SWIM PARENT TO SWIM PARENT FAQ
Welcome to Brock Niagara Aquatics competitive swim team! We are sure you have a ton of questions. This FAQ sheet covers many of the questions we have received as fellow swim parents over time. If you have any additional questions, always feel free to ask us. There is usually a group of parents present during practice in the spectator section.
o What does my child need for the first day of practice?
Swim suit, goggles and towel. That’s it! Water bottle and swim cap are optional, but highly recommended.
o Do they really need a swim cap?
Caps are not required in practice. However, they protect the hair from some of the damage caused by chlorine and gets swimmers used to wearing them before competition. Both latex and silicone caps are good options and tend to be a personal preference depending on comfort and performance for your swimmer. Brock silicone caps can be ordered by emailing email@example.com . A Brock swim cap is mandatory for meets.
o How important is it that my swimmer is at practice?
Swimming is a sport where “feel” for the water is developed through practice. Each group’s practice schedule enhances as your swimmer progresses through the club. The core flow of the club is rooted in practice attendance.
o Why do we have morning practices?
The addition of morning practices, both weekday and weekend, to your swimmer’s practice schedule is an adjustment to regular routines. The addition of morning practices is practical in terms of getting our swimmers water time in-line with other swim teams across the country. This new routine might be challenging at first but these are great learning opportunities and in the long run, if you are interested in being competitive at the Provincial level and beyond morning practices are a reality of the journey.
o What do I need to know about morning practices?
Morning practices are similar to afternoon practices with the exception of facility access to the Walker Sports Complex. Prior to 7AM the entry doors for the Walker Complex are located across from the Tennis Courts and Alumni Field. All other doors will be locked. Access to the Brock pool’s viewing gallery may be limited prior to 7AM.
o What do I need to know for Saturday morning practices?
Some groups begin practice with dryland training. Swimmers should come prepared to exercise outside with running shoes and weather appropriate clothing, If the weather is not conducive to outdoor training, swimmers will have dryland training in the gym inside.
o Where can I find Practice and Competition schedules?
Schedules are posted online at Brocku.ca/brock-swimming and you can also subscribe to the calendar.
o What can I expect at a meet?
All meets may operate slightly differently; however, in general meets are set up into “sessions” which are groups of swimmers divided by age and time they swim. Each session at a meet has a defined warm up time (usually 45-60 mins) and set start time when the racing begins. Each day at a meet there could be 2-3 sessions, so it is important to understand when your child’s session starts. This information will be provided to you when you’re given your child’s races for the meet. During the session, each race is given an event number. For example, Female 50 meter Freestyle could be race #23 and Male 50 Meter Freestyle could be race #24. Each race will have multiple heats. On race day, your child will be given the race #, heat # and lane # that they will be swimming in. It will be their responsibility to show up to that race on time, but their coaches can help with this if necessary. General information on each meet can be found online before the meet begins at swimming.ca under the “upcoming meets” section.
o Do I need to volunteer at swim meets?
YES!!!! Volunteers are essential for running a successful swim meet and swim club. All swim clubs in Canada depend on volunteers to run swim meets. Every position on deck is done by a volunteer. If we don’t have volunteers, we can’t run swim meets (this is true at all levels of swimming, all the way up to and including the Olympics). New parents are encouraged to start by volunteering as a timer. It is helpful to take the free timer course when it is offered and other swim clinics as you progress as a volunteer. You will receive an e-mail that indicates sign up for the meet is now open. Please sign up when asked so we can have a successful meet. Note: Volunteering at a swim meet counts towards required volunteer hours for high school students
o How do I find out what my child is racing?
You will get an email from Brock before the meet with each swimmer’s scheduled races. Note, there are additional fees for meets. If you do not wish to attend a meet, you must fill out the scratch form before the deadline. Sometimes you can locate “heat sheets” for an upcoming meet by looking at the host team’s website. Heat sheets list all the events, heats and lane assignments for the race. This is a helpful guide, but please note that this information is subject to change once the organizers see who did not show up for warmups.
o Do we need to go to every meet?
Brock encourages all swimmers to participate in all meets as this will help their progress and allow them to bond as a team. However, it is understood that conflicts arise, and it is not always possible to attend each and every time. Prior to each meet, a “scratch form” will be circulated which will allow you to choose not to attend a meet. Please be aware that this form has a deadline, and if this deadline passes, your child will be placed into the meet and fees for the meet will be charged as if they did attend.
o What is Meet Mobile?
It is an app for your phone that allows you to look up race information for each meet. Before the meet starts, you can find out approximate times for your child’s events and the heat and lane information for their races. During the meet, it will provide you with the results after a short delay. The full version does have a yearly subscription of about $15, but most parents agree it is well worth it. Most swim meets are on Meet Mobile (with the exception of meets hosted in Quebec).
o Where can I find racing results outside of meet mobile?
Swimming.ca will post results a few days after a meet. All the specifics of the meet can also be found on this site prior to the meet. Swimrankings.net also gives you the capability to search for your child and view their entire swim history with stats.
o What kind of swimsuit should my child wear?
For young boys board shorts will be uncomfortable and impractical when doing this much swimming. Younger boys normally wear the “jammer” style suits that hit just above the knee and are form fitting. Girls wear one-piece suits that have some sort of cross in the back to keep the straps in place. Anything is fine at this stage, but you may want to look into getting a training level of swimsuit as they will last a lot longer than what you find at Walmart, Costco or Sportchek. The spandex in traditional suits gets stretched out quickly. Training suits are made with chlorine resistant fabric and can last an entire season. You can find them on sale for $20 to $50 or regular priced $60 to $80.
o Where can I find training suits?
Team Aquatic Supplies is the leading provider of competitive swimming gear. Team Aquatic Supplies has brick and mortar stores in Burlington near Ikea and in the Toronto Pan AM Sports Centre in Scarborough. Brock swimmers get a discount at this store, online and in person. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get your “Shark Card” coupon. Team Aquatic Supplies is also a robust online vendor at https://team-aquatic.com/
o Does my kid need a racing suit?
Not yet in your first year of competitive swimming and not before the age of 10. Some parents choose to get one before a big meet as there hydrodynamic and psychological advantages of a “racing suit”. If you are getting a racing suit it should be $100 or less at this stage. If you are thinking of spending more, you should have a talk with your child’s coach first. Racing suits should not be worn in warmups. (Watch videos on how to put one on as it is challenging).
o Do I need to buy swim fins?
The youngest groups do not use them right away. Once the swimmers start using them regularly in practice, you may want to get some for your child. A good cost-effective starter pair are the Speedo Switch Blades. There are many other choices, but you want short fins rather than the longer style. Once your swimmer is into adult sized shoes, Arena Powerfin Pro Fins are highly durable and strongly recommended.
o How about kickboards and pull buoys?
These are optional as they can be borrowed from Brock. Some swimmers find it easier to have all their own equipment in a bag ready at practice. There are many to choose from. It helps to pick something that looks different from what Brock uses so that they do not get mixed up.
o Do I need hand paddles and snorkels?
Not yet. These come a couple of years in, depending on age. The coach will let you know when this is appropriate.
o Why do some swimmers wear double caps for races?
Swimmers wear two caps to help keep their goggles from falling off when they dive in. One cap covers the hair, then they put their goggles on, and then the second cap goes on top. This should be done just before the race as wearing the double cap too long can cause headaches. Do not double cap for warm up or training.
o Anything else to know about gear?
Label everything! It all ends up in a pile at the end of the lane and being able to tell yours apart is beneficial. You will also want to get a mesh bag to hold the gear. It allows everything to dry between practices and can handle getting dunked in the pool.
o How is a swim season comprised?
The year is generally divided up into three cycles – short course season (September – December), a hybrid mixed season (January – March), and long course season (March – summer). Practices throughout the year will be held in the 25m pool, except where timing and other practices allow the use of the 50m pool.
o What is WOSA?
WOSA stands for Western Ontario Swim Association, which our belongs to as part of Swim Ontario’s regional organization system. The term WOSA is commonly used to refer to the Regional Championship meets (“Regionals”) that are held twice a year, once for short course season and once for long course season. In order to participate in the Regional Championship meet, swimmers must meet specific qualifying time standards.
o Where do I find the qualifying times for regional swim meets and beyond?
Time standards can be found on the Brock Swimming Website, located at https://brocku.ca/brock-swimming/time-standards/. You can also find them on The Swim Canada Website at www.swimming.ca.
o What comes after regionals?
There are Championship races beyond the Regional level. Domestic levels of competition are as follows: Regionals, Festivals, Provincials, Easterns/Junior Nationals, Nationals. Swimmers may participate in each of these competitions if they meet the time qualification criteria for each meet. Qualification times generally become more difficult for each level.
o What additional costs should I be prepared for?
Please see the Competitive training groups & fees and Additional fees sections on https://brocku.ca/brock-swimming/competitive-team/ for a full break down on additional costs.
o What should my child do in the summer?
The summer is a good time for your child to try other sports. This gives them a break from swimming and a chance to try new things and build different muscles. If they really want to do something connected to swimming watch out for Brock e-mails that highlight Brock connected options. Many communities also offer additional summer time swim opportunities like fitness swimming or the Niagara Region Summer Swim league (as a competitive swimmer your child will be exhibition only in this league).