1. Do I have to join the Quince Orchard Swim and Tennis Club in order to be a member of the Otters Swim Team?

Yes.

2. Why are the Saturday meets called "A" meets and the Wednesday meets called "B" meets? Is the swim team in Division A or B?

For the current season, the Quince Orchard Otters team is in Division B of the Montgomery County Swim League ( MCSL ) .  All of our swimmers are in Division B whether they swim in the Saturday "A" meets or the Wednesday "B" meets. The swimmers with the fastest times participate in the Saturday "A" meets. Division ratings are based only on "A" meet results. The "B" meets provide an opportunity for all of the children to participate in a competitive event. If a swimmer starts out competing in the Wednesday meets and his/her times improve to the point they are one of the fastest swimmers for that stroke in their age group, the Head Coach may put them in the Saturday "A" meet. A swimmer may be asked to swim one stroke on Saturday and a different stroke on Wednesday (sort of like a pro baseball farm club where players move back and forth between the Minors and the Majors depending on their skill).

3. How does the Head Coach decide who swims each event on Saturday and on Wednesday?

Generally, the three fastest times in each event for each age group swim in the "A" meet on Saturday except for freestyle. The top six times swim on Saturday in freestyle.

The coach puts each swimmer in the event where the team needs that swimmer most. This may not necessarily be the child's best event. The time used for placement at a meet is usually the last time the child swam and not necessarily the child's fastest time.

If a child who swam three events in the "A" meet does not have a time for a different event, they may swim exhibition in the "B" meet. Exhibition means that they cannot place in the race, they are just getting a time. Exhibition swimmers often swim in the outside lane if one is available. The Head Coach will decide if a swimmer will swim an exhibition event.

4. How are the lane assignments determined for each event?

In events with more than one heat, the slower swimmers swim in the first heat. The fastest swimmers swim in the last heat. Within a heat, the fastest swimmers swim in the middle lanes while the slower swimmers swim in the outer lanes.

5. How do I know if my child is "legal" in a stroke?

Here are some guidelines, but please consult the MCSL Handbook for a complete set of rules. Also, Stroke & Turn clinics are offered by the MCSL at the start of the season. Check the MCSL web site ( www.mcsl.org) for more information.

Breaststroke and butterfly require a two hand simultaneous finish or your child will be disqualified. Finishes may be underwater. If your child is swimming 50 or 100 meter events, they will swim more than one length so they must do a two hand simultaneous touch at the end of each length or they will be disqualified.

If your child is swimming breaststroke and finishes with his/her arms outside the width of their shoulders they will be disqualified for using a butterfly arm motion. If they are swimming breast-stroke and use a flutter or butterfly kick they will be disqualified.

Freestyle and Back require only a one hand finish.

If a child is swimming butterfly and uses a frog or flutter kick they will be disqualified.

If a child is swimming backstroke and turns over to touch the wall at the end of the length they will be disqualified.

(No coaching while your child is swimming or your child could be disqualified.)

If you are unsure, please ask a coach (outside of meet or practice times).

6. Did the starting procedures and the rules regarding false starts change recently?

Two significant changes to the competitive starting procedures were adopted by the MCSL in 2000. The first involves using whistle signals (rather than voice commands) to have swimmers step up to the edge of the pool (or into the water for backstroke.) The second involves not recalling a heat (under most circumstances) if there is a false start. Rather, the race will proceed and any swimmers who left early will be notified by an official of their DQ at the end of the race. A swimmer who is disqualified from an event will not get a ribbon for that event nor will the swimmer's time be used for placement in the next meet.

7. What is an IM?

IM's are Individual Medleys which are comprised of all four individual events. For example, a 100M IM consists of 25 meters of butterfly, back, breast & free in that order. A 100 M Medley Relay consists of four swimmers each swimming one of the four strokes.

8. Can my child leave the meet after his/her events are completed?

 During A meets, everyone is expected to stay for the duration of the meet to cheer on their teammates. In addition, the three fastest freestyle swimmers in each age group swim a relay at the very end of the meet.  Please do not leave because your child may be asked to swim in the relay.  If it is necessary to leave, make sure you notify the coaches.
During B meets, please tell the coach if you plan on leaving after you are done swimming all of your events.  Although it is wonderful if swimmers can stay to cheer on their teammates the B meets tend to run late and swimmers do tend to get tired. There are no relays during B meets.

9. Will my child get a ribbon for participating?

On Wednesday nights, the first 8 places are awarded place ribbons while all other children receive participation ribbons. At the "A' meets, the first 6 places receive ribbons. At some special meets, like the Super Stars meet, the first 16 places get ribbons.

Some events have more than one heat. On Wednesday nights, Heat Winner ribbons are awarded to the winner of a heat even though they may not place in the event.

10. Can a swim meet or practice be "rained out"?

Swim meets are not postponed by rain, only by thunder and lightning. Even if it is raining you should show up at a meet until it is called because it may only be delayed. If it begins to thunder and lightning during the meet, the meet may be delayed up to 1 hour after the last lightning was seen. If it does not appear that it will blow over, the meet is postponed to another mutually agreeable time for both teams. If a meet is partially completed when interrupted by weather, only the events not yet performed because of the weather will occur on the alternate day.

Inclement weather policy. Call 301-738-1659 to check the status of swim practice or events. Please remember that Swim Team practice is ON in the rain if there is no lightning! Please do not call QOSTC to check on swim practice.

11. How are the age groups determined?

The cutoff date for determining the age groups is June 1. If the swimmer was born June1 or before he/she will swim with the older group. If the swimmer was born on June 2 or after they swim with the younger group.

12. How will I find out about team events and other team news? How can I communicate with the coaches or other parents?

This web site, email, and the Otter Facebook page are the primary means of communication.  All announcements, scheduled events, and other notifications are posted to the web site on the main page, in the news section, and in the calendar.

Items of general team interest will be sent out by email and may also be posted on the Otter Facebook Page

During the season we publish a newsletter. The newsletter will be posted on the web site and e-mailed to you directly at the email you provided at registration.

If you will be away and your child cannot attend a meet please notify the Head Coach by email at least one week in advance. The coaches spend a lot of time making the line up so they need to know if your child will not be available ahead of time.

Remember, the coaching staff has asked that parents not ask the coaches questions while they are coaching at practice or at a meet. They are concentrating on our children and cannot be distracted for safety reasons. The Team Reps can answer most of the parent's questions. If you need to communicate directly with a coach, please catch them after practice or leave them a note in their folder.

13. How do we sign up for the special '8 & under" Mini Meet?

If you would like your child to swim in the special 8 & under Mini Meet, parents must sign them up for each event in which they would like to swim. This is not done by the coaching staff. A QO parent volunteer will provide information about the Mini Meet after the beginning of the season. There is a small charge to cover the cost ribbons and medals. The coaches will attend the Mini Meet.

14. Are all swimmers required to wear the team suit?

Team swimsuits are not required but are strongly encouraged. If your child has a matching suit then your child will feel like they are part of the team. It also makes it easier for the coaches during meets if all our swimmers are wearing team suits. Team suits as well as other Otter gear may be ordered here.

15. What time does the team get together before meets?

At home meets we warm up first so you need to be at the pool 1 hour and 15 min. before the meet begins. At away meets we warm up last so you need to be at the away location about 45 min. to 1 hour before meet time.

Before a Saturday morning away meet, swimmers meet at the QO pool parking lot to decorate their cars and caravan to the away meet. We typically leave by 7:30 a.m.  Please check the Calendar for meet and departure times.

It is difficult to coordinate everyone's schedules on Wednesday nights, so we typically do not caravan to Wednesday night away meets. The Head Coach will let the parents know what time to be at the away pool; this will also be posted on the Calendar. Give yourself plenty of time so you don't miss warm-ups.

Be early!

16. What are the meet sign up procedures?

In general, for Saturday A Meets

  1. On Thursday evening the Head Coach will post the A meet lineups for each Saturday meet. An email notification will be sent when the lineups are posted.
  2. Each swimmer has until Friday morning until 9:00 am to confirm participation in that meet
  3. Each swimmer or parent can check the lineup and events to which they are assigned on the web site. Check each child in the family to confirm the events in which they will compete. The coaches assign swimmers to events based on how they will best contribute to the team at the meet. Swimmers will not necessarily swim their strongest or fastest event but rather in the events in which they match up best with the competition.

For detailed instructions, click here for the A Meet Sign Up Procedure.

In general, for Wednesday B Meets:

  1. On Tuesday morning, the Head Coach will prepare the B meet lineups for each Wednesday meet and post them on the Otter web site by Tuesday evening. An email notification will be sent when the lineups are posted.  Only swimmers that have signed up for "B" Meet events on the web site will be placed in the lineup.
  2. Each swimmer or parent can check the lineup and events to which they are assigned on the web site. Check each child in the family to confirm the events in which they will compete.  It is possible that the coach has assigned them to a different event.
  3. The deadline to sign up your swimmer for a Wednesday meet is midnight Monday evening/Tuesday morning prior to the meet.  All assignments are subject to the coach's approval.

For detailed instructions, click here for the B Meet Sign Up Procedure.

If your child is unable to swim any meet (Wednesday or Saturday), it is very important that you inform the coaches. Empty lanes mean extra heats, a longer meet, and possibly someone losing their chance to swim entirely if there is a weather delay.