Phoenix Parents Page


Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to attend every practice? How much you attend is up to you. You get out of swimming what you put in. At the younger ages, many of our swimmers participate in other sports, so they often will miss a swim practice here or there or will take off a season to participate in another sport. The longer you swim and the higher the group level you participate in the more it is necessary and expected that you will make all practices.

What type of suit & equipment do we need? Practice suits should be one-piece suits that fit snug to the body. The higher the polyester count the longer the suit will last. Competition suits must be one-piece black suits, usually high Lycra content and should also fit snug to the body. Practice equipment varies for each group. Group equipment lists are found on our A3 Team Store.  Annual Club Registration includes a team suit (one each year) and cap.  Personalized cap orders are offered each season as well.

A3 Performance has a store located in Oconomowoc and a website that offers suits and equipment. They also offer some of our team apparel. You must log in to their website (upper right corner) to access the team apparel information. A3 Performance, our sponsoring vendor, offers a discount for LCST members.  Ask about getting a discount when you visit them in Oconomowoc or use our A3 Team Store.  Another resource for swim supplies is the Swim Outlet at  There are other swim stores in the area as well where you can find appropriate swim apparel and equipment.

Which swim meets do we participate in & do I participate in everyone? Swim meets that LCST participates in will be listed under the current events section of our web page. Clicking on the meet name will take you to the informational page listing which swim groups are expected to participate. You may choose which meets you wish to attend, although it is highly encouraged your swimmer participates in as many of the suggested meets as possible. Meets that we host (Single Age, WGLO, etc.) are meets that the coaching staff would like everyone to participate in. The swim meets are what many of our swimmers consider the best part of swimming and many participate in every meet.

What does “must meet” mean? Under the description of the meet are the words “MUST MEET” followed by a listing of all groups that are expected to participate in the event and they may be entered if you do not inform the staff that they cannot attend.

What do I need to pay attention to in the meet information listing?  The meet information listing is the official report sanctioning the meet. The key information that a parent needs to look for is:

     location of meet............................pool name and address

     schedule/warmups........................listing of start times

     entry many events can be swum/day per/meet

     heat sheet/admissions pricing.........cost to enter meet for spectators

     order and day of events.................lists which events are swum on which days


What if I don’t know what events to enter my swimmer in? You may elect to have the coaches select your swimmer’s events. On the team website, click “attend this event”, click on your child’s name. In the “notes” section, you may request to have the coaches choose the events.

What is a medley?  A medley is a combination of swimming equal distances of four different strokes in one race. This race is either swum by one swimmer as individual medley (IM) (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle) or by four swimmers as a medley relay (backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, freestyle). Note: The stroke order is different depending on if the medley is swum individually or as a relay.

What is an open event? An open event is for the older swimmers that do not fit into the age group events. These events are technically open to anyone, and sometimes younger swimmers will participate if they would like to swim in an event not offered for their own age group. Open events will typically have swimmers 15 & older entered.

What is a time trial? Following the conclusion of the day’s events, time trials may be offered. If a swimmer is trying to achieve a qualifying time (specific time that must be achieved for the swimmer to enter a competitive event) and did not achieve that time during the meet, they can sign up, in advance, to swim that event again at the conclusion of the day for another opportunity to qualify. There is an additional fee for time trials.

What is positive check-in? For longer swim events, swimmers are required to check-in. If a swimmer is not in attendance, their lane will be given away to another swimmer so as to maximize the swimmers in the pool and keep the event moving. The coaches will usually “check-in” the swimmers for their team.

What’s the difference between a timed final meet and prelims/finals meet?
Most swim meets are timed finals. In a meet of this type, only heats are swum, and the final placing in an event is determined by the times achieved in these heats. Some meets, usually at a higher level of competition, are prelim and finals. In these meets, prelims are swum early in the day, with the fastest swimmers qualifying for finals. Finals are swum later in the day, in which the final placing for an event is determined.

What happens at a meet?
Your child should arrive approximately 1 hour prior to the Meet start time. They will have warm-ups with their Coaches. Warm-up times will be posted on the website.

To know what event, heat, and lane your swimmer will compete, you will need to purchase a heat sheet or look for one posted at the meet and locate your swimmer’s name. Heat sheets should be on sale for each meet. (LCST hosted meets have heat sheets available online for you to print off.) You can write your swimmer’s events, heat, and lanes on their hands/arms/thigh. A fine point Sharpie marker works the best for this, but a ballpoint pen may be used. Write the Event #, Heat # and Lane # in a tic-tac-toe box with the headings E, H, L to correspond with the #. You may also want to write the distance and stroke for your swimmer but this is optional. Here is an example:

  E     H      L
  7  |  2  |   5     50 back
28  |  4  |   6     50 free
33  |  1  |   3     200 free relay (swim 3rd)

You can write your swimmer’s events, heat and lanes on their hands/arms.

Swimmers are "seeded" in competition according to their entry times. In each event the heats are arranged to start with the slowest swimmers seeded in the first heat and the fastest swimmers seeded in the last heat. Within each heat, the swimmers are seeded with the faster swimmers in the middle lanes.

Swimmers need to be behind the blocks and ready to race 3 or 4 heats before they swim.

Results will be posted throughout the meet as times are entered.

What is the difference between a high point meet and an age group meet? A high point meet is a meet where you compete against only those swimmers of the same age. The top 16 swimmers in each event receive points. At the conclusion of the meet, all the points for each swimmer are totaled and awards are given to the highest point achievers. An age group meet is where everyone competes in age groups: 8/under, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-16, senior. Awards are given for each event.

What’s the difference between short course and long course?
A short course pool is 25 yards, a long course pool is 50 meters long. Most of the swimming competition in America, and the majority of the pools, are short course yards. Most U.S. national and major international championships -- such as World Championships and the swimming competition at the Olympic Games -- are held at the long course distance. There is also a short course meters length that is becoming increasingly popular on the international scene. Be careful when looking at short course information whether it is yards or meters.

The annual swimming calendar in the U.S. is divided into two seasons; short course (25 yards) and long course (50 meters). From September to March, virtually all competition is short course. From April through August, training and meets are offered at the long course distance whenever possible.

Parent Specific FAQ's

Do I have to volunteer at team hosted swim meets? Yes. It takes many volunteers to run a swim meet (30-40 for a small meet & 250+ for a major meet.) Volunteer expectations depends on the level of the meet we are hosting. Most meets require you to volunteer only if your swimmer is participating in that meet. We do have mandatory meets that require our membership to volunteer regardless of whether your swimmer is entered or not. An example of a mandatory meet would be a state meet. Refer to the volunteer acceptance form for specific meet expectations. By hosting meets, a major source of revenue is generated, hence keeping swim fees lower for everyone.

            We also have committees that are looking for additional help. (Fund raising, social, meet planning, apparel, kitchen, parent education) Participation in these committees does not fulfill your meet volunteer requirements, but volunteering in this capacity improves the overall swim experience for all our children and to meet your seasonal service points requirement.

When volunteering at a meet, what jobs can I do? Jobs we recommend to our newer families:

  • Timer – stand behind the starting blocks, start and stop a stopwatch, record the times
  • Admissions – take admissions money and sell heat sheet
  • Security – man entry ways to pool and check all spectators for wristbands and keep parents off the pool deck
  • Concessions – sell food/drink
  • Hospitality – work in a room for officials and coaches setting out meals and snacks.
  • Awards – hand out ribbons/trophies to swimmers
  • Runner - collect recorded times from the timers after each event.

We have other meet critical positions (SST automatic timing, announcing, computer, video operator) that require training. If you have an interest in these jobs, sign up in the “trainee” spot to be given the opportunity to work side-by-side with an experienced worker.




  1. Join a carpool. Find out where other swimmers in your child’s group live and form a carpool.
  1. Get involved! Feel free to watch practices and have your child participate in the meets. Introduce yourself to others at practices and meets.  You will make new friends, meet the parents of kids that your child swims with, be able to exchange swimming stories/questions and most importantly become part of the TEAM ! Many of our members would tell you that swimming is a family affair. Other ways to get involved include attending a Board meeting or joining a committee. By being involved, you will learn a lot of interesting information about swimming and our team! 
  1. Buy a swimsuit that is snug. Many parents feel they want a suit that their child can grow into. Trust us...the chlorine will “eat” the suit long before your child will outgrow it. Rinse suits in cool water after every practice and don’t wash in detergent.
  1. Bring snacks for your swimmer to swim meets. Swim meets can be long and hot. Concessions are offered at most swim meets, but food selections aren’t always the healthiest. Snack suggestions: fruit, breakfast bars, yogurt, nuts, cheese, muffins, etc. Major meals should be eaten 1 hour prior to competition. Only light, easily digested snack and plenty of fluids should be consumed during a meet. FLUIDS are the most important!
  1. Be prepared for swim meets.  Bring an encouraging, positive attitude to support your swimmer and the team.  Cheering for your swimmer and others on LCST is acceptable and encouraged!  Also, bring along some money to pay for admission/heat sheets and a pen or Sharpie marker to write your child's event information on their hand and to keep track of swimmers/events on the heat sheet.  Optional items to bring include a highlighter for the heat sheets, your bleacher seat for comfort and the appropriate time standards/cuts or the top times information for your child to use as a resource/reference for goal setting.  Wearing your LCST apparel to meets is also optional but great for team spirit! Go Phoenix!

Additional Frequently Asked Questions can be asked on our Parents FAQ web page

Much of the information here is collected from various resources, including USA Swimming’s Parent section, which we also encourage you to visit. We also advise you to take a look at the Lake Country Swim Team Handbook.

If you have any questions answered or features you would like to see, please get in touch with the coaches and we can post answers or articles here.

Also, please visit this link to the Team’s Parent Board and the members. If you would like to be involved, feel free to get in touch with them with suggestions.

Phoenix Parent Articles

 " A Few Suggestions on how to be a Better Swim Parent". This article was written by a Michael Brooks, a coach with North Baltimore Aquatic Club.

" 101 Ways To Praise A Child"

" Alphabet of Parenting"

" Sticking with Swimming"

" Platitudes on Plateaus"

"The Dark Side of Pride"

"Coaching and Recruiting The Habit of Mental Toughness"

USA Swimming Parent Articles

Let the Coach Do the Coaching 
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. You must trust the coach to guide your child’s sports experience and you must be able to accept the coach’s authority. 
Provide Support for Your Swimmer 
One resounding theme coming from kids is that parents increase the fun in swimming by providing unconditional encouragement and support. A physical presence at meets and interest in what the child is doing both go a long way toward enhancing swimming enjoyment. Kids enjoy swimming when they feel their parents support them regardless of the performance outcome. Your main job is to feed, shelter and transport your swimmer while showing love and support!  
Emphasize Fun, Skills and Effort 
Children find success and fun in developing and improving skills. This is one of the most satisfying aspects of sports. The most important question you can ask following practice or a meet is “did you have fun today?” 
Keep Things in Perspective 
Remember which one of you is the swimmer and do not overburden your child with pressure to win or achieve best times. It’s a sport, it is supposed to be a pleasurable experience for your child. Let her know that first, she is the child you love and second, she is a swimmer. Stated another way, place the athlete first and winning second. 
Learn How to Deal with Disappointing Performances 
Sometimes, in spite of the best preparation and intentions, swimmers have disappointing performances. Learning to deal with disappointment is one of the important lessons of sport. As a parent, you must also learn to deal with your child’s disappointment. Although you mean well, children can detect phony comments and resent them. In short, praise generously and criticize sparingly, but don’t be a phony. 
Help Your Child Set Performance Goals 
Goal setting, especially with older swimmers, is mainly the domain of the coach and swimmer. This is another example of the need to “let go” and trust the coach! Younger swimmers may want your guidance is setting goals. First make sure that the goals are the swimmer’s goals, not your personal goals. Avoid statements like “I want you to do this,” or “I think you can do that.” 
Build Self-esteem and a Positive Self-image 
Learning about oneself while enjoying the sport is one of the most important aspects of swimming. The swimming environment encourages learning and fun, helping your child to develop a positive self-image. Athletes who find their self-worth through winning will go through tough times when they lose, and everyone, even Michael Phelps, will lose sometime!