FAQ'S FOR EVALUATIONS/JOINING THE TEAM
Below are common questions that parents have prior to joining our team
Who can join Helena Dolphins Swim Team?
Children between the ages of 5 and 18 who have some swimming experience are welcome to be evaluated. Placement will be determined by your swimmer's ability shown during the evaluation and available openings in our practice groups. If your swimmer is not ready for the swim team, a referral to our swim lesson program will be made.
Who needs to be evaluated?
All New Swimmers need to attend evaluations. Returning swimmers in good standing will not have to participate in evaluations. All potential new team members will be evaluated to determine skill level. If swimmers are older current or recent USA Swimming members or current high school swimmers, they may not need to attend evaluations to be placed on the team. Please provide their swim history and times in the evaluation request and we will be in touch.
What is a swimmer evaluation and how does it work?
During your child's evaluation, we will have him or her swim for about 15-30 minutes doing different strokes, drills, and in-water activities. This helps us determine the right group for your child on our team. At the end of your evaluation, the coach will recommend the appropriate practice group for your swimmer on our team and we will do our best to answer any questions you might have. After your swimmer evaluation you may start online registration.
Why are there evaluations?
A swimmer evaluation helps us place your son or daughter in the appropriate practice group. The growth and success of the swim team has been tremendous and has now allowed us with the opportunity to figure out how to best maximize:
• Quality of instruction for each swimmer
• Amount of instruction for each swimmer
• Availability of the pool for the team
Ensuring the swimmers can compete at their age levels guarantees all swimmers are prepared for their correlating practice levels and feel comfortable swimming with their age groups.
When can my swimmer be evaluated to join Helena Dolphins?
We welcome your swimmer to join at any time during the year. We specifically hold tryouts before each season, in the fall (July/August) before the Short Course season and in the spring (February/March) before the Long Course season.
Why should my child swim?
Swimming is one of the greatest sports out there. Children that swim learn the values of hard work, discipline, integrity, sportsmanship, and dedication, all while having fun and staying healthy and physically fit.
Why should I join Helena Dolphins?
Helping your child succeed in the pool and out is our top priority. We offer a program that allows your child to learn and progress at his or her own rate and we teach swimmers from the beginning levels to the elite levels. Helena Dolphins strives every day to provide the best coaching staff and program to achieve this goal.
Is my child ready for a swim team, or should we do swim lessons instead?
If your child can comfortably swim 25 yards of freestyle with their face in the water & breathing, and 25 yards of backstroke, we can do the rest. If your child cannot do this quite yet, no worries. Join Capital City Health Club's swim lessons or pre-swim team and usually within only a session or two (depending on your child’s age), he or she will be ready to join the Helena Dolphins. If you are not sure, set up a swim evaluation and after the evaluation we will be able to tell you for sure where the right place for your child is.
What’s the likelihood of my child making the team?
There’s no way of knowing this without all of the facts, but we’re hopeful that the vast majority (if not all) of those attending evaluations will be ready to join the team. Key indicators will be your child’s comfort and confidence in the water, demonstrating respect and discipline, listening to and executing on the basic instructions given, and ability to swim.
What should we expect at the evaluation?
Expect our awesome and cheerful coaches to help your child feel comfortable while providing some basic instruction on stretching, swimming, and fitness while assessing your child’s ability, willingness, and ability to execute as requested. We expect this to be anywhere from 15-30 minutes. During larger evaluations, they can take up to an hour.
Our team evaluations are based upon the age of the swimmer and their swimming abilities. This evaluation will help the coach determine your child’s swimming ability. Upon completion a recommendation will be provided to the parent as to whether the child is ready to join our competitive swim team, or if he/she needs swim lessons prior to joining the team. Swimmers who pass the evaluations will be invited to join our Swim Team provided there are openings in their recommended practice group.
What will the coaches look for?
Your child paying attention, following instructions, and being at ease in the water will be important factors. Additionally, the coaches will assess your child’s ability to perform various swim techniques at various distances (depending on your child’s age) with the major focus being on freestyle and backstroke.
What does my swimmer have to be able to do?
For all age groups, the coaches will look closely at
• The child paying attention (especially in a group environment)
• The ability and willingness to follow through on instructions from coaches
• Ease in the water
The minimum requirements to be on the team are:
1) the swimmer needs to be at least 5 years old; and
2) the swimmer needs to be able to comfortably swim 25 yards of freestyle with their face in the water & breathing, and 25 yards of backstroke. Swimmers that are older will be asked to demonstrate their knowledge of breaststroke and butterfly as well. If your swimmer is not is not yet ready, Capital City Health Club has lesson and a pre-swim team program.
What are your attendance requirements?
We don't have attendance requirements at HDST. We absolutely make recommendations to you about ideal attendance so that you can maintain realistic expectations of what your athlete will get out of the program, but nothing is required. The swimmers will get out of the program what they are willing and able to put in. We offer three to six practices as week depending on the group in order to provide plenty of flexibility for young athletes to keep things balanced.
How often are meets? Do we have to compete?
The general answer about competing is, yes, we are a competitive swim team and it is highly encouraged (and expected at our top levels). The benefits and life lessons that swimmers learn by competing and preparing to compete are extremely valuable, and we strongly encourage you to compete in the competitions on our schedule. As swimmers progress, coaches will recommend participating in swim meets.
Do I have to swim year-round?
No. Many of our younger swimmers do other sports and activities. We encourage you to explore other activities, especially for younger athletes. So if you want to stop for a season (like Long Course), and come back later in the year, (like Short Course) you just have to let us know when registration happens for the next season.
How much does your program cost? Are there any other requirements when joining your program?
In general there is:
- Swim Team registration fee
- Monthly training fee
- Annual membership with USA Swimming
- Capital City Health Club Membership
When it comes to competition there are separate fees for that and is meet by meet basis.
The commitment sounds like a lot, is it worth it?
Absolutely! Competitive swimming with the Dolphins is not just a spot to swim, it is a place to learn life lessons and grow as a person while becoming a better swimmer.