OUR HELP CENTER

SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR NEWBIES

**2019 Information:

  1. IT’S ON THE WEBSITE!  If you are not sure about something, check the website for the answer. If you cannot find it, please contact the team director, Hilary Irons. 

  2. IF YOUR SWIMMER IS NOT PLANNING TO SWIM AT THE MEET, YOU MUST SIGN OUT! Please be sure to do this for every meet, including champs. Line up entries are based on these sign outs. 

  3. TEAM COMMUNICATIONS: weather can impact our planned activities.  For most up to date info, please make sure you are signed up for our team texts by clicking here: https://www.remind.com/join/33dehg 

  4. VOLUNTEERS AND OFFICIALS: It takes a village. One parents per family is required to volunteer for at least 3 meets per season. Please do your part, as many hands make light work! If you want to help but feel nervous about the job you may be asked to do, please contact Hilary!  Click here to sign up: ( signup genius links will be posted here)

  5. Clerk of Course:  PARENTS PLEASE HELP YOUR SWIMMERS WATCH FOR EVENTS BEING CALLED! The Clerk of Course will be on the pool deck. Each swimmer will be responsible for being at the Clerk of Course in time for his/her event. There will be two calls for each event. Announcements will be made in the park and on the pool deck. We suggest that each team always have parents in the tent area to oversee their respective teams while other parents are working.

  6. EACH CLUB IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONDUCT OF THEIR SWIMMERS. Please remember we are guests of pools and representatives of our team. We are proud of our team, and should behave accordingly.

  7. COACHES’ POLICY ON EVENTS:

  • This is a competitive sport, and the Dolphins are a competition team. While we want to make it fun for all, the goal is to score points and win the meet. Parents may need to explain to their young athlete so that is remains fun while being fair.

  • Why does a swimmer sometimes have to swim an event they would rather not? Can’t they just swim what they want? 

  • Swimming for an individual is about being fast and about stroke technique. Swimming for a TEAM means putting the team goals above self. There is a great deal of strategy the coaches use help the team win. They know the strengths and weakness of our own swimmers, but also of the other team’s swimmers. They also know who will be missing from the meet. That means that they may NEED a swimmer in an event to score points, even if that is not the swimmer’s best or favorite event. This is called teamsmanship - accepting the assignment where one is NEEDED, even if that is not where they WANTED to swim.

  • Why isn’t my swimmer on a relay? Again, this is a competition team. Relays are very important as they have much higher point values per event than the individual event. Relays can make or break a team at a meet. There is no way to have every child swim on a relay team. Each relay event has 8-12 swimmers. On a 100-athlete team, that means more than 85 kids are NOT on the relay. We can’t have unlimited relay teams, or we’d never get finished with a meet! Usually, we have A, B and C relays, sometimes D. The rule is: fastest swimmer swims. Sometimes there is an illness, injury, or technical problem that prevents this from being strictly followed. The coaches know these things. This concept is the most fair. It takes the coaches ‘ opinions out of the mix, going by times. It lets the relay swimmer know that they can be replaced, an incentive to work harder. It also gives other swimmers an incentive to work harder to try to make the relay team. Fast relays score big points for the team. Every child wants the Dolphins to win, and if we don’t field the fastest team, we won’t win. We can assure you, the other teams field their fastest swimmers! So should we. It’s all part of the strategy. And, if the relay team has three fast swimmers, but the next fastest is replaced by a slower one, those three hard workers might feel disappointed at the finish. And often, the swimmer who could not keep the pace will feel bad about “dragging the team down.” While we wish they wouldn’t feel that way, it’s a reality. We are not a win-at-all-cost team, but we are a winning team because we follow these basic concepts of competitive swimming.

  • Please help your child understand these ideals: Team above self. The coaches need you where they put you. Fastest swimmer swims relays.

  • Your coaches will be glad to discuss these principles with you and/or the swimmer.


​WHAT TO BRING. WHAT NOT TO BRING: 

  • You may bring in food, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages in coolers. NOTE: some pools have very strict rules about where you can and can’t eat! We will try to warn you, because they can get rather nasty about it!

  • Bring a folding chair to sit on, as seating may be limited. 

  • Bring warm clothing, even in the summer, as it gets chilly for a wet swimmer once the sun goes down

  • Bring a Sharpie marker to write your child’s event on his/ her hand or foot.

  • Bring sunscreen (you should apply some before coming to the meet to soak it in). Bring a hat and sunglasses.

  • Bring a positive attitude, and encourage the child to swim in any event in which the coaches have placed them.

  • Bring video and still cameras... these are great photo opportunities!

  • DON’T bring ANY alcoholic beverages, no matter what the container. A meet can be forfeited if a parent is found to have alcohol at a meet.

  • DON’T bring glass containers.

  • DON’T bring anything unlabeled. Things disappear in the crowds.

WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT CHAMPS?

CHAMPS 2019: Saturday July 27

Our final meet of the season is the Valley Swim League Championships. It is split into two sessions: morning for smaller swimmers, afternoon for larger. 

Our champs practice time is Wednesday July 24 from 6-7PM.  On the day of champs, our warm up times are 7:40AM for AM session and 11:40AM for PM session. Parking is available in Godwin lot, P lot, and in the parking deck.  New this year, there will be a coaches relay race between sessions. Stay and cheer your coaches on!

Things to bring to Champs:
1. Blankets and chairs to sit on in the gymnasium. There is seating in the natatorium for watching the races. YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED ON THE POOL DECK UNLESS YOU ARE A RACE OFFICIAL. NO PARENTS EXCEPT WHILE VOLUNTEERING! 
2. Extra towels.
3. Sweat clothes or warm clothes after a swim (it is VERY chilly in the gym).
4. Cooler with drinks, food, or snacks in the stands. 
5. Goggles, swim suit (swimmers may only wear one swim suit, tech suits and fast skins are allowed,) swim cap (SCC or plain cap-no other teams, including VAST or high school), team spirit.
6. A Sharpie marker to write events onto your swimmer’s hand.
7. Money for the swim shop and the T-shirt/ sweatshirt sales.

GET READY FOR CHAMPS! 

Champs Survival Guide for Parents & Swimmers: 
Morning swimmers (10 and under) need to be at JMU Godwin pool by 7:30am. Our AM team warmups are from 7:40am-8am.  Afternoon Session swimmers (11 and older) need to be there by 11:30 pm. Our PM team warmups are from 11:40am-12n. 

The morning competition will begin at 9:00 a.m. and will last until about 11:30 a.m. The afternoon competition will begin at 1:00 (with the graduated relays) and end around 4:30.

Quiet activities such as books, cards, handheld games etc., can help the waiting time be more fun. You are responsible for your own belongings, so having a backpack or bag to store your things in is helpful. Sharing is common, so be sure your child knows to put their items away in a safe place when they swim.

Food and drinks, provided by JMU, will be available to purchase during the meet, typically burgers, hot dogs, nachos, candy, soda. NO FOOD OR DRINK CAN BE CONSUMED IN THE GYM OR ON THE POOL DECK! You may eat and drink in the stands or hall. There are vending machines in the lower hallway outside the pool entrance as well. 

Champs T-shirts will also be available for sale.  These shirts will have your swimmers name listed on the back.  They will be printed on site so you can chose the color and style you wish. Other swim gear items will be available for purchase, too. 

Spectators will watch the meet from the seating overlooking the pool. Parents may not be on the pool deck unless they are working their shifts.  Children of parent volunteers may not be on the pool deck. If a child needs assistance getting out of the pool, timers will offer help. Children risk being disqualified if parents don’t adhere to these guidelines. Congestion on the pool deck can create adverse safety conditions for swimmers and officials. If you need to speak with a meet official, please send word with the clerk escorting the children to the pool. 

Only meet officials, coaches, and timers are allowed on the pool deck. All parent volunteers must get a nametag from the information table—you must have this badge to be on the pool deck. Children are not allowed on the pool deck unless they are swimming the event and swimmers need to exit the pool area immediately after swimming. Younger swimmers will be escorted to the pool by Clerk of Course workers. 

Swimmers will enter the pool deck through the women's pool locker room and will exit through the men's locker room. Bathroom facilities and changing spaces are available in the much larger locker rooms across the hall.

PARENTS: PLEASE HELP YOUR SWIMMERS WATCH FOR EVENTS BEING CALLED! The Clerk of Course will be on the pool deck. Each swimmer will be responsible for being at the Clerk of Course in time for his/her event. There will be two calls for each event. Announcements will be made in the gym area and on the pool deck. We suggest that each family has a parent or responsible person to oversee its athletes while the parents are working. 

Each club is responsible for the conduct of their swimmers. Please remember we are guests of the JMU pool.  Good luck, swim fast, and make your BEST TIMES!

SWIM MEET TIPS & TRICKS

Things to bring:
1. blankets or chairs to sit on.
2. extra towels
3. sweat clothes or warm clothes after a swim (it gets chilly when the sun goes down)
4. cooler with drinks, food, or snacks. Cut-up fruit is healthy and easy. Snack bar will be open.
5. goggles, swim cap, team spirit.
6. a Sharpie marker to write events onto your swimmer’s hand.
​7. shady stuff and sunscreen.

Also, it takes a village to run a swim meet. We need parents to help. Please go to the bulletin board or email with what you would like to help with on that night.

For new swimming families with small children: I found it helpful for me to get a sitter instead of bringing small children to the pool. Believe me, you will enjoy the meet more!

COVID POLICY

Please know that both the VSL and the Dolphins wish to employ covid policy that allows for the highest levels of participation. This means balancing ever changing mandates with scientific understanding as well as managing emotional and physical comfort. We plan to utilize the same screening process as last year, and ask that each participant take possible exposure seriously. We will follow all state mandates that are in place as the weeks go by. Please reach out to leadership with any questions or concerns.