. Training is provided by the Y at no cost to our Tsunami families.

We require each family to commit to a volunteer role for at least one of the away Dual meet and for all meets hosted by our home team at SFY. Parents may also be asked to time at invitationals and USA meets, and all families are expected to volunteer during each season.

What is Dryland?

Dryland is general fitness and body strengthening to compliment the work swimmers do in the pool. Age appropriate workouts may include strength training, weights, exercise equipment, group games, yoga, aerobics, or spin bikes.

What is Safe Sport?

The Safe Sport Act was created in reaction to the abuse found within various youth sports organizations, including USA Gymnastics. This act will ensure a new standard of care that will affect youth serving organizations across the country. The purpose of the law is to expand existing mandated reporting laws to all youth sport organizations that participate in international or interstate sporting events, which includes all YMCA of Delaware Swim Team Programs.

As a community-based organization concerned with the protection of all children, the YMCA of Delaware requires all Swim Team Parents/Guardians who volunteer with the team to complete training around child abuse prevention and our responsibility as mandated reporters of suspected child abuse.  In partnership with Praesidium Inc, the YMCA of Delaware will provide these trainings at no-cost for all swim team volunteers. More information about the training can be found under the “Safe Sport” tab on our website, sfyswim.com.

Do you require all your swimmers to have a USA Swimming registration?

We do not require swimmers to register with USA Swimming. Your practice level coach may recommend that your swimmer register with USA Swimming to offer more competitive opportunities for your athlete. If you choose not to register with USA Swimming, your child will still swim in the dual meets and invitational meets do not require USA Swimming registration for participation.

Who do I contact if I have questions not covered here?

If you cannot find information in the FAQ or on the sfyswim.com site about your questions about things like practices, scheduling, workouts, or training levels directly related to your swimmer(s), please contact Head Coach Anna Seiffert ([email protected]).

If you cannot find information in the FAQ or on the sfyswim.com site about your questions about things like volunteering, Safe Sport training, registering for meets, or using the website, please contact Team Manager Erika Schrader ([email protected]).