Isle of Hope Sharks: Parent Survival Guide

Isle of Hope Sharks Swim Team
Parent Survival Guide

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Items to Bring to Each Practice:

Items to Bring to Each Meet:



IOH Swim Cap



MUST BRING: Goggles, IOH Swim Cap, Towel, Permanent Marker and a highlighter

MIGHT WANT TO BRING: Folding chairs, card games, water tolerant board games, books and video games, water or sports drink (no sodas) and fruit or healthy carb snacks

(Snack items can be purchased at a home swim meet.)



The Ultimate Rule

Please arrive on time for all meets – check-in is at 5:00! Warm-ups begin promptly at 5:30. The Coaches and Bullpen Parents will begin checking at 5:30 to see which swimmers are at the meet in order to get the relays on deck to begin the meet by 6:00 pm. If your swimmer arrives late, this causes much confusion and delay and could result from your swimmer being pulled out of events.


Heat Sheets

It is recommended that you buy a Heat Sheet when you arrive (normally $1 for regular season meets). This is not necessary, but it will make the meet go a lot easier for you. If you have trouble reading it, please ask a returning parent to help you.


Understanding Swimming Events

After you check your child in, refer to the heat sheet and use your black marker to mark/indicate your child’s swim event name (stroke and distance), event number, heat number and lane number on his/her arm or leg. You can follow the diagram below on how to mark your child’s order of events. What is labeled in red is what you should mark on your child. 


Event (E)

Heat (H)

Lane (L)

100 Free Relay




25 Free




25 Back





You need permanent marker so that it doesn’t wash off. This is the only way for swimmers and helper parents to have a quick reference for the swimmer’s upcoming events.

There are anywhere from 1 to 5 heats in any given race. All swimmers for an event are swimming against each other, even if they are not in the same heat. The heats are generally set up with the slower swimming times in the beginning heats and the faster times in the ending heats. This certainly does not mean that a swimmer in the first heat could not win the race. If your swimmer does not have a recorded time, then she/he will generally be up in one of the beginning heats.


On the Pool Deck

  • Cheering is great, but wait until the swimmers have entered the water, and then you can yell all you want. We want everyone to know how much we support our Sharks.
  • It is a good idea to only go to the immediate pool area when it is your swimmer’s turn to swim.
  • When your swimmer is “on deck” to swim, you can come up close to the deck to watch, but please respect the officials and timers, and leave them room to do their job.



The meet host will give out ribbons as awards. These are normally distributed sometime during the week following the meet. For individual events, 1st through 8th place will receive a ribbon. For relays, 1stand 2nd place will receive a ribbon.

Disqualification (“DQs”)
Even swimmers who have been swimming for years get disqualified (“DQ’d”) on occasion. Officials are generally very good at what they do, and we as parents need to respect their authority.
If you have a dispute with a disqualification, the protocol is that you talk about it with the coach, not the official. The coach can then talk to the official and discuss the disqualification with your swimmer. In some cases, the official talks to the swimmer and explains what the error.
If your child is disqualified in an event, be supportive rather than critical.
For beginning swimmers, a disqualification should be treated as a learning experience, not as punishment.
A DQ alerts the swimmer and the coach to what portions of the swimmer’s stroke need to be corrected. They should be considered in the same light as an incorrect answer in schoolwork. They point out areas which need further practice.



Officials are present at all competitions to implement the technical rules of swimming and to ensure that the competition is fair and equitable. In the Savannah Coastal Swim League, all officials (except timers) attend clinics in order to become certified by the league. All parents are encouraged to get involved with some form of officiating.

Timers - operate timing devices (stopwatches at regular season meets and/or automatic timing systems at the championship meet), and record the official time for the swimmer in his/her lane.

Stroke & Turn Judges - observe from each end of the pool and ensure that the rules relating to each stroke are being followed, and turns and finishes comply with the rules applicable to each stroke.

Starter - assumes control of the swimmers from the Referee, directs them to "take your mark’ and sees that no swimmer is in motion prior to giving the start signal.

Referee - has overall authority and control of the competition, ensuring that all the rules are followed; assigns and instructs all officials; and decides all questions relating to the conduct of the meet.


Year-Round Swimming in Savannah

There are two USA Swimming-affiliated year-round swim teams in Savannah. Please feel free to ask the coach or teammates for more information about opportunities for year-round swimming in Savannah. If your swimmer catches the fever and is interested in learning more about swimming, please visit and go the “links” page and check out the year round teams.


IOH Pool Rules for all Non-Pool Members

The IOH Pool requires all non-pool members that swim on the IOH Swim Team to pay a Splash Fee during the swim team season. This fee is included in the swim team registration fee. 

Non-pool members (age appropriate swimmers) may use the baby pool during practice hours free of charge, but any use of the small touch pool requires a $4.00 per swimmer guest fee. Please pay the lifeguard on duty.


Ten Commandments for Parents with Athletic Children

From” The Young Athlete” by Bill Burgess



  1. Make sure your child knows that, win or lose, scared or heroic, you love him/her, appreciate his/her efforts, and are not disappointed in him/her. This will allow him to do his best without fear of failure.
  2. Try your best to be completely honest about your child's athletic ability, his competitive attitude, his/her sportsmanship and his/her actual skill level.
  3. Be helpful but don’t coach you child on the way to the pool or on the way back, or at breakfast, and so on. It’s tough not to, but it’s a lot tougher for the child to be inundated with advice, pep talks, and often critical instruction.
  4. Teach your child to enjoy the thrill of competition, to be "out there trying," to be working to improve his/her skills and attitude. Help your child to develop the feel for competing, for trying hard, for having fun.
  5. Try not to re-live your athletic life through your child in a way that creates pressure; you fumbled, too, you lost as well as won. You were frightened, you backed off at times, and you were not always heroic. Don’t pressure him/her because of your lost pride.
  6. Don’t compete with the coach. Remember that in many cases, a coach becomes a hero to the athlete, someone who can do no wrong.
  7. Don’t compare the skill, courage, or attitudes of your child with other members of the team -- at least not within his/her hearing.
  8. Get to know the coach so that you can he assured that his/her philosophy, attitudes, ethics and knowledge are such that you are happy to have your child under his/her leadership.
  9. Always remember that children tend to exaggerate, both when praised and when criticized. Temper your reaction and investigate before overreacting.
  10. Make a point of understanding courage, and the fact that it is relative. Some of us can climb mountains, and are afraid to fight. Some of us will fight, but turn to jelly if a bee approaches. Everyone is frightened in certain areas. Explain that courage is not the absence of fear, but a means of doing something in spite of fear or discomfort.
The job of a parent of an athletic child is a tough one, and it takes a lot of effort to do it well. It is worth all the effort when you hear your youngster say, "My parents really helped."