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Team Handbook

Welcome to the Preserve Piranhas Swim Team!

The purpose of this handbook is to help you, as parents, gain an understanding of what is required of you and your child throughout the swim season. The Preserve Piranhas Swim Team is a member of and governed by Rocky Mountain Swim League (RMSL).

Eligibility and Non-Resident Policy

The Preserve Piranhas Swim Team and its Junior Piranhas program are open to both residents of the Preserve and non-residents.  Per RMSL policy, non-resident Piranhas swimmers must reside in a neighborhood without a neighborhood pool and team.  Note that non-residents will be registered on a space-available basis, with priority given to Preserve residents. Returning non-resident applicant families will have priority over new non-resident applicant families. Consideration will also be given to sibling status (i.e., non-resident applicants with siblings as active members of the Piranhas). Non-resident participants must also agree to comply with policies and procedures established and updated from time to time by the Preserve HOA and the Preserve Piranhas Managing Board.

Non-resident families are required to have a Preserve resident sponsor in order to register for the team. The resident sponsor is someone who currently lives in the neighborhood and will take responsibility for your family adhering to the guidelines dictated by the Preserve HOA. Please note that non-residents may not stay at the pool after swim team practice and meets have concluded. The only exception to this will be if they are a guest of a Preserve resident and that resident is at the pool with them or if they are taking a private swim lesson with one of the coaches. The pool's standard guest policy will be enforced.

Please note the following RMSL rules affecting swimmer eligibility:

  1. The age category in which your child will swim is defined by your child’s age on June 1st ("age-up date").
  2. RMSL requires swimmers to compete in at least two regular swim meets to be eligible for Prelims and Finals.

The registration and admissions process shall be managed by the Executive Board in its sole discretion, in accordance with HOA policies and guidance. While the Board shall strive, on a best efforts basis, to follow the above-mentioned admissions methodology, team applicants and members shall hold the Executive Board harmless for any errors, omissions, or other decisions made during or in conjunction with the registration and admissions processes.

The Preserve Piranhas Swim Team, its volunteer and paid staff, and its team members shall conduct their programs, services and activities without regard to race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, genetic information, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, or veteran status.


Registration fees for both Piranhas & Junior Piranhas programs will be reviewed and set annually by the Swim Team Board in their own discretion. 

Please note that these fee amounts are subject to change.

We operate as a nonprofit organization with all of our revenues coming from participant’s registration fees. The major expenses include equipment maintenance, coaches’ salaries, ribbon and trophy costs, social events, computer software and other supplies needed for meet operations.

No parent representative or volunteer receives any payment for any services, other than reimbursement for swim team costs which have been pre-approved by the Parent Rep or Volunteer Coordinator.

Executive Board

An Executive Board was assembled in September 2008, to improve communications and manage the growth of the Preserve swim team. The board is comprised of five voting members and one non-voting member. The board members are responsible for hiring and managing team coaches, developing a team budget and orchestrating the season details. Contact information for our Executive Board members can be found under the "Volunteers" menu tab above.

Coaching Staff

The coaches are directly responsible for all activity that occurs at the pool once practice begins and at all meets. If your child will not be able to attend a meet that they signed up for, please notify the Head Coach or Parent Rep as soon as possible. No shows at swim meets cause significant time delays. The coaching staff has no responsibility for general administrative activities other than meet entry issues. Please call the Parent Reps or Volunteer Coordinator for administrative or volunteer questions and/or concerns. Contact information can be found on the Coaches menu tab above.

NOTE: The time stated for practice is short and intense and the coaches need to give their full attention to the swimmers during this time. If you have questions for the coaches, please discuss them after all practices have concluded.

Parent Responsibilities

  • Abide by the Parent Code of Conduct as published on this website.
  • Per pool policy, no children under 10 may be left unattended at the pool including practice times.
  • Parents (or appointed adult) of registered swimmers must fulfill volunteer requirements prior to the start of Prelims meets. More information can be found under the “Volunteering at Meets” section.
  • Parents of swimmers attending Prelims and/or Finals must fulfill additional volunteer shifts at those meets.
  • If your volunteer requirements are not met for the season, your family will not be permitted to enroll for the next season, and the Board reserves the right to scratch the family from future meets.
  • If you need to discuss an issue with a coach, please wait until after practice to do so. Parents should not interfere with coaching at any time during practice. Should you have an urgent issue, please contact a member of the Executive Board

Swimmer Responsibilities

  • Swimmers are expected to be on time for all practices, meets and events and behave in an appropriate manner.
  • All swimmers will be required to attend at least 10 practices and participate in at least two swim meets. Swimmers need to attend at least one practice on meet weeks. Please alert the Head Coach if you are unable to attend at least one practice during a given week.
  • Swimmers are expected to be polite and courteous to all swim team members, coaching staff and pool personnel at all times.
  • Swimmers are expected to follow the direction of all coaches and the rules of the pool.
  • Most of all, swimmers are expected to come to practice with a smile, ready to have FUN!


E-mail and Team Website. Our team typically consists of more than 100 swimmers and approximately 65 families. Aside from this handbook, virtually all communication with parents will take place via our website or email. The team website contains important information needed during the season. You are responsible for viewing the website, taking note of any upcoming events and communicating with your coaches if you will not be at practice and/or meets. Check the swim team website and your e-mail for any new postings and information. For information on the Rocky Mountain Swim League, please visit their website.


Each season we have team suits, spirit wear and equipment available for purchase through a local vendor . Information regarding the order of team suits will be posted on the team website prior to each season.

Required equipment:

  • Water Bottle
  • Goggles
  • Fins
  • Dry land: athletic shoes and shorts

Swim Meets

The Preserve Piranhas Swim Team follows the RMSL dual/tri meet schedule, typically consisting of five meets, plus one or more intrasquad meets in some years.  Prelims and Finals meets will follow the conclusion of the dual meet schedule, with the season typically wrapping up in mid-July.  The exact schedule will be posted on the Piranhas website prior to the season. 

Dual/tri swim meets are generally held on Saturday mornings, beginning promptly at 8:00 am and usually lasting until 1-2 pm. Swimmers need to arrive well in advance of the meet start, in time for warm-up (optional but encouraged) and the meet scratch deadline (mandatory).  Precise meet timeline/instructions will be distributed to team members prior to each meet.  Swimmers should bring extra towels, sunscreen, healthy snacks, water and sleeping bags to stay warm (in the early hours). Concessions are available for purchase at all meets and we encourage you to support the home teams with their fundraiser by purchasing concessions. Games or other activities for your child to play with during the meet are encouraged as well. Please label all personal items with the swimmer's name.

Please notify a coach or Parent Rep as soon as possible should your child not be able to attend a meet at the last minute. Note that last minute changes often cause meet delays and re-alignment of relays.

Warm-Up Schedule

Pre-meet warmup for swimmers will typically be at 6:45am (home meets) or 7:15am (away meets), although precise meet timeline/instructions will be distributed to team members prior to each meet. Participation in warm-up is strongly encouraged. Not only does it “get their blood flowing,” it also allows the coaches to identify who is NOT at that meet, thus requiring them to “scratch” the missing swimmer from their respective events and replace them with a substitute.

Weekly Meet Registration and Event Selection

Swimmers (or parents) must self-register for each meet.  This registration takes place on the Piranhas website and must be completed no later than 12:00 noon on the Wednesday prior to each meet. To register, open the Piranhas' website, then click on the specific meet event as listed in the Calendar of Events (on the home page or through the Swimmers menu tab above). You will then declare your (swimmer's) attendance for the meet and select preferred swim events. A registration reminder will be emailed on a weekly basis during the season. The coaches will make every effort to balance entries based on each swimmer’s preferred events as well as events the coaches believe a swimmer will do well in. Swimmers will be informed towards the end of the week which events they will be swimming.

“Heat sheets” will be emailed the night before the meet and will be posted the day of the swim meet. Check these sheets to see what events your child is swimming. A swimmer can swim in a maximum of three individual events and two relays. Heating generally occurs 8-10 minutes prior to the running of that event. We ask that ALL swimmers stay under the team tent during the meet. "Heating" volunteers will not know all the swimmers and it can be quite difficult to locate swimmers if they are not under the tent. Heaters will not search for a swimmer who is not under the team tent.

How and Why Meets are Judged

We are a recreational swim team, however, a swimmer’s accuracy in executing a stroke is judged in order to make competition fair for all swimmers. Stroke judges are required by the RMSL to disqualify (DQ) swimmers who are not swimming a stroke correctly, regardless of age or ability. If a swimmer is allowed to continually swim a stroke incorrectly, he or she may become (a) unfairly advantaged over other contestants, (b) less motivated to correct the strokes, and (c) likely to suffer additional disqualifications in later years (when it becomes more challenging to correct the bad stroke technique).

RMSL encourages stroke judges to err on the side of the swimmer; when in doubt they are to rule in favor of the swimmer.

If you or your swimmer would like to learn more about how strokes are officiated (and grounds for disqualification), USA Swimming has produced a series of videos for training and education of meet officials. 


Not only do we want to promote better swimmers, but also good sportsmanship. Cheering on others during their race is encouraged. Good sportsmanship is seen when swimmers turn to the person beside them after a race and congratulate them on a good race.


As a spectator, please stay behind the ropes around the pool deck. The Starter/Referee, Stroke Judges, Scribe, Clerk of the Course, Timers, Runners, and Coaches are all busy doing their jobs inside the ropes. We ask that you cooperate and encourage you to cheer on your swimmers from behind the ropes!

RMSL Weather Policy

Practice and Meets will be held if the air temperature is 55 degrees or above and it is not thundering or lightning. If in doubt, please check the website or pool gate for a posted sign. As the parent, you may of course make the final decision whether your child should swim or not based on current weather conditions.


Ribbons are given to Piranha swimmers who finish First through Seventh place. Ribbons are not awarded for any place or event if a swimmer gets disqualified (DQ). Ribbons can be picked up by the swimmers the week after the meet in the family file box at our pool.

Parent Volunteer Responsibilities

Swim meets are run solely by volunteers. A dual home meet requires 40+ adult volunteers. As part of participating in the swim team program, parents must fulfill two volunteer shifts per swimmer per regular season.

We also need shifts filled during the Prelims and Finals meets. All parent with swimmers attending those meets are required to volunteer for a shift. If your regular season requirements prior to the start of Prelims meets, you will be expected to fulfill those requirements at Prelims or Finals regardless of whether or not your swimmer is swimming. Fulfilling your regular season requirements at the Prelims/Finals meets does not exempt you from fulfilling your additional shifts for those meets if your child is swimming.

If your current volunteer requirements are not met by the end of the season, your family will not be permitted to enroll for the next year's season. Additionally, the Preserve Piranha Board reserves the right to scratch swimmers if Parent Volunteer responsibilities are not met or missed during the season.

If you are volunteering for the first shift of the day, it is important that you are at your position at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the meet. Stroke Judges, Referee/Starter and Timers should arrive half an hour before the meet regardless of which shift is being worked. Check in with the Volunteer Coordinator prior to taking your position. Stroke Judges, Starter/Referee and Meet Manager are the only positions that require specific training/clinic attendance ahead of the start of the season, in accordance with RMSL policy. The volunteer positions are further explained in the team website.  If questions remain, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator..

Volunteer Positions

Shift Times: Please check in for your shift with the Volunteer Coordinator 10 minutes prior to your shift time.

  • First Shift: 7:45 am-10:00 am or until event 45
  • Second Shift: Starting at event 46 or 10:00 am until the end of the meet
  • Note that shift time may be different for tri-meets, prelims and finals.

Job Descriptions

Announcer: The announcer is the emcee of the event, ensuring that all meet information is communicated effectively. Announces upcoming events to call swimmers to the heating tent, watches the deck and heating personnel for announcements and keeps a good pace.

Check In Assistant:  Arrive by 6:40am to help check-in swimmers and volunteers, ensure all swimmers have event number, heat number and lane number on arm. Distribute volunteer name tags and supplies.

Clerk of the Course: Ensure swimmers are in in the proper lineup to keep the meet running efficiently.

Computer Scorer Assistant:  Assist the Data Entry/scoring volunteer at the home meets by reading the results from the timing sheets.

Data Entry/Scoring:  Duties include entering swimmers’ times into the computer, sending meet results to the RMSL computer rep for posting, printing and posting all results on the swim team bulletin board.

Heating:  These volunteers organize the swimmers in the chairs in the heating area according to the event, lane and heat that they will be swimming. All swimmers should be under the team tent and in their chairs when their event is being heated. Heaters are NOT responsible for looking for swimmers. If swimmers are not in the tent area when their event is heated, they will be scratched from the event.

Heating Coordinator:  This job oversees all of heating, including Heating volunteers.

Runner:  The Runner takes the timing sheets from the timers on deck after each race and delivers them to the scoring table.

Setup: Set up for home meets usually starts at 6:00 pm the Friday night prior to a Saturday meet. It includes setup of the heating tent and chairs, ropes around the pool, flags over the pool, data entry area, and tables for the Starter and Volunteer Check-in.

Scribe: The Scribe is an important position at meets, recording disqualifications as called by Stroke Judges (SJ) and communicating those to the computer operator. Specifically, when a DQ is announced over the headset radio, the Scribe would go to the SJ, record the proper DQ code on paper, then take that record to the computer operator at the Scorer’s table. The Scribe role thus enables the SJ to maintain a continuous focus on races in progress, while the Referee still listens over the radio and can approve or overturn calls. Given the requisite DQ codes used to record stroke violations, it is highly recommended that persons volunteering for the Scribe position attend at least an initial/beginner SJ training session (typically 90-minute class conducted annually, at no charge, by RMSL personnel); please inquire for training dates/times.

Starter/Referee:  This volunteer must be a qualified Stroke Judge and is responsible for starting each event and refereeing conflicts that may occur during the meet. The Starter/Referee is required to complete RMSL training.

Stroke Judge:  Stroke Judges must attend a mandatory RMSL clinic prior to swim season. All Stroke Judges must attend a 7:30 am meeting prior to the swim meet regardless of the shift they are working that day. This position is recommended for seasoned parents or parents who were competitive swimmers.

Take Down/Trash Clean Up:  At the conclusion of each home meet, all items need to be taken down, folded and stored in their proper locations. All trash needs to be picked up and lost and found items collected. All pool furniture must be returned to their pre-meet locations.

Timers:  A Timer uses a team stopwatch to time each event for their lane, then writes the time for that swimmer or relay team on the timing sheet and gives the card to the “Runner”. If a swimmer is disqualified they write “DQ”. All Timers attend the 7:30 am meeting with the Stroke judges/Starter/Referee prior to each meet.

Private Swim Lessons

Any swim team parent (resident or non-resident) can arrange private swim lessons with any coach at the Preserve swimming pool. Arrangements need to be made directly with the coaches. Please work with your coach to determine rates.

Junior Piranhas (JP)

The Junior Piranhas program was established to provide a solid base of swim instruction for those neighborhood children who want to be part of the overall team but are still learning to swim or can't yet swim a full length of the pool. The program is generally limited to ages 3-6, though exceptions are sometimes made. It is the hope of the coaching staff that many of these Junior Piranhas will swim in their first meet as a member of the Piranhas by the end of the current season or the start of the next season.

Based on enrollment, three or four class times (25 minutes each) are typically offered between 9am and 11am. Junior Piranhas are encouraged and welcome to join in Monday fun days with parent supervision.

Space is limited so be sure to sign up soon! There will be a separate signup sheet for Junior Piranhas at registration. Note that Junior Piranha parents are required to perform volunteer shifts at non-meet, social events.

Team Building Events

Monday Fun Days: Mondays are considered a "fun" day for the kids and coaches. Each week, the coaches will plan fun events and activities to enjoy, including pool games and donuts.

Age Group Parties: There is one fun party planned for each age group throughout the season. See schedule for dates and times.

Pancake Breakfast: An annual favorite on team picture day! Coaches will cook up pancakes for the whole team after individual and team pictures. See schedule for date and time.

Awards Banquet and Movie Night: At the close of the season we will have a team banquet to celebrate the successful season. See event schedule for date and time.

Prelims & Finals

Preliminaries (“Prelims”)

RMSL organizes Prelims for each age group after the regular season to determine who will compete in the RMSL Finals. Prelims are for all swimmers in the League who have competed in at least two regular meets and met team practice requirements . Each age group has a meet at a pool in the league. Prelim swim meets begin at 8:00 AM. Usually swimmers will compete in their strongest events for Prelims. In mid-June, coaches will ask swimmers to indicate the events in which they would like to swim in Prelims. The goal is to give them the best chance to qualify for the RMSL Finals.

Entries for Prelims are due to the League by the end of June. The entry time for Prelims is determined by a swimmer’s fastest time at a regular dual meet prior to the League’s cut-off date. Generally, the fourth meet of the season is the final swim meet for a swimmer to post a qualifying time for Prelims. These times are used to seed them in a heat of swimmers with similar times. The team pays an entry fee for each swimmer registered to swim Prelims/Finals. If a swimmer will not be able to swim in Finals, please do not sign them up for Prelims.


The fastest 16 swimmers (+2 alternates) in each event at Prelims will qualify to participate in the RMSL Champrionship ("Finals") meet.

General Pool Rules

  • Children ages 10 and under, whether resident or non-resident, are not allowed to be at the pool without an adult at any time. 
  • Horseplay, disobeying lifeguards, bad language, etc. are all grounds to bar future access to the pool, as outlined within this policy at the strict discretion of the lifeguards, pool manager and/or any HOA Board member. 
  • Siblings are not allowed in the pool at any time before, during or after practice. Insurance may not cover any child that is not a member of the actual swim team. 
  • Non-resident swimmers are not allowed to bring guests except for family/caregivers of team swimmers. 
  • We want all non-resident swim team members to have a lot of fun. At the same time, bear in mind that The Preserve pool is maintained for the use of Preserve homeowners and their guests.
  • Please obey all other pool rules as posted and updated from time to time at the pool facility.
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The Preserve Piranhas Swim Team. All rights reserved.