Frequently Asked Questions
P.O. Box 6445, Alexandria, VA 22306     |     info@fbswim.org     |     703-627-4796
Indoor Schedule
Masters Schedule
Team Records
FBST Travel Policies
Fort Belvoir Swim Team
Frequently Asked Questions about
Fort Belvoir Swim Team

1. How are ear infections prevented?
There are two types of ear infections: one is caused by middle ear build-up
secondary to Eustachian tube congestion and the other is caused by pool or
bath water not drying up in the outer ear canal – also called “Swimmers’ Ear”.
To prevent the latter, parents can blow dry the ears or use alcohol & boric acid
drops available at the school or local pharmacy.  Swimming does not cause
the middle ear infections. Children with ventilation tubes in their ears can still
swim, but should wear ear plugs, a tight fitting cap, and should not swim
deeper than a foot below the surface of the water.  Always consult your
physician if your child is experiencing discomfort or pain.

2. What is FBST’s attendance policy?
FBST is taking attendance for all competitive groups. We do offer make-ups
for missed practices. Attendance is taken for all swimmers to track how many
times that swimmers is coming to practice and when.

3. Is swimming too competitive for my swimmer?
FBST Swimming’s goal is to develop a strong competitive team. However, we
also encourage the USA Swimming focus on making swimming a fun and
inspiring sport. One advantage of competitive swimming over other sports is
that swimmers compete not only within their age group, but also within their
skill level, as races are seeded by their best times.

4. Is there any time off from practice in year-round swimming?
The seasons generally run as follows:
Short Course – First week of September through Sectionals in March, usually
26 weeks.
Long Course – First week of April through Nationals in late July / August.
We usually take off in August as the kids start school. The December / January
Holiday weeks are known as Hell Week…and we are training hard through that

What is the difference between Long Course (LC) and Short Course
The swim year is considered to begin in September with the short course
season. The meets during the SC season are in 25 yard pools (the width of
our Pool). Some meets offer 25 yard events for the 8 and under group. The SC
season culminates in February/March.

The long course season generally begins in late March or April. The meets
during the LC season are usually in 50 meter (Olympic size) pools (the length
of our Pool). The shortest races in a LC meet are 50m, or one length. The LC
season culminates in late July/August.

5. How often should my swimmer practice?
Each FBST group offers a great deal of flexibility, from 2 or more practices per
week. Each training level description (found on the Program page of the
website) contains practice schedule. The good news is that there is little
increased risk of injury with additional swimming as there is in other sports
because of the lack of impact or contact in the sport of swimming.

6. What ability level is required for my swimmer to join the Fort Belvoir
Swim Team?
FBST offers programs from Beginner Age Group (has some swim lesson
experience) through National level swimmers. The ages generally range from 5
to 18 years old, with some collegiate swimmers returning over school breaks.
See Programs page for more details.

7. What is USA Swimming registration for?
Each member of the FBST competitive swim team must be registered with
USA Swimming. Membership includes the mandatory insurance coverage for
practices and meets. Each swimmer will receive a membership card from
USA Swimming with a membership number. This number is a combination of
the swimmers’ birthdate and name. Swimmers may bring this card to each
meet in case there is ever a question regarding membership. Swimmers may
also find their membership information on USA Swimming “Deck Pass” on

8. How does my swimmer move up in groups?
The move-up criteria is provided on the Programs section of the website.
However, the final decision is at the coaches’ discretion and based on maturity
and dedication in addition to physical skills. There is no guarantee of moving
up due to passing the training group prerequisites.

9. Are parents not allowed on deck during practice or meets?
Yes and No. The insurance provided through USA Swimming does NOT cover
parents or siblings on the pool deck. In addition, extra people on deck can be
a distraction to the swimmers, the coaches, and the meet officials. Parents are
welcome to view practice from the viewing room at our Pool. If you want to
speak to a coach regarding your swimmer’s progress, please schedule time
with that coach.

10. How can I be a good swim parent?
Providing support for your swimmer is critical. Ensuring consistent attendance
at practices and meets, assisting your swimmer with a proper diet and rest,
and helping your swimmer understand that swimming, like most other things in
life, is an ongoing learning experience, both physically and mentally. Leave the
coaching to the coaches, and provide unconditional support to your swimmer.

11. What is Potomac Valley Swimming (PVS)?
FBST is a member of Potomac Valley Swimming, Potomac Valley Swimming
is a regional governing body and part of USA Swimming (
usaswimming.org), the governing body of all competitive swimming in the
United States, including the United States Olympic Team. In general, we
compete against other teams within the Potomac Valley Swimming LSC,
which covers the Washington DC Metro Area. Elite swimmers, especially
those in the Senior group will occasionally travel for bigger competitions.

12. How often should my child compete?
FBST competes year-round and averages one to two meets per month. It is
important that each swimmer attends the swim meets so that coaches can
assess the swimmers’ progress. However, swim meets are not mandatory for
all groups.

13. I saw someone changed the events I signed my swimmer up for at
the meet?
Coaches will review each swimmers’ events prior to turning in the entries to
the swim meet host club. If a coach changes an event, the coach will reach out
to the swimmer to explain why.

14. Will my swimmer be competing against swimmers at his or her own
Yes! When a swimmer enters an event for the first time, he or she will be
entered with a custom time set by his or her coach. Each meet is seeded by
best times. Swimmers will compete in heats with swimmers of approximately
the same time. For some meets, including championship meets, awards will
be given for each level of swimmer.

15. What should my swimmer wear?
FBST recommends that all meet participants wear the team suit and swim cap
at meets. In addition, swimmers will be expected to wear FBST attire to
display team unity and spirit!

16. How do the swimmers know their heat and lane assignments?
Upon arrival and check-in, the meet director will produce heat sheets for each
event and provide this information to the coaches. For younger swimmers, the
coaches will assist the swimmers in writing the event, heat and lane
assignment on their arm. About 5 heats prior to a swimmers’ race, the
swimmer should check in with the coach and line up to race.

17. What happens after a race?
Swimmers should check in with the coach to receive feedback on the
performance. Then, he or she should immediately warm down in the
designated lanes or separate pool, and then rejoin the team and cheer on their
teammates! Older swimmers should immediately warm down, before meeting
with the coaches.  Afterwards there is often sufficient time between scheduled
events to have a quick snack or a break.

18. Is there food available at the meet?
Generally, the host team provides an extensive snack bar and sometimes
breakfast and lunch meals. Swimmers should eat healthy at all times, and
especially at swim meets.  Do not purchase junk food for your swimmers at
meets.  Swimmers may and should also bring water and healthy snacks to
maintain energy throughout the meet.

19. What is a DQ?
A DQ means the swimmer was disqualified from the race and will not receive
an official time for the race. Each meet is staffed by well-trained officials who
are responsible for paying careful attention to every detail of the swim, from
start to finish. There are a number of infractions that can result in a DQ,
including a false start, incorrect stroke or kick, or illegal finish. In the event of a
DQ, the official will speak with the swimmer and/or the coach immediately after
the race to explain the infraction. Though a DQ can be upsetting to the
swimmer, most swimmers experience them and they should be considered as
an educational experience.

20. How long are swim meets?
Most swim meets are two-day events, however we may also swim in one day
meets, or 3-4 day championship meets.  In these meets each day will be
divided into two or three sessions by age group. Usually, if your swimmer is in
the first session on one day, he or she will also be in the first session on
following. The exact scheduling of age groups can be found in the Meet
Announcement, and is available on our website in the Meets page.