Below are some questions that we are frequently asked.  Feel free to email either Head Coach Amina ([email protected]) or Coach Buffy ([email protected]) if you have any additional questions or would like to schedule a swim group placement test.


What is the difference between the Carter AC and Lancerlot?

The Carter Athletic Center (CAC) is located on the North Cross School campus.  Lancerlot Sports Complex is located in Vinton.  You may choose to participate at either of these facilities.


Am I stuck in a year-long Marlins contract?
No, if your child needs to take a break from swimming we ask that you give us a 30 day notification.


Why do I have to pay a registration fee?

Each swimmer is required by USA Swimming, our national governing body for swimming, to be a registered athlete.  You can find out more at  In addition to a USA Swimming membership, each swimmer will also receive three CCA Marlins t-shirts and a Marlins swim cap. The registration fee also covers our team’s liability insurance.  Adults who participate in our Masters swim team are also required to register with USA Swimming.


What is a typical swim season?

Our year-round swimmers swim from September to July, with a break in August.

Our seasonal swimmers swim from September to May.  Seasonal swimmers usually swim on their RVAA summer-league teams.  You may also choose to swim both Marlins and summer-league during the summer months.


How many days a week is my child required to swim?

There is no set number of days that each child is required to swim.  The more often he/she is at practice, the better his/her stroke technique will be and his/her endurance will increase.  Mini Marlins have practice 2 times a week and Mini Marlins 2 can swim 3 days a week.  Bronze and Silver group swimmers typically swim 3-4 days a week and Gold group swimmers and above swim 5-6 days a week.  We also want your child to enjoy swimming and not get “burned out” by swimming too much too soon. This is a question that is best discussed with your child’s coach.


How do you determine which group my child will swim in?

After a swim evaluation, we will discuss with the parent which group we feel is the best fit.  During the evaluation we are looking to see how many legal strokes the child has and for swim endurance.  We want your child to be successful at swimming and have fun with their peers. Placing your child with peers his/her age is a top-priority.


I work during the day and it is hard for me to get my child to his/her practice time. Help!
We have swimmers from nearly every local elementary, middle, and high school.  Carpooling with other families is a great way to get your child to practice.  If your child goes to North Cross School, we pick up swimmers from extended day and return them there after practice. Please let us know if practice time is a concern and we will do our best to accommodate your child.


What type of equipment will my child need?

Every swimmer needs a swimsuit, cap, and goggles.  Each season we will give your child one Marlins swim cap and three team t-shirts.  Marlins swimmers are not required to have a team suit, however most swimmers prefer to wear one at swim meets.  You will find all of the required equipment and optional team apparel here.  Here is an overview of what the swimmers in each group needs:

Bronze and Silver groups: long fins

Gold and Seniors: long fins, paddles, noseclip, pullbuoy, snorkel

Any additional questions regarding equipment can be answered by your child’s coach.


My child isn’t quite ready for swim team yet.  Do you offer swim lessons?
Yes! Coach Susan runs our swim lesson program and all of our instructors are Swim America certified. She offers both private and group lessons.  Contact her at [email protected] or 540-309-3556 for more information.


Are the coaches going to get upset if my child plays another sport?
No! We encourage our swimmers, especially our younger ones, to try a variety of sports.


Is my child required to attend all the meets?

No, you may choose which meets your child attends.  We strongly encourage all of our swimmers to attend the home meets. It is very helpful for swimmers to see their progress, get feedback on what they need to work on at practice, and most importantly it helps motivate them! It is also a great time for swimmers to get to know their teammates better. Meets are the best part of swimming!

Please check our website regularly to see the upcoming meets.  It is helpful for the coaches to know whether or not your child is planning on attending a meet, so please select “attend” or “decline” after logging into your family’s Marlins account.  If you select to attend a meet, you may pick your child’s events or you may leave it up to your child’s coach. There is an additional fee for meets, which varies meet to meet.  Check the meet information that is listed on the website to determine each meet’s event fees.


How long does a swim meet last and where are they held?

Swim meets usually last 2 or 3 days and are divided into two or three sessions each day: 12 and under, 13 and over, and finals (not all meets have finals, where the top 8 or 16 swimmers in each event return for a final race).  A typical swim meet session lasts 3-4 hours.  Your child is not required to swim every day if you choose not to. We host swim meets at our pool and we also travel to meets around our state and nationally.


Do I have to have the monthly payment automatically deducted from my credit card each month?

No, you may pay by check or auto-draft/credit card.  If you prefer to pay by check, we ask that you give us one additional month’s payment that we will hold in case we do not receive your last payment.


Do I get a Carter Athletic Center family membership with my monthly facility fee?
No, unfortunately the Carter Athletic Center is not offering family memberships at this time.  The monthly facility fee is what the Marlins pay the CAC for use of the pool.


What type of commitment is required from parents?

Each parent is required to volunteer in at least 6 meet sessions.  You may volunteer at one of our home meets or during a travel meet.  All the volunteer assignments are easy, and we will be more than happy to train you beforehand. We always need help with timing, meet marshals, officiating, concessions, hospitality, and meet set-up and clean-up.  We will send out a Sign-Up Genius before home meets. 


How can I get involved?

We are a parent-run team and are always looking for swim meet officials, board members, team event coordinators, and fundraising coordinators, among other jobs.  Volunteering is also a great way to get to know the other parents and your child’s teammates.  Please let one of the coaches or board members know how you would like to help!


As a parent, how can I help my child succeed?

The best way to help your child become a successful swimmer is to be his/her biggest cheerleader.  Positively encourage your child during each meet and throughout the swim season and trust the coaches to do their jobs.  It is the coaches’ job to help with stroke technique, race strategy, race pacing, etc.  A parent’s job is to encourage the swimmer, get him/her to practice and meets on time, and make sure he/she is eating healthy, staying hydrated, and is well-rested.


I am an adult and also want to swim! How do I sign up?

We offer a Masters swim team in the mornings for adults.  Our Masters swimmers range from first-time swimmers to retired college athletes.  All adults are welcome to try out practice for two weeks without a commitment.  You sign-up for Masters swimming on our website, under the same link as our younger swimmers.  Feel free to contact Coach Charlie for more information or to let him know you would like a free trial period.  The practices are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at the CAC at 5, 6, 7, and 8 am.