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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

In accordance with policy established (and modified from time to time) by the Preserve HOA, the Preserve Piranhas Swim Team and its Junior Piranhas program are typically open to both residents of the Preserve and non-residents, although this policy may change at any time in the sole discretion of the Preserve HOA. Priority with respect to registration capacity will always be given to Preserve residents, hence non-residents may be asked to register on a space-available basis. In the event of capacity restrictions, returning non-resident applicant families will be given 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 families must be sponsored by a current Preserve resident to register. The resident sponsor is someone who currently lives in the neighborhood and will take responsibility for the applicant family vis-a-vis adherence to Preserve HOA, team and pool guidelines. 

Non-resident participants agree to comply with policies and procedures established and updated from time to time by the Preserve HOA and/or the Preserve Piranhas Executive Board. Please note that non-residents will be expected to leave the pool facility promptly following the conclusion of team practice and meets, unless invited as a guest of (and accompanied by) a Preserve resident or if taking a private swim lesson with a Piranhas coach. The pool's standard guest policy will be enforced.

Please note the following RMSL rules affecting swimmer eligibility:

  1. In accordance with RMSL policy, non-residents must reside in a neighborhood without a swim team as a prerequisite for joining an RMSL team in a different neighborhood.
  2. The age category in which your child will swim is defined by your child’s age on June 1st ("age-up date").
  3. 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 Executive Board will 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 are reviewed and set annually by the Executive Board in its sole discretion and are subject to change at any time.

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

Executive Board

The Executive Board was first assembled in September 2008 to improve communications and manage the growth of the Preserve swim team. The board members are parent volunteers responsible for hiring and managing team coaches, developing a team budget and orchestrating season events and communications.  Please contact the Executive Board with any questions or concerns.

Coaching Staff

The coaches are directly responsible for all activity that occurs at the pool once practice begins and at all meets. The coaching staff has no responsibility for general administrative activities other than meet entries. You may contact an individual Parent Rep or Volunteer Coordinator with administrative or volunteer questions.

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 need to speak to a coach, please wait until practices have concluded.

If your child will not be able to attend a meet that they already signed up for, please notify the Head Coach or a Parent Rep as soon as possible. No-shows at swim meets can cause significant issues at meets, particularly for relay events.

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 be restricted from future meet or season registration.
  • 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. Aside from this handbook, most communication with parents will take place via team website and email. The team website contains important information needed during the season. You are responsible for monitoring the website, taking note of upcoming events and communicating with your coaches for planned absences. Please check the swim team website and your e-mail frequently for new or updated 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:

  • Swimsuit
  • Water Bottle
  • Goggles
  • Fins (ages 9 and older)
  • Dry land (if scheduled by coach): athletic shoes and shorts

Swim Meets

Our meet schedule is established yearly by RMSL and typically consists of

  • one preseason, intrasquad practice meet
  • five regular season meets (dual or tri meets)
  • Prelims week (one meet per age group; all swimmers invited); 
  • Championship Finals meet (must qualify at Prelims)

The season typically finishes in mid-July.

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' fundraising efforts 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 your swimmer's name.

Please notify a coach or Parent Rep as soon as possible if you are running late or will not be able to attend as scheduled. Note that last minute changes often cause meet delays and scratches of entire relay teams.

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 online in the Swimmingly Clubhouse (account signup & swimmer registration required) and typically 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). In the Swimmingly Clubhouse, you will declare your (swimmer's) attendance for the meet and select preferred swim events (note that the Head Coach may override these preferences). A registration reminder will be emailed on a weekly basis during the season. Swimmers will be informed which events they'll be swimming prior to each meet.

A swimmer can swim in a maximum of three individual events and two relays per meet. 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 are not met 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.

Further, 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. If questions remain, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator..

Volunteer Shifts

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.

Volunteer Role Descriptions

  • Setup:  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. 
  • Concessions-Setup:  Starts at 6:30am. Works with the Concession Chair to get the concession stand setup for the day. 
  • Concessions-Operations:  Works the concession stand- selling food, collecting money and restocking as necessary. Coordinates with Treasurer. 
  • Tear Down:  At the conclusion of each home meet, all items need to be taken down, folded and stored in their proper locations. All trash picked up and lost and found items collected. All pool furniture must be returned to their pre-meet locations. 

Meet Execution 

  • Check-in:  Starts at 6:30am. 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 
  • Timer:  Just as it sounds, you will be timing each race within a meet (shift 1, 2 or 3). Must download the Swimmingly app on phone. Must attend 7:30 a.m. timers meeting on meet day regardless of assigned shift. Make sure your phone is fully charged. 
  • Stroke Judge:  Ensures all competitors are properly executing the identified stroke for each race. 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. This is full year position. Desire to have a total of 7 stroke judges, with 4 stroke judges needed for each meet (6 needed for 3 team meet, only one this season).
  • Heating:  Organize the swimmers in the chairs in the heating area according to the event, lane and heat that they will be swimming. 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. 
  • Floater:  Volunteer support person who passes out water to volunteers, assist in miscellaneous meet operations, fill empty shifts, and supports whatever the Volunteer Coordinator and/or Meet Manager needs 
  • False Start Jumper (Home Meets Only):  Role sits in the lifeguard chairs and drops flag and/or jumps in the pool to stop swimmers when a false start is called. Home meets only (including intrasquad).
  • Prize Table (Home Meets Only):  A full meet role. Distributes prizes/ducks to winners. Home meets only (no intrasquad role).


  • Board Secretary/Webmaster:  Manages and oversees team website & communications. Board Seat. 
  • Parent Reps (2):  Coordinates with other teams' parent reps regarding meet details, handles protests, provides parents with team information. Get stickers from Meet Manager after each meet and assign them to the proper ribbons and organize them in the family files. Board Seat. Deliver donuts for the entire team on Friday morning to the pool by 9AM. 
  • Treasurer:  Manages the team finances and bank account. Board Seat.
  • Volunteer Coordinator:  Coordinates and oversees all volunteers - full-season and meet. Responsible for miscellaneous meet day preparations. Board Seat.
  • Clerk of the Course, Starter Referee & Announcer:  Oversees home meets. Ensures that the home meets runs smoothly - set up, host other team, heating coordinator, swimmers are in the proper line up and ready once they are in position in the chairs on the deck behind the starting blocks. Start each event, referee technical stroke, start, turn, and finish conflicts during meet if these should arise Communicate meet information and announce events in the water and in heating. RMSL training requirement.  
  • Apparel Chair:  Coordinates design, choices, and ordering for team items (suits, caps, other logo apparel, coaches shirts). 
  • Big Fish Little Fish Coordinator:  Pairs older swimmers up with younger ones for team spirit activities and fun! Role typically filled by a senior member of the swim team. 
  • Social Event Coordinator:  Coordinates social events including Pancakes & Pictures and end-of-season banquet. 
  • Meet Manager:  Coordinates home meets and with the away team creating meet program, swimmer line up, posting of meet results and DQ report. 
  • Registration Coordinator:  Coordinates swimmer registration and sign-up process through team website.

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 4-6, though exceptions are sometimes made.

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: At the close of the season, we will celebrate with a fun banquest at the pool. 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 league pool. 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 will be submitted to the League prior to a set deadline each year. 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. These times are used to seed them in a heat of swimmers with similar times. The team pays a fee per swimmer (per individual and relay entry) registered to swim Prelims. Please let your coach know prior to Prelims if your swimmer will not be able to attend Finals.


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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