These questions have been compiled from the ones we hear over and over again. Hopefully they will answer some of yours. If not, ask the Coaches or Team Manager your question. I'm sure they'll find an answer for it - somewhere.
1. When should swimmers arrive and sign-in for practice?
Swimmers should arrive approx. 10 minutes before practice if they need to change in the locker rooms. If swimmers arrive earlier, they may be asked to wait to enter the locker room by GAFC staff.
Swimmers need to sign in each time they practice on the team sign-in list on the clipboard at the GAFC front desk by placing a check under the practice date next to their names. Only children registered for the season are allowed to enter the pool for practices.
2. Can my child arrive earlier or stay after practice to swim?
You must purchase either a day pass or a GAFC membership for your child and have GAFC front desk staff check your child in if he/she wants to visit the pool during non-practice times.
3. What should my child bring to practice?
- Suits - Girls should wear form-fitting one piece suits and boys should wear either jammers (suits that look like bike shorts) or swim briefs. Board shorts and other loose fitting swim suits create drag in the water and make it difficult to swim with speed and efficiency.
- Googles - All swimmers should bring a couple of pairs of goggles; one pair to wear and a spare to put in the swim bag in case the first pair breaks or is misplaced.
- Swim cap - Swimmers with hair long enough to get in the eyes should bring a cap to wear.
- Water Bottle - Swimmers may be in the water, but they're still working out and perspiring and need to rehydrate. Water is still the best choice for fluid replacement.
**The team provides fins and kick boards during practice.**
4. Where can I buy suits and swim gear?
Clothing stores are offering closeout discounts on summer suits right now to get rid of stock. Local sporting goods stores also carry a small assortment of suits and swim gear.
The team's official vendor is Swimpro, a specialized swim shop in Glenn Dale on Lanham Severn Rd. just south of the corner of Greenbelt Rd. and Lanham Severn Rd. Swimpro provides a full range of suits, caps, goggles, and other swim gear.
There's also a web discount outlet, Swimoutlet.com, that offers reduced prices on swim suits and gear.
5. Can I enter the pool area during practice?
Parents/guardians and other family members are asked to watch practices from the GAFC observation to the right of the front desk and adjacent to the family changing rooms. Only parents with GAFC memberships are allowed to enter the pool area through the locker rooms.
During the first practice for the 8 & Under and Developmental Groups we did allow parents to escort their young children to the pool deck, but this was only for the first practice. Now that swimmers have attended at least one practice, you must ask permission at the front desk at each practice if you want to continue to escort your child to the pool.
Once your child reports to his/her coach, we ask that you leave the pool deck and sit in the observation.
Why is there this rule? This is a GAFC rule that we must follow.
6. What if my child gets out of the pool and doesn't want to continue practicing?
It's up to your child if he/she wants to practice. For younger swimmers, coaches will attempt to speak to the swimmer and encourage him/her to rejoin the group for practice, but the coaches' primary responsibility is to conduct practice and keep their attention on the swimmers in the pool.
If your child leaves the pool, he/she can remain on the pool deck only if his/her presence doesn't disturb other swimmers. Otherwise, your child can exit the pool through the locker room and meet you near the front desk.
7. What if there's an emergency during practice?
If there's an emergency, trained lifeguards are on duty and will assist coaches in attending to your child.
8. What if I want to talk to my child's coach?
You can speak to your child's coach after practice or email your child's coach at firstname.lastname@example.org. The head coach, Stacey Russell, monitors email sent to this address and will forward your comments/concerns to the appropriate coach. If you need a response, please provide both an email address and a phone number for contact.
9. What if my child misses practice?
We don't have a mandatory practice rule. If you know that your child will miss practice due to illness, injury or a schedule conflict, please send an email to email@example.com to let your child's coach know. There are no make-up practices.
10. What if there's bad weather?
During weekday practices, the team follows the P.G. County Schools calendar for closings and cancellations.
If school is canceled or there's an early release, swim team practice will be canceled. If PGCPS cancels all afternoon and evening activities, practice will be canceled.
If PGCPS has a late arrival, the swim team will hold practice as scheduled.
For Sunday practices, the team's governing board will monitor weather reports and send out email via GMSTmembers to alert parents of cancellations. Emails may be sent as late as early Sunday morning, so please do not select Daily Digest as option to receive emails or you may not receive vital information in a timely manner.
11. What if practice isn't canceled but I'm uncomfortable driving in poor weather conditions?
Practice attendance isn't mandatory, so it's your call. When in doubt, it's best to stay home.
12. Can my child use the locker room facilities?
Your child is encouraged to shower off quickly before entering the pool to rinse off anything that might interact with pool chemicals. Your child can also use the bathroom facilities, before, during and after practice. Your child is allowed to shower off after practice, but your child must observe the rules for proper behavior in the locker rooms and be courteous to other patrons.
Violation of locker room rules may result in limitations/restrictions on use of the locker rooms being places on the entire team by GAFC staff, so please talk to your child about expected behavior. If you need to assist your child with changing, please check with GAFC front desk staff before entering the locker rooms. Family changing rooms are available and GAFC staff can show you where they are.