Rudgear Estates FAQs

Q: Why the Rats? Isn't that an odd choice for a swim team mascot?

A: The following information may not have factored into the selection of our beloved mascot, but it may give some perspective:

In Chinese Astrology, the monthly and annual cycles of heavenly bodies are represented by a combination of animals and elements. The use of animals in this manner is where the term "Zodiac" actually originates. Legend has it that the type and order of the animals used in the Zodiac were selected by the Jade Emperor. It is said that he organized a race for all the creatures on earth, and that the first twelve to finish the race would be honored with a place in the Zodiac. It just so happens that the winner of this race was none other than the Rat, who has occupied the first position in the Zodaic ever since. The Rat also happens to be most commonly associated with the element of Water. Of course this is only one possible explanation of why winning races in the water comes naturally to a Rat.

Q: Do I have to be a member of the Rudgear Estates Homeowners Association to join the Rats?

A: No. However, if you are not a member of the HOA, a splash fee will be added to your registration costs and you will have limited access to the pool (set practice time and meets only). Summertime pool memberships are available for purchase through

Q: What kind of equipment does my swimmer need?

A: Each child is encouraged to buy a team suit and cap to wear to meets, which can be ordered at our pre-season fit parties. Typically the team changes suits every two years. They will need separate suits to practice in, goggles, and fins. Older swimmers may need paddles.  All of the required equipment can be purchased locally at Sports Basement.

Q: How many practices are there during the week and how many must my swimmer attend?

A: The practice schedule is located on the website. Typically, practices are held five times per week, including Wednesday mornings before the evening meets. Swimmers should plan to attend all practices. Obviously, this is not always possible. But, repeated absences will not only affect a swimmer’s performance, but will be taken into consideration as the coaches plan their meet line-ups.

Q: What does a swim meet look like?

A: Wednesday night meets normally start at 6:00pm and typically finish or are called by 9:00pm. Saturday meets start at 9am and typically finish by 12pm.

Home team warm-ups start an hour before the meet starts. The Away team warm-ups take place 30 minutes before the meet starts.

Each team has their own area to set up. If you want to get a good spot to set up your family, you want to get there an hour before the meet starts.

All meets follow this order of events:

  • Medley Relay
  • IM (Individual Medley)                 
  • Freestyle
  • Breaststroke
  • Backstroke
  • Butterfly
  • Free Relay

Meets start with 6U Girls, then 6U Boys, and alternate genders through the age groups.

NOTE: 6U relays are the only relays that are mixed, meaning they can be made up of both boys AND girls.

In some cases, on Wednesday night meets, Free Relay is cancelled due to time and lighting constraints.

Q: What distance will my child swim?

A: The recreational pools are 25 yards long. 8 and unders swim one length of the pool (25 yards), swimmers 9 to 14 swim two lengths of the pool (50 yards), and 15 and ups swim four lengths of the pool (100 yards). Swimmers 7 and up may also compete in the 100 yard individual medley, which is one length of each stroke (4 lengths total).

Q: What should I bring to a meet?
A: Your swimmer is going to want to be wearing their team suit, and you’ll want to be sure to bring goggles and a swim cap. Bringing extra goggles and caps is always a good idea, as they sometimes have a tendency to either break or get lost at crucial times during a meet.

A good rule of thumb is to bring two towels per swimmer, so one towel has the chance to dry a bit while another one is being used. It’s no fun to sit in a wet towel for 4 hours.

Seating can be scarce, especially at away meets. Bring your own folding chair(s) and your chances of sitting down go way up. A large blanket can provide a space for your swimmers to rest between events/play games/snack so that they are not sitting on the ground. Where space is available, a pop-up tent provides a break from the sun.

Keep in mind that your swimmer is spending a lot of time in the sun this summer. Plenty of sunscreen is a must.  

A meet, including warm-ups, can last up to 4 hours. A good book, card games, or small toys are helpful for younger swimmers who may get bored waiting for their next event.

Bringing water and healthy snacks will keep your swimmer hydrated and energized to swim multiple events. However, keep in mind that our Snack Shack is a major fundraiser and has what is widely perceived as the best food in the Conference. For home meets, consider eating dinner at the pool on Wednesday evenings, and breakfast and/or lunch on Saturday mornings.

Wednesday evening meets can get quite cold and breezy. Sweats and extra towels are a must for swimmers. A parka or blanket can make the difference between comfort and misery. Spectators should also remember to have warmer attire available.

As is probably becoming apparent, a fully equipped Rats family will have an impressive array of gear to bring for each meet. It’s a good idea to have each swimmer have their own swim backpack to keep all their gear in (these swim backpacks are larger than a typical school backpack). These can be purchased at our pre-season fit parties. A small wheeled cart makes bringing all your stuff to the pool a lot easier.

Q: If we sign up for swim team, can we go on vacation during the season?

A: Yes. We understand summer time is family time and we all need to get away to relax. This is a recreational league so it is fine to take vacations. You will need to sign your child out of any scheduled meets while you’re gone on the website by the deadline. We do ask that you try to schedule your vacations around Conference at the end of the season. That is the culmination of everyone’s hard work and we want as many swimmers there as possible.

Q: Is my child too old to start swimming on a team?

A: It is never too late to start! Our team welcomes swimmers of all abilities. Unless a swimmer is exceptional, you shouldn’t expect success overnight. But with a little hard work, a newcomer can soon catch up to other, more experienced swimmers his/her age.

Q: Where can I connect with other parents to car pool, share pictures etc?

A: Check out the team Facebook page, Rudgear Estates Swim Team, where you can post pictures and get info. We also have an Instagram account at Rudgear_Rats (don't forget the underscore).