From gear to getting ready for practice, here's everything you need to know.
What do I bring to practice?
- Suits - A good fitting suit or jammers/speedo appropriate for swimming laps. Only one piece suits, and no board-shorts or swim shirts.
- Sunscreen (applied)
- Water bottle
How do I prepare for practice?
- Arrive early
- Come dressed
- Have cap and goggles on (if requested, have kick board ready)
Are there "no practice" days?
There are only a few "no practice" dates including: Memorial Day, Last Day of School, Picture Day (for younger swimmers), 4th of July, he waterslides event, and the day after Invitational. As this varies year-by-year, please see the calendar for more information.
What are the practice times?
If you see something, say something! Swim Team and The Kermit's program have access to the facility in April and early May. During this time, as lifeguards are not available, we are prone to minor behavioral issues, like unsupervised kids throwing dirt, rocks, bricks, and other garbage into the wading pool. The wading pool is remains closed and should be left alone until the club opens in May. The primary focus of the coaches is on the safety of those in the pool, and we could use the help of all parents to be extra eyes and ears for us, even reminding little ones to “walk, please.” Thanks!
Time Trials is a scrimmage meet, where only Woodlands swimmers participate. The goal of Time Trials is to establish base-line times early in the season in order to track their progress over the summer.
What are "warm-ups"?
Warm-ups are a designated time for swimmers to loosen up their muscles and practice their strokes and dives prior to the start of the meet.
How do I read a heat sheet?
Swim meets are broken up into EVENTS, HEATS, and LANES. For example, your child may be swimming girls 9-10, 50-yard backstroke which is typically EVENT 15. Within that EVENT, the heat sheets will show what HEAT and LANE he/she will be swimming. Look for EVENT 15, then look for your swimmer's name. The HEAT number (example: Heat 2 of 3) and LANE number will be indicated for each EVENT.
How do I mark my swimmer?
Grab your permanent marker, heat sheet, and swimmer!! Use spray sunscreen AFTER marking!
You typically mark your swimmers hand. As an example, for a 9-10 girl swimming back stoke, 2nd HEAT (H), in LANE 5 (L), it should look like this:
How do I prepare for a meet?
- Eat a good dinner
- Go to bed early
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Pack swim bag with towels and other supplies, and lay the swimsuit, cap, and goggles on top (so that you can make sure that you have them with you for the meet)
What do I bring to a meet?
- Towels - actually bringing more than one per swimmer is very helpful
- Team swim cap
- Team suit
- Lawn chairs/blankets
- Pop-up - optional - families can share
- Heat sheet - printed from your home
- Highlighter and black sharpie (to mark the events on his/her hand)
- Team shirt
- Water and money for snacks
- Entertainment such as a deck of cards, coloring supplies, group games
* HAVE FUN! Enjoy time with your children, family, friends, and neighbors.
This is an overview of the bulk of our season, explaining the difference between dual meets and big meets, and clarifies a few expectations. We also cover important processes like meet sign-outs, entries, relays, etc.
Types of Meets
What is the difference between league and non league meets?
- League Meets: These are dual meets have two teams, we compete against each team in our league once each year, and again all together at the conference meet. Most league meets are close, and therefore entries are made as competitive as possible. League Teams: WHO, DEW, REST, WCSC, LARK, IVST
- Non-League Meets: These dual meets are designed for friendly competition without any stakes, so we create an opportunity for improvement outside of the League setting. We sometimes put swimmers into events that they would not normally compete in.
- Big Meets/Elite Meets: See section on Big Meets in the Guidebook.
How is it determined what events my swimmer will race?
Items taken into consideration when Coaches select events are: potential to score points, personal best, swimming "off" events (usually at non-league meets), re-attempt a disqualification. For Individual Medley (IM) and Relays there are special considerations as follows:
- Individual Medley (IM): The league places restrictions on how many swimmers can participate in this 100 yard event. Swimmers must be able to perform each stroke legally before being entered, and priority goes to swimmers with the highest scoring potential.
- Relays: Participation in relays is based on times. With swimmer times changing each week, it is difficult for the coaches to fairly manage relay spots any other way. The computer system calculates the fastest possible relays for each gender and age group. This often means that swimmers in their down year (age 5, 7, 9, etc) have less participation in relays, and swimmers in their up year (age 6, 8, 10, etc.) have more participation.
How do I sign out of a meet?
Since competitions are local, it is assumed that most swimmers will be available to participate in the majority of the competitions, so we have an "sign-out" policy rather than a "sign-up." Signing out is done on Swimtopia. It is important to do this by the deadlines for each meet.
If you miss a sign-out deadline, or last minute circumstances change your availability, contact your coach. If swimmers are not signed out, coaches need to scramble and replacements must be found.
Big Meet Sign-outs: If you are not able to attend a big meet please ensure you sign out for both days or if only available one day, sign out for the day you are unavailable.
What is "Registration Status"?
"Pending" - event is scheduled, sign-out opening soon
"Open" - event is open for sign-out
"Closed" - event is closed for additional entries
Choose: Attending, Not Attending, Attending/Coach Choose Events.
What is a heat sheet?
The Heat Sheet shows all the participating swimmers and what events they will participate in as well as the heat number and lane number.
Can changes to the Heat Sheet be made during the meet? We may "combine" races to speed up the meet. For example, if we have 3 girls swimming Fly in the 15-18 age group and 3 boys -- we may combine them into one heat to save time.
What is an event number?
There are 82 events in each meet. At league dual meets, we swim the Medley Relay, Individual Medley (a 25 yard of each of the 4 strokes), freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly and Freestyle Relay. For each of those 7 races, we swim 12 events -- one for each age group/gender.
Note: The 6 & Under group does not compete in the Individual Medley.
What is a heat number?
In each of the 82 events, there are HEATS. Each heat has 5-10 swimmers - depending on the size of the pool.
What is a lane number?
This will tell you which lane your swimmer is scheduled to be in.
What is a seed time?
Once a swimmer participates legally in an event, they will have a "seed time" in that event for the next meet. Swimmers are typically placed in heats and relays according to their seed times. For dual meets, the home team and away team is mixed in each heat.
Big Meet Details
For detailed information on "Big Meets" (updated yearly) see the Big Meet Details section of the website. This will give details on the date of the meets as well as sign-out deadlines.
What is considered a Big Meet?
- Big Meets: Walnut Creek City Meet and the Conference Meet take place over the course of two days. The benefit of these meets is that each swimmer has the opportunity to race against a full heat of other swimmers with nearly the same entry time. Since there is a huge logistical undertaking to organize these meets, entries are due well in advance (so sign-out early, please).
What is an Elite Meet?
- Elite Meets: Woodlands Invitational and County Meet are Elite Meets, which are very similar to "Big Meets," but have other requirements for swimmer entry. Woodlands Invitational invites a small number of teams, and restricts entries for each team. County includes over sixty teams, and the entry restrictions are based on "Gold Times" standard. We do our best to include as many swimmers as possible in these meets, but there are entry restrictions, and many Woodlands swimmers will not be included.
How do I sign out of a Big Meet?
- Big Meet Sign-outs: To sign-out for a single day, email the coach. Signing out of the meet automatically removes you from both days of the meet. If you sign-out for a single day, please double check posted entries to ensure your swimmers are not entered into a relay on a day they are unavailable, as this process can be prone to user error.
Walnut Creek City Meet
This is the first big meet of the season, with ten teams and over 1300 swimmers at a single event. There are awards for the top swimmers for each event in both A and B division (top 50% and bottom 50% of times, respectively). This gives the opportunity for swimmers of all ability levels to drop time and achieve rewards from the meet.
The Walnut Creek Swim Team hosts this meet, and updates information on the meet annually.
Walnut Creek Swim Conference
For check the schedule for dates and an email will go out about warm up times.
Trials and Finals Meet, where the top 20 swimmers compete again the in the afternoon in the hope to improve their finishing place.
This exciting and prestigious meet is a two-day event and requires the participation and support of all parents. Although not all our swimmers are entered in this meet, all parents are expected to assist with this fund-raising event.
Since this is THE major fundraiser for the team each year, every swim team family must work two shifts during the meet. In addition, one set-up or take-down shift is also required.
Contra Costa County Meet
This meet is hosted by LMYA and you need to meet a qualifying time to be entered in this meet.
We've put together some information on swim gear, to help you find the right fit for your child. Here is a list of swim gear:
- Suit (Team Suit/Practice Suit)
- Swim Cap
Where do I purchase goggles?
Goggles can be purchased at any sporting goods store. You can also get them at Elsmore Swim Shop in Country Wood shopping center .
How do I know what goggles to get?
Goggles are required and comfort and fit are vital. Here are some tips to know what goggles to get:
TYR Flexframe goggles (for 8 & unders) - The TYR Flexframes are low-profile goggles that have a comfortable fit for both practice and racing. The clear or smoke lens is better for practices where coaches need to make eye contact with the swimmer. Consider purchasing an additional pair of Metallic Flexframe goggles as "racing goggles" which help during the bright two-day meets.
Speedo Vanquisher goggles (10 & unders should try Junior Vanquishers) – The Vanquisher goggles are good for racing. It comes with three different sized nose pieces, small, medium, and large.
What are common goggle problems and solutions?
Here are some common goggle problems and solutions:
- Fogging up - New goggles are sprayed with anti-fog, which helps avoid condensation on the lens. This washes off in chlorinated water and licking the inside of each lens works as a temporary anti-fog.
- Leaking - Check out the seal troubleshoot list below to see what the cause of the leak is.
- Falling off - If the goggles fall off in a streamline push or sit dive, the goggles are likely not sealing properly, and you should run through the troubleshoot list below.
Troubleshooting Goggle Malfunctions
- straps too low - straps should be above the top of the ear, and if there's two straps, they should be separated to create a more even seal on the goggles.
- cap under the seal - if the swim cap goes down over or below the eyebrow, the goggles are unable to seal properly and water can leak in quickly.
- goggles too loose - you should be able to fit two fingers underneath the strap at the temple, and anything more might be too lose.
- improper nose-piece size - new goggles come with an adjustable nose piece. Each goggle should contact the face fairly evenly on the outside and inside of each eye.
- rigid plastic seal - if left in too high heat, like the back seat of a car in the baking sun, the soft plastic seals can become too rigid and no longer be able to comfortably conform to the wearer's face.
Boys have option of briefs, but most prefer jammers. Girls can wear almost any one-piece suit. Check you child's suit while wet (and on) occasionally to make sure it is not becoming translucent.
Team Suits are ordered at through WST at the beginning of the season. These suits can be worn in practice, but end up faded by the end of the season if your child is practicing with them often.
Do NOT machine wash your suit. Rinse your suit thoroughly in cold water and hand dry after each wearing.
Caps are available for purchase at meets and before the season. They are required for all swimmers with long hair.
The purpose of caps is three-fold:
- Keeping hair securely away from the swimmer's face allows for better head position for all strokes.
- It allows for a sleek feeling in the water, suitable for fast practices, time trials and meets.
- It helps parents and coaches identify WST swimmers.
The purpose of this program is to provide swimmers with increased motivation by providing County Meet, Woodlands team and Conference qualifying times as continuously visible goals throughout the season.
Swimmers set individual "best times" goals with advice of the coaches, and strive to achieve the next available time standard in each stroke. It's important for swimmers to talk to their coach after your race in order to receive praise and feedback.
Best Times - Best times are an indication of each swimmer's individual progress and an indication of how are team is doing as a whole.
Award Time Standards - The Awards Time standards are a great way to track progression and development throughout a season. The times are split into White (C), Green (B), Silver (A), and Gold (County), and are helpful in determining which stroke a swimmer is stronger in, based on how close they are to each time standard.
Ribbons are awarded to first-through sixth-place swimmers in each individual event (10 & Under), and first-through third-place swimmers in relay events (10 & Under). At Woodlands meets, all 6-under and 7-8 swimmers receive a participation ribbon regardless of place. In addition, Heat Winner ribbons will be provided for 10 & under.
At invitational meets (Walnut Creek City Meet, Woodlands Invitational and Conference Championships) medals or rosette ribbons (instead of ribbons) are awarded and generally are presented through sixth- or tenth-place. In addition, team trophies are awarded at these big meets. Trophies presented to the Woodlands team are on display in the trophy case at the pool.
County Times - "Gold Times" Set by the County Meet standards board each year to set the barrier to enter the elite level championship meet at the end of the season. When a county "Gold" time is achieved in a stroke, a swimmer is qualified to swim in the County Championship Meet in that event. (Swimmers are limited to two individual strokes at the County Meet regardless of how many county times they achieve.) Only when a swimmer receives an individual county qualifying time, can they purchase a county cap. A swimmer does not need to achieve an individual County Time to be eligible to swim on a relay team in the County Meet.
Pool and Team Record Board - Listed on the board located in the entry way of the Cabana Club are names, dates and times for records set at the Woodlands pool, some of which have remained unbroken for decades. Also, names, dates and times are displayed for team records set by Woodlands swimmers (any meet, any pool). We list the pool records and team records on the website as well.
League Awards - The Sunday evening following the league meet (time permitting), swimmers and parents gather at the pool to acknowledge and distribute medals and ribbons to the finalists from the weekend's events.
Awards Night - An end-of-the-season awards party is held for all team members and their parents. There are six names awards listed below which are given to members of the team selected by the coaching staff, as well as age group awards which are given to the following:
- Most Valuable Swimmer in each age group, boy and girl*
- Most Improved Swimmer in each age group, boy and girl*
- Coaches Award in each age group, boy and girl*
(*awarded at the discretion of the coaching staff)
The Kermit Award is given to a 10&Under, White or Green level swimmer who has improved their skills in all of the strokes, attended 85% of the workouts, and set an example of hard work and perseverance toward a goal.
The Rasmussen Memorial Award was been established by six former Woodlands swimmers and their families as a remembrance to a man who gave his time, effort, and encouragement to those he came in contact with over the years. The award is to an 11&Up, White or Green level swimmer who has improved their skills in all of the strokes, attended 85% of the workouts, and set an example of hard work and perseverance toward a goal. The contributors are: Gina Badgely & family, Brad Giacobazzi & family, Tom Johnson & family, Karen Heard & family, Dani Howsworth & family, and Spencer Williams & family.
The prestigious Grant Burton Award recognizes the best all-around boy and girl swimmers on the team who exemplify team spirit and good sportsmanship, as well as superior swimming performance.
The coveted John Lavezzoli Memorial Award is presented to the boy and girl swimmers who display strong leadership qualities, dedication and motivation to team members.
The Lardiere Director’s Award is named in recognition of Gary Lardiere, who served as Swim Team Director and volunteer for over 15 years. It is awarded to a male and female swimmer of any age who have emulated the attributes that made Mr. Lardiere unique to the team. This includes hard work, the willingness to take on any job or task, the inventiveness to solve a problem quickly, the ability to create a cooperative environment among people of all ages, the dependability to help coaches and/or other team members, and above all, display good sportsmanship, a sense of humor and team spirit.
See this link for Woodlands Award/Goal Times:
See this link for County Times:
Stroke & Turn officials from each team govern the meets, to ensure that each of the four strokes are performed properly ("legally"). When an official spots an infraction, they raise their hand and mark a card that is sent to the head referee. Once the head referee has reviewed the disqualification card (DQ slip), one copy goes to the computer team, and a copy is given to the coach. Disqualifications are a large part of the learning process so its important to talk to a coach if a swimmer is unsure why they were DQ'd.
This is the hardest stroke to be disqualified in, because there are limited stroke rules.
Here are some examples of how you can be disqualified:
1. Failing to touch the wall on the turn.
2. Pulling on the lane line to gain advantage.
3. Pushing off the bottom to continue swimming.
4. False starts: Swimmers may not move from his/her starting position before the starting horn sounds.
Similar to rules for freestyle, except swimmers have to stay on their backs (with the exception of turns).
1. Turning shoulders past vertical towards the stomach before completing a one lap race, or on the finish of a multi-lap race, is cause for disqualification.
2. The Turn: The rule is that swimmers may roll to their stomachs, take one arm stroke and, IN ONE CONTINUOUS MOTION, do a freestyle flip turn and then push off the wall on their back.
Butterfly is a more challenging stroke, infractions are typically cause by late or long breath timing, sinking body position or some combination.
1. Both hands must touch simultaneously, at the turn and finish, although they do NOT have to be on the same level.
2. The feet have to kick together. If the feet start crossing, it’s no longer a dolphin kick, it is a flutter kick—and it is a DQ.
3. Arms must be recovered simultaneously OVER the water.
This is the most challenging stroke to swim legally, and has pages more of text in the official rulebook. Many of the infractions are caused indirectly by late or long breath timing, sinking body position or some combination.
1. Both feet must be turned OUT during the propulsive part of the kick. Some swimmers tend to turn out one foot, but not the other. This ends up being a scissors kick. If both feet are turned in this is considered a butterfly kick. Both the scissors and dolphin kicks are illegal.
2. Both hands must touch the wall simultaneously, at the finish and at the turn, although, like butterfly, they do NOT have to be on the same level.
3. Cannot take more than one stroke and kick underwater. Only one pull-down stroke and one kick are allowed at the start and after a turn. The head must break the calm surface level of the water BEFORE the hands turn inward at the widest part of the second arm pull. Multiple underwater strokes will result in a DQ.
4. Hands may NOT pull beyond the HIP line except once on the start and once after a turn.
5. Incorrect stroke cycle, the stroke cycle must be one arm pull followed by one leg kick. You cannot pull twice then kick or vice versa. At the start or after a turn the swimmer must start with an arm pull then a leg kick. This cycle must be continued throughout the race.
6. Dolphin kick at start or turn BEFORE arm pull has started. A swimmer is permitted to take ONE dolphin kick DURING or at the end of the first pull down stoke at the start or after a turn.
1. All the individual stroke rules apply during that segment of the race.
2. On turns, swimmers must finish the stroke they are swimming before they transition to the next stroke.
3. On the freestyle leg of the IM (or Medley Relay), a stroke OTHER than back, breast or fly MUST be swum.
1. The same rules apply in relays as for the individual strokes as previously described.
2. False Start - Relay starts require the swimmer on the blocks to have some part of his/her body still TOUCHING THE BLOCKS when the swimmer in the water touches the wall.
3.) Physical assist from another person – at the start of a relay leg the swimmer on the block may NOT be physically assisted by anyone (coach, parent, other swimmer) else.
Buddy: Swimmers can sign up to be a buddy. Buddies can cheer each other on at meets, give moral support or just hang out.
Clerk of course: Used for larger meets – this is the staging area where swimmers are gathered and put in an orderly fashion to enter the pool area.
Disqualified (DQ): If the stroke is not performed correctly, it is deemed illegal, and the race time is not kept in the system. There will be a DQ instead of your swimmers time.
IM (Individual Medley):One swimmer swims all four strokes (25 yards) in the following order: Fly, Back, Breast, Free
Legal Stroke: A properly performed stroke, which adheres to all of the stroke rules.
Medley Relay: Relay where four swimmers combine to race. Each swimmer swims a different stroke in the following order: Back, Breast, Fly, Free
No show (NS): When a swimmer doesn’t show up for the race.
POP your time: Beating your best individual time.
Round-Up: Gathering younger swimmers behind the blocks for their next race, and organizing them into heats and lanes.
Seed time: Once a swimmer participates legally in an event, they will have a "seed time" in that event for the next meet. This is their fastest time for that event.
Zero Hero: For swimmers 8 & under when they swim across the pool (25 yards) without taking a breath.