Frequently Asked Questions
+ If I miss a practice, can I make it up at another time?
While we understand that swimmers may occasionally miss a scheduled practice due to illness or other reasons, we do not allow practices to be made up with another practice group or at another location. Additionally, be sure to let the coach know if your swimmer will miss more than two practices in a row.
+ My swimmer has a conflict on one of their practice days. Can they attend a practice at another location on a different day?
It is a team policy that we do not allow swimmers to attend practice with another practice group (either with the same program level or with a different program level) or at another location. Individual schedule adjustments cannot be accommodated.
+ Where can I sit to watch my swimmer practice?
Each pool has a designated area for spectators. As we are guests at these pools, we ask that you remain in these areas only. Additionally, we request that you stay off of the pool decks during practice in order to ensure appropriate focus by both your swimmer and the coach. At some locations, such as the Wilson Aquatic Center, parents must show identification to enter the facility even if you are there to pick up your swimmer.
Holton: bleachers and lounge overlooking the pool
St. Albans: bleachers overlooking the pool
South Run: bleachers and mezzanine overlooking the pool
Wilson: in the lobby and bleachers
+ What are “No Swim” or “Blackout Dates?
These refer to days when the pools that we rent will not be available for swim practice. These dates are part of the rental agreement with our training sites. All “No Swim” and “Black-Out” dates are factored into the overall registration cost and are not subject to a refund. These blackout dates are subject to change.
+ What is the inclement weather policy for my pool?
We typically follow the guidance of the public school systems when determining if we should have practice in bad weather. If schools are closed early for weather or if afternoon/evening/weekend activities are cancelled, we will not hold practices. If schools are delayed, we will still have afternoon practices. For morning practices, contact your coach prior to leaving for the pool or check school/pool website closure details. We will try to keep the website up to date regarding pool closures. Always use your best judgment in deciding whether to travel to practice during inclement weather. Your safety is more important than attending practice!
Holton: Check the Holton Arms website: http://www.holton-arms.edu/
St. Albans: Call the pool weather lie: 202-537-6462
Wilson: Check the DC Department of Recreation website: https://www.dpr.dc.gov
South Run: Check Fairfax County government closures: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks or call the Inclement Weather Line at 703-324-8661
- Unless the county closes all county facilities, RECenters and other park facilities will remain open for general use and for classes. If Park Authority facilities are open, scheduled rentals such as swim team practices and meets will continue as planned unless cancelled by FCPA.
- If Fairfax County government is…
- Closed all day: Fairfax County Park Authority’s facilities are closed all day.
- Opens late: Fairfax County Park Authority will announce the opening times for its RECenters and other facilities on its website.
- Closes Early: Fairfax County Park Authority facilities will close at the announced time for the day
+ Are swimmers required to participate in meets?
For the Age Group levels, Bronze, and Silver programs, swimmers are encouraged, but not required to participate in meets. However, competition is one of the most important, but not the sole measure, of an individual swimmer’s progress and development in the sport. If you are in the Select, Gold, and Senior programs, meet participation is required.
+ What meets are available for my swimmer to participate in?
The meet calendar for each program level is posted on our website on the bulletin boards at each training site, and distributed at the start of the season. Your swimmer’s coach will identify the specific meets that the group will attend each season. The number of meets you attend will depend on your group. Age Group 1, 2, 3, Bronze, and Silver swimmers typically attend 3-6 meets each year. Select, Gold, and Senior level swimmers attend 6-10 meets per year.
+ How do I sign up for meets?
For most meets, parents will receive an email invitation to register via the Swim Portal. Some meets will allow for event selection and others will only allow swimmers to note availability to participate in each meet session. For meets in which availability only is requested, the coaches will select the specific events for the swimmer. All meet entries are reviewed by the coaches and may be changed at the coaches’ discretion. Final entry lists will be posted on the website and distributed via email.
+ Is there a required uniform for meets?
Each swimmer is expected to wear the team suit, shirt, and cap while at swim meets. All swimmers receive a team shirt and cap at the beginning of each season. The suit must be purchased via our team outfitter. You can also buy a variety of SDS spirit wear like sweatshirts, pajama pants, swim bags, and more to show off your team pride!
+ Will my swimmer get a ribbon for their races?
Ribbons and/or medals will be awarded based on the meet announcement for each meet. Some meets to not include any awards at all. For TCSD hosted meets (except for Swim & Rock), all 10 and under swimmers will receive participation ribbons for places beyond those specified in the meet announcement.
+ What are the different types of meets?
Mini-Meet: Usually for 8 and under swimmers or meets held with just SDS swimmers
Open Meet: For swimmers of all levels, generally 9 and older.
No Slower Than: Swimmers must achieve the minimum qualifying time to participate.
Qualifying Meet: Also known as a no faster than meet. For swimmers trying to, but have not yet, achieved a qualifying time for a championship meet. Swimmers may not compete in events in which they have already achieved qualifying times.
Trials and Finals Meet: All swimmers compete in a trials session, typically held early in the day. Swimmers who finish in the top 8 or 16 swimmers in each event (depending on the meet and age group) are eligible to return for the finals session in the evening.
Championship Meet: Trials and finals format meet for swimmers with qualifying times in each event. More competitive than a typical meet.
+ What help is needed at a meet?
Become an official: We can always use more Referees, Starters, Stroke & Turn Judges, and computer and timing system operators. Training is free and we will provide you with a tuition discount to be applied for the following season for being certified! See our Officials Information page or contact our Vice President of Competition, Jim Mello (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Be a timer: This is the front row view for watching your swimmer at meets! Come down to the officials table to sign up at each meet.
Hospitality volunteer: Love to cook? Help provide food for the coaches, officials, and volunteers during TCSD hosted meets or for social events. Contact Vice President of Activities Stephen Smittle (email@example.com) for more information.
Ribbon/Award volunteer: This one is easy! Just help stick labels to ribbons during swim meets, and you are helping to ensure that the swimmers get recognized for their fast races.
Deck runner: Can’t sit still? Help with posting results, gathering lane timer sheets, and other vital tasks during swim meets.
+ How do I determine what group to register my child for?
For returning Sea Devils, your coach will make a group recommendation at the conclusion of the season. If you do not know what your coach recommended, contact them directly. For new Sea Devil’s, you must attended a New Swimmer Evaluation Session in order to receive proper group placement. You can schedule an evaluation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To be eligible to participate, swimmers must be able to confidently swim the length of the pool (25 yards) using both freestyle with side breathing and backstroke without stopping or assistance. Swimmers must also be comfortable in deep water and able to tread water for a short time. We offer swim team programs, and our coaches are not permitted to be in the water to provide instruction during practices. To find more information on the specific group requirements, see our Skill Matrix.
+ What does it mean if I get put on the waitlist for a group?
If your swimmer is placed on a wait list, the requested program has already reached capacity. If space becomes available, swimmers will be offered the opportunity to transfer into the program. Swimmers are moved off of the wait list in date order of registering.
+ I registered for a group, but I now want to switch to a different pool and/or time. Can you transfer my swimmer?
We can accommodate transfers to another practice time or days if there is space available in the requested group. Contact email@example.com to confirm and complete the transfer.
+ Am I allowed to register for both clinic and a competitive program?
While we do not prevent swimmers from being registered for both the clinic and competitive programs in the same season, we do not encourage this option. Our training philosophy is more conservative than many clubs. We encourage young swimmers to have the freedom to participate in several activities and/or sports rather than focusing on a single sport before they are both physically and mentally ready to increase intensity and commitment.
+ I have more than one swimmer. Is there a discount?
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if registering one (or more) swimmers in a competitive program and one (or more) in a clinic or masters program as the discount will need to be applied manually. There are no discount for multiple swimmers in the HS Conditioning programs.
+ Can my swimmer receive a scholarship to help with the cost?
Scholarship assistance to reduce part of the costs of participation may be available upon written request directed to the Director of Operations for evaluation by the Board of Directors
+ What is the refund policy?
Refunds will be considered only when a request to withdraw is made in writing to the Director of Operations. Refunds will be made as follows: 80% within the first two weeks of the season and 50% within the first four weeks of the season. NO REFUNDS WILL BE MADE AFTER THIS TIME. Fees cannot be prorated. Pool time and coaching staff have been scheduled based on your commitment to a particular program. Pool rental and salaries must be paid regardless of your swimmer's ability to meet her/his practice commitment. In the event of suspension or dismissal from the team, no refunds will be made.
+ Where can I purchase team gear?
A variety of branded SDS apparel and equipment, such as team suits, personalized swim caps, swim bags, and more, are available from our team supplier, Sport Fair. Purchases can also be made through our online team store, which will be available throughout the season. As a part of your registration, all swimmers will receive a team shirt and team cap.
Additionally, certain coaches and groups may be required to purchase certain equipment such as hand paddles, fins, and snorkles. Your coach will have more information regarding the specific equipment required for their training group. This equipment can also be purchased from Sport Fair.
+ I want to set up a carpool for practice. How can I find out who else is in my swimmer’s group?
The team directory for your swimmer’s training location is available via the Swim Portal, when clicking on the “Team” button at the top of the page.
+ Who is my swimmer’s coach, and how can I contact them?
The program coach for each group is listed to the far right of the practice schedule for each location. The coach can be contacted using their email@example.com. Each training location also has an administrative coach that will coordinate email distribution, consolidate meet entries, and assist with general questions related to the programs at that location. Once the season begins, all questions should first be directed to your swimmer’s coach. Please be aware that all of our coaches have other, primary jobs and do not always have easy access to their personal (swim) email, so allow 24-36 hours for a response.
+ Are there social events?
There are a variety of social events hosted by the pools and the team as a whole throughout the season, such as the Halloween Hayride and the End of Season Award Picnic. Specific details for events will be communicated as they are scheduled.