Swim School General Questions
What are Perpetual Lessons?
With our indoor facility, we can now run perpetual swim lessons. This means that your child is enrolled in a class that meets the same day/time each week. You will be enrolled in lessons until you file a withdrawal notice. We do request an initial commitment of two months of lessons to build a good relationship with your child and begin the learning process.
Find a day and time that has the class you need and register for that class. You will own that day and time until you decide to take a break, move to another day/time, or your student gets promoted
You may join any time. If you join mid-month, your monthly tuition will be prorated.
You will pay for your first month when you register and then through a monthly direct debit which will occur on the first working day of the month.
We require a 30 day notice before your last class. This is so we can put an end date on the class and open up a spot for other children.
Why do you have lessons year round?
In the past, we were limited by our pool’s availability, which was only in the summers. However, we have always had the goal of being able to operate a year round facility because we do believe this is the best method for learning the lifelong skills of swimming. By allowing your child to swim throughout the year, they will continue to progress with their acclimation to the water and/or further their technical abilities. Learning to swim is not like learning to ride a bike…you need to practice consistently to become proficient.
Our year round program will provide a positive environment for your child to learn and grow. When you register for lessons, we hold that spot for you every week. If a change is needed, please let us know and we will do our best to make that happen, based on availability. We do ask that you limit your changes to four times per year.
For children, we recommend once per week lessons. Consistent attendance and repetition in the lessons are crucial for success. Of course children attend more than once per week, but it is not critical for their learning to swim.
How young do you offer lessons?
Waterloo Swimming classes begin for infants 6 months and older. For children 6 months to 3 years of age, these classes are offered as Waterloo Babies classes. A parent or guardian needs to be in the water with the child throughout the lesson. In addition to a fun class, the adult will learn skills and activities that can be used outside the class for further enjoyment in the water.
How frequently should I schedule my child’s lessons?
Each child is different and our program is set up to accommodate individual needs to optimize learning. Please take your child’s comfort level into consideration when making these decisions. If your child is frightened, we recommend scheduling lessons as frequently as possible.
What should I bring to swim class?
We provide most of the equipment required for swimming class, including fins and learning toys. All you need to bring is a swimsuit and towel. If you wish to bring your own goggles, be sure to write your child’s name on them in permanent marker. For those with long hair, we recommend use of a swim cap as it helps to keep their hair from being a distraction during class. Children not potty trained and all children under 3 years of age must wear a snug fitting, reusable swim diaper. Disposable swim diapers are not permitted. If needed, swim diapers are available for sale at the front desk.
What if my child cries or is afraid?
Our instructors are trained to deal with even the most fearful swimmer. We incorporate many toys, songs and games created for anxious swimmers. If you need help getting your child into the pool, our Deck Manager will be there to assist you.
Swimming, like many activities, generates anxiety in some children. This apprehension or fear may be most evident on the first day of lessons. As each week progresses, your child’s anxiety should be less evident. Time, familiarity and consistency offer reassurance to the child.
Should I be visible during my child’s lesson?
We encourage parents to watch their child’s lesson. However there are times where it may be best for a parent to be “out of sight” while the child develops trust with their instructor. Our Deck Manager will work with you if you or the swim instructor believes this to be an issue.
What is a Deck Manager?
A Deck Manager is the staff member who oversees classes on any given shift. They are a wonderful resource if you have questions about your child’s progress, and can serve as a liaison for your child’s instructor. They will talk with you about the various verbal phrases and activities we use in our lessons.
Why don’t you offer Make-Up Lessons?
This was not a decision made lightly, but based upon experience over the past several years. Of primary importance is maintaining the integrity of the classes as they are set up. When a student joins a class for a make up, the rhythm of the original class is disrupted and is not fair to the regularly scheduled students in a class. We want all of our swimmers to receive their lessons at their regularly scheduled class time. We also believe that consistency is important for a child learning to swim.
If you miss a class, you may receive a voucher for your child and a parent to our next Family Swim Night. Just fill out the form online for a voucher and then let us know which Family Swim Night you would like to attend. One pass per child is given per month for students participating in weekly lessons.
If your child has a medical reason for not being able to attend for more than two weeks in a row, please contact us about alternative arrangements.
We understand that family schedules can change throughout the year. If a schedule proves to be difficult for your family, we are happy to help you change your lesson time, as long as there is availability. We will do this up to four times per year.
We do not offer vouchers for missed lessons in the Blitz classes.
What do Waterloo Toddler Classes focus on?
Our main focus in these classes is to support parents in introducing life-saving survival skills as well as building a trust with the instructors and the water. Structure of the class is designed to encourage positive parent-child communication and build safety points for swimmers and parents to grow confidence in and around the pool. Skills are presented using songs and interactive play, and learning is supported through reward and positive reinforcement.
How are Waterloo Toddler classes structured?
Classes are limited to six toddlers and one parent each and pool space is protected to offer optimal space and a calm learning environment for new swimmers. The lessons pool is warmed to 88 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure comfort and relaxation in the water. Like all Waterloo classes, the last five minutes of class are reserved for “reward time” where our swimmers have the chance to choose what they would like to explore in the water. This time to explore their surroundings and have control over activities and toys not only reinforces good listening and active participation, but leads to opportunities for swimmers to discover and manipulate water on their own terms.
What is the Waterloo Toddlers Curriculum?
In our toddler’s class, each week of the month has a different skill focus. We continue to practice and maintain all skill areas during each and every class, however more time is allotted to the skill of the week in order to allow time for mastery. The skill weeks are as follows:
Week One: Kicking, Positioning, and Reaching
Week Two: Breath Control and Submersions
Week Three: Back Floating, Kicking, and Sculling
Week Four: Independent Skills and Parent-Out of Water Practice
** on the occasion that five classes occur within the same month, the focus will be determined by the instructor and new or different activities or songs may be introduced at this time.
We structure toddler classes similarly to our Waterloo group lessons, with some adjustments based on age and learning development.
2 min: Greet parent and child and welcome into the water! Encourage parents to practice safe and independent entries with their child and support child waiting for proper cues from their parent to enter the water. Setting proper boundaries during the lesson can be vital to learning safety precautions: children learn best through habit so we want to create the habit of waiting for an adult’s permission to enter the water.
3 min: Warm up! Toys, balls, and floating objects can be spread around the pool to encourage parents and swimmers to adjust to the water while instructing parents on the proper ways to hold their child in the water to best support their body positioning.
*Group song to bring class together*
10 min: Instructional skill review and maintenance: this time is allotted to practice the skills that are NOT the focus of the week. There is usually enough time for at least two activities (see Waterloo Toddlers Activities for lesson plan ideas)
10 min: Instructional skill focus of the week this time is allotted to practice the skill focus of the week. Each skill focus has many activities and games to help a child build their respective skills. It is important during this time to interact with each participant individually and communicate one-on-one to each parents and child about how they perform the skill. It is also beneficial to educate the group of parents as to why the skill focus is important.
*Group Songs to Close Instructional Period*
5 min: Reward Time! This is a great opportunity for parent and toddler to explore and play through child-led learning. This means not only creating opportunity for games and fun, but supporting parents in looking for ways to support their child’s natural desire to learn. This is also a good opportunity for the instructor to follow up with any questions, or offer added support to parents whose child may be struggling with specific skills.
What do Waterloo Baby Classes focus on?
Our main focus in these classes is to support parents as they lead their baby into the brand new world of swimming using songs, interactive play, and positive reinforcement. We believe the parent-child bond brings the most comfort and trust to baby, and that trust and comfort will be reflected as they learn new skills in a safe and nurturing environment.
How are Waterloo Baby classes structured?
Classes are limited to six babies with one parent in the water, and pool space is protected to offer optimal space and a calm learning environment for new swimmers. The lessons pool is warmed to 88 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure comfort and relaxation in the water. Like all Waterloo classes, the last five minutes of class are reserved for “reward time” where our swimmers have the chance to choose what they would like to explore in the water. Toys and activities are set up for babies and their parent to further explore all the wonderful ways we interact with water.
What is the Waterloo Babies Curriculum?
In our babies’ class, each week of the month has a different skill focus. We continue to practice and maintain all skill areas during each and every class, however more time is allotted to for the skill of the week in order to allow time for mastery. The skill weeks are as follows:
Week One: Entries, Exists, and Water Acclimation
Week Two: Kicking and Reaching
Week Three: Back Float
Week Four: Bubbles and Submersions
** On the occasion that five classes occur within the same month, the focus will be determined by the instructor and new or different activities or songs may be introduced at this time.
We structure babies’ classes similarly to our Waterloo group lessons, with some adjustments based on age and learning development.
2 min: Greet parent and child and welcome into the water! Encourage parents to practice safe entries with their child and support child waiting for proper cues from parent to enter the water. With a young baby who does not walk yet, parent may need assistance entering the water safely with baby.
3 min: Warm Up! Toys, balls, objects can be spread around the pool area as the instructor encourages parents to help baby move through the water and instructs proper ways to support baby in the water.
*Group song to bring class together*
10 min: Instructional skill review and maintenance: this time is allotted to practice the skills that are NOT the focus of the week. There is usually enough time for at least two activities (see Waterloo Babies Activities for ideas).
10 min: Instructional skill focus of the week: this time is allotted to practice the skill focus of the week. Each skill focus has many activities and games to help a child build their respective skills. It is important during this time to interact with each participant individually, and communicate one-on-one to each parent and child about how their perform the skill. It is also beneficial to educate the group of parents why the skill focus is important.
*Group Songs to Close Instructional Period*
5 min: Reward time! This is a great opportunity for parent and baby bonding as well as making new discoveries around the pool and in the water. This is also a good opportunity for the instructor to follow up with any questions, or offer added support to parents whose child may be struggling with specific skills.
A Healthy Swimmer
Should my child eat before a swim lesson?
We do not recommend feeding your child within one hour of the swimming lesson. Children under two years of age should avoid food (especially dairy products) two hours ahead of each lesson.
How are ear infections prevented?
There are two types of ear infections: one is caused by middle ear build-up secondary to Eustachian tube congestion and the other is caused by pool or bath water not drying up in the outer ear canal – also called “Swimmers’ Ear”. To prevent the latter, parents can blow dry the ears or use alcohol & boric acid drops available at the school or local pharmacy. Swimming does not cause the middle ear infections. Children with ventilation tubes in their ears can still swim, but should wear ear plugs, a tight fitting cap, and should not swim deeper than a foot below the surface of the water. Always consult your physician if your child is experiencing discomfort or pain.
What if my child is sick?
If a child is too sick to participate, please stay home and get well. If your child is enrolled in weekly classes, we will provide you with a voucher to a Family Swim Night for your child and a parent.
Do you guarantee instructors?
Due to the dynamics of class participation and instructor scheduling, Waterloo Swimming does not guarantee that a specific instructor will teach a specific class or student. All of our swim instructors are versatile and teach at multiple levels of swim development.
I already know I will be missing some classes. Can I just be charged for the classes I will attend?
We do not prorate for missed lessons. We will offer one voucher per month to a Family Swim Night for missed lessons.
Competitive Swimming Questions
I have to register in two systems for USA Swimming?
We have two registration systems. One (Jack Rabbit) is our billing system so that you do not have two invoices being sent from Waterloo each month. The second (Team Unify) is for running our attendance and swim meet management. We will enter your swimmer into Team Unify and notify you if we need more information.
You will also need to register with USA Swimming to be eligible for practices and swim meets. This is for insurance reasons.
What is Waterloo’s attendance policy?
Waterloo is taking attendance for all competitive groups. We do not offer make-ups or refunds for missed practices. Attendance is taken for all swimmers to track how many times that swimmers is coming to practice and when. In addition, school districts require Waterloo to take attendance for Off Campus PE Credit.
Senior Group Attendance: In addition to the Senior group being an invite only group and swim/kick set requirements, there is a 75% attendance policy.
Swim Meet Sign-Up Attendance: Waterloo’s policy for swimmers to sign up for a swim meet is that they must attend 75% of the previous month’s practice offerings. Why 75% attendance? Because we want to see your swimmer have the best opportunity to improve his/her times at the meet. Why would you want to pay swim meet fees to go slow?
Is swimming too competitive for my swimmer?
Waterloo Swimming’s goal is to develop a strong competitive team. However, we also encourage the USA Swimming focus on making swimming a fun and inspiring sport. One advantage of competitive swimming over other sports is that swimmers compete not only within their age group, but also within their skill level, as races are seeded by their best times.
Is there any time off from practice in year-round swimming?
The seasons generally run as follows:
Short Course – First week of September through TAGS/Sectionals in March, usually 26 weeks.
Long Course – First week of April through TAGS/ Nationals in late July/August.
We usually take off a week in August as the kids start school. The December/January Holiday weeks are known as Hell Week…and we are training hard through that time.
What is the difference between Long Course (LC) and Short Course (SC)?
The swim year is considered to begin in September with the short course season. The meets during the SC season are in 25 yard pools (the width of our Pool). Some meets offer 25 yard events for the 8 and under group. The SC season culminates with STAGS (South Texas Age Group Championships) and TAGS (Texas Age Group Champs) in February/March.
The long course season generally begins in late March or April. The meets during the LC season are usually in 50 meter (Olympic size) pools (the length of our Pool). The shortest races in a LC meet are 50m, or one length. The LC season culminates with the STAGS/TAGS in late July/August.
How often should my swimmer practice?
Each Waterloo Swimming training level requires a specific level of commitment, which increases commensurate with skill level. Each training level description (found on the Program page of the website) contains practice schedule. The good news is that there is little increased risk of injury with additional swimming as there is in other sports because of the lack of impact or contact in the sport of swimming.
Attendance + Effort = Success
What ability level is required for my swimmer to join the Waterloo Swimming team?
Waterloo Swimming offers programs from Beginner Age Group (has some swim lesson experience) through National level swimmers. The ages generally range from 5 to 18 years old, with some collegiate swimmers returning over school breaks. See Programs page for more details.
What is USA Swimming registration for?
Each member of the Waterloo Swimming competitive swim team must be registered with USA Swimming. Membership includes the mandatory insurance coverage for practices and meets. Each swimmer will receive a membership card from USA Swimming with a membership number. This number is a combination of the swimmers’ birthdate and name. Swimmers may bring this card to each meet in case there is ever a question regarding membership. Swimmers may also find their membership information on USA Swimming “Deck Pass” on usaswimming.org.
How does my swimmer move up in groups?
The move-up criteria is provided on the Programs section of the website. However, the final decision is at the coaches’ discretion and based on maturity and dedication in addition to physical skills. There is no guarantee of moving up due to passing the training group prerequisites.
Are parents not allowed on deck during practice or meets?
Yes…and No. The insurance provided through USA Swimming does NOT cover parents or siblings on the pool deck. In addition, extra people on deck can be a distraction to the swimmers, the coaches, and the meet officials. Parents are welcome to view practice from the viewing room at our Pool. If you want to speak to a coach regarding your swimmer’s progress, please schedule time with that coach.
How can I be a good swim parent?
Providing support for your swimmer is critical. Ensuring consistent attendance at practices and meets, assisting your swimmer with a proper diet and rest, and helping your swimmer understand that swimming, like most other things in life, is an ongoing learning experience, both physically and mentally. Leave the coaching to the coaches, and provide unconditional support to your swimmer.
In addition, active participation with Waterloo Swimming through volunteer and social activities will help us create a positive team environment, making the team an outstanding experience for all swimmers.
Swim Meet Questions
What is South Texas Swimming?
Waterloo Swimming is a member of South Texas Swimming (www.stswim.org). ST Swimming is a regional governing body and part of USA Swimming (www.usaswimming.org), the governing body of all competitive swimming in the United States, including the United States Olympic Team. In general, we compete against other teams within the South Texas Swimming LSC, which covers Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Austin, Belton and Temple. Elite swimmers, especially those in the Gold & Senior group will occasionally travel for bigger competitions.
How often should my child compete?
Waterloo Swimming competes year-round and averages one to two meets per month. It is important that each swimmer attends the swim meets so that coaches can assess the swimmers’ progress. However, swim meets are not mandatory.
What are the different types of meets?
The most common types of meets are:
Open Qualification Meets: Swimmers of all levels are invited to participate in these meets.
B Times: Only swimmers with B times or faster may compete in these meets. Swimmers with slower times or who have not previously competed in an event (NT – no time) may not participate in these meets.
Custom Qualification Meets: Swimmers must meet custom time standards to be eligible for these in season and end-of-season Championship meets.
STAGS Championships: This South Texas Championship meet is held at the end of each competitive season. All Waterloo Swimmers with A qualification times will compete in this meet.
TAGS Championships: The Texas Age Group Championship, usually referred to as TAGS, is held at the end of each competitive season. Swimmers are required to achieve TAGS time standards to be eligible for this meet.
Elite Championship Meets: Swimmers may qualify and compete in any number of elite championship meets. These may include Sectional Championships, Zones and National Championship meets.
How do I register my child for a swim meet?
You will receive an email asking you to declare your attendance at the swim meet. Please follow the directions on the email and webpage to enter the meet.
It is ok to attend partial of the swim meet. Waterloo understands families have other obligations and might not be able to attend the whole swim meet. Just sign up for the days you can attend.
I saw somebody changed the events I signed my swimmer up for at the meet?
Coaches will review each swimmers events prior to turning in the entries to the swim meet host club. If a coach changes an event, the coach will reach out to the swimmer to explain why.
Will my swimmer be competing against swimmers at his or her own level?
Yes! When a swimmer enters an event for the first time, he or she will be entered with a custom time set by his or her coach. Each meet is seeded by best times. Swimmers will compete in heats with swimmers of approximately the same time. For some meets, including championship meets, awards will be given for each level of swimmer.
How does a South Texas Swimming meet work?
Most swim meets are extremely organized events and run very smoothly. Upon arrival at a swim meet, the swimmers need to check in with their coach. It is required that swimmers check in 30 minutes prior to warm-up or at the times designated by their group coach. Otherwise, they may be scratched from the meet altogether. The team will generally sit together in one area. After check-in, the team will warm-up and swimmers will be given their event and heat entries (for younger swimmers- these are can be written on their arm!). Once the meet starts, the swimmers must pay attention to the event and heat announcements (or scoreboard) and be prepared to line up at least five heats before their own. Swimmers will check in with their coach both before and after the race.
What are the parents’ responsibilities at the swim meets?
In addition to supporting your swimmer and the Waterloo team, parents are needed to assist the hosting team with timing throughout the meet. The volunteer coordinator will organize sign-ups for each meet so that timing jobs will be spread out evenly between parents.
What should my swimmer wear?
Waterloo Swimming requires that all meet participants wear the team suit and swim cap at meets. In addition, swimmers will be expected to wear Waterloo Swimming warm-ups and t-shirts to display team unity and spirit!
How do the swimmers know their heat and lane assignments?
Upon arrival and check-in, the meet director will produce heat sheets for each event and provide this information to the coaches. For younger swimmers, the coaches will assist the swimmers in writing the event, heat and lane assignment on their arm. About 5 heats prior to a swimmers’ race, the swimmer should check in with the coach and line up to race.
What happens after a race?
Swimmers should check in with the coach to receive feedback on the performance. Then, he or she will usually rejoin the team and cheer on their teammates! Older swimmers should immediately warm down in the designated lanes or separate pool, before meeting with the coaches. Afterwards there is often sufficient time between scheduled events to have a quick snack or a break.
Is there food available at the meet?
Generally, the host team provides an extensive snack bar and sometimes breakfast and lunch meals. Swimmers should eat healthy at all times, and especially at swim meets. Do not purchase junk food for your swimmers at meets. Swimmers may and should also bring water and healthy snacks to maintain energy throughout the meet.
What is a DQ?
A DQ means the swimmer was disqualified from the race and will not receive an official time for the race. Each meet is staffed by well-trained officials who are responsible for paying careful attention to every detail of the swim, from start to finish. There are a number of infractions that can result in a DQ, including a false start, incorrect stroke or kick, or illegal finish. In the event of a DQ, the official will speak with the swimmer and/or the coach immediately after the race to explain the infraction. Though a DQ can be upsetting to the swimmer, most swimmers experience them and they should be considered as an educational experience.
How long are swim meets?
Most swim meets are two-day events, however we may also swim in one day meets, or 3-4 day championship meets. In these meets each day will be divided into two or three sessions by age group. Usually, if your swimmer is in the first session on one day, he or she will also be in the first session on following. The exact scheduling of age groups can be found in the Meet Announcement, and is available on our website in the Meets page.