Parent s Hand Book - TeamUnify by jianghongl


									                               Parent’s Hand Book


Rocky Mountain Thunder Swimming is a competitive swimming team
affiliated with USA Swimming that employs a staff of highly skilled,
certified professional coaches to offer programs for swimmers of all ages
and levels of development, from the five-year-old beginner to the Olympic
medalist. RMT swimming is a co-ed swim team that is open to the public;
swimmers join from various schools all over the area.

Our vision is to achieve the desired development of each swimmer and drive them
to their highest comfortable level of competition. Our ultimate goal is to have
every swimmer competing at his or her highest level of performance while
minimizing any injuries to these swimmers. We continuously strive to develop
new techniques to aid in the development of each swimmer’s ability and practice
new teaching skills to uphold our expectations. Rocky Mountain Thunder
Swimming strives to be the model for all swim teams in the area and in Colorado,
by creating a partnership between the team, their families, the community and local

The mission of RMT is to provide opportunity and encouragement for each of its
swimmers to fully develop his or her potential in competitive swimming. The value
of this mission is derived from the gradual acquisition of life enhancing attributes
such as integrity, commitment, teamwork, time management and sportsmanship,
which are fundamental to the pursuit of personal excellence and to the process of
striving to “Be The Best That You Can Be.”
        Welcome to Rocky Mountain Thunder Swimming. We are looking forward to a
successful year of swimming. RMT Swimming is dedicated to improving swimming
performance, stroke technique, individual goal setting and the physical and mental development
of all our swimmers. RMT is well-organized, comprehensive, and competitive program.

This year RMT Swimming celebrates its seventh year as a competitive swim team. We look
forward to continuing our tradition of making swimming an outstanding experience for all our
athletes and their families. Our staff is thrilled to have the opportunity coaching your swimmers
this year. We are a coaching staff that looks at the needs of each individual, evaluates them and
provides a coaching environment that will help achieve the goals and desires of each swimmer.
We don’t just look at the desired outcome for each swimmer but the means on how to get there.

Over the last six years, Rocky Mountain Thunder Swimming has had a history of excellence;
from State qualifiers and State Champions, to All Star Team Qualifiers, Zone Team Qualifiers,
Sectional Qualifiers and Far-western Zone qualifiers. We have had a number of swimmers
achieve college scholarships and many have been recruited by many top schools. We pride
ourselves on our ability to teach each swimmer what it means to be a student athlete and how to
balance a family and a social life.

We are happy to have the support of Wheat Ridge Recreation Center; practice will be starting
Monday, September 13th. Presently, our coaching staff consists of Brent Bergstedt, Nick Barta,
Amy Meyers and Sarah Hamilton totaling over 60 years of swim and coaching experience. We
all bring a vast wealth of experience and true passion for this sport. We look forward to adding
more coaches as our team and needs grow

RMT is a certified USA Swimming competitive swim club; our swimmers range from those who
are just entering the sport to Olympic Trial Qualifiers. We have swimmers from 5 years old
through masters swimmers. The only requirement is that the swimmer can swim unassisted
across a 25-yard pool.

This hand book will help inform current and new swimmers to what this year’s program will
look like and what it has to offer. This is your go to book for questions and answers; this should
be your first resource and should be used often.

            We believe that all fees should take care of all expenses for the team.

Table of Contents
  Page 4 - Coaches Discretion Statement
  Page 5 - Group Descriptions
  Page 7 - Equipment and Practice Times
  Page 8 - Team, Practice and Meet Polices
  Page 10 - Meet Procedures
  Page 11 - Travel Arrangements, Travel Meets
  Page 12 - Expectations of Parents
  Page 20 - Aging Up
  Page 21 - Communication
  Page 21 - Team Dinners
  Page 22 - Thunder Shirt Night
  Page 23 - Nutrition
  Page 30 - Water Bottles
  Page 30 - Sources of Information
  Page 31 - Website Navigation

          Coaches Discretion Statement

It is the right of a coach of Rocky Mountain Thunder Swimming, to
make a decision whether to move a swimmer up groups as well as move
them down to lower groups. The coach has the best interest of the
swimmer in mind.

Also, it is the right of a coach to remove a swimmer or parent from the
deck or pool at anytime if it is deemed necessary to do so. If a swimmer
is removed from the water, a meeting will be held with the swimmer and
parent at the end of practice.

It is the right of the coach to change, add or cancel practice times or
change equipment needs at anytime. Practice can be canceled if it is in
the best interest or safety of the swimmers.

                         Group Descriptions
AG Elites: 8-12
This group is our bridge group from our Middle division to our upper division groups. This is
group is for our elite age group swimmers under the age of 13. This group has a time standard to
qualify and is by invite only. Time is not the only thing a swimmer must exhibit. Attitudes and
behaviors that show they are ready to train at a higher level is a major consideration for this

Bronze: 12 & Under
This group is a developmental group. It designed for the age 12 and under swimmer and some 11
and 12 year olds. This group is designed to teach four legal strokes and get swimmers prepared
for the competitive side of swimming and training. This group uses a blend of Red Cross WSI
lessons and USA swimming competitive swimming for novice young team members. Some 10
and under summer club and lesson swimmers start here, however they must be able to swim at
least 25yds legal free and back unsupported.

Gold 1: 14-19
This group is designed for the High School Swimmer. This training group is designed to get a
swimmer ready to perform well at the High School level. This group is best suited for an
advanced JV or Varsity swimmer. Some “Age Group” swimmers will be invited to swim in this
group. If they have senior state times they will most likely swim with this group.

Gold 2: 12-19
This group is designed for the High School Swimmer or advanced age (12 to 14) group
swimmer. This training group is designed to get a swimmer ready to perform well at the High
School level. This group is best suited for a JV swimmer or CSI/JO State qualified age group

Masters: 19-80
This group is broken up into three groups. Within the three groups we have sub categories, for
billing only. Masters 1 (more of a competitive group, this is for the stronger swimmer)
sometimes you will get to train with the USA swimmers in their lanes. Masters 2 (more of a
recreational group, this is for a swimmer with four legal strokes. Masters 2D is our
developmental group, this is for the novice swimmer that can swim at least 25yds back and

Platinum Group: 14-25
This group is our bridge group from our High School group to our elite senior team, this group
has a time standard to qualify, notify a coach before you sign up for this group. If you do not
meet certain standards you will be placed in the gold groups.

Senior Group and SG Elite: 15-25
These groups are the top group of our senior team a Far Western Zone qualifier or an invite will
qualify a swimmer for this group. Notify a coach before you sign up for this group

Silver Group: 10-14
This group is designed for the 4th grade to middle school swimmer. This group is designed to
teach fast swimming. Stroke work is the basis of this training group. When a swimmer completes
this training group they will be ready to join our Gold 1 or 2 groups. If a swimmer is under the
age of 13, the swimmer must have JO qualifications or has been invited after evaluation to be

TAGS: 8-12
This group is our bridge group from our lower division to our Middle division groups. This is
group is for our elite age group swimmers under the age of 13. This group has a time standard to
qualify and is by invite only. Time is not the only thing a swimmer must exhibit. Attitudes and
behaviors that show they are ready to train at a higher level is a major consideration for this

Upper Bronze Group: 12 & Under
This group is designed for the age 12 and under swimmer. This group is designed to teach stroke
technique and it is an introduction to training. This group has a delicate blend of training and
stroke work, and is the foundation of fast swimming for our young team members. Most 12 and
under swimmers start here, however they must have 4 legal stokes and must be able to perform
them, (100 yds for Free and Back and 50yds for breast and fly).

                  Equipment and Practice Times
     Swimmers must have the Wheat Ridge Recreation Center, RMT Membership card. If a
      swimmer is new to the team or has lost their card they can be picked up at the Wheat
           Ridge Rec. front desk. If lose your card it does cost money to replace it.
                           You will not be let into practice without it.
                                                                      Practice          Expected
   Roster Group                  Equipment Required
Senior Groups, SG Elites   Pull Buoy, Paddles, Finger Paddles Fins,
                                                                         9                   7
                                Snorkel, Cords, Running Shoes
       Platinum            Pull Buoy, Paddles, Finger Paddles Fins,
                                                                         9                   6
                                Snorkel, Cords, Running Shoes
Gold Groups, Masters and
                           Pull Buoy, Paddles, Finger Paddles Fins,
        College                                                          9                   6
                                Snorkel, Cords, Running Shoes
                           Pull Buoy, Finger Paddles Fins, Running
    Age Group Elites                                                     6                   5
     Silver Groups         Pull Buoy, Finger Paddles Fins, Running
                                                                         6                   4
                               Pull Buoy, Fins, Running Shoes            6                   4
Time Standard and Invite
 Upper-Bronze Groups
                               Pull Buoy, Fins, Running Shoes            5                   3
    (12 and under)
                                       Pull Buoy, Fins                   4                   2
  Development Group

                  Practice Times - September 12 to June 1
           Saturday Practices are at Red Rocks 8:00am to 9:30am, and are Dryland Practices
              o For Silver to Masters Swimmers
           Dry land time is the first part of practice from 15 mins to 45 mins, depending on
           Practice times and days are subject to change.

                         USA Practice Schedules are listed on website:


   All Equipment and Swim Gear can be purchased through MI Sports – 970.667.3539

     RMT will also have Store dates to purchase team gear, team shirts, sweats, polos / golf shirts,
                        etc. Just click team gear on the store opening dates.

          Practice, Team and Meet Policies
                                   Practice Policies
Swimmers who arrive late for training sessions and meets will be disruptive to the team, will be
inadequately warmed-up, and will miss important instructions regarding the objectives of the
session. In the rare situation when a late arrival is unavoidable, a note of explanation will be
expected from a parent. This also applies to requests to leave a session early. At the designated
starting time, swimmers should be ready to dive into the pool or to begin stretching exercises. It
will not be acceptable to be arriving at the front door at the designated starting time. Punctuality
is absolutely essential if we are to establish a distraction free training environment.

Illness and Injury
Whenever possible, the coach should be informed in advance of an illness or injury. Regardless
of how serious or trivial it may be it will almost always be possible to find a physician who will
recommend abstaining from training and another who will recommend a modified approach. For
this reason, it is helpful to find a family physician who appreciates the importance of
participation and who understands the repercussions associated with missed meets and training

                                  Team Policies
Behavior Expectations
All swimmers and Parents will be expected to conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent
with good sportsmanship, strong character and the rules, goals and objectives of Rocky
Mountain Thunder Swimming. Proper respect toward authority, property and other people will
be required at all times.

Team Uniform Requirements
Only approved apparel and equipment will be permitted at swim meets.
All patches and accessories worn with competition apparel must be approved. Personal
appearance, which detracts from a positive team image, will be prohibited.
Swimmers may be required to conform to a dress code when traveling to and from away meets.

Training Equipment Requirements
Swimmers may be required to bring specified training accessories (i.e., goggles, fins, paddles,
etc.) to workouts. It is the swimmer's responsibility to make sure these items are properly
adjusted and that spares are readily available. Equipment adjustment and repair will not be
accepted as excuses to miss part of a training session. It is the swimmer's responsibility to keep
track of his or her equipment, missing equipment is not an accepted excuse for missing a training
session, replace equipment immediately.

Workout and Meet Attendance
Each training group will have specific attendance requirements appropriate for the objectives of
that group. It is the responsibility of the swimmers and parents to familiarize themselves with the
attendance policies. Participation of advanced level championship competition will be required
for all swimmers who qualify.

Meet Entries
Swimmers and Parents are responsible for sign ups, getting kids to the meets and payment for
meets; qualifier events swimmers must that have qualified will be expected to participate. Meet
Entries will be handled online, however payment with events receipt must be received at the pool
signed by swimmer and parent on the day entry is made. Any entries left without payment, will
result in swimmer being removed from meet. Late Entries will be charged double meet fees and
entry fees, plus a $20 late fee.

Award Presentations
Whenever there is a formal awards presentation at a meet, it is expected that swimmers be
prompt, wear the team uniform and cooperate fully at the presentation.

                                     Meet Polices:
                           Uniform Requirements For Meets:
    Group                                                        Meet Uniform
                                                 Team Swim Suit or approved suit; Team racing
    Out-of-State Meet Travel Team                cap; RMT T-shirts; Team sweatshirts and warm-
                                                 Team Swim Suit or approved suit; Team racing
    Senior Groups                                cap; RMT T-shirts; Team sweatshirts and warm-
                                                 Team Swim Suit or approved suit; Team racing
                                                 cap; RMT T-shirts and/or Team sweatshirts
                                                 Team Swim Suit or approved suit; Team racing
    Gold Groups
                                                 cap; RMT T-shirts and/or Team sweatshirts
                                                 Team Swim Suit or approved suit; Team racing
    Silver Groups
                                                 cap; RMT T-shirts and/or Team sweatshirts
                                                 Team Swim Suit or approved suit; Team racing
                                                 cap; RMT T-shirts and/or Team sweatshirts
                                                 Team Swim Suit or approved suit; Team racing
    Upper- Bronze Groups
                                                 cap; RMT T-shirts and/or Team sweatshirts
                                                 Team Swim Suit or approved suit; Team racing
                                                 cap; RMT T-shirts and/or Team sweatshirts
                                                 Team Swim Suit or approved suit; Team racing
                                                 cap; RMT T-shirts and/or Team sweatshirts

                               Meet Procedures
1. Arrival
      a. Swimmers are expected to report to the team area 30 minutes prior to the start of
          the scheduled warm-up. Every meet has different start times, check the website
          the night prior to a meet for times.
      b. It is customary for there to be a “team area” at meets, athletes are to sit together as
          a team. Find a spot within this area to place your things and get ready for warm-
          up. This helps promote team unity and spirit.
      c. Obtain a heat sheet and check to see if the swimmer is properly entered in their
          events. In the event of a mistake, promptly speak with a coach so that it can be
      d. Parents/ swimmers are welcome to determine which events a swimmer will
          compete, but input from the coaches can help also. Team members are never to
          scratch or late-enter an event without first consulting one of the coaches. In a
          meet with preliminaries and finals, it is expected that anyone qualifying to swim
          in the finals shall do so unless excused by the coach.
2. Warm-up
      a. Warm-ups are always conducted by a member of the coaching staff; parents
          should not be involved.
      b. Team members are required to warm-up with the team unless excused by the
      c. It is important to understand that a good warm-up is and essential part of a
          successful performance.
      d. 15 minutes before the start of each competition session there will be a TEAM
          MEETING. All team members are required to attend.
      e. If there is an extended period of time between the pre-meet team warm-up and the
          swimmers first event, the swimmer should briefly warm-up a second time 30
          minutes prior to the event in the warm-up pool, if available.
3. Throughout the meet
      a. At the conclusion of each race the swimmer should enter the warm-down lane and
          then proceed to meet with the coaching staff. Giving the swimmer and coach an
          opportunity to discuss the race (positive comments, splits, stroke technique, race
          strategy, etc)
      b. Parents with concerns about the technical aspect of the race, officiating calls, or
          conduct of the meet are to discuss concerns with the coach and NOT the
      c. Courtesy for the officials, meet hosts, coaches and the athletes, parents are asked
          to stay off the deck unless serving in an official capacity.
      d. Swimmers are expected to rest and conserve energy between events and sessions
          and to remain in the team area while at the pool.
4. Early Dismal at the meet
      a. Unless excused by the coach, all swimmers competing in a finals session will be
          expected to stay with the team until the end of the session to support their

          b. On away trips, all swimmers are required to attend all sessions of the meet unless
             excused by the head coach.

Meet Selection and Attendance Policies:

The Head Coach and coaches will establish the meet schedule for swimmer groups.

   1. The Team has three meets a month.
          a. Team Meet: This is the meet swimmers are most encouraged to attend
          b. Team Meet- Optional: This is a back up meet for those swimmers who could not
              attend the team meet.
          c. No Coach Optional: This meet is only available to TAG and up swimmers, or
              permission from a coach. You must attend at least one team meet before you can
              attend this meet.
   2. Swimmers who are entered in the meet and do not attend will be responsible for meet
      fees and other associated costs.
   3. In most situations, swimmers will be required to qualify in at least four events to
      participate in an out-of-state meet if going alone, two events if going with team.
   4. Swimmers may be required to travel and room with the team on shared expense basis for
      out-of-state meets.
   5. Advanced level peak performance championship competition will be required for all
      swimmers who qualify to participate.
   6. Those who fail to abide by these policies can be fined up to $50.

  Travel Arrangements and Travel Meets
Parents are in charge of making travel arrangements and finding a chaperone for their swimmer
if they cannot attend meet. Coaches are not in charge of being chaperones for in state travel
meets. Out of State meets, Coaches and designated parents will be chaperones of athletes.

                      Expectations of Parents
Please make every effort to have your swimmers at practice on time. Realize that your child is working
hard and give all the support you can. Encourage good diet and sleeping habits. They will serve your
children well. The greatest contribution you can make to our swimmer’s progress is to be a loving,
supportive parent. We have included in the next section, “The Ten Commandments for Parents of Athletic
Children”. It offers some very useful and sound advice on communicating with your swimmer.

                        PARENTS ARE TO BE OFF THE DECK,
           Parents you can be on deck the first 15 of practice and the last 15 mins.

Are You a Pressure Parent?
The following survey has been taken from the Amateur Swimming Association of Great Britain.
If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, you may be in danger of pressuring your
child. It is important to remember that the parents' role is critical and should be supportive at all
times to ensure a positive experience for your child.

         Is winning more important to you than it is to your child?
         When your child has a poor swim, is your disappointment, such as through body
          language or vocal tones, obvious?
         Do you feel that you are the one to have to "psyche" your child up before competition?
         Do you feel that winning is the only way your child can enjoy the sport?
         Do you conduct "post mortems" immediately after competition or practice?
         Do you feel that you have to force your child to go to practice?
         Do you find yourself wanting to interfere with coaching and instructions during
          practice or competition thinking that you could do better?
         Do you find yourself disliking your child's opponents?
         Are your child's goals more important to you than they are to your child?
         Do you provide material rewards for performance?

Philosophy of Competition
1. We emphasize competition with oneself. Winning ribbons, medals, or trophies is not our main
goal. Even if the swimmer finishes first, but has swum poorly in comparison to his/her own past
performances, he/she is encouraged to do better. The individual’s improvement is our primary

2. Sportsmanlike behavior is of equal importance of improved performance. All the coaches
teach swimmers how to behave like a champion when the swimmer will have both a “good” and
a “bad” swim. Respect for officials, congratulations to other competitors, encouragement to

teammates, determined effort, and mature attitudes are examples of behaviors praised and

3. A swimmer is praised for improving his/her stroke or time. It is the coach’s job to offer
constructive criticism of a swimmer’s performance. Swimmers are taught to set realistic, yet
challenging, and goals for meets and to relate those goals to practice to direct their training
efforts. Swimmers are prepared and encouraged to compete in all swimming events, distances,
and strokes. This policy promotes versatility and encourages the swimmer to explore his
potential in the wide range of events offered in competitive swimming. Often times, a swimmers
“best” stroke changes as they mature and his/her body goes through physical changes.

Your Swimmer Needs You
To have a successful program there must be understanding and cooperation among parents,
swimmers, and coaches. The progress your youngster makes depends to a great extent on this
triangular relationship. It is with this in mind that we ask you to consider this section as you join
RMT Swimming.

You have done a great deal to raise your child. You create the environment in which they are
growing up. Your child is a product of your values, the structure you have provided, and the
model you have been. Human nature, however, is such that a parent loses some of his/her ability
to remain detached and objective in matters concerning his/hers children’s athletics.

The following guidelines will help you keep your child’s development in the proper perspective
and help your child reach his/her full potential as an athlete.
The coach is the Coach! We want your swimmer to relate to his or her coach as soon as possible
concerning swimming matters. This relationship between coach and swimmer produces best
results. When parents interfere with opinions as to how the swimmer should swim or train, it
causes considerable, and often times insurmountable, confusion as to whom the swimmer should
listen to. If you have a problem, concerns, or complaint, please contact the coach; this is not to be
done on deck.

Best kind of parent:

The coach’s job is to motivate and constructively criticize the swimmer’s performance. It is the
parent’s job to supply the love, recognition, and encouragement necessary to make the child
work harder in practice, which in turn gives him/her the confidence to perform well in

Ten and Under:

Ten and under are the most inconsistent swimmers and this can be frustrating for parents,
coaches, and the swimmer alike! Parents and coaches must be patient and permit these
youngsters to learn to love the sport. When a young swimmer first joins RMT Swimming there
may be a brief period in which he/she appears to slow down. This is a result of the added

concentration on stroke technique, but this will soon lead to, much faster swims for the
individual. Even the very best swimmer will have meets where they do not do their best times.
These “plateaus” are a normal part of swimming. Over the course of a season times should
improve. Please be supportive of these “poor” meets.

What Happens If Your Child has a Disappointing
If your child has a poor race and comes out of it feeling bad, talk about the good things. The first thing
you say is, “Hey, that is not like you. You’re usually a top swimmer.” Then you can go on and talk about
the good things the child did. You never talk about the negative things. If your child comes up to you and
says, “That was a bad race, don’t tell me it wasn’t,” there is nothing wrong with a swimmer negatively
evaluating a race. The important thing is for the child not to dwell on it. You should move the swimmer
on to something good. “All right, you have had a bad race. How do you think you can do better next
time?” Immediately start talking about the positive things. If your child receives a DQ slip.... this means a
swimmers performance is not counted because of a rules infraction. This judgment is made by a stroke
and turn official, and the slip will tell your child and the coach what they did incorrectly. Everyone gets
"DQed" at one time or another. The important thing is to learn from the mistake!

10 Commandments for Swimming Parents
by Rose Snyder, Managing Director Coaching Division, USOC
Former Director of Club Services, USA Swimming
(adapted from Ed Clendaniel's 10 Commandments for Little League Parents)

I. Thou shalt not impose thy ambitions on thy child.

Remember that swimming is your child's activity. Improvements and progress occur at different
rates for each individual. Don't judge your child's progress based on the performance of other
athletes and don't push him based on what you think he should be doing. The nice thing about
swimming is every person can strive to do his personal best and benefit from the process of
competitive swimming.

II. Thou shalt be supportive no matter what.

There is only one question to ask your child after a practice or a competition - "Did you have
fun?" If meets and practices are not fun, your child should not be forced to participate.

III. Thou shalt not coach thy child.

You are involved in one of the few youth sports programs that offer professional coaching. Do
not undermine the professional coach by trying to coach your child on the side. Your job is to
provide love and support. The coach is responsible for the technical part of the job. You should

not offer advice on technique or race strategy. Never pay your child for a performance. This will
only serve to confuse your child concerning the reasons to strive for excellence and weaken the
swimmer/coach bond.

IV. Thou shalt only have positive things to say at a swimming meet.

You should be encouraging and never criticize your child or the coach. Both of them know when
mistakes have been made. Remember "yelling at" is not the same as "cheering for".

V. Thou shalt acknowledge thy child's fears.

New experiences can be stressful situations. It is totally appropriate for your child to be scared.
Don't yell or belittle, just assure your child that the coach would not have suggested the event or
meet if your child was not ready. Remember your job is to love and support your child through
all of the swimming experience.

VI. Thou shalt not criticize the officials.

Please don't criticize those who are doing the best they can in purely voluntary positions.

VII. Honor thy child's coach.

The bond between coach and swimmer is special. It contributes to your child's success as well as
fun. Do not criticize the coach in the presence of your child.

VIII. Thou shalt be loyal and supportive of thy team

It is not wise for parents to take swimmers and to jump from team to team. The water isn't
necessarily bluer in another team's pool. Every team has its own internal problems, even teams
that build champions. Children who switch from team to team find that it can be a difficult
emotional experience. Often swimmers who do switch teams don't do better than they did before
they sought the bluer water.

IX. Thy child shalt have goals besides winning.

Most successful swimmers have learned to focus on the process and not the outcome. Giving an
honest effort regardless of what the outcome is, is much more important than winning. One
Olympian said, "My goal was to set a world record. Well, I did that, but someone else did it too,
just a little faster than I did. I achieved my goal and I lost. Does this make me a failure? No, in
fact I am very proud of that swim." What a tremendous outlook to carry on through life.

X. Thou shalt not expect thy child to become an Olympian.

There are 250,000 athletes in USA Swimming. There are only 52 spots available for the Olympic
Team every four years. Your child's odds of becoming an Olympian are about .0002%.

                       Keeping the Fun In Swimming
By Suzie Tuffey, Ph.D., Former USA Swimming Sport Psychology Director

A few years ago, USA Swimming conducted a survey to try to understand why kids participate in
swimming and why kids drop out of swimming (Results from this survey were printed in the
December 1996 issue of USA Swimming's Splash magazine). Probably the most important
finding from this survey was that 'fun' played a huge role in participation. Kids stay in the sport
because it is fun and, conversely, kids leave the sport because it is no longer fun. Based on this
finding, USA Swimming decided to conduct a follow-up research project to try to identify exactly
what is fun and what is not fun about swimming. In the first phase of this project, we held focus
group interviews with a total of 48 age-group swimmers (Ages 8-18) from three USA Swimming
clubs. The athletes were asked a variety of questions to uncover their perception of 'fun aspects'
and 'not such fun aspects' of swimming. Specific to this article, two questions focused on the
influence of parents on kids' swimming enjoyment - "What do parents do that makes swimming
fun?" and "What do parents do that takes away from the fun of swimming?" The question was not
whether parents have an influence on kids' swimming enjoyment (because we know they do) but
on the specific things parents do and say which influences the fun in swimming, both positively
and negatively.

Through these focus group interviews, the kids were able to help us better understand the
influence parents can have on their enjoyment of swimming. From a review of the athletes'
responses, several 'themes' seem evident regarding the things parents do and say to their
swimmers that have a positive and a detrimental influence on swimming enjoyment. It is
important to be aware of these things that impact enjoyment because, as we have found,
enjoyment influences participation in swimming and we all want the kids to stay involved in
swimming and enjoy the experience. As you read on, keep in mind that this is coming directly
from age group swimmers; the words are taken directly from athletes and reflect their experiences
in swimming.

What do parents do that makes swimming fun? And what do parents do that takes away from the
fun of swimming?

Provide Support

One resounding theme coming from the kids was that parents increase the fun in swimming by
providing unconditional encouragement and support. For the most part, it seems that a physical
presence at meets and interest in what their child is doing goes a long way toward enhancing
swimming enjoyment. The kids seem to enjoy swimming when they feel their parents support
them regardless of the performance outcome. This theme is illustrated by the following:

"My parents are very supportive. I know, like, my parents will be happy for me whatever I do. I
mean, if I do bad, they'll still be comforting and if I do good they'll be happy for me, you know.
It's just, I think the people that their parents are so pushy, I think that they're gonna, um, they have

the most potential to quit because they have so much pressure on them." (Age 15-18)

"She (mom) doesn't expect any more from me than I expect from myself which I think that's
important because when parents start placing expectations on their kids, like, it just makes the kids
more stressed. I just think parents should be very supportive." (Age 15-18)

"Just knowing that he (dad) is there, you know. I can go up and ask for 50 cents for some food or
something. It has actually given me that support feeling that my parent, one parent, is there." (Age

"You need reassurance (after swimming poorly), like, they still love you. They're still going to
give you a ride home." (Age 13-14)

"I always want my mom to be there. I always want someone to be there watching me, cheering me
and stuff like that and I kind of don't feel like I want to do as well when they're not there. I kind of
feel like I need to show them even though they tell me I don't need to show them." (Age 13-14)

Don't push too much

A theme that was identified by the kids as detracting from the experience of fun in swimming
related to parents' pushing too much. Some of the kids felt that excessive pushing by their parents
to practice, compete and perform well detracted from the fun of swimming, as exemplified below:

"Well, I don't exactly like it sometimes because they push me too hard that it makes me feel bad
and I just don't like to swim sometimes because they push me so much." (Age 10 and under)

"I saw this one mom who was yelling at her kid, like, 'I spend so much money on you. I can't
believe you did so bad today.' And the kid was already crying and her mom's like yelling at her
and her mom throws her stuff down and leaves. If my mom ever did that, I'd just want to quit
because you need encouragement from everyone around you if you want to win." (Age 13-14)

Learn Optimal 'Push'

Interestingly, there was a positive side to this idea of 'parental pushing'. Kids talked about the role
of parents in enhancing fun in swimming by providing a push. However, caution is warranted as
there is a fine line between pushing in a positive way and pushing to the detriment of kids'
enjoyment. As evidenced below, it seems a slight push from parents can enhance subsequent
enjoyment and, as kids point out, is often needed.

"I think your parents sort of want you to do things and I think you kind of grow to like it you're
sort of pushed firmly by them." (Age 15-18)

"I think that parents need to push their kids a little more when they're younger because I know
when I was like 11 or 12, there would be days where I didn't want to go to practice." (Age 15-18)

"They kind of push us to go to swimming and it makes us, like, feel better that we swam." (Age

"I like it when my parents push me because I was out for a year and I became a C swimmer
because I aged up and just this last meet, in all of my things, I became a B swimmer instead
because my parents were cheering me on and they pushed me." (Age 8-10)

It's kind of good for them to kind of maybe push you now or make you go to practice now." (Age
10 and under)

Resist Assuming the Role of Coach

A last theme evident from kids' responses tied to the idea that when parents take on the roles and
responsibility of the coach it takes away from the fun in swimming. Critiquing races, offering
suggestions on what went wrong or how to improve, and placing expectations on performance are
examples of things parents do that tend to decrease the kids' enjoyment. An exception to this
seems to be that when parents have credibility as swimmers, advice is sometimes welcome as it is
viewed as coming from an 'expert' as opposed to a parent. To be sure, however, parents may want
to ask their kids if they want advice or suggestions regardless of the parent's swimming
background. Kids talk about this detrimental influence:

"My mom, I mean, my parents are supportive of me and they're like, fine, but sometimes my mom
is just like she keeps asking me everything about what do I think I did wrong if it's a bad race and
I want to just forget about it. It is really annoying when she keeps asking me." (Age 13-14).

"They don't know as much as a coach. Like my mom, she tries to tell me what to do and I don't
listen to her, but it is annoying." (Age 11-12)

"Well. Sometimes they annoy me because they like I don't keep my head down enough and they
are like 'you've got to keep that head down'. They keep annoying me about that." (Age 8-10)

"If I've had a bad race and my mom is telling me what I did wrong, I won't really listen to her. But
if I did pretty well and she's still pointing some things wrong that can make me faster, then I'll
take it to my coach and let him help me so I can do better." (Age 13-14)

"I like it whenever my dad gives me goals 'cuz he's a master swimmer. But my mom, whenever
she's in the pool, all she does is like float and she doesn't like to get her hair wet unless she's in the
shower so when she says 'you gotta keep on doing this', I'm having a hard time believing it
because she doesn't really swim that much. She just likes playing around with it." (Age 10 and

"My dad used to be a swimmer and he, like, almost made it to the Olympics so him just being
there is like a real big motivation and he gives me advice and stuff." (Age 13-14)

What does all this mean?

Taken in conjunction, it seems that kids want parents to be a presence in their swimming. But,
they want this presence to be one of unconditional support with little advice. In essence, the kids
seem to be saying, 'Mom and Dad, support my efforts but don't try to help me swim faster'.

Parental 'push' was mentioned by the kids in both a positive and negative vein. Because of
individual differences in needs and preferences, it is probably very difficult for parents to define
and identify an "optimal push"; a push that is strong enough to be beneficial but not so strong that
it is perceived as overpowering by the kids. However, for the benefit of the kids, every effort
should be made to walk this fine line and try to achieve an 'optimal push'.

                                       Aging Up
In a competitive sport such as swimming, aging up is an essential part of an athlete’s growth and
development. However, it is very important to understand the mental effects that a swimmer
might endure when being moved up a group or competing in a new age bracket.

Aging up can happen two different ways: 1) a swimmer has completed the necessary
steps/requirements, and through a coach’s assessment, is ready to advance to the next group 2) a
swimmer has aged up and has entered the next competitive age bracket. When a swimmer has
moved up to a higher group, the most important aspect to focus on is the adjustments he or she
will have to make in moving into the new group. It is sometimes difficult for an athlete that is
used to being at the top of their training group to adjust to being at the bottom of the new training
group. The coaching staff at RMT takes these actions very seriously in order to prevent a
swimmer from burning out or becoming overwhelmed with a new training level. Burn out can
happen when a swimmer is pushed too hard, or too much, too soon. We ensure that a swimmer
is fully prepared and ready to advance to the next level or to age up into a new competitive
bracket before they are given the green light to train in that specific group or compete in a new
bracket. All swimmers who are coming close to advancing to the next training group are
evaluated by the coaches and are put through a one to two week trial period where they are tested
in the new training group. We evaluate the swimmer’s performance with the new training, the
attitude towards the new training program, and the overall fit of the swimmer in the new group.
This provides the coaches with a clear understanding of how the swimmer will perform in their
new group for the current and upcoming swim seasons. It also provides us with the necessary
justification for moving or not moving a swimmer into a higher-level training group.

Communication is absolutely crucial for the team to succeed. We believe there needs to be a
strong communication line between the coaches, the swimmers, and the parents to ensure that all
parties are on the same page. If a problem should ever arise, we ask that the parent(s) address a
coach directly and immediately so that the situation can be handled right away. This prevents a
problem from escalating and getting out of hand. We DO NOT condone gossiping of any kind
on this team. This type of communication is destructive to the integrity of a team and can lead to
greater problems or resentment towards others on the team. We welcome parents to address us
whenever there is a problem, concern, or question with the team. We are more than happy to
arrange a meeting to sit down and address the situation. The coaching staff is available to
discuss arrangements for a meeting prior to swim practice (before 4:45PM) or after practice
(after 8:30PM), but NEVER during practice. This is distracting to both the coaching staff and to
the swimmer. Once swim practice has begun, parents are not allowed to approach a coach unless
it is an emergency.

                                Team Dinners
Whenever RMT has a team travel meet, it is a tradition to have a team dinner on the Saturday of
the meet. This is a great opportunity for the families on the team to get to know each other and
to sit and relax with the swim team family. We have found that this is also a great opportunity
for the swimmers to interact with others that they don’t normally get a chance to talk to due to
various practice times and different competing times. The coaching staff, or a parent
representative, will inform every one of the time and place for the team dinner by the end of the
Friday session. Some team dinners also involve special awards or team building activities.

                         Thunder Shirt Night
What is it? The Thunder shirt is a motivational tool for young swimmers to track their progress
as they achieve their goals over time. Often swimmers easily set qualitative goals such as "I want
to swim faster", but struggle to set quantitative goals like "my goal is to swim under 1:05 in the
100 Free".

The Thunder shirt is designed to help swimmers first set a clear goal and once that goal is
achieved, helps point them to their next goal.

How it works: Swimmers work to achieve "bolts" that will be given out after each swim meet. A
bolt represents a time standard that has been achieved. There are 4 different bolts available –
White, Red, Silver, Gold. Gold times are the fastest time in the series.

The times used for the different colors are based on USA Swimming motivational time
standards. The times are compiled from national times into a percentile list. We have adapted
this list for our own purposes. The gold time standard is close to Colorado Swimming state time
standards and the rest of the colors move down the percentile list. Our goal is to give a broad
range of swimmers a goal to aim for.

After a swim meet swimmers will receive their "bolts" in an envelope. On the envelope will be
written which event the bolt is for. The “bolt” is made from an iron-on material that you use an
iron to adhere to the back of the thunder shirt in the appropriate place.

Kettle Corn:

1/4cup oil (use olive oil, safflower oil)

1/4 cup sugar

1/2cup corn kernels


In a large pot with a lid pour in oil and place a kernel or two in there so you know when the oil is hot.
When the pop pour the kernels and sugar into the pop. Give it a good stir and then put the lid back on. For
the rest of the time do the 3 seconds on –3 seconds off rule. Keep the pot on the heat for 3 seconds, then
take off heat and shake (CAREFULLY!) for 3 seconds, continue this until the popping slows down.
When popping stops sprinkle some salt and cinnamon (if you choose).

Frozen Yogurt:

2 cups fat free yogurt (could use Greek yogurt too-more protein)

2 cups pureed fruit (use in season fruit-tastes the best this way. Can use thawed fruit)

1 can (14oz) fat free sweetened condensed milk

1 cup fat free milk

3 tsp vanilla


Combine all ingredients.** I like to add chunks of fruit into the mix too for a little more texture** Fill
container (bowl with lid or ice cream maker) 2/3 full. Put in the freezer, allow 2-4 hours before serving.


1/2 cup equals 130 calories, trace fat (trace saturated fat), 3 mg cholesterol, 68 mg sodium, 27 g
carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 6 g protein.

Tasty Tortellini:

1 package of Tortellini (either spinach or whole wheat pasta)

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 medium size tomato

1 onion (sweet or red)

1-2 Bell Peppers (I like red and green together)

Fat-free or reduced fat Feta Cheese


Cook tortellini. While that is cooking in a skillet put oil and heat up. Once oil is hot add cut onion and
peppers. Let these heat up, take off heat before the peppers become soft.

Mix together the tortellini, skillet veggies, then add the tomato and feta cheese. ENJOY!!

Three – Cheese Pizza
1/4 cup fat free ricotta cheese

1/4 tsp Italian seasoning

1 clove garlic (finely chopped)

8 crispy rye crackers

2 Tbsp shredded reduced fat mozzarella cheese

1 1/2 Tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese

1 medium roma (plum) tomato, thinly sliced and cut in half

Dash of pepper


Heat oven to 375. Mix ricotta cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic, and spread on crackers. Sprinkle with
mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Place 2 tomato slice halves on each cracker. Sprinkle with pepper.

Place crackers on a un-greased cookie sheet. Bake 9 –11 minutes or until golden brown.


1 serving: Calories 60 (Calories from Fat 10): Fat 1g (Saturated Fat 1g); Cholesterol 2mg; Sodium 95mg;
Carbohydrate 10g (Dietary Fiber 0g); Protein 3g

Spicy Popcorn:

1 Tbsp water

4 tsp margarine

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp white pepper

1/8 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)

10 cups hot-air-popped popcorn


Heat water and margarine in 6-inch nonstick skillet over low heat about 3 minutes or until margarine is
melted. Stir in remaining ingredients except for popcorn.

Drizzle over popcorn and toss. Serve immediately.


1 serving: Calories 45; Fat 2g (Saturated Fat 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 135mg; Carbohydrate 7g
(Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 1g

Individual Chicken Pot Pies:

1 (10 3/4 oz) can low-sodium cream of chicken soup, undiluted

1 cup water

3/4 tsp poultry seasoning

2 cups diced cooked chicken breast

1 (10oz) package frozen mixed vegetables, thawed (or your choice of fresh seasonal veggies)

3/4 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

Vegetable cooking spray

3/4 cup self-rising flour

1 Tbsp margarine

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp skim milk


Combine soup, water, and poultry seasoning in a medium bowl; stir well. Add chicken, mixed vegetables
and mushrooms, stir well. Spoon chicken mixture evenly into 4 individual baking dishes coated with
cooking spray. Place four in a bowl; cut in margarine with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse
meal. Stir in skim milk. Divide dough into 4 equal portions; drop 1 portion over each serving. Bake at 450
for 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Southwestern Chicken:

4 chicken breasts

1-2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup frozen or fresh corn kernels

1/3 cup thick and chunky salsa


Remove fat from the chicken. In a bowl mix together chili powder, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle evenly over
both sides of the chicken breast halves. Heat oil in 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook
chicken in oil 8 to 10 minutes, turning once, until juice is no longer pick in the center. Stir in beans, corn,
and salsa. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are hot. (Feel
free to add more vegetables: onion, peppers, etc).

Grilled Peaches:

2 peaches, pitted and halved

Olive oil for brushing

2 oz of blue cheese

1 tsp honey or agave nectar


Heat grill to medium- high heat. Brush insides of peaches with olive oil and place flat side down on the
grill. Grill for four minutes and flip over. Crumble cheese in the center of each peach half and grill for
three more minutes. Remove from the grill and drizzle with honey.

Chicken Parmesan:

4 chicken breasts

2 egg whites

1/2- 3/4 cup Italian flavored bread crumbs

1/4- 1/3 cup Fresh shredded Parmesan cheese

Angel hair pasta-cooked

1 jar of tomato sauce (look at nutrition label- should have only 5-6 ingredients or less)

Olive Oil


Remove fat from the chicken. Mix together bread crumbs and cheese. Dip both sides of chicken breast
into egg whites, then coat with bread crumb mix. In a hot skillet with the olive oil in it place chicken into
pan (carefully!) over medium-high heat. Cook chicken 8-12 minutes, turning only once. Cut into the
thickest part of the chicken to make sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly. Turn off heat. Quickly heat up
the tomato sauce. Place chicken on top of pasta and then tomato sauce over chicken.


1 cup skim milk

1/2 cup quick cook oats

Optional add ins:

Peanut butter, to taste

Honey and brown sugar

Dried fruit-apples, cranberries

Pumpkin puree and cinnamon

Pure Maple Syrup


Microwave: Add milk and oats in a bowl. Microwave on high for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove and mix in
your choice of add ins. For thicker oatmeal use less milk, opposite for thinner oatmeal.

Snack Alternatives:
  1. Soda Pop
     Try: Juice spritzer- Mix 3 parts 100% juice to 1 part mineral water.

  2. Doughnuts
     Try: Variety of Bagels (remember, one half of a bagel is a serving size)

  3. Cream-filled snack cakes
     Try: Fresh Specialty flavored bread- banana, zucchini, poppy seed, bran. ( Best if made with
     whole wheat flour, sprouted flour, or corn-meal and no high-fructose corn syrup)

  4. Chips, crackers
     Try: Unbuttered popcorn, low fat crackers, rice cakes, baked corn tortilla strips, or raw vegetables

  5. Pie
     Try: Baked fruit (apples, peaches, etc), fresh fruit, pudding made with skim milk and sprinkled
     with crumbled graham crackers, or applesauce with crumbled graham crackers and cinnamon.

  6. Candy
     Try: Peanut butter (old-fashion type- NO SUGAR ADDED), peanut butter and celery, peanut
     butter and bananas, peanut butter sandwich with honey, or dried fruit

  7. Cookies
     Try: Vanilla wafers, ginger snaps, whole-wheat fig bars (Barbara’s brand is the absolute
     healthiest and tastiest I can find), or graham crackers (try adding cream cheese or peanut butter
     and honey on top of crackers)

  8. Gelatin
     Try: Prepare with 100% juice instead of water, and add fresh fruit

  9. Sport Drinks
     Try: WATER, or NUUN tablets. There is no sugar added to these tablets, you add them to your
     water and it provides the electrolytes and carbohydrates you need to recover.

Snack Ideas (before or after practice):
  1. Deli cut roasted turkey slices- good source of protein, lower sodium and preservatives then pre-
     packaged meats
  2. Fresh veggies and fruit
  3. Smoothies- Greek yogurt, you can also add peanut butter- great source of protein, and vitamins.
  4. Non-fat chocolate milk is a great recovery drink!
  5. Hummus- try eating with pitas, bell peppers, carrots, or on your turkey sandwiches instead of
  6. Almonds, cashews- roasted either plain or lightly salted (remember a serving size is a handful, no
     more) Nuts are packed full of good fats and protein but stay within the recommended serving size
     to reap the benefits. More isn’t better
  7. Low fat string cheese or blue bell cheese wheels (small size)

Kitchen Changes:
1. Bread: Sprouted Grain Bread- is flourless, high in protein, dietary fiber and comes in a variety of
    flavors. You can also buy bagels and English muffins with this type of bread.
2. Butter: Try finding a butter/margarine that is high in Omega-3’s. This fat helps fight cholesterol
    by decreasing your LDL/ VLDLs and raising HDLs.
3. Oil: Switch from vegetable oil to Olive Oil, Safflower Oil, Canola Oil, Flax Seed Oil, Peanut Oil,
    Sunflower Oil.
4. Granola: Granola can be packed with fat. Try Go Lean Go Crunch instead of your basic granola
    that is flavored with butter and sugar. Go Lean is high in protein and the lowest in sugar I can
    find on the market.
5. Syrup: Switch from Ms. Butterworth to Pure Maple Syrup. A great thing to put on grilled
    peaches, or those whole-wheat pancakes, waffles after a good workout!
6. Sugar: Agave Nectar, Honey, or Pure Maple Syrup
7. Perimeter of grocery store: The freshest and healthiest items for your diet are on the perimeter
    of the grocery stores. Try shopping only the outsides of the store and staying away from those
    aisles, where food must be kept with preservatives and salt to avoid quick expirations.
8. 5 ingredients limit on nutrition label: By limiting the number of ingredients on the label to 5 or
    6 ingredients that you can actually pronounce and understand you will feel much better and have
    more energy, and your system will start to clean itself out and work more efficiently.
9. Salsa: Try the fresh salsa on the perimeter of the store. It is usually local and only has a few
    ingredients and tastes much better than the jarred brands.
10. Chips: Try to eat the corn chips, blue corn, white corn that are lightly salted. Always baked,
    never fried!
11. Pasta: Fresh pasta is generally the best option- all basic ingredients, no preservatives. If you are
    buying dehydrated pasta, stick with the whole-wheat pasta.
12. Ice-cream: Switch from ice-cream to frozen yogurt (non-fat, low sugar) and homemade
13. Tortillas: Switch to the corn tortillas (not flour) or the tortillas that have high dietary fiber. Also,
    try the smaller, 6 inch ones. You’ll fill it up more with the good meats, veggies, etc instead of
    eating excess flour.
14. Cheeses: Feta Cheese, Cottage Cheese, Ricotta Cheese all reduced fat are generally your best
    choices. NO Kraft Singles!!
15. Iceberg Lettuce: Iceberg lettuce has very little nutritional value, try switching to Spinach or
    Romaine lettuce. Spinach and Romaine Lettuce are high in Vitamin K and A, manganese, folic
    acid, magnesium, and iron.
16. Red Meat: Instead of always going to red meat (which does have its benefits in moderation) a
    good option is Bison, which provides 90% of your protein in one serving and is very lean! Bison
    that you buy at the grocery store is also a local company in Colorado. Turkey is another great
    lean meat option that you can substitute in many recipes.

Water Bottles:
Every swimmer is responsible for bringing their own water bottle to each practice. The water bottle
should be at least 12 oz in size if not larger and on the deck ready at the beginning of practice. If a
swimmer fails to bring a water bottle to practice they will either need to purchase a water from the
vending machine, OR a $5 charge will be placed on their account and the team will provide the swimmer
with a water bottle, every time the water bottle is forgotten.

                       Sources of Information
Coaches Contact:
Brent Bergstedt: 720-280-8946

Nick Barta:   720-939-2726

Amy Meyers: 303-927-9526

Team Website /

Member Website:

Practice Canceled Information:
Go to team website or Member Website before you leave the house, check your email.
If you have given your cell phone number to a coach, look for a text.

If schools are closed due to weather, practice is canceled as well.
If accident alert for the Wheat Ridge Area is in effect, practice 9 of 10 times will be canceled.

Use your best judgment before you come to practice, check the web all ways




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