Is prior experience required for joining the Hiddenbrook Swim Team?

No, the team welcomes all who wish to swim. There are no tryouts, simply complete the registration process and come to practice. If unsure of your child’s readiness for the swim team or Waterspouts developmental program, arrange with Coach Jon Radow to have your child assessed prior to swim practice.

Are private swim lessons available?

Yes, please contact the coaches for details.

How often and when is practice?

Practices are held Monday through Friday. They are in the afternoon while school is in session and in the morning during the summer. See the Practice & Meet Calendar page for exact times.

Can I stay and watch a swim practice?

Yes, you’re encouraged to watch. Please refrain from talking with the coach during practice. Practice is when the coach spends time with the swimmers. Please hold you questions for the coach until before or after practice. We suggest that you sit in the pavilion area during the practice.

Does my child need to wear the team swim suit during practice? During a meet? What brand and where do I buy it?

Not during practice. In fact, to reduce wear-and-tear, the swim team suit should probably only be worn during meets. It appears that the manufacturers are trying to change designs each year and force us to choose a new design every year. If that’s not the case, then we get another year out of last year’s suit. See the Team Wear page for details.

How can I best help the coach help my child?

Bring them to practices regularly, prepared and on time. Be supportive and let them enjoy the sport. Let the coaches do the coaching.

How do I let a coach know when we can’t attend practice/meet?

Please let the coach know as soon as possible. It’s helpful to put it in writing since the coaches are trying to coordinate 100+ swimmers on the team and a verbal notice is more likely to be forgotten.

What can I do to help prepare my child for a meet?

Have your swimmer eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep, bring a water bottle to the meet, and get them to the meet on time. Advise them to listen to the coach and to have fun! Cheer them on too!

What strokes do the swimmers use in competition?

Freestyle, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and Butterfly.

How long do the meets run?

Monday evening B Meets generally run until 8:30 or 9 p.m., while Saturday morning A Meets generally run until 11:30 a.m. or noon.

Is it necessary for swimmers to stay for the entire meet?

While swimmers are encouraged to stay for the full meet and support their teammates, they may leave with a parent once they have finished swimming their event(s).

If my child is not swimming in a meet, should they still go to the meet to watch?

Yes, watching more experienced swimmers is a valuable learning tool.

Will my child swim in every meet?

All swimmers may swim in the Monday night B Meets. Coaches will select swimmers for the Saturday morning A meets and notify them by the Thursday preceding each meet. Even if they haven’t been selected to swim in the Saturday morning meet, swimmers should still come to the A meets to cheer on the team and step-in to swim at the last moment, if needed.

What are the age groups for the swimmers?

The age groups are 8 & under, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-18. Every other year your child will have an “up” year when they are the oldest in their age group and a “down” year when they are the youngest in their age group. The system generally works well.

What is an A meet and what is a B meet?

A meets are competitive and the results determine what division Hiddenbrook will swim in next year. At the end of the swim season, generally the team with the best record moves up a division and the team with the worst record moves down a division. B meets are not as competitive and the results have no effect on Hiddenbrook’s standing in the division. This does not mean that the kids swimming in B meets are any less talented and often you will see swimmers from the A meet swimming strokes that they are not able to swim in an A meet because their times are not as competitive.

When are the meets?

“A” meets are on Saturday mornings. The coach will tell you when to have your child at the meet for warm-ups. “B” meets are on Monday evenings. Again, the coach will tell you when to have your child at the meet for warm-ups.  Location and directions to all meets can be found here.

Can my child swim in both A and B meets?

Yes. This is up to the coach. You should let a coach know if you have a specific request or concern. The coach will have more flexibility in putting your child into a B meet and has less flexibility with an A meet.

How do we know which meet(s) my child will swim?

The coach will tell you or your child what event(s) they are swimming on the day before the meet. The “meet sheet” is usually e-mailed to parents well before the morning of the meet.

How many meets will my child swim?

It depends on a variety of factors including your child’s swimming ability, the availability of other children within the age group, and coaching strategy. The summer swim season is relatively short (five weeks) with only five “A” meets and four or five “B” meets. A swimmer could also participate in All-Stars, Herndon Olympics, Relay Carnival and then Championships, so the season can last for up to seven weeks.

What happens if my child has a conflict for a meet?

Without consistent participation, the team will have a poor season but conflicts do happen. Let the coach know as soon as possible if your swimmer will not be able to attend a meet.

What does it mean when my child is swimming up?

The coach may determine that the team (and perhaps the swimmer) can best be served by having your child swim in an older age bracket. This is a complement to the swimmer because it shows the coach feels that the he or she can swim effectively and will make a significant contribution to the team.

How does a meet operate?

For away meets, the team will normally arrive at the Hiddenbrook parking lot at a given time and caravan to the meet together. Upon arriving, we’ll gather everyone and enter the club together. We’ll set up our tents and swim bags and begin to loosen up for the warm-ups. After the warm-ups are completed, the National Anthem will be sung and the meet will begin with the freestyle events, backstroke events, breast stroke events, and butterfly events followed by the Individual Medley and the Medley Relays. There is sometimes a short break to announce the 50/50 winner and give the scorer’s table a chance to catch up.  For each event that the child swims, they will be given a card by one of our parents 10-15 minutes before the event begins. The card will tell the child which lane and what event (ex. – 8&U 25 Freestyle, Lane 4). In the case of the relay, the card will list all four names of the relay team. The swimmer then proceeds to the starting blocks of that lane and gives the card to the head timer in that lane (the one with the clipboard). For the 8&Us, if needed, we’ll make sure that an older swimmer accompanies them in their first few races as the starting area can be somewhat crowded and confusing. In any case, the child takes their place in that lane and as each race is completed, moves up one spot in the line until their race. At that point, the referee blows their whistle, the starter tells the swimmers to step up. When all of the swimmers are on the starting blocks, the starter will tell them to take their marks, and then the starting buzzer will sound and the race will begin. Repeat 66 times and that’s your meet. Each swimmer can swim a maximum of two individual events and two relays.

What is a heat?

An event may be divided into multiple “heats.” Usually a dual meet will only have one heat in each event with 2 to 8 swimmers depending on the number of swimmers and the size of the pool. The championship meets with multiple teams often have multiple heats of each event to accommodate the large number of swimmers.

What is a relay? And what stroke(s) do the swimmers use?

Relays consist of four “legs” with a different child swimming each leg. The distance varies with the age group from 100 meters (four lengths of the pool) for the younger age groups to 200 meters for the older age groups. You can review the full list of events to get a feel for where the relays occur in the meet.  There are two types of relays: medley and freestyle. The medley relay has four different legs: backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, freestyle. The freestyle relay has four legs of freestyle.

How is it determined what swimmers will be on a relay?

The coach makes this decision. There are a variety of factors involved.

How is the winner of a dual meet determined?

The fastest swimmers in each event earn points for their team using the following scale: Individual events: 1st = 5 points, 2nd = 3 points, 3rd = 1 point. Relay events: 1st = 7 points, 2nd = 0 points.

Where can I find directions to the swim club we are visiting?

Directions to the swim club for an away meet can be found on the Meet Locations page of our website. Most often, the team will meet at Hiddenbrook and drive in a caravan to the opponent’s swim club.

How is a meet officiated and who are the officials?

A swim meet will have a referee who runs the meet, a starter who announces the event and starts the swimmers, multiple stroke and turn judges, a head timer and multiple timers for each lane. You’ll get the hang of the flow of events at an “A” meet very quickly. The pace is rapid since there are 66 events. The “B” meets are less formal and tend to be more chaotic, but just like the “A” meets, they’re fun!

I see some parents timing the events. Can I do that too?

Sure. At “A” and “B” meets, there are three timers required on each lane. Go the Volunteer to Work a Meet page if you are interested in timing. If there are already sufficient timers the head timer may take your name to have you as an alternate if someone has to leave or take a bathroom break. If you are a timer, make sure you use the strobe light instead of the horn for starting your stopwatch. This is why you may see timers craning their necks around the swimmers or other timers to make sure they can see the strobe light. Although each lane has three timers, there will be two timers from the opposing team timing your swimmer. Likewise we will have two of three timers doing the timing for the opposing team’s lanes.

What does DQ mean?

Disqualification – this can happen for a variety of reasons including starting early (false start), leaving the diving block early in a relay, performing an illegal stroke, performing an illegal turn, not touching the wall with two hands during a breaststroke turn, etc.

Are kids DQed often?

No. The younger swimmers, especially the 8 & under age group tend to have more problems early in the season, but you’ll see a DQ from time to time in every age group. Also, the officials tend to be lenient with the younger swimmers. That is certainly the case with dual meets. In the championship meets, the officials are much stricter.  If your child is disqualified, try not to get upset about it. Your swimmer will be unhappy enough about it without having your emotions adding to the situation. If you think there was an error made, then discuss it calmly with the coach. Do NOT discuss it with the officials. Let the coach do that if it is appropriate.

What options are available if my child wants to continue swimming in the winter?

There are several options in the area. Refer to the Winter Swim Options document in the Forms & Documents section of this site for a comprehensive list.