The Virginia Gators is a developmental swim team that promotes personal excellence through competitive swimming.

Welcome to the Virginia Gators of Charlottesville Swim Club, a year round competitive swim team serving the Charlottesville area since 1999. We accept new swimmers throughout the year, and encourage you to become part of the team. It is our goal to offer age specific training for all of our athletes in order to challenge and develop each individual to the best of their abilities.

  1. About our club
    The Virginia Gators of Charlottesville Swim Club is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt swim club, operating out of the  Gatordome at the Fairview Swim and Tennis Club. Formed in 1999 by J.J. Bean and a group of devoted parents, Gators provides a wide-range of aquatic opportunities for Charlottesville-area community members of all ages, interest and skill-levels. We provide much-needed pool space, year-round, for a USA Swimming Level 1 competitive swim team, area high school swim teams, synchronized swimming, scuba diving and learn-to-swim programs. Through our programs, ranging from a developmental program for young and beginning swimmers to an elite national training group, our swimmers learn teamwork and sportsmanship while gaining a work ethic integral to academic, athletic, and civic achievement. 
    We aim to provide the most extensive competitive programming in the area, with a swim club that offers a foundation of success for every child. 

  2. Our mission
    Our mission is to promote sportsmanship, team spirit, responsibility, and individual achievement to each swimmer's highest level of excellence.   We offer a wide variety of training and practice options and our coaches work closely with swimmers in practice sessions and at swim meets, providing the young athletes with the support and confidence they need to start and maintain healthy habits that will last a lifetime and define winning in their own personal way.

  3. Swim programs
    We offer a "progressive" age group program so swimmers of all ages and abilities will practice at the most suitable level based on age, emotional preparedness, ability, and, level of commitment desired. We offer both recreational and competitive groups with an emphasis in the early stages placed on developing technical skills and a love for the sport. 
    Young swimmers are offered more practices than they are expected to attend, and are encouraged to participate in other extracurricular activities. Practice groups size are limited to ensure individual attention. In the later years, more demanding physical and psychological challenges are introduced to the training program.   As swimmers get older and more experienced, the expectations and commitment level gradually increase. Our group advancement program along with highly motivated coaches provide Gator swimmers with an exciting and highly rewarding environment. A detailed description of practice groups and their goals can be found on the Programs & Schedules page.

  4. Facility
    The Gators lease the the 6-lane 25-meter pool from the  Fairview Swim and Tennis Club, a private not-for-profit club located at 707 Belvedere Blvd., Charlottesville, VA 22901. Membership with Fairview is not a requirement for swimming with the Gators, nor is participation on Fairview's recreational summer league swim team that is part of the Jefferson Swim League. To provide year-round swimming, an 11,000 lb. air-supported dome, also known as "The Bubble", is assembled and inflated over the pool from September-May to form the  Gatordome.  "Bubble Up"(September) and "Bubble Down"(May) are similar to an old-fashioned barn-raising where swimmers, friends and parents--people from all walks of life, and all ages--come together in the true spirit of teamwork to work side-by-side. It is a Gator tradition that is not to be missed!

  5. Become a member
    Any child 5 years or older who can swim 25 yards of any stroke is eligible to join. You do not have to be invited to join. We have a place for you whether you want to swim just for fun, improve for the Jefferson Swim League or for your high school tea, swim for fitness, or to train to be an Olympian! Why not register, today!

  6. Club governance
    The Club is led by a volunteer parent Board of Directors consisting of the Head Coach, four officers, and members-at-large. 
    Board members are elected by the club membership to serve a three-year term and may serve multiple terms. While the main focus of the Gators is always on the swimmers, the Board serves to ensure the continuation and excellence of the Club by fulfilling necessary business functions, assisting and supporting the coaching staff, and communicating between the board, coaching staff, and Gator families. Specific responsibilities include program management and design, managing Club finances, setting dues and fees, hiring and evaluating coaches, organizing volunteers, fundraising, marketing and promoting the club, press relations, interacting with other swimming organizations, organizing participation in swim meets, staging special events and much more. The Board of Directors holds monthly executive session meetings and an annual parent meeting. Visit the   Board of Directors, By-Laws, and Board Nomination pages for more information.

  7. Member communications
    The coaches and Board members will communicate to the swimmers and parents primarily through email generated through our website, using the Team Unify platform. Please check your e-mail often to ensure you receive up-to-date announcements. 
    Club website  -  Our website (  provides a wealth of information and should be bookmarked so it can be visited easily and routinely. Check the site often for announcements pertaining to practice, meets, upcoming volunteer opportunities and special events.
    Calendar & Schedule Information - Be sure to check out this page on our website for detailed information about the calendar and schedule.
    Facebook -
    Get social with us on Facebook!
    Twitter - Twitter is used for messages or announcements. 
    Bulletin Boards - The bulletin boards at the Gatordome provide monthly calendars, swimmer recognition, and carpool information

    Gator Bites - The team distributes a newsletter, twice a year, called "Gator Bites" with general information from the coaching staff and announcements from the parent board along with messages from our sponsors. 
    Family Mail Box - Materials that can not be emailed (e.g. ribbons) will placed in a mail box that has your family name on it in the hallway of the   Gatordome. It is each family’s responsibility to check their box regularly. We envision that this mail box will be phased out and replaced with a file folder system. 
    Questions and Concerns
     – You can Contact Us with any questions or concerns. This email account is monitored by Board members to ensure that issues are addressed in a timely manner.

  8. Contacting a coach
    Questions related to workouts, meets, events, goal setting, and other swimming related needs, should be directed to the coaches. The best way to speak with coaches is to meet them after practice.  They usually make themselves available for 10 minutes between practices to answer questions, provide information, etc. Please be considerate and do not speak with the coach during practice. For questions related to administrative matters, such as dues, safety, or policy issues, please Contact Us and your question will be directed to a board member. 

  9. Practice and schedule changes
     Practices are occasionally cancelled due to extreme weather conditions, Bubble Up/Down preparations, and when swimmers and coaches are attending a large swim meets. Please note that school cancellations do not usually result in practice cancellations. Practice cancellations or schedule changes will be announced via email and posted on the Gator website. Visit the Calendar page for more information about practice and other schedule changes.

  10. Swimmer responsibilities
    It is a privilege to represent the Virginia Gators of Charlottesville, therefore, each swimmer is expected to adhere to the Code of Conduct in order to participate on the team.  Specifically, all swimmers should:

    - Arrive 10 minutes prior to their workout time and leave no later than 15 minutes after practice is over. 
    During  practice  sessions,  swimmers  are  never  to  leave  the  pool area without coach's permission. 
    - Listen to all coaching instructions and attempt to carry them out to the best of your ability.
    - Respect your coaches and teammates by speaking respectfully at all times and helping each other.
    - Respect the property of your teammates and the Gators by using only your own equipment, storing Gator equipment properly, and keeping the deck and locker rooms clean.
    Purchase and bring specified training gear as directed by coaches (i.e., goggles, fins, etc.) to all workouts.

  11. Parent responsibilities
     Specifically, Gator parents are expected to:
    - Support their swimmers unconditionally and enthusiastically and let the coaches do the coaching.
    - Bring their swimmers to practices and meets on time.

    - Parents  are  encouraged  to  observe  practice  but should not attempt to communicate with swimmer(s) during practice.
    - Parents are asked to refrain from attempting to talk with the coach during practice since the coach is responsible for the safety and progress of all swimmers in the pool.  If you have questions, please wait until after practice to approach the coach. 
    - Swimmers should attend only those practices for which they have been registered.  If you think your swimmer should move to a different group, you should discuss this with the coach. 

    - Inform the coach oI an illness or injury that will impact your swimmer's ability to participate in practice or swim meets.
    - Stay  informed  by  checking  your  email,  mailbox  and  Gator  website, frequently.
    - Make a good faith effort to support fundraising efforts.
    - Volunteer!

  12. Team uniform, gear and spirit wear
    Each swimmer receives a Gator swim team cap and team shirt as part of their registration fee. W
    hile team suits are optional, team caps must be worn at all meets. Information about parkas, warmups, and other apparel will be distributed during the registration period.

  13. Fees 
    We offer online registration and payment with access to your own account that will enable you to easily declare for swim meets, sign-up for jobs, view billing detail, see your swimmer's times, maintain your own contact information, and more. Program fees for each practice group are listed on our Fees page. Invoices are generated on the 1st of each month and payable by the 20th of that month. Monthly invoices will include program fees that are due as well as meet fees incurred in the prior month. For most meets, the event fees charged range from $3-$6.50 per event. There are also coaching fees which are $10/day for in-state meets, $15/day for out-of-state, and $20/day for championship meets, per swimmer.  Please visit our Fees page for more information.

  14.  OnDeck Parent mobile application
    Virginia Gators of Charlottesville members are encouraged to download the OnDeck mobile application , a free app from Team Unify that is available for both iOS and Android mobile operating systems. The OnDeck Parent app syncs seamlessly with each member's Virginia Gators of Charlottesville account to provide easy access to team news and up-to-date information on each swimmer, including attendance, times and splits. Members will be able to compare those statistics with time standards, and check out the results from past meets. Parents can also update account information, sign up for a volunteer slot for an upcoming meet, catch up on the latest team news, and much more. To get started, download the app ( iOs and Android versions) and then sign in with your username and password along with “vavgoc”, our team code/alias (without the quotes). Once you are signed into OnDeck Parent, a simple tap of the “sync” button downloads all of the information needed. When you install OnDeck, just allow OnDeck to send you push notifications. For more information, see the OnDeck Parent Guide: Quick Start and FAQs or the OnDeck Parent 101 Video Tutorial

  15. Deck Pass and Deck Pass mobile application(from USA Swimming)
    Deck Pass is an online platform, available from USA Swimming, that tracks swimmers’ times and rewards them with digital incentives. USA Swimming members can track their best times, set goals, check their IMX scores and earn digital patches for their achievements. All swimmers can track their times via the log book and also set personal goals. Deck Pass also allows you to connect with friends and family and you can also share your achievements by connecting your account to Facebook.All swimmers, from state champions to summer leaguers, can track their times with the log book and even keep track of their personal goals through Deck Pass and Deck Pass Plus. USA Swimming members can also look up their times and recent meets, check their IMX scores, and see all of the Deck Pass patches they’ve earned. Deck Pass offers some of the same swimmer performance features as OnDeck Parent, and allows swimmers to set goals and monitor progress. “Swim and Share” by posting your results and news to Facebook. Deck Pass’ digital “patches” are sure to generate some buzz amongst swimmers, who will earn certain “patches” as they progress. “Scream for the Team”, “Trail Blazer”,“Short Course Speed Racer” are just three example patches of the hundreds available. 

    Deck Pass mobile is a free application (iOs, Android)that allows parents and swimmers to share times, as well as accomplishments and set goals. The standard Deck Pass mobile app is free while, for an additional charge, Deck Pass Plus provides even more information. For more information, visit Deck Pass: FAQs.

  16. Volunteer
    The Virginia Gators is a parent-run organization and we rely completely on the volunteer efforts of parents for our operations. We require that each Gator family volunteer a minimum of 3 hours per quarter. Many parents go above and beyond the minimum requirement. 
    Please be proactive and approach any Board Member if you have an idea as to how you can help the Gators.  More information can be found on the Volunteer  page of our website.  

  17. Fundraising
    As a non-profit organization, our programs are funded through program registration fees, donations, and fundraising efforts. 
    In order to provide quality aquatic programming, we subsidize our activities by reaching out to the community for support through fundraising efforts that includes an annual 50/50 raffle and business sponsorship opportunities. A nyone can make a donation or participate in our fundraisers, and we welcome sponsorships from our members' businesses and community partners. Click here  for more information about our fundraising efforts.  We are qualified to receive tax-deductible donations, through Star Swimming (DBA Virginia Gators of Charlottesville), a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. 

  18. Ways to support Gators
    There are many ways to show your support for Gators:  buy a 50/50 raffle ticket,  solicit business sponsors,  shop AmazonSmileshop SwimOutlet,  shop at Kroger, and make a donation. Visit our Support and Giving page for more information.

  19. Other concerns
    Occasionally, a swimmer or parent will have a special concern related to administrative issues or coaching. Please see the Board member contact information and feel free to discuss your concerns with a Board member at any time. You can also Contact Us  so that  your issue will be directed to the appropriate   board member for handling. Remember that Board members are not only key volunteers, who play roles critical to the success of our club, but they are swim parents, too! All Gator parents are encouraged to jump in the "volunteer pool" and become part of the solution! 

  20. Photo/Video release policy
    The following photo/video release is included in the registration process.  "Unless I choose to opt-out of the following photo/video release, by emailing my request to  CvilleGators, I give permission for any photographer working or volunteering on behalf of and authorized by the Virginia Gators of Charlottesville (“the Photographers”) to take photographs or videos of myself and my child(ren) in connection with Virginia Gators of Charlottesville related activities. I authorize The Photographers to copyright, use and publish the same in print and/or electronically without further compensation to me. Use includes, but is not limited to, website, photo sharing sites, and printed promotional material for the Virginia Gators of Charlottesville. I agree that the photographers and the Virginia Gators of Charlottesville may use such photographs of myself or my child(ren) without the name identified, for any lawful purpose, including for example such purposes as publicity, illustration, advertising, and Web content."

  21. Inclement Weather Policy
    Your family's health and well-being is our primary concern. Safe travel conditions must be a priority for everyone so please exercise sound judgment about attending practice when faced with severe weather conditions. Changes or  cancellations to the practice or meet schedules will be communicated via email and posted on our website. In the event of thunder or lightning, pool activities will be suspended and the facility will be evacuated until 30 minutes after the last sign of thunder or lightning. The distance from a facility to an approaching thunderstorm can be five to eight miles away, but lightning can strike from a much farther distance. As with most outdoor recreational facilities, safe shelter from weather related events is limited. The restrooms and changing areas afford some protection, but the safest place is probably inside a hard-topped metal vehicle. Seeking shelter under trees and in the open are more dangerous than being in the pool. The pool area will be reopened 30 minutes after the last sign of thunder or lightning. In the event of tornadoes, high winds, snow storms, ice and other dangerous weather conditions, practices may be ended, cancelled or postponed based on the severity of the weather.

  22. School closings/delays
    We adjust our schedule based on the Albemarle County Public Schools (“ACPS”) closing and delay  schedule.  ACPS  school closings or two-hour delays, due to weather, may also affect our practice schedule, but may not cancel practice entirely. 
    -If an  ACPS  announcement is made prior to 4:30 a.m., that there will be a two-hour delay, then the head coach will communicate with national group team members and morning practice (5:30 a.m.) will typically be delayed two hours and begin at 7:30 a.m.  Usually, all other afternoon and evening practices will be held as regularly scheduled. 

    - If an  ACPS  announcement is made prior to 4:30 a.m., that  school will be cancelled, there will likely be changes to the practice schedule, however, practices are rarely  cancelled. 
    - If an  ACPS announcement is made after 4:30 a.m., that there is a two-hour delay or school is closed, then the national group morning practice (5:30 a.m.) will be held as scheduled, given that the swimmers are typically on their way to practice or already in the water. All other afternoon and evening practices will be held as regularly scheduled, unless notified otherwise.

  23. Safe Sport policies
    The Virginia Gators of Charlottesville and USA Swimming, through the USA Swimming Safe Sport Program
    , are committed to fostering a fun, healthy and safe environment for all members. The following rules, policies, reporting structure, education and tools are intended to serve Virginia Gators of Charlottesville members as we work together to maintain this environment: Code of Conduct, Electronic Communication Policy, Team Travel Policy, Plan to Address Bullying. P
    lease Contact Us  for more information and your question will be directed to a  board member. 

  24. Competition
    The  Virginia  Gators  participates  in  a  multi-level  competition  program  with  USA Swimming that,  like  our  training  program,  attempts  to  provide  challenging,  yet success-oriented competitive situations for swimmers of all ages and abilities.
    All Gator swimmers are required to be members of USA Swimming, even if they do not compete, as USA Swimming provides insurance coverage. Gator swimmers are eligible to compete in all VSI/USA Swimming competition for which they qualify. In addition to age-group and senior level swimming, USA Swimming also runs competition such as the National Championships and Olympic Trials. The following policies outline our philosophy:
    - Our main goal is individual improvement, not medals.
    - Sportsmanlike behavior is of equal importance to improved performance.
    - Swimmers set realistic, yet challenging, goals for meets and use those goals to direct their training efforts
    - It  is  the  coach's  job  to  offer  constructive  criticism  of  a  swimmer's performance.
    - It is the parent's responsibility to provide love and encouragement.
    - Swimmers are prepared and encouraged to compete in all swimming events to promote versatility and personal growth.

  25. Swim meets
    All  swimmers, regardless of practice group, are encouraged, but not required or pressured, to attend swim meets for fun and to help assess progress. For all but the National Group, swimmers may choose which meets they would like to attend, although they should consult with coaches regarding which meets are best suited for them. A meet schedule will be provided at the beginning of the season. However, additional meets may be added to the schedule during  the year. Visit our  Meets and Events for more information about upcoming meets.

  26. Signing up for a swim meet
    All meet signups are done online through your parent account on our website. Swimmers may choose to sign up for any or all days of the meet. The head coach will choose the entries for each swimmer based on his assessment of their abilities and what events they need to work on. If parents or swimmers have suggestions, please let the head coach know. Please follow the instructions for How To Sign Up For A Meet (Part 1) and 
    How To Sign Up For A Meet (Part 2).

  27. Prelims and finals
    Most meets in which the Gators participate are timed finals meets. Timed finals refers to the fact that each swimmer swims the event once, and their place of finish is determined by their time. Prelims/finals meets are generally championship type meets. Swimmers compete in a preliminary (prelims) session, with some number of the fastest swimmers moving on to the finals session. The number of swimmers moving on to finals is usually two heats worth (12 swimmers in a 6 lane pool, 16 swimmers in an 8 lane pool), although at some meets three heats worth of swimmers will move on to finals. The next two fastest swimmers also move on as alternates in the event that there is a "no show" in the slowest heat. The session format for prelims/finals meets has the prelim session in the morning with the finals session in the evening. Older swimmers, usually 13 and above, but sometimes 11 and above, participate in prelims/finals sessions. If younger swimmers swim in these meets, they swim in a timed finals session in the afternoon. 

  28. Scratching (intent not to swim) 
    Scratching is the act of declaring your intent not to swim in the finals of an event for which you have qualified. Once the results for a prelims events have been announced, there is a 30 minute period during which the swimmers must scratch if they wish to do so. Scratching is important from two points of view. (a) First, under the rules that most prelims/finals meets are swum under, a swimmer that does not scratch and then fails to appear for a race in finals, is barred from further competition in a meet. Yes, this means that if you miss a finals event on Friday, you can't swim on Saturday or Sunday. (b) Second, by scratching you allow other swimmers to move up into the finals session. This is frequently a problem on the last day of a session when swimmers who know they're not coming back for finals, fail to scratch because they know they can't be penalized. While this doesn't hurt the swimmer that fails to scratch on the last day, it does hurt the swimmer that could have moved up in to the finals session. Under these circumstances, scratching is common courtesy and good sportsmanship. Because it is not unusual for top qualifiers not to come back for finals on the last day of a meet, it is especially helpful if all swimmers scratch, whether they are at the top of the list or not. By doing so, it may allow slower swimmers the opportunity to participate in a finals event that they may not otherwise have the opportunity of doing so.

  29. Timer responsibilities
    Timers perform one of the most important functions at a swim meet--in short, they help to determine the official time for a swimmer. At most meets, the timers are instructed prior to the start of a session. This is a good opportunity to learn what is involved. Also, most of the veteran parents can guide you along as well.

  30. USA Swimming
    USA Swimming, the national governing body for competitive swimming, is responsible for the conduct and administration of swimming in the United States. In this capacity, USA Swimming formulates the rules, implements policies and procedures, conducts the national championships, disseminates safety and sports medicine information and selects the athletes to represent the United States in international competition. 
    USA Swimming provides a variety of services and programs for its membership including individual swimmer times, publications, educational programs, fund-raising activities, sports medicine programs, video resources and general information about swimming related activities.  USA Swimming is divided into 59 Local Swimming Committees (LSCs); each one responsible for administering USS activities in a defined geographical area. Each LSC has its own set of by-laws under which it operates. A House of Delegates with representation of athletes, coaches, members of the Board of Directors and clubs is responsible for managing the business affairs of each LSC. The Virginia Gators of Charlottesville is a member of USA Swimming and operates according to the rules and regulations sanctioned by this body. Each swimmer on the Virginia Gators must be a registered swimmer with USA Swimming and will be registered at the start of each swim season. You may find more information at

  31. Virginia Swimming, Inc. (VSI)
    VSI is one of the 59 Local Swim Committees (LSCs) of USA Swimming. VSI is responsible for USA Swimming competition within the geographical boundaries of the state of Virginia, except the counties of Arlington and Fairfax, and the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church. VSI also includes the counties of Camden, Curituck and Pasquotank in the state of North Carolina. Visit for more information.

  32. Jefferson Swim League (JSL)
    Summer league swimming is similar to recreational league baseball or soccer. The rules used by summer leagues may be modified from those used for USA Swimming competition. For example, swimmers in the Jefferson Swim League are disqualified after two false starts, while in USA Swimming competition, disqualification occurs after the first false start. Unlike many swimmers that compete under USA swimming who train year round, summer league swimmers train for two to three months during the summer.