Life Time Titans 

Minnesota Swim Team

Our team is a year-round competitive USA Swimming team offering high quality, professional coaching and technique instruction for all ages and abilities. The goal of our team is to promote a lifetime of wellness through the sport of swimming.

 LifeTime Team Manual

Table of Contents

1)      Registration and Fees

a.      USA Swimming annual membership – Minnesota Swimming, Inc

b.      Life Time dues

2)      Meet Entries and Procedures

a.       How to enter a swim meet

i.      Commit to swim

ii.      Entering events

iii.     When entering with NT is not appropriate

b.      How to determine meet fees and when and where to make payments

i.      Individual entrant fee

ii.      Splash fee

iii.      Relays

c.       Different swim meet levels

3)      Swimsuits and Training Gear

a.      How and where to find a training suit

b.      Proper training equipment

c.      How and where to find a mid-season racing suit

d.      When to purchase a high-end competition suit

e.      Proper care of suits

4)      Practices

a.      On time

b.      What to do with questions and who to ask for help

c.      Sitting and communicating with others positively

d.      Dryland

e.      Eating for success

5)      Swim Meets

a.      Finding directions to a swim meet

b.      How to read the Timeline

c.      Be on time

d.      What if your child is on a relay, but you arrive late?

e.      Meet programs

f.       Camping out

g.      Rules about the deck and taking pictures

e.      Food during a meet

 6)      How to be a swim team parent

a.      At home

b.      At meets

c.      At practice

7)      Team Policies

a.      Behavior and academic expectations

b.      Anti-Bullying

c.      Team Travel

d.      Electronic Commumication

                                                     




 

Registration and Fees

USA Swimming annual membership – Minnesota Swimming, Inc

            Every year, each member of the LTMN program needs to be registered with Minnesota Swimming, Inc. No one can participate in the LTMN program without this registration.  You cannot participate in practices or meets. We might give members a week or two after initial try-outs, but those who are veteran members cannot be delinquent in this area. This is an absolute necessity, and swimmers who are not in compliance will be removed from practice until this membership is taken care of. Upon registration for the swim team, the MSI fee will be added on to your membership account. Veteran members of the team will see this charge on their account each year to ensure continued compliance. 

              The 2019 year-round fee is $68. Of that total, $60 goes to USA Swimming and $8 goes to the Local Swimming Chapter, Minnesota Swimming, Inc.  The purpose of the fee is to help offset costs of the National Governing Body, headquartered in Colorado Springs. Once you are a member of USA Swimming, you will get a Rule Book, electronic information, a swimming magazine, and a very strong insurance coverage in the event of an accident while participating in a certified USA Swimming activity.  

Life Time dues

            Every member of the LTMN program needs to be a member of Life Time. There are various membership options, whether personal or family. Once you are a member of Life Time, you have access to anything within the Life Time facility and depending on your membership level you might have access to other Life Time facilities. This means you can use the weight room, exercise machines, sauna, eucalyptus room, schedule a massage, find a personal trainer, or dine at the café. 

            Beyond the membership in the local Life Time, swimmers on the LTMN team pay swim team dues. The dues are based on your training group, and while slight variations exist in different Minnesota locations, these are the general monthly dues:

Junior Team - $80-100

Bronze - $100-110

Silver - $120

Gold - $130-140

Senior - $150-160

            The dues are based on the group the swimmer is in, and not on the number of minutes in a practice. When you join the swim team, you are part of a whole program. Your swim team dues help pay the costs of the entire coaching staff, not just your group coach. As you spend more years in the pool and become faster in races, you move up to a higher group and pay more, but your actual cost/minute decreases. In a way, you are being rewarded for your years in the program and your success in races.

            Additionally, it is the policy of Life Time to offer a discount of 25% for additional members on the swim team (or Life Time swim lessons). Life Time wants to have swimming be a sport enjoyed by a many family members as possible, so we encourage our parents to look into the Masters program that swims in the morning or other smaller children in the family to join our swim lesson program.

It is expected that all members make their payments. Failure to pay dues and membership fees will result in dismissal from the team. If there is ever a serious situation to a family, we encourage the parents to talk directly with the Aquatics Manager or the Regional Manager and various options can be discussed.

   


 

Meet Entries and Procedures

            The great majority of members in the LTMN team participate in swim meets. The purpose of the swim meet is to race swimmers and assess progress against times. While Life Time will occasionally host mini meets, most of the athletes will travel to other sites across the state and region to participate in competitions. This section will guide families through the process of entering a swim meet.

Life Time Meets

            Several times each season, Life Time will host to an entry-level mock meet or intersquad meet. Swimmers will compete in a variety of offered events for a nominal entry fee. These meets often are not sanctioned by USA Swimming and often will not have certified meet officials. No one is disqualified. Anyone can participate. The meets typically run about 2-3 total hours. It is just a fun way to spend a weekend afternoon. You get a chance to see how fast you are in a race, as well as learn a little bit about competing and race strategy. If you make a mistake, you will be told what you can work on in practice. 

USA Swimming Sanctioned Meets

Meets that are sanctioned by USA Swimming are approved locally by Minnesota Swimming, Inc. These meets have certified stroke and turn judges who watch for illegal strokes and turns. They also have a meet Starter who gives the command to “take your marks” and sounds the horn to start the race. The Meet Referee is in charge of the meet to make sure that all rules for the competition are followed and all meet officials are doing their job to ensure fair competition. If you make a mistake at one of these meets, you are disqualified and the coach receives a yellow slip noting the infraction. Everyone disqualifies at some point, and the DQ slip is an opportunity to focus on what you can do correctly in the next race as well as what you need to work on in practice. These meets are much longer than a Life Time meet, but ribbons and medals are awarded to top finishers and the times achieved are “official” and can be used for entry into the championship meets at the end of the season.

When the LTMN team travels to another location for a swim meet, there are fees required of each swimmer to participate. There is a typical “entrant fee” that is a specific amount of money required from each swimmer. The common fee is $2.50 per swimmer. Then there is a “splash fee” which is a specific amount of money required from each swimmer for each event that swimmer enters. The fee can range from $2.50 per splash up to $5.50 per splash at a championship meet. Some host teams simply charge a set fee regardless of the number of races you choose to swim.

 

How to enter a swim meet

            The swimming year is divided into short course and long course seasons. The short course season features competitions in 25 yard pools and runs from mid-September through mid-March. The long course season features competitions in 50 meter pools and runs from April through mid-August. Swim meets are awarded to Minnesota teams on a bid and vote process at annual meetings of the Minnesota Swimming, Inc House of Delegates meeting in April. For information on the entire meet schedule for a given year, log onto the MSI website at:

http://www.mnswim.org/Home.jsp?team=czmnlsc

Click on the link to “Meets and Events” to see what is offered and help you schedule your season.

            The coaches select the specific competitions that the team will participate in, and this information is sent out to the families via email. When the host club is ready, they will make their meet information public, and swimmers can begin the process of entering into the meet.

 

From the home page of Team Unify, click the heading “Events,” and you will see the meet presented. You will have three choices to make. You can choose to “attend,” “decline,” or remain “uncommitted.” If you want to enter the meet, you click on “attend.” Your child’s name will appear with all of the events that are available for competition. United States Swimming has a data site that keeps track of the best times of every registered athlete.

*The Team Unify program was purchased by Life Time, and it is the software that manages our entry process. It is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL that parents check the Team Unify information about the swimmers to make certain that the swimmer name in Team Unify is IDENTICAL to the name on the USA Swimming Registration card. Any variation in the spelling of the name, or the use of a nickname for Team Unify that is not the same as the USA Swimming Registration card will cause the swimmer to be “kicked out” of the entry process, no appear on the meet program, or at the least be red-flagged by the host team and cause anxiety on the deck for the meet coach, meet referee, and host entry people.*

1)      If you are a registered veteran athlete, times will appear alongside the events that are offered at the swim meet. You merely click on the event and the box will become yellow, indicating successful entry.

2)      If you are a registered veteran athlete who has achieved legitimate times during the middle school, high school, or some other season, and those times do not appear in the entry boxes, please send an email to the coach with the events and times, and the coach can override the system and use those times for entry.

3)      If you are a newly registered athlete, there will be no times alongside the events, but a designator of “NT” will be present, indicating “No Time.” This means that the swimmer does not have a legitimate time to enter that event.

a.       The parent can keep the NT designation for that event. The swimmer will go to the swim meet and will race in the early heats of competition against other swimmers who also have an NT designation. The risk is that many coaches are uncertain about the time a swimmer might get or else not willing to enter a time that he/she feels is readily attainable. Sometimes, the coach is just too lazy to fix the entry time. Often the result is a few swimmers in that heat going very fast, a few going very slow, and a few in between. This is not healthy competition.

b.      The parent can keep the NT designation and notify the coach of a time that was achieved in a middle school, high school, or country club meet. The coach can then over-ride the system and enter the appropriate time. Or, the coach can simply look over the entries and make an educated guess based on practice.

c.       Occasionally, meets offer a category entitled “Open.” The meet will read either A/B/C-Open or B/C-Open. This term “open” means that there is no minimum entry time for the C level competition, nor is there a limit to the age of the swimmer. These events are always in the 15-O age group with C Times appropriate to 15-16 year-old swimmers. Certainly, a 10 year-old or a 12 year-old can enter events with the “open” designation. This might be useful when a swimmer has a commitment during the race day and can only swim in the afternoon, or that swimmer needs to race in an event that is not offered in the swimmer’s age group that day. However, please keep these considerations in mind:

           i.      The swimmer will be racing older swimmers

          ii.      There is a maximum number of events allowed each day.

         iii.      Younger kids who race some swims in the morning and then wait all afternoon to race an open event are usually tired by that time.

d.      The swimmers should make every effort to race in the appropriate age groups at every meet. Entering the open category should be reserved ONLY for special circumstances.

4)      There always is a maximum number of events that a swimmer can swim on a given day of the meet. Some meets allow 4 events a day, others offer 5. Relays NEVER count toward the swimmer’s number of events. Any meet that offers prelims and finals will limit the total number of swims in the entire meet as well as a typical limit of 3 events per day. If the swimmer enters too many events, the coach will have to choose one or two for delete, or the host team could deny entry for that swimmer. The entry limit can be found in the meet information on the LifeTime website in the events file or on the MSI website under the file specific for that meet.

5)      Pay attention to the entry deadlines for all swim meets. Each host team has the right to determine whether they have enough room or lane space to complete the meet within acceptable time limits generated by Minnesota Swimming, Inc. The host team can cut off entries, and clubs can be denied entry into the competition. Our team will make every effort to get the entries into the host team early, so we are not denied entry.

6)      Once the entries have been completed, the deadline reached, and the coaches have made final checks of the entries, our team will be entered into the competition. There is a window after this where we can revise our entries and resubmit.  Once the closing deadline is reached you are fully committed to that meet, and are responsible for all fees. There is no way to get out of a swim meet once the entry deadline has passed. If a sudden conflict arises, you will miss the meet, but you are still responsible for the fees. There are no exceptions.

7)      There is a typical "entrant fee" that is a specific amount of money required from each swimmer.  The common fee is $2.50 per swimmer.  Then there is a "splash fee" which is a specific amount of money required from each swimmer for each event that swimmer enters.  The fee can range from $2.50 per splash up to $5.50 per splash at championship meets.  Some host team simply charge a set fee regardless of the number of race you choose to swim.  Lifetime will write a meet check to the host team after the meet entry deadline is past. The coaches will then submit a meet expense form to the Aquatics Department Head who will then make an automatic deduction from the LifeTime account exactly equal to the cost of the swimmer's entrant and splash fees..

8)      Relays 

a.       Relays are determined by the coaches and are based solely on official best times done during that season, either as a relay lead-off split or in an individual race. Gut feelings, practice attitudes, parent requests, and others will have no bearing about who participates in a relay. Relay participants will be selected on a best time basis, with those times having been swum during that season. What was accomplished last season, during middle school or high school, or in a practice will not be part of the decision-making process, unless those times are official in the governance of USA Swimming.

b.      Relay orders are also determined by the coaches and take into consideration specific strategies, opponents, and performance. Occasionally, a special need will arise and the lead-off swimmer will be chosen to get a specific time for a future meet.

c.       The relays are determined before the meets, and if a family is not present in warm-ups ½ hour prior to the start of the meet, the coach will put someone else on the relay.

d.      The fee for the relays will be paid to LifeTime as part of the payment for the next competition of the swimmers. Coaches will keep track of relay participants and inform the Aquatics Department Head AFTER the meet. At that time, the appropriate fees for relay participation will be deducted from the account of the family. IF A SWIMMER HAS BEEN SCHEDULED TO PARTICIPATE IN A RELAY IN ADVANCE OF THE MEET, AND THAT SWIMMER DOES NOT SHOW UP FOR THE RELAY AND A REPLACEMENT CANNOT BE FOUND, THAT SWIMMER WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ENTIRE RELAY FEE. .

e.       In the event of a 200 medley relay for the older swimmers, where 50 yard races are not swum, the relay participants will be selected based on best times in the 100 yard or meter distances of the strokes.

 


 
 
  
  • B/C Meets are for any swimmer who has not yet achieved an "A" time in an entered event.  These are the perfect meet for our new swimmer who has never swam in a meet before, and they will be able to record some of their first ever race times!

 

  • A Meets can be attended by any swimmer who has achieved an "A" time in an entered event.  This can be seen as an opportunity to race against good competition and try their best to get their CHAMP times.

 

  • A/B/C - Open Meets are for any swimmer to attend.  These meets are great for team bonding because we expect a large number of committed athletes at the few meets like these which are offered.

 

  • C Finals is a swim meet staged at the end of each swim season exclusively for swimmers who have official C times. They can swim races in this meet in events that they have achieved a qualifying C time from an officially sanctioned USA Swim Meet. They cannot swim events that they have recorded official B or A times, and they cannot swim in any events that they have not made a C time. If they made a new B time at this meet, they can swim that event next week at the MRC meet.
 
  • The MRC meet is called Minnesota Regional Championships. This is a meet for anyone who has an A or B time, and anyone 8 years and younger who even have champ times. This meet is the final opportunity to earn a Champ time. Kids must have achieved an official B or A time in order to participate in this event, and those who have champ times are not permitted to swim those specific events with the exception of the 8 & Under swimmers.
 
  • State Age Group Championships is a meet for any swimmer (14 years of age or younger) who has achieved a Champ time in an event, or has won an event at their MRC competition for their age group.  Any swimmer may be asked by their coach to participate in a relay at this meet, as long as one or more members of that relay have achieved a Champ time and are entered in the meet.
 
  • Senior State Championships is a meet for any swimmer (15 years of age or older) who has achieved a Champ time in an event, or has won an event at their MRC competition for their age group.  Any swimmer may be asked by their coach to participate in a relay at this meet, as long as one or more members of that relay have achieved a Champ time and are entered in the meet.
 
  • Junior National Championships is a meet for any swimmer of any age under 19 who is able to accomplish the feat of achieving the qualifying time for an event.  This meet is an elite level meet and should be regarded as an honor for any athlete that is able to attend.  If a swimmer can achieve a qualifying time in an event they may swim up to (2) bonus events, as long as they achieve the bonus time standard.  The 50 yard fly/back/breast are considered events, however, can only be swum if the cut for the 100 yard event of that stroke is achieved.
  

 

Swimsuits and training gear

Training suits

Swim suits are much easier to buy for the guys than for the girls. The first suit you will purchase is a training suit. This should come from the back room grab bag bins. These suits are far less expensive and you will not feel like you are spending money every few months to an excess. The training suit should be what you normally think is the right size. It will get more loose-fitting with time and wear, but the looser the suit, the more physical drag in the water from that suit. This will result in slower training times and more physical work needed to swim back and forth. Do not worry … this is the goal of the swimmers and the coaches. It is a very wise idea to purchase two or even three suits, and take turns wearing them. When they really get worn down, you put the stretched-out suit over the tighter suit in practice and tie knots in the outer suit to keep it together until it simply falls apart. Suits are made by Speedo, TYR, Nike, Arena, and others, and come in a variety of styles, colors, and designs. Each swimmer should choose what manufacture and style fits best in practice. While the older guys want to wear the ugliest suit on the rack, because this is perceived by everyone as “most cool,” the girls will be more cautious. Parents are strongly encouraged to take the swimmer to the swim shops and try them on for look and feel. Training suits will fit more loose, and you need to decide whether you prefer lycra or nylon, as well as which brand fits best and provides the greatest range of motion.

 

Racing suits

A racing suit is an entirely different deal. When the swimmer is ready to compete in a meet, you will want the tightest suit you can squeeze into. The tighter the suit, the better. You can find tight-fitting suits in the grab bag bins and out on the floor, but try them on first, and please get tight suits. The physics of “drag” in the water from loose-fitting suits is a serious issue and significant time is lost during a race when the suit is poorly fitted to the swimmer. The meet suit is only to be worn in competitions, and never at practices until it is too loose to be practical for a race. You treat these suits more carefully than the practice suits too. Rinse them after a meet in water, and hang them to dry. NEVER put a suit in the wash. Do not leave them wet in the bag either because they will stink after a few days.

 

High-performance suits

When swimmers reach a point where state meet, zones, and other high level meets become the goal, there is a high-performance suit. These suits often exceed $200 in cost and become an investment. Your swim shop representative can give you advice on the types of suits, but the general rule of thumb on the fit is “if it takes a long time to get on and it hurts while you are putting it on, it fits!” Squeeze into the smallest suit that you can find and the performance will be noticeably improved. This is not imaginary or emotional, but honest physics based on less resistance from drag, as well as suit technology to maximize buoyancy and water repellant ability. I do not recommend anyone getting one of the high-performance until a minimum age of 12, and these suits should only be worn at championship meets. They wear out much faster than other suits, and many swimmers will use them for 3-5 total swim meets. Start saving money now, and remind yourself that hockey is still much more expensive and the water colder.

 

Caps and Goggles

Next on the list is a pair of goggles. Please get goggles that work, fit tight on the eyes, and keep the water out. Nothing is worse that goggles that leak during workouts or fall off during a dive. Goggles are far more complex an issue than in the past. You can buy goggles for smaller heads, wider-spaced eyes, large eyes, etc. You can get goggles that are tinted for outdoor use or even mirrored. High contrast goggles in various tints are best. Finally, get several pairs. I know this bothers all parents to no end, but EVERY swimmer loses their goggles several times during the year. Get a few pairs, and keep the spares in the bag at practice. When one pair breaks, which is also common, you have a back-up handy.

You have a training suit, competition suit, and goggles. Now find a swim cap. Most swimmers are content with a generic latex cap. Life Time has team caps for sale. You can get a cheaper latex cap, a more expensive silicone cap, or a silicone cap with your name on it. Kids lose caps as readily as goggles, so buy a few if you can. Some kids like a “dome” cap. The 2012 Olympians and Paralympians used the dome caps. These are thick caps that fit OVER the team cap and are believed by some to reduce resistance or at least stand a better chance of staying on for the entire race. Personally, a shaved head is the simple solution, but not all girls like this notion, so you could consider the extra expense of the dome cap.

 

Other equipment

Finally, there are additional pieces of equipment to make your personal swimming gear complete. Find a mesh bag. These come in a variety of colors and sizes. They are great places to put wet suits, caps, and goggles after practice. Take the entire bag home and hang it up, minus the suits, in a place in the house where you can dry things easily. A swim bag is the next item on the list. This is the large bag that looks like a backpack for swimming. You put your clothes in there when you swim in practice or at a meet, as well as your dry towel. The wet stuff goes into the mesh bag, and the dry stuff into the dry bag. Go to the local swim shop and find what suits you best, and also looks like what the other kids have so you will not feel out of style on the deck.

Other pieces of equipment for the swimmer and those bags are flippers. Fins are used by every swimmer on the team since they help in teaching stroke technique, build cardiovascular endurance on kicking sets, and offer coaches some variety in practice sets. While you are getting fins, you can purchase your own kickboard if you want. Older kids use paddles on a regular basis, and I am VERY opinionated on the best types of paddles to get. You will see them on the older kids at practice. Get the red or the green paddles for smaller hands, and the yellow or blue for larger hands. In my view, every other design is less than what I recommend from my experience as a coach, so please ask me for my recommendation on paddles. Once you get them, I will remove the wrist strap and the swimmer will only have a place to put the middle finger. The reason for only the finger strap is to teach proper hand position during the finish of the stroke. Paddles are used by the Gold and Senior groups, and are not to be purchased for those in the Silver and Bronze.

Finally, the use of a snorkel is highly effective in teaching swimmers how to roll their hips. Snorkels come in short and long varieties and in multiple colors. The local swim shops have these as well, and I encourage the swimmers in the Senior group to get a good snorkel for training..

LABEL EVERYTHING WITH PERMANENT MARKER!  Keep an eye for worn out labels and LABEL THEM AGAIN. Get your name on the suit tag, flippers, paddles, and the swim bags. Kids invariably walk out of the pool with the wrong fins and paddles, and if your name is on them clearly, you will get them back.

 


 

Practices

This next section deals with the swim team practices for the sake of the swimmer as well as the coach. It is obvious, but will be stated anyway … you cannot get better by mere attendance at the practice pool, nor is there truth to quality of practice is more important that quantity. The adage, “practice makes perfect,” is not true, for it is more important to note that “perfect practice makes perfect,” but even this is insufficient swimmers. Being at practice on a regular basis, listening and committing yourself to practicing well, and using each practices as an opportunity to move closer to goals is the only way to be successful in swimming. The information in the paragraphs below will help parents maximize the success of their children.

 

Be On Time

Being “on time” means being at the edge of the pool with cap, goggles, water bottle, and other equipment at the scheduled time for the start of practice. It does not mean showing up at Life Time’s front desk at the designated time, or strolling out of the locker doors when practice is starting. It means READY TO GO at the start time of practice. Parents need to take into account the time needed to find a parking spot (a particular challenge at all facilities, but more so in winter). Swimmers need to have everything they need in their mesh bags BEFORE walking out of the house door. Most kids come to the pool with clothes on over their suits and they simply get ready in the bleachers. Others need more time in the locker rooms to get ready, and therefore these swimmers need to be at the pool a little earlier. Still other swimmers take pre-practice showers or wet their hair before putting on the cap, etc. All of this must be taken into consideration so that enough time is built in BEFORE the scheduled start of practice.

 

What to do with questions and who to ask for help

During the actual practice, the coaches are charged with the responsibility of carefully administering the practice, managing the lanes, and looking after the safety of the kids in the pool. There are many questions that parents may have, but often the coaches are not able to answer those questions due to the necessity to be coaching. Parents with questions are encouraged to wait with such questions until practice is over or to ask the coach when a good time might be found to have the question answered. Coaches will do their best to reply in a good-natured manner, but the occasional shortness of the response of “please wait, I am busy with a specific swim set,” should not be considered rude. Hopefully, the coaches will finish that “set” and then be able to listen to the parent with more patience or schedule a time to talk.

The best source for information is to find a veteran parent and ask. We have parents in the program who have been through the entirety of a swimming career, from the entry level swimmer to the first C meet, to the first Champ meet, to Zones, Nationals, and College. These parents who have the biggest picture that was gained from experience are the best sources of knowledge. So too, great information comes from parents who have kids in the same age group as your son or daughter, but also have an older swimmer. Find these parents in the bleachers, and you will most often find your answers to your questions.

For many parents, getting involved in club swimming and all of the little things that come with a competitive team is like drinking water from a fire hose. Asking questions along the way, and reading this manual can reduce the deluge.

 

Sitting and communicating with others positively

Okay, this is a section of great significance. During practice, as well as during swim meets, most parents will sit with others and talk. Typically the talk will be about swimming in general, and their children or the practice specifically. This is the time for parents to learn more about the sport of swimming, the workings of the team, and to share words of wisdom from veteran parents to new parents.

Over my years of coaching, I have also found the seating area at the pool and at the meet to be a time to engage in some behaviors and conversations that are highly detrimental to the swimmers, the staff, and the program. Here are some dos and don'ts:

Number one: Never talk negatively about the coaching staff or the team when you are sitting in the stands with fellow team parents or even parents from other teams. This cancerous conversation does nothing but harm the program. If you are bitter about any issue, take it up with the coach. Vent your frustrations, express your opinion, and work toward a place of mutual agreement and respect or else agree to disagree but remain supportive. It takes very little for negative comments to spread across the pool and undermine years of effort.

Second, stay in your role. Parents are expected to be parents and not coaches. Coaches are expected to be coaches and not parents. While the roles occasionally move into gray areas in special circumstances, it is dangerous to repeatedly cross these boundaries. When a parent tries to coach their own child, the child becomes confused when words spoken by the parent are different from advice of the coach. That same child is equally confused when the coach questions the methods of a swimmer’s parents. Know your role and stay in that role.

When your child is successful, keep much of that excitement to yourself. It is great that your child has swum so well, earned that ribbon or medal, or achieved that new time standard. But there is a difference between being excited for your child and bragging too much about your child. Keep the extra enthusiasm for the drive home, the special ice cream or cake treat at home, or the excited screams of joy in an open field. Remember, that great swim is the swimmers achievement, not yours. You do not look better, become more significant, or appear to be an authority on swimming because your child did well. You are still a parent who happened to enjoy a great swim by your child. Keep perspective.

When your child fails to swim a goal time or gets disqualified, you have not failed. Your child may have failed to achieve a goal time or do a stroke correctly, but failures are opportunities to teach for future success. You are still the parent, and it is during times of failure that your child needs you the most. Be calm, accept the disappointment, shower your child with love, and look to the next opportunity to try again. Keep perspective.

We live in a world where keeping up with the success of others seems to be a way to measure success in ourselves. This is a sad statement of our society, but parents still fall prey to this tendency to compare … both positively and negatively. Just because you child won a race does not make you “parent of a champion,” any more than your child losing a race does not make you “parent of a loser.” Success is always relative. You can always look elsewhere to find other swimmers who are faster than your child just like you can find many who are slower, and a whole lot who cannot even swim. Measure success for your child by a new best time, a race swum strategically well, a great turn, or simply a great effort. While many public schools espouse a philosophy of “every child is a winner,” this is not real life. There are winners of races and losers of races, but a win of a race can be achieved with lousy stroke techniques, bad race splits, and unsportsmanlike behaviors. There are losers of races who exhibit great technique, awesome turns, and spot-on strategy. Learn to recognize what success is and promote it with your child.

 

Dryland

Dryland can be an essential tool in the life of a swimmer.  Swimmers put a large amount of stress on their muscles over the years, and certain muscles can be neglected in pure "swimming only" training.  With the use of dryland you are able to balance out your body by working all of your stabilizer muscles, which is a giant leap forward to prevent sports injury (most common are knee and shoulder complications).

 

Eating for success

It is important to eat some kind of carbohydrate and fatty food before practice in order for you body to draw the energy that it needs.  After practice you need to replenish your glycogen stores with food or a sports drink, but it is more important to have a source of protein to build your muscles after they are broken down during the course of the practice. What goes into your bodies is just as important as what goes into your minds. The US Paralympic Team has just hired one of the world's most highly regarded sports nutritionist. She has a few key comments about eating for success during the week as well as during a meet:

  • Not waiting to eat large meals after an evening practice.
  • Grazing on healthy snacks during the course of a meet.
  • Keeping your diet consistent in what, when, and how much you eat.

 


 

Swim Meets

Finding directions to a swim meet

The location of all swim meets can be found under the “Meet Schedule” section.  All meets will be listed under this section and by clicking on the meet of choice you will be able to pull up information coaches have written about the meet.  The pool location will be listed here.  Also, by downloading the meet information from this page (if available) you can find information from the host site which will detail the pool location and any parking information they find applicable.

 

How to read the Timeline

Many meet hosts will provide a timeline of the events throughout the duration of the swim meet.  They will be broken down by age group, event, and gender.  This is a great way for parents to judge when their child will be competing their specific races throughout the session.  This is especially helpful if the session is especially long for the given meet.  Keep in mind that any delays throughout the meet are not taken into account in this timeline, however, the times provided should be accurate providing the meet runs smoothly.

 

Be on time

It is imperative that swimmers arrive at the meet on time.  “On time” does NOT mean when the meet is scheduled to begin.  There will be at least an hour-long warm up period before the start of competition (unless otherwise stated in the meet information), and swimmers are expected to arrive at the pool at least 15 minutes before this.  Swimmers must arrive during this time in order for our team to acquire the necessary amount of seating, change into their swim gear, and be ready to enter the water at exactly the beginning of the warm up period.  It is understood by coaches if a swimmer has extenuating circumstances which prevent them from arriving on time to a meet, but this should not become a habit.  If many swimmers arrive late we will suffer through limited seating, a chaotic warm up, and a stressful beginning to competition.

 

What if your child is on a relay, but you arrive late?

Under most circumstances relay personnel are decided by the coaches during the warm up period of the swim meet.  Spots are given to the swimmers who own the fastest splits/times for the relay to that date.  However, many meets offer the opportunity for multiple relays, so coaches will put together as many four-person relays as possible.

If you arrive late coaches will not know that swimmer is there and will have turned in the ‘relay cards’ to the officials without your child’s name… IF POSSIBLE contact the coaches or a friend that is at the pool, and let the coaches know you are running late and when you expect to reach the pool.  If the coach determines that your child will be able to arrive in enough time to swim on a relay, they can still enter their name on the relay card.  However, you MUST arrive at the time you said or else the other three swimmers will be disqualified.

 

Meet programs

‘Meet programs’ will be provided at all meets for a price decided on by the host team.  These programs will list every heat of the meet in order of events.  This is the best way to know where you are in the process of the swims.  Otherwise it can become overwhelming to the new observer.

 

Camping out

Some facilities offer spaces for swimmers and parents to “camp out.”  This means you will be able to bring chairs, blankets, and food to a location because the host understands that the meet will last an extended period of time and having the parents sit in the provided bleachers the whole time is cruel… So long as this camping space is in a designated area which is out of the way of team seating and meet operation, it is a good place to stretch out.

 

Rules about the deck and taking pictures

NO PARENTS are allowed on the pool deck during a meet.  This is a hard rule, but these boundaries are essential for the swimmers, coaches, and officials to do their jobs.

NO GLASS is allowed in the pool area anywhere.  This seems obvious, but make sure you don’t bring any glass products into the pool, or seating area.  This is extremely dangerous for the pool deck, and if broken glass made it into the water it would be dangerous and the pool will need to be drained.

NO PICTURE FLASHES during the starts of races.  Pictures can be taken, however, make sure the flash is off on your camera.  Flashes going off at the beginning of races can signal swimmers to start which will cause false starts, disqualifications, and meet delays.

 

 

Food during a meet

It is critical for a swimmer to have food to “graze” on throughout a meet.  Swimmers bodies are going through a lot of ups and downs during the course of a competition, and they need a constant source of fuel in order to keep themselves going through the end.  This does not necessarily mean they should have one large meal half way through a 6-hour long meet.  Keep snacking, and stay full and hydrated or else performance will suffer.  Healthy foods are good, but keep in mind their bodies need carbohydrates and fats to draw energy from!

 


 

How to be a swim parent

Being a swim parent is not easy.  Swim parents need to be unselfish, dedicated, loving, committed, and invested in order to help their child succeed.  Today, how many parents will sit in the heat on a bleacher seat, or behind a starting block, timing all weekend for the pleasure of watching their child swim for a few minutes?

 

At Home

Too often, parents can be overzealous in their desire to help their child succeed.  Although you only want the very best for you child, sometimes words of advice/criticism/encouragement can be misinterpreted and cause the child feeling pressure to succeed.  If the swimmer feels pressure for too long a period of time, he or she will cease to have fun.  Provide guidance for your children, but do not force or pressure them.

  • Assist in setting realistic goals for participation.

  • Emphasize fun, skill development, and other benefits from sports participation (cooperation, competition, self-discipline, commitment, etc.)

  • Provide regular encouragement.

  • Be your child’s biggest fan, not matter what.

The perfect scenario is when they know that they can mess up in a race, and they will still be loved, supported, and encouraged when they go home.

 

At Meets

All parents want their children to succeed.  Go ahead and cheer as loud as you can for your child as they compete.  Even though they may not hear you, if they do it goes a long way for their psyche to see their parents involved and enthusiastic.  Try to enjoy yourself at competitions.  Don’t look unhappy, look positive and energized when watching your child.  Your attitude can influence how your child feels and performs.

Try not to become a coach!  Coaching involves critiquing, and that is carefully handled by good coaches in order to not cross into criticism.  Your job as a parent is to support your child no matter how well they do.  Hopefully, you believe in your coach’s abilities and submit that they know enough about swimming to provide the needed feedback.  If you insist on telling your child how to swim a race or stroke, then your child is almost guaranteed to disappoint either the coach or the parent.  NO WIN situation…

Never be upset if your child did not win… be upset if they did not shake the hand of the person next to them, if they throw their cap, if they blame everyone but themselves for their performance.  Challenge them to find lessons in their experiences.

 

At Practice

Why do we put our children in sports?  We put them in sports for the social interaction, character development, and to keep them active.  Let your child figure out how to:

  • Take instructions from another adult.

  • Put their thoughts and feelings into words.

  • Set their own goals.

  • Own their dreams.

Do not disrupt the practice.  The coach is trying to pay attention to all of the swimmers in the pool.  However, we encourage having a good coach-parent relationship.  Communicate with coaches about your child, since each can learn about the child from the other.  Inform coaches of relevant issues at home which might affect your child at practice.  Inquire about the progress of your child, since you DO have the right to know.

Remember, the coaches are your ALLIES.

 


 

Team Policies

Behavior and academic expectations

Any behavior that is detrimental to the members of the team as well as to the facilities in which the team trains or competes (whether at home or away during competition) can be grounds for various levels of discipline ranging from the removal from practice for that day up to removal from the team permanently. If the offense is deemed egregious, there will be no need for a warning or even a meeting with the parents. It is the expectation of this program that our swimmers behave in a manner that represents Life Time, the LTMN Swim Team, the local Fitness Clubs, and the Coaching Staff in an honorable manner. All behavior in the pool, on the deck, in the locker rooms should be respectful of other team mates, their belongings, as well as Life Time patrons anywhere where our program visits.

It is also a clear expectation that priorities that superseed swimming are Faith, Family, and School. Competitive swimming is a great sport where lessons for life can be learned and character be molded. It is the hope of the program that our swimmers will love swimming so much that they will continue to swim after college, whether competitively in a Masters program or for the positive health benefits of a good workout in the water. But, we hold higher the ideal of being a good student in the classroom because education is more important than athletics for the long term well-being of our swimmers. Students who are failing in school will not be able to continue participating in the program. Those who can get their academic priorities in line and maintain a passing GPA can return to the team.

 


 

Anti-Bullying

Life Time Minnesota Swim Team: ACTION PLAN TO ADDRESS BULLYING

PURPOSE 

Bullying of any kind is unacceptable at Life Time Minnesota Swim Team and will not be tolerated. Bullying is counterproductive to team spirit and can be devastating to a victim.  This Club is committed to providing a safe, caring and friendly environment for all of our members.  If bullying does occur, all athletes and parents should know that incidents will be dealt with promptly and effectively. Anyone who knows that bullying is happening is expected to tell a coach, Life Time Aquatics Manager, or athlete/mentor.

Objectives of the Club’s Bullying Policy and Action Plan:

  1. To make it clear that LTMN will not tolerate bullying in any form.
  2. To define bullying and give all board members, coaches, parents and swimmers a good understanding of what bullying is.
  3. To make it known to all parents, swimmers and coaching staff that there is a policy and protocol should any bullying issues arise.
  4. To make how to report bullying clear and understandable.
  5. To spread the word that Life Time Minnesota Swim Team takes bullying seriously and that all swimmers and parents can be assured that they will be supported when bullying is reported.

 

WHAT IS BULLYING?

The USA Swimming Code of Conduct prohibits bullying. Generally, bullying is the use of aggression, whether intentional or not, which hurts another person.  Bullying results in pain and distress. 

The USA Swimming Code of Conduct defines bullying in 304.3.7.  Bullying is the severe or repeated use by one or more USA Swimming members of oral, written, electronic or other technological expression, image, sound, data or intelligence of any nature (regardless of the method of transmission), or a physical act or gesture, or any combination thereof, directed at any other member that to a reasonably objective person has the effect of:

  1. causing physical or emotional harm to the other member or damage to the other member’s property;
  2. placing the other member in reasonable fear of harm to himself/herself or of damage to his/her property;
  3. creating a hostile environment for the other member at any USA Swimming activity;
  4. infringing on the rights of the other member at any USA Swimming activity; or
  5. materially and substantially disrupting the training process or the orderly operation of any USA Swimming activity (which for the purposes of this section shall include, without limitation, practices, workouts and other events of a member club or LSC).

 

REPORTING PROCEDURE

An athlete who feels that he or she has been bullied is asked to do one or more of the following things:

  • Talk to your parents;
  • Talk to a Club Coach, Life Time Aquatics Manager, or other designated individual;
  • Write a letter or email to the Club Coach, Life Time Aquatics Manager, or other designated individual;
  • Make a report to the USA Swimming Safe Sport staff.

There is no express time limit for initiating a complaint under this procedure, but every effort should be made to bring the complaint to the attention of the appropriate club leadership as soon as possible to make sure that memories are fresh and behavior can be accurately recalled and the bullying behavior can be stopped as soon as possible.

 

HOW WE HANDLE BULLYING

If bullying is occurring during team-related activities, we STOP BULLYING ON THE SPOT using the following steps:

1.      Intervene immediately. It is ok to get another adult to help.

2.      Separate the kids involved.

3.      Make sure everyone is safe.

4.      Meet any immediate medical or mental health needs.

5.      Stay calm. Reassure the kids involved, including bystanders.

6.      Model respectful behavior when you intervene.

 

If bullying is occurring at our club or it is reported to be occurring at our club, we address the bullying by FINDING OUT WHAT HAPPENED and SUPPORTING THE KIDS INVOLVED using the following approach:

FINDING OUT WHAT HAPPENED

  1. First, we get the facts. 
    1. Keep all the involved children separate.
    2. Get the story from several sources, both adults and kids.
    3. Listen without blaming.
    4. Don’t call the act “bullying” while you are trying to understand what happened.
    5. It may be difficult to get the whole story, especially if multiple athletes are involved or the bullying involves social bullying or cyber bullying. Collect all available information.
  1. Then, we determine if it's bullying. There are many behaviors that look like bullying but require different approaches. It is important to determine whether the situation is bullying or something else. 
    1. Review the USA Swimming definition of bullying;
    2. To determine if the behavior is bullying or something else, consider the following questions:
  • What is the history between the kids involved?
  • Have there been past conflicts?
  • Is there a power imbalance? Remember that a power imbalance is not limited to physical strength. It is sometimes not easily recognized. If the targeted child feels like there is a power imbalance, there probably is.
  • Has this happened before? Is the child worried it will happen again?

Remember that it may not matter “who started it.” Some kids who are bullied may be seen as annoying or provoking, but this does not excuse the bullying behavior.

Once you have determined if the situation is bullying, support all of the kids involved.

SUPPORTING THE KIDS INVOLVED

  1. Support the kids who are being bullied
    1. Listen and focus on the child. Learn what’s been going on and show you want to help. Assure the child that bullying is not their fault.
    2. Work together to resolve the situation and protect the bullied child. The child, parents, and fellow team members and coaches may all have valuable input. It may help to:
      1. Ask the child being bullied what can be done to make him or her feel safe. Remember that changes to routine should be minimized. He or she is not at fault and should not be singled out. For example, consider rearranging lane assignments for everyone. If bigger moves are necessary, such as switching practice groups, the child who is bullied should not be forced to change.
      2. Develop a game plan. Maintain open communication between the Club and parents. Discuss the steps that will be taken and how bullying will be addressed going forward.
    3. Be persistent. Bullying may not end overnight. Commit to making it stop and consistently support the bullied child.
  1. Address bullying behavior
    1. Make sure the child knows what the problem behavior is. Young people who bully must learn their behavior is wrong and harms others.
    2. Show kids that bullying is taken seriously. Calmly tell the child that bullying will not be tolerated. Model respectful behavior when addressing the problem.
    3. Work with the child to understand some of the reasons he or she bullied. For example:
      1. Sometimes children bully to fit in or just to make fun of someone is a little different from them.  In other words, there may be some insecurity involved.
      2. Other times kids act out because something else—issues at home, abuse, stress—is going on in their lives. They also may have been bullied. These kids may be in need of additional support.
    4. Involve the kid who bullied in making amends or repairing the situation. The goal is to help them see how their actions affect others. For example, the child can:
      1. Write a letter apologizing to the athlete who was bullied.
      2. Do a good deed for the person who was bullied, for the Club, or for others in your community.
      3. Clean up, repair, or pay for any property they damaged.
    5. Avoid strategies that don’t work or have negative consequences:
      1. Zero tolerance or “three strikes, you’re out” strategies don’t work. Suspending or removing from the team swimmers who bully does not reduce bullying behavior. Swimmers may be less likely to report and address bullying if suspension or getting kicked off the team is the consequence.
      2. Conflict resolution and peer mediation don’t work for bullying. Bullying is not a conflict between people of equal power who share equal blame. Facing those who have bullied may further upset kids who have been bullied.
    6. Follow-up. After the bullying issue is resolved, continue finding ways to help the child who bullied to understand how what they do affects other people. For example, praise acts of kindness or talk about what it means to be a good teammate.
       
  2. Support bystanders who witness bullying.  Every day, kids witness bullying. They want to help, but don’t know how. Fortunately, there are a few simple, safe ways that athletes can help stop bullying when they see it happening.
    1. Be a friend to the person being bullied;
    2. Tell a trusted adult – your parent, coach, or club board member;
    3. Help the kid being bullied get away from the situation.  Create a distraction, focus the attention on something else, or offer a way for the target to get out of the situation.  “Let’s go, practice is about to start.”
    4. Set a good example by not bullying others.

Don’t give the bully an audience.  Bullies are encouraged by the attention they get.

 


 

Team Travel Policy of the  Life Time Minnesota Swim Team

PURPOSE

The Life Time Minnesota Swim Team recognizes the need to establish a policy about team travel that makes every attempt to protect the athlete and the coach. 

 

GENERAL CONTENT

At no point will an individual athlete from the LTMN team be in a “private” setting alone with a coach of the LTMN team. The term “private” setting includes, but is not limited to a vehicle, hotel room, house, or another setting that exists outside of the public eye. This policy is to be strictly enforced to protect the athlete, maintain the standing of the coach, and maintain the high standards of the LTMN team as well as the Life Time organization.

An athlete can get a ride to or from practice with the coach, with the express consent of the parent, and with another athlete present in the car as well. An athlete can also get a ride to or from a swim meet with the coach, provided the parent consents and another athlete is present in the car.

When the team travels to an away meet, such that the team members will be residing in hotel rooms, no athlete from the LTMN team will ever be in a room alone with the coach of the team. The “open door policy” will be followed by the team at any travel events. This means that boys and girls can be in a room prior to curfew, ONLY if the door to that room is wide open and the coach or designated chaperone is aware of the situation. Once the curfew is reached, all doors are closed and all athletes are to be in their designated rooms.

In the event that a single member of the LTMN team qualifies for a national-level competition, the athlete will bring their parent to the competition as a roommate, and at no time will the coach ever be in a hotel room alone with the athlete. If the parent cannot attend the competition, the coach will seek to find another coach as a roommate for the coach, or the athlete will seek to find an athlete from another team to be a roommate. Clear communication and guidelines will be written between the athlete and the coach prior to the event and signed between the athlete and the coach and the parent to serve as appropriate boundaries during the course of the meet, travel between the hotel, pool, and meals. 

 


 

Electronic Commumication

Electronic Communication Policy of the  Life Time Minnesota Swim Team

PURPOSE

The Life Time Minnesota Swim Team recognizes the prevalence of electronic communication and social media in today’s world. Many of our swimmers use these means as their primary method of communication. While LTMN acknowledges the value of these methods of communication, LTMN also realizes that there are associated risks that must be considered when adults use these methods to communicate with minors.  

 

GENERAL CONTENT

All communications between a coach or other adult and an athlete should be professional in nature and for the purpose of communicating information about team activities. The content and intent of all electronic communications must adhere to the USA Swimming Code of Conduct regarding Athlete Protection.

As with ANY communication with an athlete, electronic communication CANNOT contain or relate to any of the following: 

  • drugs or alcohol use;
  •  sexually oriented conversation; sexually explicit language; sexual activity
  • the adult’s personal life, social activities, relationship or family issues, or personal problems; and
  • inappropriate or sexually explicit pictures
  •  Note: Any communication concerning an athlete's personal life, social activities, relationship or family issues or personal problems must be transparent, accessible and professional.

Whether one is an athlete, coach, or parent, the guiding principle to always use in communication is to ask: “Is this communication something that someone else would find appropriate or acceptable in a face-to-face meeting?” or “Is this something you would be comfortable saying out loud to the intended recipient of your communication in front of the intended recipient’s parents, the coaching staff, the board, or other athletes?”

With respect to electronic communications, a simple test that can be used in most cases is whether the electronic communication with swimmers is Transparent, Accessible and Professional.

TransparentAll electronic communication between coaches and athletes should be transparent.  Your communication should not only be clear and direct, but also free of hidden meanings, innuendo and expectations. 

AccessibleAll electronic communication between coaches and athletes should be considered a matter of record and part of LTMN’s records.  Whenever possible, include another coach or parent in the communication so that there is no question regarding accessibility.

ProfessionalAll electronic communication between a coach and an athlete should be conducted professionally as a representative of LTMN.  This includes word choices, tone, grammar, and subject matter that model the standards and integrity of a staff member. 

If your communication meets all three of the T.A.P. criteria, then it is likely your method of communication with athletes will be appropriate.

 

FACEBOOK, MYSPACE, BLOGS, AND SIMILAR SITES

Coaches may have personal Facebook (or other social media site) pages, but it will be our policy that any “friend” request from a swimmer to a coach be accepted ONLY with the consent of the parent of that swimmer, and any contact between the coach and the swimmer be entirely limited to appropriate content as stated in the T.A.P criteria.

If LTMN creates an official Facebook page, then athletes and their parents can “friend” for information and updates on team-related matters. 

Coaches are encouraged to set their pages to “private” to prevent athletes from accessing the coach’s personal information.

 

TWITTER

If LTMN creates an official Twitter page, then coaches, athletes and parents can follow for information and updates on team-related matters.   LTMN permits coaches and athletes may follow each other on Twitter.  Coaches cannot retweet an athlete message post.  Coaches and athletes are not permitted to “direct message” each other through Twitter.

 

TEXTING

Subject to the general guidelines mentioned above, texting is allowed between coaches and athletes during the hours from 7am until 9pm.  Texting only shall be used for the purpose of communicating information directly related to team activities.

 

EMAIL

Athletes and coaches may use email to communicate between the hours of 7am and 9pm. When communicating with an athlete through email, the parent of that athlete, another coach, or the LT Aquatics Manager must also be copied.

 

REQUEST TO DISCONTINUE ALL ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS

The parents or guardians of an athlete may request in writing that their child not be contacted by coaches through any form of electronic communication.