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Frequently Asked Questions

Registration Questions

  • How much does it cost to be a Dolphin?
    • Dolphin swimmers register through Parks and Rec.  The price for one swimmer is $115 and $100 for each additional sibling.  (Members of the Flying Dolphins also receive a 15% discount on season family pool passes.)
  • Do I need to buy a team uniform for my swimmer?
    • No! We do have a team uniform available for purchase through Swim&Tri (color: Blue), however this is not required to participate in any MAFD or GKAISA event.
  • How do I order a team swimsuit if we want one?
    • Team suits can be ordered during our opening party or directly through Swim&Tri in Knoxville. We will pick up any orders and deliver suits to swimmers at practice when they are ready.
  • Is my child ready to participate on a competitive summer swim team?
    • The MAFD Swim Team accepts swimmers age 5-18 years old as long as the swimmer can swim (any stroke (or combinations of strokes)) a full 25 yards across the pool unassisted (that's once across the swimming lanes at Springbrook Pool).
  • If I register my child to participate and he/she either does not like it or we realize they are not quite ready to be on a swim team, what then?
    • There is a cut-off date for registration with Blount County Parks & Recreation which is usually the end of the second week of the summer practice.
    • We do allow new swimmers to come to the first week of practice (if the proper GKAISA forms are filled out) as a trial period - if there is a legitimate question concerning the child's ability or desire to participate on our swim team.
  • What is the birthday cut-off for the different age groups?
    • The age groups are: 8 & Under, 9-10 yrs, 11-12 yrs, 13-14 yrs, and 15-18 yrs.
    • Per GKAISA rules, swimmers must compete in their legitimate age group (age as of midnight, May 31) in all events. The one exception is when a coach opts to "move up" one swimmer one age group to compete in a single relay event.

Practice Questions

  • What happens during practices?
    • Morning Practices focus mainly on endurance; Evening practices focus more on form.  Swimmers are divided into different lane groups based on their abilities during practices.
  • Does my child have to attend every practice to be eligible to swim in a meet?
    • No. However, practice makes perfect, so the more practices your swimmer attends, the better he/she will be prepared for meets. Also, attending daily practices allows coaches to know each swimmer's abilities for optimal placement in a meet.
  • Can my swimmer attend both morning and evening practices?
    • Yes. Swimmers 11-18 have an available practice both in the morning and the evening. Younger children do not have practice on Tuesday or Thursday mornings.
    • Typically, the more a child swims, the better they are in endurance and skill. However, attending each and every available practice is not required. Please adjust your practice attendance to best fit your family and your swimmer’s needs.
  • Is it okay to miss practices or meets for family vacations?
    • Yes. MAFD is a family-friendly team and we want you to enjoy your time together. As a courtesy to coaches, please RSVP BEFORE you leave for vacation to let us know you will not be attending a meet.
  • What does my swimmer need for practice?
    • Swimsuit 
      • females should wear a one-piece swimsuit
      • males should wear briefs or jammers (we discourage trunks because of the water drag)
    • Towel
    • Water bottle
    • Goggles (optional, but highly recommended)
    • Swim cap (optional)
      • each MAFD swimmer will receive a team swim cap prior to our first meet
    • Fins (optional)

Weather Questions

  • What if there is inclement weather?
    • Swim practices and meets WILL take place in rain unless there is thunder or lightening in the area. Meet officials and coaches will closely monitor weather conditions in the hours leading up to a meet. If it is determined that unsafe weather conditions exist before a meet starts, MAFD will follow the protocol below. 
    • If there is inclement weather that causes practices or meets to be delayed or cancelled, we post this information on the SwimTopia App.
    • We might also post this to our Facebook group and Instagram page.
    • Please make sure you check the SwimTopia App before each practice and/or meet so you don't miss these important announcements!
  • What happens if a thunderstorm pops up once the meet is underway?
    • For the safety of everyone during thunderstorms, swimmers will exit the pool and the pool deck will be cleared for a minimum of 30 minutes as soon as a clap of thunder is heard or lightning is seen by coaches or meet officials. The clock will reset for an additional 30 minutes each time another clap of thunder is heard or lightning is present. Please do NOT leave the meet during these weather delays. If the weather continues to present unsafe conditions, coaches and meet officials from both teams will notify families that the meet is being canceled. Note: If rain is in the forecast, plan accordingly by packing rain ponchos, umbrellas or tents/canopies.
  • Will the meet be rescheduled if it is interrupted by bad weather?
    • Every effort will be made to reschedule meets that are canceled due to stormy weather. Coaches and team officers will let families know of new dates as soon as they are set, and the new date will be added to the calendar on the team website.

Health Questions

  • What do I do if my swimmer gets sick before a meet?
    • Please call or text the head coach as soon as you decide your child is too sick to swim during a meet. The coach's contact information is located on the Coaches page. Please also notify the Volunteer Chair if you will not be able to fulfill your volunteer position so a replacement can be found.
  • What do I do if my swimmer gets sick during a meet and we need to leave?
    • Please notify a coach that your child is sick and will not be able to finish the meet. Please do not leave the meet without letting a coach know so he/she can rearrange relays for the remaining swimmers. If you are volunteering at the time, please find another parent to replace you. If you have to leave with a sick child before your volunteer shift begins, please notify the Volunteer Chair so a replacement can be found, or arrange for a replacement before leaving the pool.

Swim Meet Questions

  • What happens at a swim meet?
  • Does my child have to attend every practice to be eligible to swim in a meet?
    • No. However, practice makes perfect, so the more practices your swimmer attends, the better he/she will be prepared for meets. Also, attending daily practices allows coaches to know each swimmer's abilities for optimal placement in a meet.
  • Does my child have to swim in every meet?
    • No. However, meets are the fun part of summer swim team, so we’d like for every swimmer to want to participate. Swimmers will be asked to sign up RSVP for each meet. Please be sure to RSVP EACH TIME a swim meet is posted, even if you cannot attend a meet. This will allow our coaches to build relays and place swimmers in appropriate events.
    • Please note: a swimmer must swim in TWO regular season dual meets to be eligible for the GKAISA City Championship Meet at the end of the season (the Smoky Mountain Invitational does count toward that requirement).
  • What should swimmers bring to a swim meet?
    • Swimsuit (worn as check in)
    • Swim goggles (an extra pair is a good idea too)
    • Towels (two or more is best)
    • Water bottle
    • Swim cap
    • Sunscreen & optional insect repellent
    • Set of dry over clothes (to wear between races)
    • Snacks (please note: concessions are available at some, but not all host pools)
    • Sharpie (to write swimmer's events on their arm and name on their shoulder blade)
  • What should parents bring to a swim meet?
    • Chairs or blanket
    • Sunscreen
    • Insect repellent
    • Snacks (please note: concessions are available at some, but not all host pools) and water
    • Cash for concessions
    • Tent/umbrellas (optional)
    • An encouraging attitude and a helping hand
  • What will my child swim during a swim meet?
    • Each swimmer has the opportunity to swim in four events during a swim meet.
    • Four separate events. Typically, each swimmer will swim in two or three individual events (backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, freestyle or individual medley) and one or two relay events (medley relay and/or freestyle relay). Coaches will consider each swimmer's abilities, availability and preferences when building the meet entries, but will place each swimmer where he/she can best help the team score well.
  • How do I RSVP for a meet?
    • Please RSVP for each meet on the team website or the SwimTopia mobile app as soon as you know whether your swimmer will be attending. Step-by-step instructions are available here, or under the "Calendar" section of the team website.
  • How do I sign up to volunteer at a meet?
    • Swim meets are completely volunteer driven. Without our volunteers, a meet simply cannot happen. For that reason, MAFD asks for each family to volunteer at lease one person per family for half of each meet. Volunteer sign-ups are available on the team website and SwimTopia mobile app. Please see more information about volunteering under the Volunteer section of the team website.
  • How do I find out what events my child will swim at a meet?
    • Meet entries (heats and lanes) will be posted at the pool deck during the warm-up period before each meet. When possible, the coaches will also post the meet entries (event number only) to the free SwimTopia app and on the Dolphin website.  The Pro version of the App will give heat sheet information for teams using Meet Maestro during a meet.
  • How do I find out how fast my swimmer swam during his/her races?
    • Times for each race will be printed on ribbons and made available for each swimmer following each meet. In addition, you may log into your SwimTopia account, click on "My Account," then click on the name of your swimmer and scroll down to the "Best Times" section. Times are listed by date and meet.
  • How does my child get his/her ribbons from the meet?
    • MAFD has two plastic ribbon boxes placed on a table at the morning practices between meets. Each family has a folder in the box in which the ribbons are placed. While we do our best to print ribbons and make them available the day after each meet, we appreciate your patience and understanding until the ribbons can be made available.

Specific Meet Questions

  • What is the Blue and White meet?
    • The Blue and White meet is our training meet held just for MAFD swimmers and their families. As the first meet of the season, it serves to teach new swimmers how to participate in a swim meet, for new parents to learn how a swim meet is run and to train volunteers. Each swimmer will swim each stroke (backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle) during this meet. The Blue and White meet also helps get seed times for each swimmer on each stroke to help place them in the appropriate place for the first dual meet of the season.
  • Seed times? Dual meets? Where can I learn these swim team terms?
    • We promise you'll pick up the lingo just by being around the pool. But in the mean time, this site is a good place to start.
  • What is the Smoky Mountain Invitational (SMI)?
    • This is a regional meet MAFD hosts for summer swimmers only. Swimmers who compete with a year-round club swim team are not eligible to swim during the Smoky Mountain Invitational.
    • The 2022 SMI will be held July 9-10 at our Springbrook Pool in Alcoa. Swimmers aged 11 and up swim on Saturday. Swimmers aged 10 and under swim on Sunday. SMI does count as one meet toward fulfilling a swimmer's eligibility for GKAISA City Meet.
    • SMI is the Maryville-Alcoa Flying Dolphin’s number one fund raiser. MAFD requires ALL team parents to work some portion of SMI. Our team runs the Clerk of Coarse and some of the Scoring for this unique and highly loved outdoor swim meet.
  • What is the GKAISA City Swim Meet?
    • This is the end-of-season championship meet for swimmers across all leagues within GKAISA. For the 2022 season, City Meet will be held July 28-30 at Allan Jones Aquatic Center on the campus of the University of Tennessee. More details about this meet will be made available at the beginning of July.
  • How can I become a certified official with GKAISA?
    • MAFD is always in need of volunteers who are willing to become certified officials to help at the meets. For more information about free training for officials, visit the GKAISA website's training page.

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