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Below are FAQs for General questions, Meets and Prelims/Championships.  If you still have questions and can't find an answer please use the "Contact Us" tab to find the person to ask or use the form at the bottom to send us an email.

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I’m not sure if my young swimmer can swim the length of the pool on their own. What can I do?

New swimmers, ages 6 and Under are welcome to do a “Trial Period” the first 2 weeks of practice. There is a $28 non-refundable fee. If your swimmer decides to join the team the $28 will be applied to the sign-up fee. We also strongly encourage you to look into a few private lessons to get your swimmer comfortable and ready for swimming.  See more details under the "Team Fees" link on the Home page.  If your swimmer is older than 6 years old you can contact the Parent Delegate to discuss.

We have Summer Vacation plans and I know we are going to miss a Meet or two. Should we still join?

Yes! We understand that this is a summer league and that families have lots of things to do. We encourage your swimmer to come to as many practices and meets as possible. If you know you are going to miss a Meet just let the Head Coach know ahead of time and be sure to mark your swimmer(s) as "Not Attending" that meet as soon as possible.

Do I need to contact anyone if my child can't make a practice? What about a Meet?

There is no need to contact anyone if you can't make it to a practice. However, if you know you are going to miss a Meet please mark your swimmer(s) as "Not Attending" that meet on the Sign-Up Calendar and contact the Head Coach ASAP.  The Coach fills the event and builds the relay teams based on who they believe will be there so the earlier you can tell them, the easier it is for them to adjust the schedule.

What does it mean to "sign up" for a Meet?

To let the Head Coach know which swimmers will, and will not, be at a Meet, you will need to "sign them up."  Go to the "Sign-Up Calendar" and find the event.  You will mark each swimmer as "Attending" or "Not Attending."  For instructions on how to do this and how to sign up for Volunteer Positions, please go to the "Sign-Up Instructions" link.  For Meets you can even pick the 3 individual events that your swimmer wants to participate in - just keep in mind that the coach has to make the final decisions and may move your swimmer to a different event. Be sure to read ALL of the Meet information that gets emailed out the night before.

What are the volunteering expectations?

Because swim team may well be one of the most volunteer intensive sports, we require every family to volunteer for at least one position at each meet. As a team, we are required to provide a certain amount of volunteers at every meet to fill certain positions. There are a variety of positions ranging anywhere from checking in the swimmers at the start of the meet to working the heating area to doing a timing shift or even becoming a Stroke & Turn official. More details on Volunteering can be found under the "Volunteer Position Descriptions" link.

What equipment do I need to purchase and where can I get it?

Swim team does not require much equipment or gear. We do have "team" swimsuits that may be purchased thru Swim N' Things for a discount. (Tell them you are with the Dam West Dolphins.) The suits offer excellent coverage and are very durable. We encourage all swimmers to have a "team" swimsuit but understand that not everyone is able to purchase one. For girls, make sure it is a one piece suit with good straps that will keep it in place. For boys, trunks will work but "jammers" are better. For more information please go to the "Team Gear" link. 

The team has enough kickboards and leg buoys for every practice but swimmers are always welcome to bring their own.  Starting in 2023, swim fins will be used during practices.  Because the team does not currently have any to share, swimmers will need to bring their own.  Please check Swim n' Things for the recommended fins.

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What do we need to bring to Meets? Do we have to have one of those huge tents? Can we buy food?

You do not need a huge tent. You are welcome to bring one but space is always limited and it is first come, first served. Also, some pools will not have the space for them and some even have rules against them so be sure to read ALL of the Meet Instructions the night before a Meet. You are welcome to bring small tents or umbrellas for shade. Again, just be aware of the space and the rules of the pool. You can bring your own food and every pool has their own concession stand as well. Just FYI, some only accept cash.  Please see the "Meet Preparation" link under the "Meets & Practice Info" tab.

Why do I have to sit in the “Team Area”?

In the event that a swimmer is missing from the heating area or behind the blocks, junior coaches (or even other parents) will be sent to look for the swimmer. It is quicker and easier to find them if everyone is in the same area.

How can I tell which Event is in the pool and which Events are in Heating?

At our pool you will see a sign near the Starter & Meet Ref. (Look for the umbrella.) The number showing there is the Event currently in the pool.

At the entrance to the Heating Area (aka, the baby pool) you will see a sign with 2 numbers. These are the Events that are currently in Heating - meaning they are sitting on the benches or may already be behind the blocks ready to go next!  Be sure to keep a close eye on these!

Away pools may use a similar system but many of them vary. Some may use only a partial system or possibly none at all. Be sure to listen to the announcer when s/he is calling out events.

Why do I have to stay until the very end of the meet when my swimmer is already done?

Even if your swimmer is not scheduled for a relay there is always a chance at the end of the Meet that they could be called upon to fill a spot on a relay. Relays are big points and the Coach works hard to put together relays in all of the events. We have even had a 5 year old swim with the 15-18’s to complete the relay team!

I signed my swimmer up for specific events. Why did they get moved to a different event?

Whenever possible, the Head Coach tries to let swimmers pick the events that they most want to do. However, there can only be so many swimmers per event so, for example, if everyone signs up for the 25M Freestyle and no one signs up for the 25M Butterfly the Coach will have to move swimmers to the other events. Plus, Coach encourages everyone to stretch and grow as swimmers by trying new events.

Why are Relays so important?

Relays are worth more points than the individual events and this is often where we make up points. (Click HERE to see how the scoring working.)

Why did my swimmer get moved to a different relay?

Sometimes a swimmer on a particular relay will need to leave or gets sick and the Coach will need to make last minute adjustments in order to create a new relay team. This can involve juggling multiple swimmers to different relays at the last minute.  There are also various other reasons for last minute changes.

How do I mark my swimmer for a meet?

Please see the “Marking Your Swimmer” link under the “Meets & Practice Info" tab.

Are there ribbons or awards for the dual meets?

Yes! Swimmers get ribbons for all of their events and when they beat their own best time they get a “Dolphin Dollar” which is worth 25 cents at the Dam West Dolphin Concessions. (I guess “Dolphin Quarter” doesn’t sound as cool.)

Every Monday there will be a grey file folder box sitting on the table behind the blocks. (Or sometimes near the front gate.)  Each family will have a folder with their name on it. Ribbons and Dolphin Dollars can be picked up from there. If you don’t see the box, ask a coach to go get it.

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What are Prelims and how do they work?

The Preliminaries (aka Prelims) determine which swimmers will go on to the Championship meet.  It determines which events they will swim in and whether they will be swimming in the medal round or the ribbon round.  Prelims will always fall on a Monday & Tuesday after all 5 dual meets are completed.

Only Individual Events run on these days (no relays!) so the meets go pretty quickly.

To qualify to participate in a swimmer’s Individual Events at Championships they are REQUIRED to swim their event at Prelims.

The top 16 swimmers * in each event go on to the Championships. The top 8 swimmers will swim in the “Medal Round” while swimmers 9-16 will swim in the “Ribbon Round.”

It is important to do well at Prelims as it will determine whether your swimmer is swimming for a medal or a ribbon.

Example: If your swimmer was #10 at Prelims they are in the Ribbon Round. So even if they swim the fastest time of everyone in their event at Championships, the best they will do is a 9th place ribbon.

If your swimmer does not make the Top 16 but makes it to 17-20 please be on stand-by. A vast majority of the time there are scratches on the day of Championships and many swimmers make it into their event after all!

* If the team hosting Championships has a 6 lane pool than it will be the top 12.

It is my swimmer’s first year and I doubt they’ll make it to Championships. Why should I go to Prelims?

We are very proud of the fact that over 95% of our swimmers usually swim at Prelims and about the same percentage of those swimming qualify for Championships in one or more of their events. Our expectation is that every swimmer participates at Prelims. Please DO NOT underestimate your child’s chances of making it to Championships, even if your swimmer has just started summer swim team this year. Every year we have parents tell us how surprised they were that their child made it.

For Prelims, how do they determine which age group is on which day? It seems so random.

Different Divisions do it different ways. In some, once the Division has complete rosters for all the teams, they will break it down by age group in an attempt to split it as equally as possible into the 2 days. In others certain hosting teams will ask for specific age groups.  Regardless of the method, the goal is always to split the swimmers as equally as possible while also considering the parent volunteers needed for each.

We weren’t able to make it to Prelims or my swimmer didn’t qualify for Championships. Should we still go to Championships?

Yes! All swimmers are eligible to swim on the relays. This is the one event where all the swimmers pull together as a team to help the Dolphins win our Division Championship. We have been fortunate to have dedicated swimmers each year, who could not make Prelims, but still came to Championships just to swim with their fellow teammates on relays.

This does NOT mean that they are guaranteed a spot on a relay.  In the event that there are enough swimmers already participating in Championships to fill a relay no extras will be needed.  However, if there are not enough swimmers to complete a relay others may be asked to fill in if they are willing and able.

Championships are usually very close and having all our kids there to participate in relays can make a difference. One year, our team won the Division Championship by 1 point because of relays!!!  Relays have made a huge difference in two of our Championship wins.

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