Stingrays Parent Handbook
The Ladner Stingray Swim Club is a competitive swim club incorporated under the Societies Act of the Province of British Columbia. It is governed by a Constitution and By-Laws. Its main objective is to promote and develop amateur swimming in the Ladner area. To achieve this objective, the club runs a swim program that takes them from development swimmers to competitive swimmers.
The Stingrays are members of the British Columbia Summer Swimming Association (BCSSA). BCSSA, along with its member clubs, is responsible for developing effective coaching of swimmers and the promotion of swimming events. The Ladner Stingrays are members of the Fraser South region along with eight other clubs - Boundary Bay Bluebacks, Cloverdale Tritons, Crescent Beach Swim Club, Delta Diving Club, North Delta Sunfish, Richmond Kigoos, Surrey Sea Lions, and White Rock Amateur Swim Club. A summer swim club's season is from May 1 to the middle of August.
The Executive has adopted the following goals for the club.
GOAL#1 To provide a competitive swim program for all members.
- To provide a strong competitive program for interested swimmers.
- To provide opportunities for developmental swimmers to improve their skills and participate in swim meets commensurate with their abilities.
- To investigate interest in and opportunities for additional programs within the club.
GOAL #2 To focus on leadership development.
- To provide leadership opportunities for senior swimmers in the club.
- To provide leadership opportunities for club coaches.
- To provide leadership opportunities for parents of club members.
GOAL #3 To enhance and further develop communication and public awareness.
- To establish systems within the club to enhance and improve communication between the Executive, coaches, parents and swimmers.
- To enhance public awareness of the Ladner Stingray Swim Club.
Competitive Summer Swimming
Swimmers compete in separate divisions, which are determined by the swimmer's age on April 30th of the current year.
Legal proof of age (birth certificate, passport or care card) is required for all swimmers not previously registered with BCSSA.
Division 1 8 and under
Division 2 9 to 10 1/2
Division 3 10 1/2 to 12
Division 4 12 to 13 1/2
Division 5 13 1/2 to 15
Division 6 15 and 16
Division 7 17 to 19
Division 8 20 and over
The divisions are further divided into two groups: "A" and "B". These groups are determined by the swimmer's competitive times achieved at swim meets. At many swim meets "A" swimmers compete against "A" swimmers, and "B" swimmers compete against other "B" swimmers. This allows the swimmers to compete on a level playing field.
The club always promotes good sportsmanship at swim meets and encourages all swimmers to swim their "Personal Best". Personal Bests (also known as Best Times) and "A" times are recognized after each meet.
Starting off as a New Swimmer
While the main aim of the Club is competitive swimming, the Executive places a great deal of emphasis on development. The swimmers are instructed in the four basic competitive swimming strokes: freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. Children are encouraged to develop their skills in a positive environment without the added pressure of weekend competitive swim meets.
It is hoped that all swimmers will progress from the development meets to the weekend competitive meets; this is only done, however, when the swimmer, coach and parent(s) believe the child is ready for competitive swimming.
There are short meets (development meets) on weekday evenings for our up and coming, and younger swimmers, which serve as an excellent introduction to weekend meets. The coach will talk to the parents of a development swimmer when they feel the child is ready to attend swim meets. This is also a good time to review the swim meet section in this handbook.
Little Stingrays is intended for kids 4-6 years of age who love the water! They should be able to propel themselves through the water, float and jump in on their own. The program will run from June to mid-August and the kids will swim 3 times per week with a small group focus to teach the basics of competitive swimming.
Young swimmers: Three important requests from the coaches.
1) Swimmers need to be able to go to the bathroom themselves if the parents are leaving the area. If your child can't get their suits off and on themselves, then the coaches will bring your child to the exit, and parents can go to the LCC or Boys and Girls Club for the swimmers to use the bathroom. (Parents aren't allowed on the deck).
2) It really helps the coaches if the swimmers are able to put their faces in the water. Little Stingrays start in June, so that gives you the month of May to work on this skill.
3) Please be on time to pick up your children or arrange for someone to keep your child until you are able to get there. Talk to your children about staying at the gate until they're picked up. The club is responsible for the children while they're in the water and during activation, but once the scheduled practice time is over, the coaches often have other groups to coach and cannot be responsible for watching the gate as well.
SWIMMING PRACTICE GROUPS
The coaches base their assessment of each swimmer’s ability and age to establish practice groups. There is also consideration paid to whether the swimmer is interested in competing or is mainly focused on developing swimming skills.
Swimmers will enjoy a mix of pool and dryland training throughout May. This allows them to "cross-train" as they work towards improving their conditioning, and helps avoid injury. The dryland practices also give swimmers a chance to socialize while working out.
Pool times vary from May to June to July because we share with other swim clubs and also have to work around Delta Parks and Rec's public swimming schedule. Therefore, the schedules will change from month to month. We will do our best to get the schedules up on the website as soon as possible. Please see "Practice Schedules" on the website.
All practices are at the Ladner Outdoor Pool and are held rain or shine. Outdoor Pool is getting old and sometimes may experience mechanical problems resulting in canceled or shortened practices. Hopefully this doesn't happen much, but we will try to notify people through the website and email if we have a cancellation.
The coaching staff is responsible for practice sessions, and will be on deck before the sessions begin. They will ensure safety of the pool and parents should confirm before leaving their swimmer(s) that the practice is going ahead. Coaches will leave only after all swimmers have finished their sessions. However, coaches often have another group to coach so please be on time or arrange for another parent to keep your child until they can be picked up.
Coaches have the authority to dismiss a swimmer from a practice if, in their opinion, the swimmer is disrupting the practice session or is failing to comply with coaching instructions.
Goggles, towel and bathing suit for every practice - please make sure goggles are properly adjusted. Water bottles are a MUST at every practice.
Swimmers should always bring appropriate clothing and footwear to allow for a dryland/ deck practice if required.
Be on time for practices - coaches will not let you in the water until you have stretched properly.
**IMPORTANT NOTE TO PARENTS**
For insurance reasons, parents are NOT permitted on the pool deck during practice sessions. This is a requirement of the Municipality.
Communications between all club members needs to be positive, proactive and respectful at all times. This includes casual conversation, whether it be in the team tent or vicinity, or during scheduled meetings. If swimmers and/or parents have a question or concern, their first line of communication should be with the individual who appears most able to deal with their question/concern , usually the coach. If the problem is not easily resolved or the individual would like some assistance/advice, the next step is to go to the Executive. If the problem continues, then a mediator will be brought in.
Information during the season is communicated in a variety of ways. Your input is very valuable and much appreciated - please pass along your comments to any member of the Executive.
The website http://ladnerstingrays.com will be updated regularly with important information and news. Take a look around and bookmark it so you can check it often.
The family mailboxes (file folders in boxes) will be at each of the practices and are used for relaying information and printed handouts. There is a folder for each family and the coaches.
>>>>Please check for "mail" at every practice.<<<<
MEET BINDER: sign up sheets for swim meets are in the Meet Binder, which is in the Mail Boxes. Only parents can sign up for meets their children will attend.
In the past we have found that this is one of the most effective ways of communicating with our families. Notices on special events and practices will be distributed by email as well as posted on our website.
Regular newsletters from our Head Coach and others will be distributed by email.
Swim meet information, along with other "News" will be posted on the bulletin boards. Please check on them every couple of days as information changes regularly.
The swim meet sign-up sheets for parents to volunteer as timers/officials will be posted on the bulletin board.
The club will be continuing a "Buddy Family" system this year to assist families new to the club in feeling more comfortable with all the goings-on. We can match "experienced" families with new ones so they have a person to call for answers to all their "what is...?" questions - please ask them - we all had them when we started! If you want to have a buddy family, please let us know so we can find one for you.
Coaches are happy to discuss your child's progress with you at any time during the season. If you would like a conference, please leave a note for the coach in the mailbox or e-mail the coach and a time will be arranged. We ask that you do not attempt these discussions during practice sessions, as the coaches’ primary responsibility while on deck is the safety of the swimmers in the water.
The Club attends weekend swim meets starting the first weekend in June and continuing until mid-August. The Meet Schedule is on the website and is updated as we get more information throughout the summer.
Meets usually begin around 8:00 a.m. with warm-ups starting as early as 6:30 a.m. Meets are held rain or shine, so families should be prepared for all kinds of weather. It is important to bring sufficient warm clothing, rain gear and sun protection.
Each swimmer should bring the following to a meet:
- warm sweatsuit, jacket and rain gear
- swimsuit(s), goggles - more than one pair is a good idea, and club swim cap
- several towels - they don't dry if it is rainy
- sleeping bag or blanket
- lunch, or money to buy one
- playing cards, books, games, etc...
- sunscreen, t-shirt and hat
- water, water, water
Parents are also advised to bring hats and sunscreen. Lawn chairs and umbrellas are also a good idea as bleacher seating is limited at most pools.
Attendance at Meets
Sign-up sheets will be in the MEET BINDER prior to the swim meet. Parents ONLY are to initial the meets they will be attending. It is written on the sheet regarding the deadline for sign-up. Please make sure you clearly indicate:
- will you be attending?
- will you be there BOTH days? If not, which day?
- will your swimmer(s) be available for relays on all days attending?
Meet fees are usually $6-7 per event. The Regular Program includes meet fees for all the meets. The Cross-Training Program includes development meets, Super 7, Regionals and Provincials if they qualify. All other meet fees will be charged to the swimmer. Swimmers who are unable to attend a meet after signing up, must notify the Head Coach ASAP. Swimmers who don't show up at a meet after they've registered will be billed for the entry fees forfeited. If a swimmer scratches from a relay causing the team to be scratched, the swimmer who originally scratched will be billed for the relay entry fee.
Responsibilities at Swim Meets
Parents are responsible for their children at a swim meet. If parents are unable to attend, an alternate parent must be contacted to look after their child.
Transportation is also the responsibility of the individual swimmer - check with other families if you need a ride.
Parents are responsible for monitoring the team tent - please ensure your children are aware of this and respect direction given from other club parents.
Coaching staff has the authority to maintain proper discipline at a meet.
During a swim meet, swimmers are not permitted to loiter at the coaches' table.
Swimmers are required to see their coach when they arrive at the swim meet, before each event and after each event
Parent Participation at Swim Meets
Without the help of parents swim meets simply could not take place.
At each swim meet every club is required to supply officials to keep the meet running smoothly. The club is usually responsible for manning at least one lane throughout the meet with timers and recorders. We are also required to supply place judges, stroke and turn judges, and other officials we have available.
There will be a sign-up sheet for timers, recorders and officials at the pool the week before each meet - everyone's participation is required. If all parents do a couple of hours each day then a few parents aren't working all morning or afternoon.
The Club will be arranging an officials clinic for those parents interested in working as on-deck officials - watch the bulletin board for more information. It is imperative that we train as many parents as possible as Fraser South is desperately short of qualified senior officials.
Relays are the team part of competitive swimming and are often the most exciting races at swim meets. Please read the following policy on relays and ask the coaches if you have any questions:
- When you sign up for a meet you are committed to relays unless coaches are notified prior to the deadline that you won’t be available.
- No parents are to be in the marshalling area, as this adds to confusion and distraction. A coach will supervise swimmers who are 6 and under and Div. 1 relays in the marshalling area.
- At swim meets during the season, if there are four swimmers available in one division they will be entered in the relay before moving any swimmers up from lower divisions. (See #7 re Regional Championships)
- You must check with the coaches by 11:00 am to confirm if you are on a relay before you leave the meet (even if the relay event number is not on your event sheet).
- All relay selections and combinations made by the coaches are final.
- Coaches will make every effort to ensure that each swimmer has an opportunity to be on a relay.
- At the Regional Championships the coaching staff will determine the individual team members and the order in which they will swim to maximize team potential and placement.
- The qualifying Regional Team will stand for Provincials unless there are events beyond the Club’s control.
Behaviour in the Team Tent
The tent has been declared a PEANUT FREE ZONE. That means NO PEANUTS, NO PEANUT BUTTER. Remember that there are swimmers of all ages in our club (and tent) and it is important to act appropriately. The tent is a quiet place where swimmers can play quiet games read and rest. NO HORSEPLAY!
All parents with children at the meet are required to assist at swim meets as timers, recorders, place judges, stroke and turn judges, referees, starters etc.
Communication with Coaches
If you are not able to make it to a meet for warm-ups, please let your child's coach know prior to the day of the meet. Make sure your swimmer checks in with their coach as soon as they arrive. If the coach doesn't know you are at the meet, the swimmer may be scratched from their events.
The club requires swimmers to wear the official "Stingrays Cap" for swim meets. Swimmers can wear any suit as long as it complies with BCSSA regulations.
How to Enter a meet
Timeline for entries into meets:
1. Sign up in the meet binder by the deadline, about a week and half before the meet. Meet binder is located in the file folder box. If you're not sure if your child is ready, talk to the coach. (Different times for dev. meets, but about a week before). Only parents can sign. Checkmark whether your child will be there for Sat, Sun, and if available to stay for relays. Relays are a lot of fun, and it's good practice for your child to do relays.
2. Check the "Entry File" when it is sent out to make sure your children are in the correct events on the correct days. This will be emailed out by the Head Coach about a week prior to the meet.
3. Notify Vanessa at firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday night if changes need to be made. If you commit to an event and don't show up, the club still gets charged so you will be billed.
4. Finally, show up at the meet and check the heat sheets. If there's a problem, let the coaches know right away. Relay teams will be posted in the morning. Bring extra towels, clothes, food, and a chair to sit on. Parents will be asked to help for at least one shift, timing or officiating. Sign up sheets will be available at the meet.
Stingray Club Awards
Every year the Ladner Stingrays present awards to deserving swimmers at the end of the season banquet.
Aggregate Awards for each Division
- best 5 meets, not including Regionals or Provincials
- best 4 events per meet (eg. top 4 events counted from Super 7)
- points allocated the same regardless of meet, so 9 points for first place, 7 for second, 6 for third, 5 for fourth, 4 for fifth, 3 for sixth, 2 for seventh, 1 for eighth,
- only A points are used unless there are no A swimmers in that division and then B points will be used to determine that division's aggregate and runner up aggregate winners.
- minimum of 3 meets attended to qualify for awards
Club Aggregate - awarded to the swimmer who has amassed the most points in the club including all divisions, based on the above 9 point system. O-Category swimmers are not eligible for this award. Total points within 5 points at the end of the season is declared a tie and will be presented to both or all swimmers achieving this feat.
Swimmers Choice Award - awarded from a secret ballot of all swimmers in the club. The coaches canvas the swimmers to get their vote on their choice of the swimmer who shows all of the best characteristics of a good Stingray.
Spirit Award - chosen by the coaches of who they feel represents a good Stingray throughout the year and who they feel adds spirit and sportsmanship to the Club.
Most Improved Swimmer - measured by drop in race times over the course of the season.