- How are groups determined? While there are a series of skill, speed and age based criteria that have to be met (hard criteria) – coachability and maturity (soft criteria) also come in to play when making the group decisions. Once coaches have made a decision on what groups the swimmers are in we ask that that decision be respected.
- How does my child move up from one group to the next? Once groups are finalized (within the first 2 weeks of May) it is rare that a swimmer will change groups. The summer season is very short, and coaches make changes after the winter and during the first two weeks of the season rather than throughout the summer.
- Why is my child not swimming with his/her friends? While the social aspects of summer swimming are important we want to ensure that each swimmer is appropriately challenged. This means that some friend groups may be split up in order for all swimmers to be in groups of an appropriate skill level.
- If my child can’t make his/her group practices, can I bring them to a different group? Even when a swimmer attends a lower groups’ practice it is disruptive. In order for coaches to coach effectively they plan practice ahead of time – practice is planned based on their group and having a swimmer that is not usually in the group poses a challenge that takes the coaches attention away from their groups’ swimmers. In the past we have also found that when a swimmer attends a practice below their skill level they are rarely challenged and can become bored and therefore disruptive to the other swimmers.
- Do we need to go to all the practices? How many should we go to? Swimmers should go to as many practices as possible. In order for swimmers to develop and progress they need to be practicing in the water as much as possible. For a swimmer to improve consistently they need to be in the water every 48 hours to develop the muscle memory for the skills they are learning.
- Do I need to bring my child to activation? This is a key part of the practice and helps the swimmers warm up their muscles so that injury becomes less likely. This is also a time when the coaches check in with swimmers, provide group updates, and relay important information about the practice. Making sure you are at activation also means that when it is “in water time” the swimmers are ready to go and no time is wasted.
- Why does my child need dryland? What do I need to bring? Dryland is excellent cross training. For the younger groups dryland provides a great team bonding opportunity and a way to blow some steam before focusing on practice. For the older groups as well, dryland provides team bonding time, allows for important cross training and time spent on things like visualization and goal setting. Dryland is as important as the in water time!
- What do I need to bring to practice? Why? All swimmers need a swim suit, cap, goggles and water bottle at every practice! We encourage swimmers to wear caps as it is good to get used to them before wearing them at a swim meet. Goggles are important for all ages – for the younger swimmers it helps keep their faces in the water and reduces the eye rubbing time during sets. For the older swimmers goggles allow for a more focused practice. Water bottles are a must for everyone because, even though they can’t feel it, swimmers are sweating and need to hydrate throughout practice – having a water bottle allows them to do that without getting out of the pool and missing out on what the coach is explaining.
- Why can’t I speak with the coach while the kids are swimming? During practice the coaches’ priority is the swimmers. In order to provide the best coaching possible coaches must be able to focus on the practice. Parents are encouraged to speak with coaches before or after practice but are asked not to be on the pool deck when practice is in session.
Swim Meets & Racing:
- Why are swim meets important? Swim meets are what we train for! We are a competitive club and we train the swimmers to race and to improve. One big measure of improvement is time – when swimmers attend meets they are able to see a concrete measure of their seasonal improvement. Meets are also a great social event and allow swimmers and parents to develop relationship with other families in the club!
- What do I need to bring to swim meets? Towels! Lots and lots of towels, ideally one towel for each race. It is also a good idea to bring extra bathing suits, warm clothes, activities (coloring, beads, cards, etc.), spare caps and goggles, and food. Many families will also bring sleeping bags, tents/pop-ups, fold up chairs, etc. and will set up camp for the day! At each meet Cruisers will have a designated area for families to set up – when you get to a meet, look for the Cruisers flag!
- Why is my novice swimmer slowing down in his/her races in the middle of the season? Novice swimmers may “slowdown” midseason because their strokes are becoming legal. This means that they are now doing the stroke properly but that it may be a bit slower than what they were doing before. This is normal and a very good sign of your swimmers development!
- Why is my child being disqualified? Each stroke has a set of rules that swimmers must follow in order to be doing the stroke legally. Your swimmer will be disqualified if he or she breaks any of these rules during the race. It is quite normal for swimmers, especially new and developing swimmers, to be disqualified. When this happens, coaches use it as a learning opportunity!
- Why does my child need to go to warm-up? Warm-up is important for many reasons! Each pool is slightly different and coming to warm-up gives swimmers a chance to get a feel for the pool prior to racing and lets swimmers wake-up their muscles before exerting them in a race. Also, warm-up helps swimmers get in the zone and pumped up as a group for the meet ahead. If swimmers miss warm-up they will be taken off their relay teams. It is important to the team that all swimmers attend warm-up!