Pre-Team Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the overall Pre-Team Philosophy?
A: The Pre-Team program’s philosophy is to create a safe and fun environment to prepare swimmers for the competitive team.  This program is not designed to be long-term, it is meant to prepare swimmers for an eventual move onto the competitive team.
Q: How does my swimmer move from the Pre-Team to the Competitive Team?
A:  Our Pre-Team program operates on a 10 week cycle of skills.   As the end of each skill cycle approaches, our pre-team coaches will evaluate each individual’s level of preparedness for the Competitive team.  If the coaches believe an individual swimmer is ready for the Competitive team, they will initiate contact with the swimmer’s family to discuss the transition from Pre-Team to Competitive Team.  
Q: How long will my swimmer stay in Pre-Team?
A: Our skills cycle is 10 weeks in duration.  At the end of 10 weeks the swimmers will be evaluated for preparedness and then given a recommendation.  Some swimmers will be prepared after one cycle, while other may take several. Younger swimmers are likely to take multiple skill cycles before they are prepared.


Q: How much does it cost to be in the Pre-Team Program?
A: The cost is $185 per 10 week session to be on the Pre-Team.  There is no additional registration fee for Pre-Team.


Q: How does communication occur with the team?
A: The team has a website ( that is maintained regularly and the coaching staff and board of directors send out emails often with important information.  It is critical as a member of PCST to check emails regularly.
Q: How do I contact my swimmer’s coach?
A: The coaches have a compacted schedule while on deck, often coaching from group after group, and it serves the athletes well if our attention is focused towards the group.  For this reason, we prefer that you contact your coach through email. Each coach’s email address is found under the “Coaches” link on our website. From time to time your child’s coach will make himself/herself available for a few quick minutes between practices, after a practice if no other scheduled practice right away, etc. If the coach looks free, please feel free to approach the coach and ask if they have a moment to answer your question.  Please do not attempt to contact the coach during a practice.


Q: Is there a plan/objective for each practice?
A:  Yes, Pre-Team is focused on a specific set of skills and each practice will be designed to help impart those skills to the swimmers.  In addition to teaching new skills, old ones will be constantly reviewed and repeated so that they turn into good habits helping the swimmers long term.
Q: What is my role during my athlete’s practice?
A: You are always welcome to view the practice from the bleachers, but are not required to stay in the swim area during your athlete’s practice. However, we do ask that you pick up your child from practice on time. Please refrain from coaching from the bleachers, giving hand signals, getting their attention, or otherwise disrupting the group. We try hard to keep their attention, and we don’t need the added competition from the bleachers, behind the coaches, or at the end of the pool.
Q: What are the RIGHT and WRONG ways to view a practice?
A:  The wrong way is to sit in the bleachers and critique what the group, the coach, and/or the athletes are doing wrong and how you believe it could be done better. The right way: Resist the temptation to get pulled into “discussions” like that. Better yet, take a stand for youth sports and speak up if you hear another parent going down the negative path. Let them know that it is not appropriate and you don’t appreciate it. Taking a positive approach will result in a better outcome for us all.
Q:  Is practice attendance mandatory?
A:  Attendance at practice is not mandatory; however, your swimmer will be impacted by missing the curriculum taught during that practice.  They may feel behind or confused at future practices because they were not present at the previous practice. With only two practices per week it is strongly recommended that swimmers attend all scheduled practices
Q:  Is it OK to come to practice if we are going to be late?
A:  Yes. While we prefer each athlete to be on time,  we understand that they are not in control of the time they get to the front door.  We ask our families to do everything possible to avoid getting to practice late (aside from the few things that drivers can’t adjust such as unusual traffic), as being late can heighten the athlete’s anxiety and therefore start the practice on the wrong foot.  If your athlete has to be late, they become in charge of their time once they walk through the door. We expect them to hustle to the locker area, get changed, and walk quickly to their group. The coach will let the athlete know what the group is doing.
Q:  Are the pools heated over the winter?
A: Yes, all of our facilities are heated year-round.   
Q: Are there makeup practices if we miss one?
A:  Makeup practices will only be offered if practice is cancelled due circumstances beyond our control (i.e. facility closings).  We do not offer make ups for missed practices.
Q: Can my swimmer come to a different practice than the one he/she is signed up for?
A: No.  In order to keep swimmer to coach ratios low and we ask that swimmers attend the practices chosen during registration.


How does my swimmer move from Pre-Team to Competitive Team

  • One of the many reasons for developing the Pre-Team program within PCST is to prepare swimmers for the Competitive Team. With that goal in mind, you may be wondering how to tell if your swimmer is ready for the competitive team.
  • Our coaches follow a set curriculum of skills that takes about 10 weeks to cycle through.  These skills are the foundation for success on the competitive team. Our coaches are constantly evaluating the swimmers skills during this 10 week period.
  • Towards the conclusion of each training cycle, the coaches will approach the families of swimmers who are ready for the move to competitive team.
  • How long will it take your swimmer to be ready?  There are many factors that may affect readiness, and some swimmers (especially newer and younger swimmers) may take several cycles of skill work before they are ready.  Trust in your coaches to evaluate their preparedness.
  • If you have any questions about your swimmer’s progress, please feel free to talk with your swimmer’s coach at the conclusion of practice.



Moving From Pre-Team to Competitive Team – Financial Changes


There are a few financial changes that come with moving from Pre-Team onto the Competitive Team:

1.       You will be charged a registration fee of $175 to join the Competitive Team.  This fee INCLUDES:

a.      The first month of recurring monthly dues

b.      USA Swimming Membership Dues

c.      1 x Custom PCST Equipment Bag

d.      2x Panama City Swim Team T-Shirts

e.      1x Panama City Swim Team Latex Swim Cap

2.       Recurring monthly dues will be based on group. (Example: Age Group 1 is $90 per month)

a.       The number of practices your swimmer will have access to increases from two per week to five per week

b.      Monday-Thursday practices are still 1 hour long, Friday practices are 1.5 hours long

c.       Remember that your first month of recurring dues is INCLUDED with the registration fee

3.       Meet fees and other non-recurring charges may begin to appear on your invoices

a.       Any USA Swimming sanctioned meet that we participate in has fees associated with it such as the cost per event swum, facility surcharges, or additional surcharges depending on the meet and the host.  These fees are totaled up and added to your invoices.

b.      Any purchases from the Team Store, such as swim caps, t-shirts, or other gear can be applied to your account as a non-recurring charge




For More Information about the PCST Fees and Policies, please visit this page

For More Information about Meet Fees, please visit this page


There is no need to re-register on the PCST website when moving from Pre-Team to Competitive team.  Once your coach has spoken with you about moving programs, you simply need to contact our Head Age Group Coach, JMark Richard ([email protected]) and let him know of the pending move.  Since you already have an account set up with PCST there will be no need to change any financial information with us.  We will need your written approval in the email to charge your account the initial $175 registration fee, and the move to the Competitive Team is complete!  All other recurring payments will be charged automatically.