Here are our answers to some of the more frequently asked questions
What do the coaches expect from the swimmers?
The Needham Summer Swim Team is a recreation league that attracts a wide variety of swimming abilities. For some, this is the first experience with competitive swimming, others are seasoned veterans of the summer team, and still others are also swimming at the U.S. level. For this reason, expectations are also going to vary. One thing that we do expect is that everyone will try their hardest. We want each swimmer to start off the season with a positive goal. We also hope that everyone will share a common goal of constantly improving while having a fun, successful summer.
What about swim meets?
All swimmers will participate in each of the meets. They will not always have the opportunity to choose the events they wish to swim, but may make requests (at least two days before). If a swimmer is unable to attend a meet, a coach needs to be notified as soon as possible.
Home meets begin at 5:30 (with a warm-up at 5:00). All swimmers should be at the pool at 4:45 for the home meets to ensure that swimmers are ready to enter the water at 5pm.
Most away meets begin at 6:00 (with a warm-up at 5:30).
It is completely normal to be nervous before a swim meet, especially if it is a swimmer's first one! Remember that the goal of our team is to have fun and be safe. In particular, it makes the coaches especially proud to watch swimmers try difficult events, like butterfly!
What if I don't want to swim an event?
Sometimes a swimmer may compete in a stroke he or she dislikes or we may even move a swimmer up an age group. Be a team player!!
What do the A and B Regional Championship Meets entail?
Each year, the Summer Suburban Swim League puts on two sets of championship meets: the A Regionals and the B Regionals. Both meets are meant to celebrate the swimmers of each team and give them the opportunity to compete against members of other teams who are equally compatible to their swimming ability.
The B Regional meet is held the second to last weekend of the season. This meet has no cut-off time, and so long as the swimmer is a Needham resident and has attended 4 meets every swimmer qualifies for B Regionals. That being said, B Regionals is a lot of fun and give each swimmer the chance to compete in a larger meet.
The A Regional meet is held on the last weekend of the season and has a list of qualifying times which need to be met in order to attend the meet, as long as the swimmer is a Needham resident and has attended 5 meets.
In 2011, the league decided that if a swimmer attends B Regionals and qualifies for A Regionals during the meet, that swimmer will be granted the opportunity to swim at A Regionals.
What is the mile swim?
Five girls and five boys, selected by the head coach, compete in the mile swim. This year will be the fourth year that the swim will take place at Dug Pond in Natick. To compete, swimmers must have competed in 3 dual meets. Swimmers must be at least 11 years of age to compete. The mile swimmers are determined during practice based on the coaches judgement and the swimmers capabilities. Needham has historically done very well at the mile swim, and it is one of our biggest events of the season.
What are practices like?
Because the skills of each swimmer vary, the practices will also vary. In general, the 8 and unders do a lot of stroke technique work and spend time learning the more difficult competitive strokes. 9-10’s do stroke technique and also work on improving upon the skills they have already acquired. Older swimmers complete more difficult sets, including more kicking, sprinting, and less resting at the walls!
Practice is imperative to gain competence in the competitive strokes and also to improve and become faster. If you do not come to practice and work hard, then you will not swim faster at the meets. However, if you think the practices are too hard or not challenging enough, please talk to a coach. We want everyone to improve and swim the best they can, but we do not want anyone to feel that practices are too difficult or too easy. Adjustments to lane placement can be made if needed. The coaches want swimmers to practice in a skill appropriate lane to ensure a positive swimming experience.
Do I have to wear a cap and goggles?
We recommend goggles for all swimmers, regardless of age. Swimming for an entire practice without goggles always leaves swimmers with red, aching eyes. Avoid this discomfort by purchasing a simple pair of goggles. Speedo makes excellent goggles that are well made and last. “Speedo Vanquishers” tend to fit well for boys and girls about age ten and up. Younger swimmers are better off with smaller frames. Speedo goggles tend to last longer than other brands. Don’t forget, we practice outside…it’s a good idea to avoid clear goggles. Instead, think of picking a darker lens, such as “smoke” or “blue”.
Bathing caps are helpful for girls with hair longer than chin length. If your swimmer doesn’t want to wear a cap at practice, that is fine. If your swimmer does not wear a cap, hair must be secured back and out of the eyes and face. While Needham does not require bathing caps, it is strongly recommended that hair be secured. (Braids are best for girls that do not want to wear caps because they are more secure than a simple ponytail).
Do I need to purchase a team suit?
No, the team suit is not mandatory, although many swimmers love to wear it to feel more of a part of the team. If you do not purchase the team suit, we recommend a training suit, such as a Speedo. They are more durable and better fitted for competition. Suits should not be loose fitting or baggy for racing. This means that the suit does not fit properly. See the coaches if you would like us to recommend a size for your swimmer.
Boys do not need to wear a racing suit. If they are more comfortable in shorts then that is fine. However, shorts will slow boys down during races! Some swim shorts extend far past the knees, and this is probably too long for a swim meet. It is important to remember that no suits or caps from other teams will be allowed during competition. Be sure not to wear your team suit to practice if you want it to last through all the meets.
Are two piece suits allowed for girls?
No two piece suits, please. They are not appropriate for swim team. Female swimmers must wear a one piece bathing suit for practices and meets. Save your two pieces for the beach or free swim on your own time. Thank you for your understanding. This is one rule that we feel especially strongly about and must enforce at all times. One piece suits are easy to find at local department stores, online, or by mail order. Speedo and Nike suits wear well, especially if they are hand washed in cold water after wearing and hung to dry.
What about wetsuits and sunscreen shirts?
Wear them! Sunscreen shirts are a wonderful way to protect against skin damage. Please try to avoid wearing sunscreen shirts to swim meets, though! Wetsuits are recommended if your swimmer tends to get cold quickly. A simple sleeveless wetsuit is inexpensive and very practical for New England! Any wetsuit is fine for practice. No wetsuits at meets, if possible. A bathing cap can also help your swimmer stay warmer.