Important Information & FAQs - Fall/Winter 2022-23

Posted June 29, 2022   Updated August 2, 2022

MSS is pleased to offer a safe, high-quality fall and winter swim seasons at the Angie O’Donnell Aquatic Center (AOAC) at McFarland High School. Our club is grateful for the ongoing support from our MSS families and our partnership with the AOAC,  the McFarland School District. The McFarland Spartan Sharks’ Coaches and Board of Directors look forward to our Fall Meet in November 2022 along with participation in other local and regional swim meets.   

Thank you for reading this information prior to registering your swimmer. This document is designed to provide transparency to our MSS business operations and answer frequently asked questions about MSS programming during our club’s 2022-23 Fall & Winter seasons. There are a few important changes for Fall/Winter: 

  1. USA Swimming is changing the process for collecting USA Swimming fees this fall.  MSS is no longer allowed to collect USA swim fees for members. Please see info in the first section of this FAQ and watch your email for more information.
  2. MSS is offering a “Winter” session during this registration AND will do so again in October 2022 if there are spots remaining in groups.
  3. The Minis practice time will now be Monday/Wednesday, 5:30-6:15 p.m.
  4. Extreme's practice times on Tuesday/Thursday will move up to 3:45-5:30 p.m.; Monday/Wednesday/Friday remains the same. 

Registration, swim evaluations, payment processes and fees

Q: When does online registration open, and how are current and returning swim families defined?

A: Online registration will open for current and returning MSS families on Sunday, August 14, 2022 at 9 a.m. and will close on Tuesday, August 16, 2022 at 8 p.m. Current and returning families are defined as those families who swam with MSS between July 2021 – July 2022. Current and returning families may also register new sibling swimmers in this first wave of registration as long as your new swimmer has had a swim evaluation or specific group placement recommendation from one of our coaches. (See information regarding Swim Evaluations below.)

If spots remain in swim groups, MSS will reopen the registration portal for families new to MSS on Thursday, August 18, 2022 at 9 am  and will close registration on Saturday, August 20, 2022 at  8 p.m. (See information regarding Swim Evaluations below.)

Q: How do swim evaluations work, and who should participate in a swim evaluation with MSS?

A: MSS recommends swim evaluations for swimmers who are new to the swim team experience and for swimmers who have not been on a swim team for a period of time. MSS conducts swim evaluations to make certain that all swimmers have a good experience in the pool and are ready for the swim team experience. All swimmers who are new MSS (including swimmers considering transferring from other swim teams and siblings of current MSS swimmers) should consult with Coach Nick Weiss about the need for a swim evaluation. Evaluations are free, fun, take about 15 minutes to complete, and are held at the Angie O’Donnell Aquatic Center at the McFarland High School. Please email Coach Nick at [email protected] to sign up for a swim evaluation during the month of July or the 1st week of August.

PLEASE NOTE: Given the adjustment to the registration schedule MSS coaches will do their best to offer swim placement evaluations the week of August 1, 2022  in addition to those offered throughout the month of July 2022.   

Q: Is MSS anticipating room for new families this session? How do MSS waitlists work?

A: MSS is planning similar-sized swim groups as we’ve had the past two seasons.  Although we cannot guarantee spots in any group, MSS has been able to to accommodate current and new families in the last year without significant waiting lists. If swim groups are full, families are strongly encouraged to register their swimmer to the waitlist and email [email protected] with the name of their swimmer and preferred swim group.

Q: I see there are Fall, Fall/Winter and Winter sessions included in the August registration. How does this work exactly? I heard there might be another registration for the Winter session.

A: MSS strives to offer as many choices as possible for swimmers to participate in our program this Fall and Winter.  Our Fall and Winter swim groups have been established to ensure all swimmers can participate in the MSS Rock Star Splash swim meet in November 2022 and give scheduling options to busy families.  If there is sufficient room in swim groups, MSS will open a Winter-only registration in October 2022.  This will essentially afford a second opportunity for families to join our club this season.

Q: What is included with the MSS registration? Do swimmers need to bring their own equipment?

A: Registration includes an MSS swim cap and an MSS T-shirt! (Please note your swimmer’s shirt size in the online registration process.) All swimmers will need to have goggles and a practice swimsuit. Swimmers can purchase a team suit from our online store by the start of the session.  Senior 13/14 and Senior 1 swimmers should talk with their coach about purchasing other equipment to bring to practice.

Q: I understand that MSS Board members are able to sign up their swimmers ahead of the scheduled registration time. Is this true, and if so, can you please explain the rationale behind this practice?

A: MSS Board members are able to register their swimmers ahead of the opening of registration. MSS bylaws require that Board members are a family member of a current MSS swimmer in order to be on the Board. The early registration ensures that Board members meet this bylaw requirement. It is also the means by which our club tests our registration system as we do not have a test site available for this purpose. MSS will not allow anyone outside the Board to register prior to the scheduled opening of registration.

Q: I see that registration is online and payment is requested via credit card. How will credit card billing work? Is there any way I can pay by check instead?

A: MSS is not able to process personal checks or receive cash. Our registration system, TeamUnify, allows for credit card payment, and the system will ask for permission to bill your credit card, not just for this payment but for upcoming fees as well. Session fees and monthly payments are detailed on the payment information listed under the Registration tab on the website.  A fundraising fee is collected at registration and is charged per family (not per swimmer).  Any meet splash fees (fees for meet participation) for participating swimmers will also be charged to the credit card on file.

Q: I understand that MSS is no longer processing the USA Swimming registration but that this registration is still required. How will this work?  How do I know if my swimmer is USA Swimming registered?

A: USA Swimming is changing this process for swim clubs across the county starting September 2022.  Families registering with MSS (and any other swim club) will need to register their swimmer directly with Wisconsin Swimming, which is affiliated with USA Swimming. Wisconsin Swimming HAS NOT yet shared this process with swim clubs.  We anticipate having more information later in August. Please watch for updates. 

Q: How do refunds work?

A: MSS will grant a refund for the current payment if a swimmer is injured or has a health-related (including mental health) reason that prevents them from completing the season. We are unable to refund USA Swimming fees and fundraising fees.

Q: Does MSS offer a multi-swimmer discount? If so, what is the discount?

A: MSS is pleased to offer a multi-swimmer discount for our member families. The swim fee discounts are applied as follows:  

  • 7.5% for 2 swimmers
  • 10% for 3 swimmers
  • 12.5% for 4 swimmers

 

Swim groups

Q: Are there specific practice days for the Travelers and Extreme 3-Day groups?

A: Travelers and Extreme 3-Day registrants may select the 3 days of the week they wish to attend practice.

Q: How do I know if my swimmer is supposed to move up to the next swim group?

A: Please check with your swimmer’s coach if you have any questions about swim group placement for your swimmer. Coaches will do their best to communicate with both swimmers and parents about any recommended swim group changes prior to registration.

Q: How can I find out who is coaching each swim group this session?

A: Any questions about swim group coaches can be directed to Head Coach Nick Weiss at [email protected] 

 

Practices

Q: Will MSS swimmers be able to use the locker rooms to change or will they be using the changing stalls?

A: The AOAC allows a limited number of swimmers in the locker rooms for short periods of time (generally 10 minutes or less). The changing stalls are available to MSS swimmers as well. MSS and the AOAC request that locker room usage is minimized as much as possible.  Swimmers who are able to arrive “swim ready” and depart the pool without using the locker room are encouraged to do so.  

Q: Will parents be able to watch practice?

A: Yes, parents are again allowed to watch practice. Parents are asked to stay in the spectator area and not wander around the building during practices.

Q: Is MSS offering bus transportation from McFarland Conrad Elvehjem and Waubesa Intermediate School during the Fall/Winter season?

A: MSS is again partnering with Nelson Bus Company to offer bus service for Fall/Winter for swimmers in our Kickers and Travelers swim groups. Bus fees are forthcoming and will be available prior to registration. Bus sign-up links and instructions will be emailed to families the week of August 22nd (the week after registration closes).

 

Competition

Q: Does MSS anticipate any competitive swimming meets this fall and winter? What swim meet commitment is required for MSS swimmers?

A: Meets are strongly encouraged but not required for MSS swimmers and the fall and winter meet schedule will be posted on our website as soon as it is finalized. Mark your calendar! MSS will be hosting our fall Rock Star Splash November 18-20, 2022. All MSS families are asked to assist with our home meet (more info below).

 

Family service hour obligation

Q: What is MSS’s Family Service Hour Obligation?

A: MSS is a nonprofit swim club that relies on volunteers to execute our mission and offer a high-quality swim program for all swimmers. Although we need and appreciate volunteers in a variety of roles, we require a volunteer commitment for our home swim meets as follows:

  • Each MSS family is required to work 8 hours during the meet. Job shifts may be either 2- or 4- hours in length. You can combine shifts, if available, to meet the total 8-hour obligation.
  • Each 4-hour shift worked in a premium job role will be counted as 8 hours (and you are automatically entered for a raffle prize). Premium job roles are Timer, Head Timer, Colorado Operator, and Hytek Operator. (Training required for Colorado Operator.)

Families that absolutely cannot assist with a volunteer shift during the meet can request to volunteer for another task to assist in preparing for the meet. Please reach out to  Jason Kraemer, MSS’s Volunteer Coordinator, at [email protected] as soon as possible if you know your family will have challenges meeting the volunteer shift commitment at the MSS Home Meet.

Q: Can my family make a donation to MSS in lieu of volunteering? Is there a penalty for not meeting the family service hour commitment per family at the home swim meet?

A: MSS greatly appreciates donations to our club, but we are unable to take donations in lieu of a volunteer/family service hour commitment as we need families to assist with necessary meet tasks to ensure a safe and fun experience for all participating swimmers. Please note that your service hour obligation can be fulfilled by another swim family, family members such as grandparent, or a friend. Please communicate to the Volunteer Coordinator if you have others filling your job shifts on your behalf.  If you are unable to volunteer at a home meet, please reach out to the volunteer coordinator as soon as possible to seek another option to fulfill your service hour obligation.

At present, there is not a financial penalty for failing to the family service hour commitment, but the MSS board may revisit this in the future. However, if your family’s service hour obligation is not fulfilled, your family will not be considered in good standing with the club. This means that during the next MSS registration, your family will NOT be able to participate in priority registration as a current or returning MSS family. Your registration will be accepted with new families if spots are available within the swim group.

 

Safe Sport and the Minor Athlete Abuse Protection Policy

Q: What is Safe Sport? Will there be any other requirements of my swimmer or family throughout the swim season that have not been addressed elsewhere in this document?

A: MSS is a Safe Sport Designated Club. All families must read and acknowledge the Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policy (MAAPP) training as part of our registration process.

In addition, parents of athlete and minor athletes ages 12-17 are asked to complete the annual Safe Sport online training. Athletes age 18 and older are required to complete Safe Sport training. Information about Safe Sport and MSS’s Minor Abuse Prevention Policy can be found under the Safe Sport tab on our website, and additional communication will come from our Safe Sport Coordinator, Natalie Hoyos.

 

Meeting the coaches and other MSS activities

Q: Will there be an opportunity to meet the coaches before the first practice?

A: If you are uncertain about who is coaching your swimmer’s swim group and/or if your swimmer has any questions about the first day of practice we encourage you to reach out to Coach Nick Weiss at [email protected] MSS plans to host a new family orientation/meet-greet before the start of the Fall session. Please watch your email and our homepage for more information.

Q: Does MSS offer other team-building or social opportunities for swimmers or parents besides swim meet participation?

A: MSS hosted a pool party in May 2022 and had Shark Nights at High School Swim meets. Before the pandemic, there were other team-building events as well. 

Fun fact: MSS is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2022! Our Club is working to find all sorts of creative ways to safely celebrate this great milestone. Stay tuned!