Spring Cypress Swim Team (SCST)
Table of Contents
Who We Are
The Spring Cypress Stingrays Swim Team (SCST) is a non-profit summer league swim team, organized in January of 2000. We are members of the Northwest Aquatic League (NWAL), and compete with other teams in our division each Saturday. The Stingrays practice from late April through the end of June. Our last meet of the season is Divisionals, an exciting, all swimmer event where swimmers compete against all the teams in our division. Swimmers also have the opportunity to quality for city-wide invitational meets.
Swim team is truly a family activity. Swimming promotes strong kids, focusing on team spirit and healthy competition. Over 200 swimmers, aged four to 18, participate with the Stingrays each year. It takes a tremendous amount of work to run the team and we require all of our parents to volunteer their time and talent each week to keep it running smoothly.
The purpose of our swim team is to foster competitive youth swimming and provide skill instruction in a supportive atmosphere with good sportsmanship that is conducive to our children’s proper social and physical development. We want each child to develop their physical and mental stamina while setting their own personal goals and finding out what it takes to reach those goals. We want them to exercise and have fun with their friends. We want to keep the pressure down, letting each swimmer progress individually as they develop a team spirit that will carry them down the road.
Northwest Aquatic League (NWAL)
SCST participates in the Northwest Aquatic League (NWAL). This league consists of more than 100 teams in Harris and Montgomery Counties. NWAL provides coordination, establishes and enforces rules and regulations, assigns teams to divisions, sets meet schedules and trains team officials. League officers and committee members are chosen from team representatives.
NWAL teams are grouped for competition into many divisions according to location, competitiveness and team size.
In 2024, SCST competes in the Red 3 Division. The other teams in our Division are Gleannloch Farms, Londonderry, Oak Ridge Otters, and Shenandoah with one out-of-division meet against a team in Red 4.
Eligibility to Swim
SCST is classified as an “area team.” Residents of the Spring Cypress area who live in neighborhoods without a swim team and who comply with the latest edition of NWAL Official Rules may participate on the team.
Only NOVICE swimmers may participate in summer league swimming. A novice is any individual up to and including 18 years of age.
It is ability, not age that permits the youngest swimmer to join the team. Swimmers are expected to be water safe and must be able to swim the 25 yard length of the pool unassisted. Most swimmers are at least 5 years old and can swim the length of the pool in both Freestyle and Backstroke without stopping to hold the lane ropes. Our younger swimmers will be evaluated and approved by our coaching staff the first two weeks of practice. There will be no refunds once practice begins, with the exception of those swimmers that don’t meet coaches’ requirements.
The following age groups are defined by NWAL:
Eligibility to participate within an age group is determined by the individual swimmer’s age as of May 31st.
Registration and Refund Policy
The Spring Cypress Swim Team is a non-profit group, organized solely for the benefit our children to enjoy swimming competitively with their friends. Registration occurs each year in March, prior to the start of the NWAL Summer League season.
Each family pays a per-family registration fee and then a swim fee for each individual swimmer. Fees cover the cost of a T-shirt as well as individual award ribbons for each swimmer. Fees also cover coach salaries, team equipment and other expenses necessary throughout the season. Any funds left at the end of the season are used to purchase equipment and fund the team for the following year.
2023 Registration and Swim Fees
The Spring Cypress Swim Team Board consists of volunteer team parents who work behind the scenes all year to ensure the success of our team. Their responsibilities include hiring a coach; setting a budget; maintaining and purchasing equipment and supplies; setting up committees and assigning volunteers to perform the many tasks necessary to run practice sessions and meets; assisting the coach; acquiring training and certificates for officials under the direction of the NWAL and representing the team in league and division matters.
Board Members are elected at the end of the prior swim season and then serve a two-year term. If you are interested in serving on the board, please contact any Board Member for information.
SCST Team Council
Team Council members are experienced team parents who work closely with the Board and volunteer many hours to help make our success.
SCST Coaches and Responsibilities
Summer League coaches are not hired to provide swim lessons for beginners, but to provide competitive skill instruction according to age group expectations. Parents are encouraged to attend practices, but are asked not to coach swimmers or otherwise interrupt or interfere with the coaching staff. Most swimmers can only concentrate on improving a few areas at a time. It is up to the coach to determine which areas are of the greatest priority.
The operation of a swim team requires considerable effort and many decisions made by the coach. Many actions are taken for the benefit of the entire team which may not appear to be in the interest of an individual swimmer. While open communication is encouraged, with over 170 swimmers on our team, it is impossible for a coach to be effective while attempting to handle questions, suggestions or complaints from so many parents. Please be judicious in your approach.
Please follow the coaches’ directions. Swim team representatives reserve the right to remove any swimmer or parent who persistently exhibits disruptive behavior at practices or meets.
While swim practice is NOT considered lessons, many coaches ARE available for individual swim lessons for a separate fee. Please visit the website or see the coaches at practice for more information.
Learn more about our coaches by visiting our website at http://scst.swim-team.us/
SCST Team Rules
SCST Team Suits & Swim Caps
To appropriately represent our team, each swimmer is encouraged to wear the Team Suit & Swim Cap to all meets. The suit may change from season to season. Team suits and caps will be available to purchase at our “Stingrays Social” on Saturday, April Nth. They may also be purchased from our designated swim shop throughout the season.
11407 Spring Cypress Road
(Note: For more specific information about meets, please visit the “Parent Information” section of our website at http://scst.swim-team.us/.)
During a summer swim season, there will be several types of meets. Dates, locations and specific meet information will be posted on our website at http://scst.swim-team.us during the season.
With the exception of Invitationals, all meets are held on Saturday mornings. Meets generally start at 8:30; ending times depend on the type of meet and the size of the competing team. Home meets typically end around 3:00 pm.
Each meet consists of 80 events with each event representing a different age group and swim stroke. Each event is broken down into several “heats” to accommodate all entries; swimmers are seeded by their best times. Swimmers compete only against their own age group.
Declaring Your Attendance at a Meet
Swimmers MUST let the team know they WILL attend a meet (called “Meet Declaration”) by the Tuesday prior to the meet. For convenience, parents can also sign up for their meet volunteer shift or to time/scribe during meet declaration.
Declarations can be changed in the system through Tuesday midnight. After that, any changes must be communicated directly to the Head Coach. If an emergency precludes you from swimming on Saturday morning, you must text the Head Coach so that your swimmer can be properly scratched from their events.
Each swimmer can be entered in as many as five events, but no more than three may be individual events. The rest must be relays. You may “request” events when you declare your attendance at the meet through the website, but Coaches will MAKE THE FINAL DETERMINATION ON entries for all swimmers and their decisions ARE FINAL. Event entries for a given week’s meet will be posted on the website at http://scst.swim-team.us as soon as they are available.
At the Meet
We cannot stress enough the importance of being on time for a meet. Coaches spend a great deal of time organizing entries and a single late or no-show swimmer can have a tremendous impact on the flow of the meet. This is especially important when it comes to relays where other members of the relay team are counting on a swimmer’s presence.
Upon arrival at the meet, swimmers should immediately check in with their Tent Parent. Check-in times will be listed on the website.
Please be on time. This allows plenty of time to get organized and attend mandatory warm ups. Warm ups are especially important for 11 and up swimmers at away meets because it is their only chance to gauge their turns in an unfamiliar pool before competition.
Younger swimmers should be accompanied by an adult to all meets; please do not drop them off.
swimmers tents – set by age group
We provide tents for our swimmers and the assigned “Tent Parents.” Swimmers are advised to sit in their respective age group tents where their Tent Parent will be responsible for getting them to the ready bench on time to swim their events.* While in their tents, swimmers should be on best behavior, and use the time in between events to rest and play quietly. Families should NOT set up in swimmers tents.
*The exception to this is Invitational Meets, where it is the parent’s responsibility to get swimmers to their events on time.
PARENT SET-UP and VOLUNTEER CHECK IN
Although most parents will be volunteering during meets, there will be some down time. There is plenty of space for parents to set up tents, chairs etc. Parents can watch their children swim from the stands and then read, socialize or even pick up an extra volunteer stint in-between! Once you have your swimmer set up, please be sure to check in for your volunteer shift at the Volunteer Check-In table. You must check in to get credit for your shift.
Swimmers can check the website prior to the meet to find out their entries. Typically at the meet, the Tent Parents will write entries on their swimmers’ arms. Swimmers should be aware of their event status at all times. The meet announcer will call which events are in progress and which are “on deck”. When their race is “on-deck,” swimmers should be at the ready bench where they will be placed in heat and lane positions. (For younger swimmers, Tent Parents will help them get to the ready bench on time; however, it is important that they stay in their assigned swimmer tents at all times so this can occur properly). Swimmers who miss the final ready bench call for their event will be scratched from that event.
All families are encouraged to stay for the entire meet to cheer our Stingrays on to victory! However, if you must leave, please advise the coach and your Tent Parent. Also, please make sure your child is not on a relay before leaving a meet.
Participants in NWAL meets may display insignia for the NWAL team for which they are swimming only. They may NOT display insignia or other items that represent other swimming organizations or they will be disqualified. We encourage swimmers to wear SCST suits and caps to appropriately represent the team.
WHAT TO BRING TO A MEET
Results & Records
Results and records will be posted to the website on the Sunday following the meet (home meets) and as soon as they are received from the opposing team (away meets). The website archives all historical meet results, so now they are only a mouse-click away
Scoring & Awards
Points are awarded for the top three finishers in each individual event for each age group, as well as the top relay finishers. The points are as follows:
1st Place - 7 points
2nd Place - 5 points
3rd Place - 4 points
4th Place – 3 points
5th Place – 2 points
6th Place – 1 Point
1st Place – 7 points
2nd Place – 3 points
Note: A team may only score relay points for one place. If one teams wins both 1st and 2nd place then only 1st place (7 points) shall we awarded.
SCST will award ribbons to swimmers finishing 1st through 6th place in individual events, and to the 1st – 3rd relay team winners at our home meets.
Time Improvement Ribbons
Every swimmer 10 & under who improves over their best time in a given event will receive a Time Improvement Ribbon. Please note that:
Place and Time Improvement ribbons will be handed out during practice or placed in your Family File Folder at the practice pool (see the “SCST Team Communications” section at the end of this document for more information about the Family File Folder).
Individual heat ribbons noting the event and swimmers’ time will be handed out to all swimmers age 10 and under from each participating team. Scribes will hand out heat ribbons as the swimmer exits the pool after their heat.
SCST Swim Practice
Regular Season Practice
Practices are offered Tuesday – Friday at the Longwood Bend pool, Longwood Bend @ Louetta. For a complete practice schedule, please visit our website at http://scst.swim-team.us
Swimmers are expected to attend practice at least three times per week unless excused by the coaching staff. Please notify the coach if your swimmer will not be at practice for an extended period of time.
Divisionals Swim Practice
Practice will be held for those swimmers entering the Divisional Meet only; no exceptions. Practice will be held at the Longwood Bend pool; schedule will be posted on the website as soon as it is available.
Invitationals Swim Practice
Practice will be held for those swimmers entering Invitationals Meets only; no exceptions. Practice will be held at the Longwood Bend pool; schedule will be posted on the website as soon as it is available.
SCST Rain Policy
Practices: Some practices will continue despite rain, but we will NOT conduct practices if there is thunder or lightning. Use your judgment as a parent when deciding whether to send your swimmer to practice in the rain.
Meets: Under NWAL rules, the home team bears responsibility of deciding whether to postpone a meet due to inclement weather. Often, meets are simply delayed until later in the day. Even if it is raining heavily and shows no sign of letting up, assume the meet WILL be held. When you arrive at the meet, check in with your age group coordinator as usual; they will advise you of cancellations or delays.
Practice and meet cancellations will be posted on the website at http://scst.swim-team.us/
SCST Parent Volunteers & Job Descriptions
The Spring Cypress Stingray Swim Team is a Parent Volunteer run organization and it is essential that Parents provide volunteer hours to support the required needs to run a swim meet at both Home and Away meets.
ALL PARENTS are required to contribute their time EACH WEEK YOUR CHILD SWIMS in order for your swimmer(s) to participate on our team. Rest assured, volunteer positions allow enough flexibility for parents to watch their childrens’ swim events.
Below is a description of all the positions that must be filled in order for the swim season to run smoothly. Positions are divided into four categories:
Tent Set Up/Breakdown
In addition to the permanent positions outlined below, we have meet set up and breakdown at each meet to set up the items needed for each meet including age group tents, ready benches, lane ropes, chairs, etc. It is SCST policy that Meet Set Up does not count as your regular volunteer position. It is an extra function in which ALL swim parents are expected to participate. A schedule will be posted at the beginning of the season.
These positions are typically manned by experienced parents who lead a group of parent volunteers.
Clerk of Course
Manages, configures, and maintains the computer system for the meet software programs. Helps the coaches seed the meets, imports/exports program data to support meet configuration, result analysis, report generation and other team activities. Generates Heat Sheet master.
Head Tent Parent
Interfaces with all the age group Tent Parent to make sure they understand their roles and responsibilities. Send out tips, reminders, best practices and other important emails.
Head Team Spirit
This volunteer is responsible for communicating with and coordinating the efforts of the Fun Friday and Pep Rally crew. The teams usually has three Fun Fridays and a Pep rally prior to Divisionals.
Head Team Party
This volunteer is responsible for communicating with and coordinating the end of season Team Party crew. Also – interfaces with Board to make key decisions. Tasks include selecting location, food, trophies, season DVD, and coaches gifts. Also responsible to party ticket sales.
Head Equipment Manager
This volunteer is responsible for transporting tent equipment to both home and away meets; also organizes and oversees the tent set-up and break-down teams.
Volunteers “on-deck” help move swimmers smoothly between the Ready Bench, Lane Chairs and back. Head On Deck oversees these volunteers and manages volunteer shifts.
Head Ready Bench
Ready Bench volunteers use color-coded lane cards to sort swimmers at the Ready Bench into their assigned events, heats and lanes. Head Ready Bench oversees these volunteers, manages volunteer shifts and ensures event heats flow smoothly.
Runners stand near scribes, collect timing paperwork as it is completed, organize it into lane order and deliver to the computer crew for entry into the computer system. Head Runner oversees these volunteers and manages volunteer shifts. This volunteer also distributes necessary paperwork to the Ready Bench, On-Deck, Scribes, Officials and Coaches and posts swimmer results during the meet.
Timers time swimmers during the meet; scribes write down times for entry into the computer system. The Head Timer/Scribe is responsible for ensuring all timer/scribe positions are filled in during the meet and for managing timer/scribe shift changes during the meet. They are also responsible for running back-up stopwatches during the meet in the event of a stopwatch malfunction in any lane.
Head Referee and Officials
This volunteer has total responsibility for making sure a meet is run fairly for ALL swimmers and makes sure starting equipment is in proper working order before each meet. They answer all questions concerning procedures and rules and help recruit new officials and get them certified.
Head Concessions is responsible for managing the concessions menu and pricing, maintaining concessions inventory, getting equipment and food to and from meets, storing equipment and dry-goods and managing the concessions volunteers and shift changes.
Head Team Store
Head Team Store is responsible for selecting and pricing team store items, working with vendors, maintaining inventory, managing the ordering process, operating the team store during practice and meets and managing and scheduling team store volunteers.
This person is responsible for promoting, obtaining and/or managing sponsors; obtaining logo artwork for display on the website; creating Spirit Ads and order forms; managing the Spirit Ads ordering process and creating the Spirit Ads page for the Heat Sheet.
Head Baby Ray
This person is the team’s liaison with new swim team families. She is responsible for getting to know new families and making sure they get integrated into the team. Is a resource for questions, concerns, guidance, etc. Ideally, this position is filled by a team leader with young children. Reports to Volunteer Coordinator.
This volunteer helps organize the team and swimmers for Invitationals meets. Includes securing Invitationals information and posting on the website; communicating information to team; collecting payment and coordinating entries with Invitationals sponsor.
Meet Starters and Referee
The starter and referee are officials trained by NWAL who announce and start the events. They judge all starts, finishes, and exchanges. They also judge all strokes and call false starts. They are responsible for any challenges that may arise during the meet.
Stroke & Turn Judges
At each meet, both the home and visiting teams provide stroke, turn, and finish judges. These judges watch the swimmers during their events, judge whether or not their strokes and turns are swum correctly, disqualify swimmers for incorrect strokes and turns, and, in the process, help swimmers learn their strokes and improve their technique. This is a very important position and requires NWAL training.
The computer crew supports the Clerk of Course. They run entry reports prior to the meet, exchange them with the competing team and run the team computers during the meet. They print seed time sheets to be delivered to scribes and swimmer assignment sheets to be delivered to ready bench and officials. They enter swimmers’ official times as they are delivered by the runners. They run reports of meet results and provide them to (1) the ribbon crew for place and time improvement ribbons and (2) communications for posting on the website.
This volunteer coordinates the various pieces of information that need to be entered into computer to score and process the meet. This includes timing lane sheets and disqualification sheets, getting them in proper order and providing them to the computer operator in and orderly fashion.
Runners distribute sheets containing heat and swimmer info to scribes, then collect completed sheets, keep them organized and deliver them to the computer team for official entry.
The On-Deck crew takes the swimmers from ready bench to lane chair or blocks and ensures they remain in the correct lanes and heat order. On-Deck is also responsible to making sure the relay teams stay in the proper order and line up on the correct end of the pool for their event.
These individuals work as a team; timers use stopwatches to time swimmers in a given lane and report those times to the scribes who record them.
These volunteers police the deck, enforcing rules to keep swimmers safe and making sure to limit the deck area to meet officials, key volunteers and swimmers.
Sits at Team Store on deck, ready to provide any necessary first aid attention. Must be trained medical professional. Also, distributes awards to swimmers during the meet.
DAY OF MEET HELPERS
We need many parents in this area. Most of these jobs are worked in two shifts on the day of a meet. The early shift starts at check-in and goes until the end of the 6 & Under Backstroke (Event 26). The second shift goes from the end of the first shift until the end of the meet.
Concessions sales are a major source of income for our team. The concessions team is responsible for delivering concessions equipment and dry-goods items from the storage unit to the meet, setting up and breaking down the concessions stand, working the stand during the meet and delivering equipment and dry goods back to the storage unit. They will work with food and money and must have patience with long lines and kids. Volunteers must be able to either arrive at the meet early to set up or stay until the end of the meet to break down. There are three sign up options within Concessions:
This job requires being on your feet for several hours for some fast paced well-organized fun. It is critical to get the kids in each age group organized for each heat in order and lined up ready to swim. Using the master meet program, the Ready Bench crew arranges swimmers in the proper event, heat and lane in the ready bench area. How well this job is done determines how fast paced the meet will be. A loud voice (the kind that will pump the kids up) and patience are a must.
Tent Parents/Age Group Coordinators
These volunteers manage a group of swimmers of the same gender and age group during the meet. They are responsible for; checking in swimmers; communicating absences to the Head Tent Parent; ensuring swimmers know their events; escorting swimmers to the Ready Bench in a timely and organized manner when their events are called; and assisting the Ready Bench as they seat the swimmers. They remain with swimmers in the Age Group Tents between events and ensure swimmers are picked up following the meet – a critical function because many parents are working the meets and cannot watch their swimmers in the tents.
BEHIND THE SCENES HELPERS
These parent volunteers organize and coordinate important Stingray events, such as Pep Rallies, Fun Fridays, Team Socials and the End-of-Season Party.
Announcers broadcast event information throughout the entire duration of the meet to assist AGCs and swimmers in getting to their events on time. They also make any other necessary announcement throughout the meet. They are responsible for the transportation, set-up/break-down and maintenance of announcing equipment.
“Place” Ribbons Coordinators
These volunteers work in the clubroom during the entire meet. Using labels generated by the Computer crew, they are responsible for creating ribbons for both teams during home meet and for organizing the ribbons for easy delivery by the coaches during practice.
“Time Improvement” Ribbon Coordinators
Following each meet the Clerk of Course prints individual swimmer time improvement labels. These volunteers are responsible for cutting ribbons, affixing stickers, placing ribbons in the Family File Folders.
Team Record Board
These volunteers are responsible for acknowledging Stingrays swimmers who break team records. This includes creating and maintaining event placards posted at the Longwood Bend practice pool and creating/distributing personalized Stingrays certificates. This function is completed by the Place Ribbons Coordinators.
These volunteers assist the Head Team Store in taking team orders and delivering merchandise. They are responsible for sales shifts at registration, practices and meets.
These individuals are responsible for planning, implementing and hosting Fun Fridays and Pep Rallies.
End-Of-Season/Awards Party Coordinator
This volunteer reports to Head Team Party and is responsible for planning, implementing and hosting the Stingrays Awards Party, including venue, food/drink, and awards. The Awards Party is typically held in late June/early July to celebrate the conclusion of the season. This volunteer is also responsible for collecting donations and purchasing an appropriate gift for coaches, student volunteers and other areas of special recognition.
This volunteer must have flexibility and the ability to jump in anywhere. Reports to Volunteer Coordinator and fills in for any last minute no-shows. May also lend a hand to a busy area.
Volunteer Check In
This person is responsible for checking in volunteers as they report to duty for their Day-of-Meet job. Volunteer Coordinator will publish master schedule from which Check In crew can manage volunteers and track down workers failing to report in for shift.
These volunteers photograph swimmers during meets, upload to online sites and provide links to the Communications Manager for posting on the website.
This individual coordinates the swim pictures that are taken of each swimmer at the start of the season, and coordinates the ordering and payment process for swim families.
SCST Team Communications
Our website is our main source of communication with the team. It is updated regularly, so please check often at http://scst.swim-team.us/
Individual Family Communications & Key Events
There will be a Family File Cabinet out during each practice. Inside is a folder for each family, as well as folders that will be used for two-way communication for key team activities. Team communications to your individual family may be found in your family file folder (i.e. notes from coaches, swim ribbons, etc.). Please check your folder often!
SCST Team Website System “Cheat Sheet”