Welcome to the 2022 Cool Sharks Fall Swim Team!


Please read the entire email below for important information about our fall swim team (there is a lot).

COACHES - Our Fall Team is led by Head Coach Mike and Assistant Head Coach Rebekah (see their bios here: https://coolsharks.swimtopia.com/coaches), and they will be joined by several of our junior coaches from Summer Team.

WEBSITE - If you haven't had the chance, please take a good look around our website (https://coolsharks.swimtopia.com/). This is where you will go for general information about the team. Please do not rely on the app for information - very little actual info is posted there and often without critical details. There is a lot of important information under the Fall Team tab, including schedules and FAQs. Many of the questions we get during the season (and we get a lot!) have answers which can be found on the website - please take a few minutes to search for answers there before emailing us.

APP - Be sure you have downloaded the SwimTopia app! The app is great for receiving notifications of team alerts (practice cancellations, weather-related issues, etc. - be sure you have notifications enabled). You can also view your swimmers' times and keep track of meet and job signups.

PRACTICES - Practices will start Monday Aug 1st. We do not have practice Labor Day Weekend (no practice Sat 9/3 or Mon 9/5). Practice schedules are on the website at https://coolsharks.swimtopia.com/practice-schedule-fall. Swimmers may attend as many or as few practices as they would like. There are no sign ups just come when you can.

All swimmers must attend practice with their assigned age group. We cannot honor requests for siblings or friends to swim together. Also keeping the age groups together is good for the team - think of each age group as a team within a team. The age groups compete together at meets so it is important for the coaches to see them together to decide who should swim which events or be on which relays. And it is important for the kids to get to know each other as teammates. Advanced swimmers should not "swim up" and struggling swimmers should not "swim down" - instead the coaches will work to provide them with an appropriate workout within their age group. 

8&under swimmers compete together as one age group in the Fall League. So we will be doing combined practices for these ages divided by ability rather than by age. The Beginner practice will be focused on children who are new to swim team or who are still working toward proficiency in freestyle and backstroke (all 5 year olds should practice with this group). Swimmers in the Beginner group may also be introduced to butterfly and breaststroke as they are ready. The Advanced practice is ideal for returning swimmers who are already proficient in 2 or more strokes, and will focus on breaststroke and butterfly and turns, preparing swimmers to compete in these strokes as well as the 100 IM and 50 freestyle. Your swimmer should attend whichever practice they feel most comfortable in, and the coaches will let you know if they feel your swimmer would be better served in the other group.

As a reminder, parents will not be allowed inside the pool during practice while the pool is closed - you will drop your child off at the entrance and pick them up at the gate to the field. While the pool is open, non-member parents and siblings must go through the admissions window and pay the $5 entrance fee if they wish to enter the pool during public hours (before 6pm), and only pool members will be allowed inside during members-only hours (after 6pm). Parents are always welcome to observe practice from outside the fence (bring camp chairs!). 
Please do not try to speak with your swimmer or the coaches during practice. It is very important that the coaches are able to focus on the swimmers (and the swimmers on the coaches) without distractions. If you have something you would like to discuss with the coach, please email [email protected] to contact Coach Mike.

NEW SWIMMER EVALUATIONS - New swimmers will be evaluated during the first week of practice. All swimmers must be able to swim 25 yards independently across the deep end (without stopping or needing assistance) to participate on the team, and the coaches will also be looking for other signs of readiness like putting faces in the water, having good listening skills, etc. Any swimmer who the coaches feel is not yet ready will be withdrawn from the team and have their registrations cancelled and refunded.
MEET - We are once again hosting the End-of-Season Fall Meet at Garden Hills on Sat Sept 10th at 9:00am. This will be a large invitational meet with all the other Fall League teams. Information is posted on the Meet/Event Calendar (https://coolsharks.swimtopia.com/swim_meets) and details can also be found in our Fall Team FAQs. 
This meet is open to ALL swimmers, and we would love to have everyone attend! Remember that meet attendance is an expectation for our team - the Cool Sharks are a competitive swim team not a lesson program - and while not required, attendance at the Fall Meet is expected for all swimmers who are in town and don't have a major conflict with another activity. All Cool Sharks families will also be expected to volunteer at this meet - this will be a great opportunity to learn some of the jobs available at our regular summer meets. Meet sign-ups will be posted some time in mid August.
SWIMSUITS & EQUIPMENT - It is recommended but not necessary to buy a team suit for Fall Team (any solid black or blue/black competition suit is fine for the meet, and any suit can be worn for practice). We will have a swimsuit fitting August 1st 5:00-7:00pm at the pool. You may try on and purchase swimsuits and goggles in person and take them home with you. Online ordering is also available for swimsuits, goggles, and other accessories (https://reddiset.com/collections/garden-hills-cool-sharks) and will be shipped directly to your home. 

No swim shirts please! These really slow your child down and make it difficult to learn to swim properly. 
Swimmers should wear their Garden Hills swim caps for meets (swim caps will be provided for new swimmers at the meet or can be picked up at the swimsuit fitting on Aug 1st). Caps are optional for practice but long hair should be tied back and out of your swimmer's face (be sure to have extra hair ties in your bag).

A good pair of goggles is a MUST for both practice and meets. No snorkel masks or play goggles from Target please. Nothing is more discouraging for a young swimmer than a poorly-fitted leaky pair of goggles. TYR Swimple and Speedo Hydrospex are good brands for young swimmers. Older swimmers need competition goggles such as Speedo Vanquisher, TYR Blackhawk or Blackops, Arena Tracks, Nike Vapor or Legacy, or similar. Goggles can be found locally at Dick's Sporting Goods (the Lenox store has a great selection), online at Amazon or SwimOutlet, or purchased online through our team swimsuit vendor (see below).

TEAM T-SHIRTS - If you ordered a team t-shirt during registration, they will be available for pickup during the swimsuit fitting Aug 1st from 5:00-7:00pm. If you cannot pick it up then, we will put it in your swimmer's folder (at the top of the stairs in the pool house)
WEATHER POLICY - We will swim in the rain! Unless there is lightning or thunder, practice will go on as scheduled. If practice is cancelled, you will receive a notification from SwimTopia (be sure you have notifications enabled in your SwimTopia app or you will only receive an email). There will be no make-up. Please see https://coolsharks.swimtopia.com/weather-policy for our full weather policy.

REFUNDS - Swimmers who do not pass their evaluations during the first week of practice will receive a full refund. Partial refunds of $100 are available through the first week of practice (Aug 6). Partial refunds of $50 are available until Aug 15. ASA registration fees are refundable until Aug 15. No refunds will be given after Aug 15.

As always, please email [email protected] if you have any questions. We look forward to a great season! See you at practice!

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