P.O. Box 6445, Alexandria, VA 22306 | firstname.lastname@example.org | 703-627-4796
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 time.
What is the difference between Long Course (LC) and Short Course (SC)? 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 usaswimming.org.
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 (www. 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 level? 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.