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    Team Handbook

    General Information

    The Salem Fields Sunfish

    We are a parent-run (Rappahannock Swim League “RSL” neighborhood swim team. We are one of 25 area summer swim teams.The RSL is divided into 4 divisions: Battlefield, Patriot, American, and National .Our team is part of the National Division, which consists of 4 teams: Salem Fields, Hopyard Farms, Chancellor and Caroline. There are only 6 meets for the whole season. Three (3) of these meets will be HOME meets here at the Salem Fields pool.

    There will be no Championship Meet for the 2021 season.

    The summer swim team runs from June 1st to July 27th 2021.  Practices will run Monday through Friday with meets typically on Wednesday nights at 6 p.m.

    Head Coach:  Patrick Bogue

    Assistant Coach: David Hinegardner

    Junior Coach: Peyton Parker


    Parents are asked to register their swimmer online. Registration will open Friday April 23, 2021

    You may pay by credit card online. (small processing fee will be added to the total)

    If you need to pay by check please contact the board to make arrangements.


    Pricing for the two different registrations.

    Competition swimmers fees: Each swimmer $100 for swimmers 1 and 2. $90 each for swimmers 3-4, $80 each for swimmers 5 and up. $35 activity fee per family)

    Noncompetitive swimmer fees: Each swimmer $90 for swimmers 1-2, $80 for swimmers 3-4 and $70 for swimmers 5 and up. $35 activity per family.

    Regular registration begins April 7.

    Registration goes up to $125.00 per child on May 3rd so register early!!

    Dues will not be reimbursed after Wednesday, June 11, 2021

    Concessions/Activity Fee

    There will be a mandatory $35.00 activity fee per family. Payment is due at the time of registration. 

    Team swimsuit

    The team suit is Sporty Molecule.  Swimmers may wear a suit with black, red and white in the design, or a plain black suit. There are many web sites to order suits if you choose, such as:,,

    Team Swim caps

    ALL Salem Fields Sunfish swimmers should wear a team swim cap. We will be selling these again this season for $15.  No swimmers are to wear other team caps or colored caps during a swim meet.  If you do not have a team cap you may wear a plain silver or black cap.

    Supervision of Swimmers

    Supervision will be provided only to those swimmers participating in the practice during assigned practice times. No siblings or friends are allowed in the water including the baby pool during practices or meets.  During swim meets coaches are watching the swimmers in the pool.  During the 2021 season, because of Covid restrictions, only swimmers, volunteers and officials will be allowed on the pool deck.  


    Practices are divided in groups according to age. Please have your child attend his/her age group practice.  Swimming is a water sport that requires being in the water to improve. Technique and endurance will be emphasized during practice times. Coaches encourage swimmers to attend practice every day. However, if the swimmer needs to miss they are asked to attend practice the morning of a swim meet. 

    Swim meets

    Swim meets are held once a week for a total of 6 meets, and 1 Championship meet. Meets usually start at 6 pm. The first warm-ups, usually for the HOME team, are about an hour before the meet starts-so please arrive by 4:30 pm and be ready to warm up by 4:45 pm for HOME meets. However-we can always use help setting up. Board members are setting up as early as 4 pm. (Please help if you can). For AWAY meets please arrive by 5 pm at the pool parking lot. Typically the team caravans together to the away pool. Meets are a fun time for swimmers to race, win ribbons, and show what they have learned. Parents enjoy seeing their swimmers and socializing with neighbors. These are scored meets, and the Salem Fields Swim Team works hard each day for just these few meets, please try to attend each meet so your swimmer's points will count towards the team’s total.

    If you will be on vacation or unable to attend a meet, please notify coaches in advance by text or e-mail as well as declaring it on the swimtopia website. It is very frustrating to plan a meet only to discover at the last minute that a certain swimmer is not there.

    Meet Schedule

    June 16- Salem Fields at Hopyard Farms

    June 23- Chancellor at Salem Fields 

    June 30- Salem Fields at Caroline

    July 14 -Hopyard Farms at Salem Fields

    July 21-  Caroline at Salem Fields

    July 22- Chancellor at Salem Fields

    Rain Dates

    If a swim meet is cancelled the make-up meet will usually be held at the same pool, at the same time the next day. This decision is made by the RSL Representative of both teams in the best interest of the swimmers.

    Cancellation of Swim Practice and Swim meets

    Swim practice will not be cancelled due to rain. Please come to the pool unless you are notified of a cancellation. However, practice and swim meets will be delayed by 30 minutes after each incidence of thunder and lightning. Practice may be cancelled at the coach’s discretion if there is not sufficient time remaining after a thunder break to have a good workout .In order to receive cancellation messages please register at Swim meets are held in the evening, and as we all know weather can be very unpredictable in the summer. As soon as the RSL representative hears of a cancellation, the information will be sent out by email if possible as well as on  If weather creeps up during a meet, the officials do everything they can to get the meet in at the scheduled time. It is very hard to reschedule during the short summer season. If you are told to wait in your car during a swim meet for safety precautions  all swimmers and their family members MUST move quickly to their cars for shelter. Please do not linger in the parking lot. DO NOT leave until a coach or board member has told you to go.


    The majority of communication is done through our website and email. Please check your e-mail regularly. A weekly e-mail will be sent to remind you about the meet(s) for the week with directions to the pool(s) as well as any reminders from the coaches. Coaches will also send out an e-mail with events for each child by Wednesday morning.

    Coaches Conferences

    If you would like to speak to one of the coaches concerning a swimming matter, please contact them before or after practice. Please refrain from talking with the coaches during practice since they should have their eyes and attention on the swimmers.

    If a swimmer is going to miss practice and/or a meet you must notify a coach by-mail or text. This information can be found on the General Information page of the handbook.

    Rappahannock Swim League Information

    General information and directions can be found on the RSL website:


    We understand that not all swimmers are able to swim every swim meet due to vacations,etc. However, advance notice is crucial, especially for planning relays- which often determines whether we WIN or LOSE a meet or how we place in Finals!

    • If your child gets sick before a meet: Please text or email a coach ASAP.
    • If you are going to miss a meet or Championships, e-mail or text a coach, and declare your child's attendance on …..or feel free to do all three!!!


    We raise money for our team through spirit wear, concessions, ice-cream sales, spirit night at various rest and donut Fridays. 

    Parent Volunteers

    Our swim team is a parent run team. We will have 3 HOME meets. These meets require the help of every family. Whether you have experience or not with swimming, you MUST sign up for one of the jobs listed below. Parents are required to work at least ½ of each meet. The number in the brackets represents the number of volunteers needed per position. The * represents positions with training required. All parents with at least one year on the team need to attend a training session as well.



    Stroke&Turn *(4)

    Clerk Of course *(6)

    Head Timer * (2)

    LaneTimers (18)

    Scorer/Computerops *(6)





    Safety Marshall (2)

    Setup/Clean up (12)



    Training will take place at various pools for a few hours and is free. All parents with at least one year on the team need to attend a training session. During the summer months families are on vacation and missing meets. We will need to have officials at every HOME meet. Please see the schedule below!

    Official’s Clinic Times: (Referee, Stroke and Turn Judge, Starter, Clerk of Course, Head Timer, Head Scorer)

    Training dates and locations 


    It takes all parents volunteering to run a swim meet!

    Meet Volunteer Job descriptions:

    Announcer: calls events/swimmers to the Clerk of course via microphone (HOME meets only)

    Clerk of Course*: Organizes swimmers by event/heat/lane in ready area, then escorts each heat of swimmers from the Clerk of Course to the starting blocks. Also signals to the head timer/referee when each heat is ready to start and works with Runners to keep the meet moving.

    Set up/Cleanup: Comes before and stays after meets and puts all equipment away. The more who help, the faster this gets done.

    Computer Ops*: Complies event/meet results in Meet Manager. See Scorer.

    Concessions/Snack Bar: Many are needed to work concessions-setup, preparing, buying and selling food and beverages; and cleanup afterwards (HOME meets only)

    Head Timer*: Organizes timers for swim meet shifts; hold Timer meeting prior to meet (HOME meets only)

    Lane Timers: Uses stopwatch to record each swimmer’s time as accurately as possible.Our stopwatches have two buttons, a start/stop button and a reset button. We use 9 timers per ½, meets cannot be run without Timers (these are the best seats in the house! )

    Referee*: Instructs Stroke & Turn Judges before meet begins; makes any decision regarding disputes during the meet. Must know RSL Rules and Regulations and USA rules (HOME meets only)

    Ribbons/Awards clerk: Ribbons are awarded at each dual meet; medals and ribbons are awarded at Championships. The Awards clerk puts result labels on the back of ribbons/medals.

    Runners: the 2 runners collect Stroke & Turn Judge DQ slips, timer sheets and scratches from Clerk of Course after each heat and deliver them to Scoring, Runners move back and forth behind the starting blocks during the meet (HOME meet only-wear sneakers)

    Safety Marshal: The safety marshal walks around the pool deck and bathrooms, etc. To be sure that there are not hazards.

    Scorer*: the computer ops-to check and log scores and be responsible for all aspects of scoring at meets.

    Circler-checks event cards for average time on cards

    Checker: rechecks computer sheet for accuracy

    Set up/clean up: Very important-We cannot begin the meet until all necessary meet equipment is set up. Need to arrive by 4:40 (HOME meets only)

    Starters*: The starter instructs the swimmers and directs them to “take your mark” and starts each race with an electronic starter. The starter controls the pace of the meet. (HOME meets only)

    Stroke & Turn *: All stroke & Turn judges must be certified. The Stroke & Turn Judge watches the swimmers’ legality for the event being swum. If the Stroke &Turn judge finds that the swimmer’s stroke is not legal, he/she disqualifies(DQs) the swimmer.

    Salem Fields 2021 Practice Schedule


    MORNING PRACTICE – BEGINS Tuesday May 28th.

    7-10 year olds: 7:45-8:45

    11-18 year olds: 8:45-9:45 am

    6 and under: 9:45-10:15 am

    Practice the day after a meet: (A.K.A……Fun Day!!!!)

    6 and under: 9-9:45 am

    7-12’s: 8:45-9:45 am

    13-18’s: 9:30-10:30 am



    Practice Rules

    Be at practice on time.

    Make sure you have goggles that fit properly, and a towel.

    You must come to the pool regardless of the weather, unless otherwise informed.

    Always have a way home when practice is finished.

    Junior Helper Opportunity

    If you are interested in being a junior helper throughout the season, please see the coaches for an application or find under the coaches tab on the swimtopia website.  

    Stroke Clinics

    Coaches will be conducting a few Stroke Clinics throughout the summer. These are on an as needed basis for individual swimmers. The coaches will let parents know if they would like your child to attend.

    Swim Meet 101:

    1.The coaches will pick your child's events. Coaches have a plan for the season and make entries based on the goals they have for your swimmers. All swimmers need to have a time for each event in order to swim it in the championship meet

    2.  Relays are a blast for the kids. Coaches will pick the swimmers who get put on relays. If you know you have time constraint sand probably cannot stay for relays, please tell a coach ahead of time.

    3.  Coaches will tell the swimmers their events the day of the meet.

    4.  Swimmers should be well rested before the meet, try to stay out of the sun on meet days.

    5.  Arrive at the pool on time, sit with our team.

    6.  Swimmers should not be running around the pool deck, save your energy for swimming, and we don’t want anyone to fall and get hurt.

    7.  Report to the Clerk of the Course on time.

    8.  Each swimmer should have a swim bag.

    9.  Label everything your child brings with them with their name and the team's name.

    10.  If your child has asthma, make sure they have their inhaler. Make sure the coach knows they have asthma and where they keep their inhaler.

    11.  They should carry an extra pair of goggles,strap, cap and swim suit in their bag, if they should break and you need one fast.

    12.  Bring water and drink it. (no glass containers are allowed)

    13.  Bring healthy snacks and eat them.

    14.  Bring a sweat suit or warm-up suit for whenyou are not swimming. Cold muscles do not perform as well. Cotton, when it gets wet, stays wet forever. Summer evenings can get cold.

    15.  Bring flip-flops for the pool deck and showers. Swimmers need to protect their feet.

    16.  Pack alcohol ear drops and use them after each and every practice and your events at meets. (Do not leave your swim cap on all day. Your ears will not dry out and you will end up with swimmer's ear.)

    17.  Pack dry clothes for wearing home or going out to eat in large plastic bags so they stay dry.

    18.  Concessions are available at Home and Away meets.

    19.  Something to keep them entertained. Make sure it is not something they will be too upset about if they lose it. If they bring electronics, remind them to put it away when they leave so someone will not walk on it or away with it.

    20.   Cheer on your teammates

    Meet Etiquette:

    1.  Often there is an area where you can set up chairs or blankets outside of the pool area. You must bring your own. Do not bring items that you would be upset about if they go missing or if someone else walks on them. Clean up trash around your area.

    2. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed by RSL Swimming rules.

    3. Meets are opportunities to measure how your swimmer is doing in their training at that moment. Almost everyone occasionally has a bad swim or meet. If your child is DQ'd (disqualified), it is not the end of the world it should be a learning experience. Almost every swimmer has been disqualified at least once. As a parent you must ensure that your child has a positive experience even if they do not swim well. Remember that our children learn values and sportsmanship from us.

    4. No recreational swimming during meets. Keep children away from baby pool.

    5. No swimmers should be in playground or basketball courts during a swim meet.


    Announcer - The person who announces meet information over the public address system at a meet, a parent volunteer.

    Backstroke-One of the four competitive racing strokes characterized by swimming on the back (except the last stroke into the turns).  Backstroke (or Back) is swum as the first stroke in the Medley Relay and second stroke in the Individual Medley.

    Backstroke Flags -Pennants that are suspended over the width of each end of the pool approximately five yards/meters from the wall that notify backstroke swimmers that they are approaching the end of the pool, similar to a warning track in baseball.  The accomplished Backstroker will know how many strokes it takes to get from the flags to the beginning of their turn or the wall to finish.

    Backstroke Start- In Backstroke and Medley Relay events, swimmers start the race in the pool, facing the start end, with both hands in contact with the end of the pool or the start block and both feet on the wall with toes below the water surface.

    Blocks-The starting platforms located behind each lane. Blocks have a variety of designs and can be permanent or removable.  They also incorporate a bar to allow swimmers to perform Backstroke starts.

    Breaststroke-One of the four competitive racing strokes characterized by the distinctive frog-like kick and undulating motion.  The oldest of the four competitive strokes, it is performed in a front prone position with simultaneous and symmetrical leg kick and pull.  Breaststroke (or Breast) is swum as the second stroke in the Medley Relay and the third stroke in the Individual Medley.

    Butterfly- One of the four competitive racing strokes characterized by the dolphin kick and over the water recovery of the arms.  The newest of the four competitive strokes (an outgrowth from the breaststroke in 1956), it is performed in a front prone position with simultaneous up and down leg kick and simultaneous and symmetrical arms stroke. Butterfly (or Fly) is swum as the third stroke in the Medley Relay and first stroke in the Individual Medley.

    Cap-The silicone or latex covering worn on the head of swimmers. 

    Carbohydrates-The main source of food energy used by athletes.

    Cards- In a pre-seeded meet, entry cards are usually passed out by the Clerk of Course to the swimmer, who gives it to the Timer behind the lane.  The cards list the event number, event description, swimmer's name, seed time, the lane and heat number the swimmer will swim in, and includes a place for the watch time(s) to be recorded.  Each event has a separate card.  For relays, the card also lists the four swimmers in the order they will swim

    Car pool- A group of families that get together to share the responsibility for driving swimmers to and from practice sessions.

    Chlorine - The chemical used by many pools to kill the bacteria in water and keep it clear and safe to swim in. Some pools have switched to chlorinates and other chemical disinfectants that are less irritating to the swimmers.

    Clerk of Course -The into heats (usually, a parent-volunteer).  Also, where scratches and relay cards are turned in and on-going meet information is available for the coaches.

    Concessions - The snack concession at a swim meet.  The club/vendor usually has healthy (and sometimes not so healthy) snacks and drinks for sale.

    Deck-The area around the swimming pool reserved for swimmers, officials, and coaches.  No one but an 'authorized' person may be on the deck during a swim competition.

    Dehydration-The abnormal depletion of body fluids (water), the most common cause of swimmers cramps and sick feelings.

    Disqualification(DQ) -A swimmer's performance that is not counted because of a rules infraction (signified by an official on deck raising one arm with open hand above his or her head).  The results sheet will reflect "DQ" and no time will be recorded for the event.

    Dive-Entering the water head first at the start of the race.

    Dolphin Kick - An undulating, simultaneous kick used in Butterfly.  It is also commonly used in Backstroke and Freestyle during the kick-out phase off the walls on starts and turns.

    Dry Land -The program of exercises and various strength regimens swimmers do out of the water.

    Event- A race of a stroke over a given distance at a meet.  In a Prelims and Finals(championship) format, an event equals at least one prelims heat and its accompanying final, or in a timed finals format, at least one heat. Events are either individual (one swimmer per lane) or relay (four swimmers per lane).

    False Start -A violation of the start rules, a false start occurs when a swimmer leaves the starting block, or is moving on the block, before the Starter starts the race.The swimmer is disqualified and is informed of the disqualification after the end of the race. 

    Flip turn -One type of turn used in Freestyle and Backstroke.  Just as the swimmer approaches the wall, they tuck their body into a somersault, quickly roll toward the wall and push off with their feet.

    Flutter kick - The alternating kick used in freestyle and backstroke, usually six kicks per stroke cycle

    Freestyle-One of the four competitive racing strokes, usually the American Crawl. Swimmers swim in a prone position, face down, and pull the arms independently of each other and legs kick individually.  In competition, a swimmer can swim any stroke in a Freestyle event.  Freestyle (or Free) is swum as the fourth stroke in the Medley Relay and fourth stroke in the Individual medley. 

    Goggles-Eyewear worn by swimmers in the pool to protect the swimmers' eyes from the effects of chlorine in the water.  Also improves vision underwater considerably!

    Heat- A division of an event when there are too many swimmers to compete at the same time.

    Heat sheet - A Printed order of events by session with swimmers listed by heat and lane (with team and entry times).  Usually used at pre-seeded meets.  Also, a Meet Program.

    Individual Medley (IM) - An event in which the swimmer uses all four competitive strokes in the following order: Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and Freestyle (in this case, Freestyle means any stroke except one of the three previously swam).

    Kick Board -A flotation device used by swimmers during training when swimming with legs only.

    Kick-The leg movements of a swimmer that provide propulsion during execution of the stroke.  

    Lane Ropes / Lane Lines - Continuous floating dividers attached to a cable stretched from the start end of the pool to the turn end, used to delineate the individual lanes. 

    Lane - The specific area in which a swimmer is assigned to swim (i.e., Lane 1 or Lane 2).

    Marshal-The officials (usually, parent volunteers) who control the crowd and swimmer flow at a swim meet.  They are primarily responsible for safety in the venue.

    Meet- A series of swimming events held in one program, usually sanctioned by VSI/USASwimming.

    Meet Program -A compilation of the meet's Heat Sheets sold by the host club at Finals. Also contains important meet information and ads.  

    Official Time -The swimmer's time in a given event, recorded to hundredth of a second (.01). The OT usually comes from the automatic timing system.

    Personal Best(PB)- The best time a swimmer has achieved so far in a given event.

    Points - Points earned by swimmers at a championship/scored meets for final place standings in each event and totaled by team to determine the meet champion.  

    Pre-seeding-The process of organizing swimmers into events, heats, and lanes, usually by computer, prior to the meet (as opposed to deck seeding at the meet).

    Records - Fastest all-time swims by course/sex/event/age group in an organization, meet, or pool.

    Referee-The head USA Swimming-certified official at a swim meet responsible for the conduct of the meet (usually, a parent-volunteer).

    Relay - A swimming event in which four swimmers (of the same sex, usually in the same age group)participate as a relay team, each swimmer swimming an equal distance of the race.  There are two types of relays:

    • Medley Relay - one swimmer swims Backstroke, one swimmer swims Breaststroke, one swimmer swims Butterfly, one swimmer swims Freestyle, in that order. Medley Relays are conducted over 100y/m, 200y/m, and 400y/m distances.
    • Freestyle Relay - each swimmer swims Freestyle.  Freestyle relays are conducted     over 100y/m, 200y/m, 400y/m, and 800y/m distances.

    Results - The official listing by place of finish of the competitors in an event.  It includes the Official Time and any Points scored, as well as Disqualifications.  Host Teams usually also include in the results any Time Standards achieved by the swimmers.  Results are usually posted in the venue in an accessible location.

    Ribbons-Awards earned by swimmers at meets for finishing in the top places. They vary in size, color, design and method of presentation.

    Scratch- To withdraw from an event after having declared an intention to participate.

    Seed- To assign the swimmers to heats and lanes according to their submitted entry or preliminary times. 

    Start-The beginning of a race; the dive used to begin a race.  Just before a swimmer's heat, the Referee will blow a quick series of whistles to inform the swimmers to be behind their respective blocks.  He will then blow one long whistle to inform the swimmers to step up on their blocks.  The Starter will then give the command "Take your mark", and after all the swimmers become motionless, will sound the start signal.

    Start Position -The swimmer must take his mark by placing at least one foot at the front of the block.  The most common position is bent over, knees bent, feet shoulder width apart, but the track start (one foot forward, one foot back) is becoming popular.  However, the swimmer is permitted any position as long as one foot is at the front of the block and a motionless position is held prior to the start signal.

    Step Down -The command given by the Starter to have the swimmers move off the blocks.  Usually, this command is a good indication everything is not right for the race to start.

    Streamline- The more swimmers can create a streamlined effect with their bodies, the more efficient they will be in the water.  It often refers to making the body long and narrow (arms/hands together and outstretched, head down between arms,feet together pointed back) in the glide off the starts and walls, but it also applies to all aspects of the strokes.

    Stroke- There are four competitive techniques (strokes):  Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and Freestyle.

    Stroke judge -The USA Swimming-certified official positioned at the side of the pool, walking the length of the course as the swimmers race, responsible for observing the swim to ensure swimmers follow the stroke rules (usually, a parent/volunteer).

    Suit-The racing costume worn by the swimmer, in the water, during competition. The Team Suit is usually a standard tight lycra suit.

    Timer- The volunteers sitting behind the starting blocks/finish end of pool, who are responsible for activating the backup buttons for the automatic timing system and recording the time from a stopwatch.

    Time Standards - Set of times by course, event, age group, and classification established by USA Swimming for classifying swimmers for entry into meets(e.g., a 10 year-old girl who's best time in the 50y Freestyle is 32.05 seconds is classified as an "A" swimmer ).  The time standards are updated every four years and are based on the Top 16 times for each event/age group.  Also, Qualifying Times.

    Touch- At the end of the prescribed distance, the finish of the race.

    Warm-up– the practice session a swimmer does before the meet to get their muscles loose and ready to race, essential to the prevention of injury.

    Watch-The hand held device (stopwatch) used by timers and coaches for timing a swimmer's race and taking splits.

    Frequently Asked questions:

    What is my child swimming in the meet?  The head coach will give out meet entries the morning of the meet, but remember that there maybe last-minute changes, especially to relays, right before and even during the meet.

    Where can I ask directions to the meet?  Directions to pools/meets and more information about the Rappahannock Swim League can be found on the RSL website at and in our handbook.

    What if I said my child would not be at a specific meet and now can attend? Call, email or text a coach ASAP.

    What should a parent bring to a meet? Your swimmer, lawn chairs, sunscreen, food, warm clothes and money.

    What should a swimmer bring to a meet?  A team suit, cap and T-shirt, goggles, towels, nutritious snacks, water bottle, dry clothes, blanket or lawn chair and games.

    What is a DQ?  It is a disqualification.  Swimmers disqualify themselves when they are not swimming a stroke according to RSL rules. This is not something bad, but provides a way to help swimmers improve.

    How soon before a meet should my child eat?  Your child should eat at least one hour prior to the meet. Avoid high fat foods (hamburgers, candy, fast-food) carbonated and high sugar beverages.

    What length does my child swim in a meet? 10 and under age group swimmers events are one length (25 yards/meters) but 10& under may swim the 12 &Under 100 Free or Individual Medley (IM) which are 4 lengths (100 yards/meters) 11 and older age group events are 2 lengths (50 yards/meters) or more.

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