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Summer Swim Team Spotlight Episode 2: Casey from Winston-Salem (Head Coach)

Summer Swim Team Spotlight: Episode 2

Casey, Head Coach in Winston-Salem, joins us to discuss her experience growing up in summer swimming, and now, serving as head coach for her longtime swim program. Casey is a great example of a common trait we see in summer swimming–programs hiring young, passionate coaches from within the program to grow the fun and culture of the sport!

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Why Volunteers Despise Swim Meets

WHY VOLUNTEERS DESPISE SWIM MEETS

Its Tuesday evening. The sun is beginning to set and you’re at your neighborhood pool volunteering at another summer swim meet. You’ve got a stopwatch in one hand, and a clipboard in the other. The only thing you want to do is watch your kids swim and go for a best time – but you’re too busy recording times, writing them down, and passing that along to another volunteer in what can only be described as a never-ending game of telephone. By the time you have a second to look up and see what’s going on, your kid is already out of the pool, ribbon in hand, and running over to you shouting that they just went a best time. As a parent, you can’t help but be as happy as that smile on their face, but also upset that you were too busy to see them swim. You give them a hug, say “GREAT JOB, BUDDY!” and hope that you won’t miss their next race.

Volunteers are some of the most important people in our sport. They are the glue that keeps the swim meet together and running efficiently. They are the HERO’s of our sport. Without volunteers, there would be no summer swimming, or competitive swimming in general. However, too often do we overlook the sacrifice that these parents agree to (knowingly or not) when they agree to volunteer for a swim meet. Not only are they providing a great service towards the team, but they are also giving up an opportunity to fully enjoy watching their kids swim and compete. Along with many other pain points of being a volunteer, it’s not hard to believe why parents might not enjoy volunteering and might just answer why many parents despise swim meets.

Timers:

They are the most common volunteer role for any swim meet. We like to call them the “Lowest Common Denominator,” because it is the go-to position. You get to chat with the other timers in your lane, get a front row seat to the meet, and maybe even copy a couple times down from your fellow timer if you accidentally missed one…Right? 😉

Unfortunately, if you ask anyone who has volunteered as a timer before, they might not have the best things to say. First things first, when you agree to be a timer, that means you have to stand… the ENTIRE meet, so NO sitting for you – many teams are a little more relaxed, we know! You’re also too busy to ever take a breath and actually watch the meet because you’re constantly recording times and passing the timer cards along. And recording times… constantly writing out times non-stop for 3 hours on a small, wet, piece of paper just screams carpal tunnel. Sorry, but this might not seem fun for any new parent volunteer coming into the sport.

Runners:

Imagine walking from Point A (the timer’s location) to Point B (the scorekeeper) back and forth, for 3 hours… with no break. That’s essentially what the runners have to do for a swim meet. They are constantly passing the times from the timer, along to the Scorekeeper where all the times are inputted manually into a computer unless you are using Swimmingly, Touchpads, Dolphin etc. It’s a never-ending game of telephone. It’s a constant relay race, except you’re the only one on the relay. The runners are too busy passing the times along to even take a quick peak at the pool and see how their kids are doing. If only there was a way to automate the transition of times from the timer to the scorekeeper…It’s okay, it’s a problem for most summer swim teams in the world. Hint, Hint…Swimmingly is the answer : )

Clerk of Course:

The position where organization meets chaos! If you aren’t familiar with this role, try to imagine organizing a massive group of children, into their correct lanes, for hours at a time – oh, and many of them are hopped up on sugar and soft drinks from the snack bar! One minute they’re sitting exactly where they’re supposed to be, the next minute they’re gone… nowhere to be found. And it’s your job to chase them down before they miss their race – Welcome to the Clerk of Course! And forget about seeing any of the actual meet. These volunteers are working in the back, far removed from the pool.

Stroke and Turn Judge:

This volunteer position isn’t all that bad, but it definitely has some down-sides. The big issue is the stack of DQ slips that each of the Stroke and Turn Judges are carrying with them across the pool. DQ slips + pool side judging = wet DQ slips. Not to mention, you get to insert the game of telephone into this role as well. How else are the DQ slips going to get to the scorekeeper that has to manually enter these in as well? Can’t be slow either…try DQ’ing the 8&Under Butterfly and Breastroke events : )

 

So what does all of this mean?

Do all volunteers actually “Despise” summer swimming? Absolutely not! Are there some volunteers that dread it? Sure. And, are there volunteers that are “USA Swimming Officials” that love every second of it? You bet. The important thing to remember is that summer swimming is fun! It’s about the kids. It’s where they get their first splash and fall in love with the sport. If you can remember that, it might even be a little more fun for YOU – The parents, volunteers, team reps, league reps etc. We all know that summer swimming is chaotic so, it’s time to embrace the chaos and have some fun!

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Testimonials

Swimmingly Testimonials

SAY YES TO FUN, SIMPLE SWIM MEETS!
“Swimmingly greatly improved our overall meet management system. Our swim meets ran faster, required less volunteers, and our swimmers could track their times. We highly recommend other teams switch to Swimmingly next summer!”
Joe Watts
Harmony Swim Team
5/5

I am very impressed with how easy this is to use via an iPhone / iPad based swim meet application. They are able to combine the Starter, Timer, Judge, Scorekeeper, and overall meet cohesiveness into one application. It was efficient, and quite flexible in incorporating swimmer changes, heat consolidations, timing, all in a paperless environment. This system is mainly used for summer league type of events and training timers, staters, and judges is very easy. I am a Stroke & Turn Judge and no paperwork was needed. It is all iPad based and very easy to use. Not to mention, it's nice to see smiles on the Starter and Timers faces. Scoring is complete right after the last heat was swum. Swimmingly makes it even easier in recruiting parents to volunteer and help with our swim meets. It is easy and efficient.

Gary Jameson

Team Rep

When Swimmingly was brought to our team I was skeptical at first. I found comfort in the ways we ran meets in the past and was worried that this new technology would cause more harm than good. All of those feelings went away after our first meet. Not only did Swimmingly substantially cut my prep time down for the meets, but our meets ran smoother and more efficient. We instantly reduced volunteers needed for the meet and parents were able to get their kids time much quicker. The Swimmingly team is extremely helpful. If they weren’t able to be at the meet, they were quick to respond to an email or phone call. Our first season working with Swimmingly really was a great experience, and I can’t imagine going back to the way we used to run our meets.

Katie Humphries

Head Coach - Lakemont

Game Changer!! The team at Swimmingly has completely changed the way we run our summer swim league. We are now more efficient and more accurate thanks to the Swimmingly app. Can't wait to see what the team has in store for 2019!

Dan Berzansky

League President - Orange County Swim League

The Swimmingly program has made the swim meet experience for the athletes, parents, and coaches so much more enjoyable. The coaches and parents can now focus more on what matters, the swimmers, because of the new timing system Swimmingly has developed. They are professional and have customer service that is second to none.

Ryan Larson

Head Coach - Orange County Swim League

“I was recently a scorekeeper for a high school dual meet yesterday run the “old fashioned” way- no touch pads, manual entry of stopwatch times into Hy-Tek. I had forgotten how time consuming and inaccurate it is to do that since we’ve run summer league with Swimmingly for so long. Would have loved to have been running the meet with Swimmingly!”
Laura Carrico
League President - Williamson County Swim League
5/5

"The system has improved our ability to get the meets get done much faster. It has helped us get our meets done before dark and everyone home at a reasonable time. Additionally, their customer service is AMAZING, and always there to help us out!"

Erika Myers

Team Rep

"The volunteers absolutely love using the app. It really helps the meets go so much faster. We no longer have to wait for the Timers to reset their watches and pass along timer slips."

Moira Mitchell

Banbury Woods Swim Team

Overall, we were pleased with Swimmingly's performance and impressed with the customer service you all provided. I know the timers appreciated the new system.

Mark H.

League Rep - TSA

"Swimmingly™ helped us save SO MUCH time, paper, and frustration! The volunteers LOVED using their own phones to time, rather than the old stopwatches."

Inga Allred

Carpenter Village Swim Team

Summer Swim Team Spotlight

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Episode 1: Summer Swim Team Spotlight

Summer Swim Team Spotlight: Episode 1

Christopher, YMCA Aquatics Director, joins us to discuss his experience as meet director in the YMCA organization. Christopher takes us through his expertise in using Hy-Tek Team/Meet Manager in the “olden days” and the transformation to Swimmingly™. Watch to see how Christopher has traded 3+ hours of work the day after each swim meet for a more relaxing day.