Swim Team FAQs

What are Time Trials? Does my child have to go to Time Trials?

  • 2022 Time Trials will be on Saturday, June 11.

  • Most teams in the NVSL have Time Trials about a week or two after practice begins and before the first meet of the season. Time Trials are an opportunity for swimmers to get times in as many strokes as they’d like in a meet-like setting. Swimmers are encouraged to swim all four strokes and may be asked to swim a stroke that not considered their favorite. There is no scoring in Time Trials. The only swimmers attending Time Trials are Highlands' swimmers.

  • Each swimmer should try to swim at Time Trials, as it offers the coaches an opportunity to see the swimmers perform the different strokes in a meet-like setting. A swimmer not able to make Time Trials will have an opportunity to get recorded times at a later B Meet.


How do I sign up for Time Trials and Monday B Meets?

Parents need to sign up their swimmer(s) for Time Trials and Monday B Meets via TeamUnify by the listed deadlines. Coaches will NOT deck enter swimmers at the meet. Even if your swimmer is not able to attend, please declare your swimmer is not attending.  

  • Step 1- Sign into your account on www.whompingturtles.org.  Go to Events (under the scrolling pictures on the Homepage) -> Swim Meets -> Time Trials -> click on the Edit Commitment button.  
  • Step 2- Scroll down to where you can see your Swimmer(s) Names listed under Click on Member Name to declare for this Event and click on your first swimmer’s name. 
  • Step 3- Choose Yes, please sign my swimmer up for this event or No, thanks, my swimmer will NOT attend this event. If choosing No, then click Save Changes. Repeat previous steps if you have other swimmers. If choosing yes, continue on to Step 4. 
  • Step 4- Scroll down to Day 1 Session 1 section. *Click on the left hand boxes to choose the events your swimmer wants to swim. Click on Save Changes.  
    • ​Important Note: ATime Trials, swimmers are expected to swim all 4 strokes if they are legal, even if one stroke isn’t their “favorite”. They may also swim the 100 IM if they are legal. Coaches will remove swimmers from Time Trials events if they are not yet legal in those strokes.
    • At B Meets, swimmers may select any 2 events as long as they are legal in those strokes (except any that they placed in the top 3 at the previous A meet). Coaches will remove swimmers from B meet events if they are not yet legal in those strokes.
  • Step 5- Repeat the above process for each of your swimmers.


What’s the difference between a Saturday "A" Meet & a Monday "B" Meet?

  • B Meets are meets designed to give developing swimmers a chance to compete and improve their skills. B Meets are not NVSL sanctioned and are not scored meets. There are no relay events at B Meets. B Meets are held on Monday evenings. Warm-ups for the home team begin at 5:00 pm, followed by warm-ups for the away team at 5:30 pm. B Meets begin at 6:00 pm. Swimmers are encouraged to swim two events plus Individual Medley (IM). A swimmer is eligible to swim any event in a B Meet except an event for which that swimmer earned a first, second or third place in the immediately preceding A Meet. Swimmers may sign up for the B meet online in the Swim Meet section of the Events tab on our Homepage. Ribbons are awarded to every swimmer.

  • A Meets are different from B Meets because A Meets are NVSL sanctioned, include relay events and are scored. A Meets reflect our team’s standings in our Division. A Meets are held Saturday mornings for five consecutive weeks beginning near the end of June. Swimmers qualify for these meets based on their times at Time Trials and at A and B Meets, as well as the coaches’ evaluation of how the team can best match up against our opponent for that week. Our team will have three swimmers for each event in each age group. A swimmer can only swim in two individual events at an A Meet. The swimmers scheduled for the A Meets may change from week to week because of improved times or absences. Sometimes there are unfilled spots, especially in some of the older age groups, and a younger swimmer may be asked to swim in an older group. Every point counts in a meet and there have been plenty of times that points have been scored by a swimmer swimming in an older age group. Swimmers should be aware if they will be swimming in a relay. Relay events are at the end of the meet. If a swimmer needs to leave the meet early, the Head Coach must be informed before the relay events.

  • The list of swimmers for A Meets will be emailed to the team as early as Tuesday evening. If a swimmer is not going to be in town, please Decline the A meet located on the Swim Meets tab under Events on our Homepage.  It is helpful to contact the Head Coach or Team Reps as soon as possible after receiving the email. If you are scheduled to swim in an A Meet and become ill or have an emergency, contact the coach immediately so that she can substitute another swimmer. Any corrections should be made by Thursday morning before our information is transmitted to our opponents. Substitute swimmers must also be notified in the event of illness or emergencies, or we won’t have enough swimmers present to fill the lanes.

  • Warm-Ups for A Meets start at 8:00 am for home meets or 8:30 am for away meets, and each meet will begin promptly at 9:00 am. A Meets are usually finished by 11:30 am. In a typical summer, lunches are held at Highlands after home meets, and at a destination to be announced for the away meets. 


Can you swim in A Meets and B Meets?

  • Yes, though only those swimmers that have qualified for Saturday "A" Meets, as described above, participate in Saturday morning meets. All swimmers can and are strongly encouraged to swim in Monday evening "B" Meets.


What equipment will my swimmer need for practices and meets?

Every swimmer should have the following equipment:

  • Good fitting pair of goggles

  • Swim cap - (our coaches prefer for all swimmers to use a cap) - Standard HS latex cap is included in Swim Team Registration fee.

  • Fins - 12 & under swimmers (swim team and Mini Whompers) will need a pair of fins this summer. Coaches recommend this style of fin, available in the Team Store. Similar fins are available at Sport Fair in Arlington (5010 Langston Blvd) 

  • Practice/Team suit - Practice suits are lycra jammers or briefs for boys and lycra one-piece suits for girls. Board shorts and bikinis are not appropriate for swim practice or meets.

  • Swimmers can use their own kickboard this summer or one of the Highlands kickboards.

  • Water bottle - Keeping our swimmers hydrated at all times is very important!

  • Swim bag - Encouraged to keep track of all swim equipment and personal belongings

  • Towels 

  • Sunscreen - Apply, apply, apply!

  • Insect Repellent - Optional, but recommended, particularly during Monday night meet


Where can I purchase swim team equipment?

We were hoping to keep the same team suit as last season, but unfortunately due to supply chain restrictions, Speedo discontinued that style.  We selected a new 2 year team suit for 2022-2023 that is very similar to last year's suit.  Swimmers are welcome to wear their team suit from 2021 or purchase the new team suit which is TYR Hexa in Black/Green.  Details on the new 2022 suit can be found Here.  You will be able to purchase the team suit through our team store (opening soon) on our webpage or at the Open House on Saturday, May 14 from 11am - 1pm.


Goggles, practice suits and caps, and fins also can be purchased through SuitUp or locally at Sport Fair (5010 Langston Blvd in Arlington). SuitUp's address is:

SuitUp Water Sports & Alpha ID, University Mall, 10627 Braddock Rd, Fairfax VA  22032        703-278-8202; shopUmall.com

How do I know what size team suit to order?


The team suit for the 2022 season is the TYR Hexa in Black/Green.  Details on the new 2022 suit can be found HereThe suit will be available for puchase online in the Highlands Team Store (opening soon), at the Open House on May 14, or through the SuitUp store in Fairfax (see information above).


Suits should be snug with no wrinkles or gaps - it will loosen up when wet and as your child wears it. For sizing information, see the TYR Size Chart. If you want additional help with sizing, you can call SuitUp or visit the SuitUp store to try on suits. In our experience, the Flyback style typically provides the best fit for 12 & under girls. 13 & over girls often seem to prefer the crossback style.


Once you receive your suit, try it on immediately to make sure it fits correctly.     


Do swimmers need to attend both morning & afternoon swim practices?

  • Swimmers are encouraged to attend the morning practice for their age group. See Swim Team Practice Schedule. To accommodate schedules, we have an afternoon practice for those swimmers who are unable to attend their designated morning practice. SWIMMERS MAY NOT ATTEND BOTH MORNING AND AFTERNOON PRACTICES ON THE SAME DAY.  Afternoon practices will be offered on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons from 5:30 - 6:30pm for those unable to attend morning practices.  On evenings where there are dive meets, there will not be an afternoon practice (dates to come).


What happens during Swim Team Assessments?

  • For the 2022 season, all 8 & under swimmers will be assessed by our Head and Assistant Head coaches. Coaches will observe each swimmer individually to determine proper placement. Swimmers may be referred to Swim Team, the Mini Whompers Developmental Program, Club Group or Private lessons. We have designed our practice schedules to allow for easy transition between programs. During the season, swimmers can, and often do progress from one program to another. Parents are asked to respect the assessments made by coaches.


How will my swimmer know where to go during practice or a meet?

  • Highlands is very fortunate to have 2 main pools. The pool located closest to the bathhouse is referred to as the “Lower Pool.” Mini Whompers practice in this pool. All Swim Team practices and home meets are held in the Competition Pool located on the upper deck with the diving well. Coaches and Team Reps will be on deck to direct the swimmers where to go. At meets, the Coaches, Team Reps, and Meet Volunteers (usually dressed in blue bottoms and white tops) will ensure swimmers are in the right place at the right time.


What do I do if I need to speak with a Swim Team Coach?

  • To ensure the safety of all of our swimmers, we must insist that parents refrain from congregating around the pool lanes during practice, and particularly during swim team assessments. The pool deck becomes very crowded and swimmers may become distracted. Swimmers usually perform best if parents are not in the immediate area.  Parents are welcome to watch practices from the bleachers or pool chairs located on the perimeter of the pool. If parents have questions or concerns, please send Coach KellyRose an email, or find the Team Rep. Thank you for helping to keep all swimmers focused and safe.


Who do I contact if my swimmer is interested in Private Swim Lessons?

  • Private Swim Lessons are given by Highlands Swim Coaches. Lessons are scheduled directly with the coach, are 30 minutes in duration, and range from $15-40 per session depending on the level of coach. If your swimmer is interested in Private Swim Lessons (both Swim Team and non-Swim Team lessons), you may contact a Coach directly (all Coaches Bios and emails can be found here). Alternatively, if you would like a coach assigned to you, send an email to [email protected], include your swimmer’s age, gender, a brief description of his/her swimming level, general or specific skill(s) swimmer would like to focus on during lesson, a general day/time availability, and the parent’s contact information.


*****How can I become more involved with the team?*****

  • Summer Swim Team does not work without volunteers. We are always looking to train new officials, and there are many deck and weekly volunteer duties that require no training at all. Being a timer or a marshal at a B Meet is a great way to get a feel for what's going on up on deck and allows you to meet other swim parents and watch the swimmers connect and get ready for the weekend and Monday night meets! Please find a way to say “yes” and volunteer in some way. We wouldn't ask if we didn't need you, and we will never ask anyone to do a job they cannot handle.


Who are all of those officials in blue and white and where did they train?

  • There are many officials on deck at the meets, including the Starter, the Referee, the Chief Timer, the Clerk of Course, the Stroke and Turn Judges and, in A Meets, the Relay Take-Off Judges. The officials require training by the NVSL. The NVSL holds clinics each summer to train for these positions. Please contact a Team Rep, Cheryl Farley or Gillian Russell, for a training schedule.


Who are all those people at the table area during a meet and what are they doing?

  • Every meet requires the work of numerous table volunteers. There are the Table Chiefs who check the times on the time cards in every event and put them in place order. There is the Data Coordinator who carefully enters every single swimmer time into the team computer. There are the folks putting labels on the swimmers’ ribbons. At A Meets some Scorers keep track of the team scores and the Announcer, the voice of the Whomping Turtles!


When my swimmer is with the team during a meet, will my swimmer get lost? Can I go up and see my swimmer?

  • There are plenty of coaches present at each meet to supervise the swimmers and to help get the swimmers where they need to be when they need to be there. Swimmers are encouraged to stay with the team during meets to ensure that they get to each of their events. Please do not go up into the team area at meets.


How are meets scored?

  • The score is kept at A meets for the NVSL. In the individual events, a first-place finish earns 5 points, a second-place earns 3 points, and a third-place finish earns 1 point. Relays are scored as 5 points for the winner and 0 points for the loser. There is no scoring at B Meets.


Why do the coaches need to know if we will be out of town for an A Meet?

  • If your swimmer qualifies for an A Meet, the coaches must know if your swimmer will be out of town for that meet so that the coach can substitute another swimmer in that event.  We never want to have an empty lane at an A meet!


What happens with all of the swimmers’ times?

  • All of the swimmers’ times from Time Trials and A and B Meets are entered into the team computer by the Data Coordinator. The A Meet times are also sent to the NVSL.


Where can I find my swimmer's times?

  • All recorded times can be found on our TeamUnify webpage.  Once you sign in to your TeamUnify account, go to “My Account” > My Meet Results.  Also, your swimmer’s times from A Meets can be found on the back of the swimmer’s place ribbons and on the NVSL website. A swimmer’s times from B Meets can be found on the back of the swimmer’s ribbons. All swimmers receive ribbons with their times, even if a swimmer does not place in the top six. The ribbons are a great way to keep track of every swimmer’s progress throughout the season, especially those swimmers who do not regularly swim in the A Meets.


What is Relay Carnival?

  • **In a typical summer, on the Wednesday evening after the third A Meet of the swim season, each of the divisions comprising the NVSL holds a Relay Carnival at one of the division’s pools. Every team in the division may send one, and only one, relay team for each event competed at the Relay Carnival. Only relays are swum at the Relay Carnivals. The Division Relay Carnivals are scored meets. The winning team is officially recognized and receives a trophy. Times from the Relay Carnivals of all the NVSL divisions are collected, and the relay teams with the top 18 times are invited to the All-Star Relay Carnival.


How do the coaches select the relay teams?

  • Just as for A Meets, swimmers qualify for relay teams based on their times at Time Trials and at A and B Meets, as well as the coaches’ evaluation of how the team can best match up against our opponents.


What are Divisionals?

  • Divisionals is a meet held the Saturday after the fifth and last A Meet of the season. Each of the six teams in the division sends its two fastest swimmers in each event, for a total of 12 swimmers or two heats for every event. In addition to the individual events that are part of the A Meets, the IM events are included in Divisionals. No team scores are kept for this meet; it is for the individual swimmers.

  • Each swimmer can swim only two events. If a swimmer has one of the top two times in more than two events, he/she will be able to pick the events in which he/she wants to participate. This opens up slots for other swimmers. Also, not all teams enter two swimmers for each event. When this happens, other teams have an opportunity to add an additional swimmer from their team. These slots are filled based on who has the fastest time in the division. For seeding purposes at Divisionals, your fastest A Meet time is used. This is true even if you have a faster B Meet time. If you do not have an A Meet time for the event, then your B Meet time is used.

  • The times from each of the NVSL Divisional Meets are collected, and the swimmers with the top 18 times, plus two alternates, are invited to swim in the Individual All-Stars.


What is Individual Allstars?

  • Individual All-Stars is always held the first Saturday in August. The swimmers with the 18 fastest times in each event from Divisionals qualify for All-Stars. Two alternates are also designated. There are three heats for each event at All-Stars. No team scores are kept for this meet; it is for the individual swimmers.

What is Swim Team Open House and why do I need to come?

  • The Open House is an opportunity to meet the Highlands Coaches and pick up your team t-shirt and swim cap. Stop by to have all of your questions answered or just to say "Hi!" We also hope to have some favorite Highlands spirit gear for sale, including car flags, WHOMP magnets, Highlands towels, silicone caps, and some "vintage" Highlands tshirts. We look forward to seeing you for the 2022 Swim Team Open House on Saturday, May 14 from 11am - 1pm.