A New Season

Summer is finally here! The Greenbelt Swim Team’s Summer 2016 Season officially kicks off with Friday evening’s Pasta Potluck. But the real fun for team members begins the next Saturday morning when they participate in the first meet of the summer at our very own pool against the West Arundel Swim Team. First of all, if you haven’t gone to the Active swim portal to 1) RSVP for your swimmer 2) volunteer 3) sign up for concessions… please do that now!

Here are some tips so that you can know what to expect.

Arrive on time! Head Coach Meredith and your child’s age group coach need time to check in team members before the warm-up to make sure everyone is present. If your child is late, the coaches may mark him/her as a “no show” and scratch your swimmer from his/her events in the meet. Why? The team is allowed a limited number of substitutions which must be made before the meet officially starts. If your swimmer is late, the coaches are left with the dilemma of whether to substitute another swimmer into events or wait for your child to show. Some age groups have a lot of swimmers who are limited to less than the maximum number of events because coaches try to swim every eligible swimmer in every meet. If your child doesn’t show up for an event and the coaches don’t do a substitution, another child is denied a chance to swim in his/her place. ***Swimmers who warm up with their year round teams, please notify Meredith at gmstcoaches AT gmail DOT com to let her know that you’ll be warming up at another facility before arriving at the meet. Don’t assume that your coach and Meredith know.***

If your child becomes sick overnight on Friday/Saturday or you’re running unavoidably late on Saturday, please email Meredith (mpassmore21 AT aol DOT com) as she regularly checks her email on her smart phone throughout the morning of a meet. Or you could text her at 561-225-4032. Please remember that these forms of communication are intended to be used regarding last-minute absence from a meet. If you have regular team business, please use her coach email: passmore.mere AT gmail DOT com

This is a team sport. Your child probably has a favorite stroke at which he/she excels and really enjoys swimming at every meet. But the coaches must look at overall performance of team members and place your child in races where he/she can be most effective in earning points for the team. Even if your child dislikes the event they may have been placed in, encourage them to do their best!

Nutrition/hydration is key. Every athlete needs to eat and hydrate properly to perform at their best. Yes, there are concessions at summer meets, but you should plan ahead and bring healthy food and water with you for your swimmer. The best foods are easily eaten and digested to provide energy. Energy bars are O.K., but fruit like grapes are the perfect food for meets. And, providing your child with plenty of water (sports drinks are O.K., but watch the sugar) is also very important. Every athlete sweats when they exercise, even swimmers in the water. And, out of the pool the temperatures can soar. Fluid replacement is critical, not just for performance, but because your child can start showing signs of heat-related illness quickly if he/she isn’t drinking enough fluids.

Pack these in your child’s swim bag: your child should wear a form-fitting suit. If you ordered a team suit for your child, the suits will be distributed Friday night at the potluck. If you didn’t, please have your child wear a suit appropriate for competition. Greenbelt caps will also be distributed at Friday’s potluck. Please have your child bring a cap unless his/her hair is very short and won’t get in the eyes. Goggles–one set is essential but two are best–straps break unexpectedly. And a towel (or even two) to stretch out on or wrap up in between events is important, too.

What if it rains? We don’t cancel meets or practices for rain (as returning families can remember from Summer of 2015!). Team members swim in water, so a little more won’t hurt them. We do practice safety and will delay or interrupt a meet if there is thunder heard and/or lightning spotted and we’ll move all swimmers and spectators to a safe area or ask them to return to their cars to wait until it’s safe to return to the pool. We are required by Prince Mont Swim League rules to hold and complete meets on Saturdays unless the weather is such that we can’t. In those rare cases we cannot finish a meet on a Saturday, we are required to reschedule the meet during the week and complete it. If the meet is interrupted, please don’t leave to go home until you get official word that the meet has been suspended.

Be courteous to volunteers on our team and the opposing team. Every deck official, timer, and concessions worker is a volunteer parent/family member. Stroke and turn judges are officials with a difficult task–they have to be impartial and judge each swimmer’s races to make sure the stroke is being swum legally. Your child may get disqualified (DQ’d) during a race for performing an illegal stroke. It happens a lot at the beginning of the season and for strokes like butterfly and breaststroke, especially among younger or newer swimmers. Please don’t walk up to officials and protest these calls. No one but officials and timers are allowed on the pool deck, and if you try to walk up to an official or timer to talk to him/her during the meet, you could get the entire team in trouble. The team has a representative on the deck who will be informed of any DQ’s by the meet referee–the head official who runs the meet. The team rep will consult with coaches about DQ’s and protest any questionable calls, so rest assured that we’re on top of what’s happening. And please don’t question the coaches about DQ’s during the meet, either. We have a large number of kids on the team and coaches are multi-tasking during meets–coaching swimmers pre-race, sending them to Clerk of Course, watching races, noting DQ’s, working on relay line-ups. If you have questions or concerns, please bring them up with Marc Swisdak, the meet manager for Greenbelt. In the excitement of a close race, please don’t forget that no one but officials and timers are allowed on the pool deck (the cement part around the pool in front of the flags).

Many hands make light work. As mentioned in an earlier email, it takes MANY, MANY volunteers to run one single swim meet. Even if you don’t sign up for a particular job at a meet, please consider helping us clean up after the meet by taking down the pop-up tents, cleaning up trash/recycling, etc. Also all families that swim at a home meet are expected to bring items for the concessions stand. Spending just a few dollars on those items helps the team earn hundreds of dollars on concessions and brings a nice variety of snacks for the swimmers, volunteers and spectators.

Have fun! You’re allowed to cheer for your child (unless you’re an official who has to be impartial.) So, do lots of cheering on Saturday! Encourage your kids and let them know they’ve done a great job and that you’re proud of them. Please don’t dissect races and tell your child how they could have improved. Please leave that to the coaches to handle–they know best what are your swimmer’s strengths, what needs improvement, and what your child is capable of doing by the end of the summer. Our goal for each swimmer is steady improvement in every stroke they’re eligible to swim over the summer.

Go to Three Brothers in the Beltway Plaza in Greenbelt after the meet. This isn’t a formal social event, but it’s a lot of fun. The team has a tradition of holding post-race, no-host lunches at Three Brothers after every meet, both home and away. This is where ribbons get handed out to swimmers and where coaches and parents can relax, unwind, and get delicious food.

Check out the FAQ page. This section has more information on nutrition (what to eat before a meet!), DQs, and the variety of meets your child will have the opportunity to swim in this summer. And don’t forget to ask a veteran swim team parent if you have any questions, too!

Also, for returning families, please remember to access the ACTIVE portal to RSVP your swimmer for the meet, sign up to volunteer and to donate concessions. It is all in one place!