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Team Handbook

Team Overview

The Crofton Village Swim Team (CVST) is a summer team that welcomes swimmers of all abilities and experience. Our goal is to provide every member an opportunity to improve swimming skills and achieve success at his or her level of ability, as part of a fun and supportive team.

Our team, the Crofton Village Dolphins, competes in the Central Maryland Swim League (CMSL). The meets are operated according to CMSL rules. Practices are held on weekdays, with swim meets on Saturday mornings, beginning in mid-June and continuing through July. All swim team events are held at the Nantucket pool.


Children ages 4 to 18 whose households have a full family membership in the Crofton Village Pool and Recreation Association (CVPRA) may join the team. Residents of the communities listed on the CVPRA website are automatically members; families who reside in other communities must purchase a seasonal membership before registering for the team. Swimmers remain eligible until age 18 or the summer season immediately after graduation from high school. In order to participate, children ages 8 and under must be able to swim one length of the 25-meter pool; children ages 9 and up must be able to swim two lengths of the pool.


Team members are assigned to age groups based on their age on May 30 of the current season. All swimmers are required by CMSL to compete in their own age groups. Age groups are as follows:

  • 6 & Under
  • 8 & Under
  • 9-10
  • 11-12
  • 13-14
  • 15-18


The Crofton Village Dolphins are supported financially by the Crofton Village Pool and Recreation Association, annual fees, and swim meet concession profits. However, the team’s most important resource is its volunteers. Competitive swimming requires the efforts of many people for the team to operate in a sportsmanlike and competitive manner. To encourage active participation by all families, a volunteer discount of $25 for five volunteer shifts is offered.


The following methods are used to communicate upcoming events, news, and general announcements:

  • Event information, requests for volunteers, and other non-urgent messages will be communicated via emails from coaches and staff, and listed on our website (www.croftonvillagedolphins.com) and the SwimTopia mobile app. Email messages are sent to all addresses associated with your account.
  • Time-sensitive information, such as weather alerts or pool issues that may lead to delay or cancellation of practices or meets will be communicated by email and via SwimTopia mobile app notifications. To make sure you receive any time-sensitive alerts, we encourage you to download the free SwimTopia mobile app and enable push notifications.


We follow pool rules regarding inclement weather. Practices and meets will be held in the rain unless:

  • The rain is hard enough that the bottom of the pool is not visible.
  • If thunder or lightning is observed, the pool will close until 30 minutes have passed since it was last seen or heard. We are required to clear the pool deck and pavilion under these circumstances.

If inclement weather occurs during a meet, the team representatives will make decisions regarding cancelling or rescheduling the meet in consultation with the meet official. Weather-related decisions will be emailed and sent as alerts through the SwimTopia mobile app.


Practices are held in the afternoon while Anne Arundel County Public Schools are in session, before moving to weekday mornings after school ends. Practice times are determined by age group and skill level. New swimmers ages 8 and under may start by practicing in the half-moon area of the pool, where a smaller coach-to-swimmer ratio helps younger swimmers master strokes and build confidence.


Evening practices are offered based on coach availability and are reserved primarily for those who have work, school, camp, or child care commitments during the day. Swimmers may attend evening practices for the entire season, or on an as-needed basis. Please notify the Head Coach in advance if your child needs to attend evening practice.


Practice time is shortened on Fridays to allow some time for fun! We end the week with goofy relays and water games (water polo is a favorite among the older groups), followed by a snack potluck. Both healthy and unhealthy options are available. Families are asked to contribute food and drinks. Needs for other items, including paper goods, will be communicated via email and signups.

Swim meets

Our season consists of six meets and three ‘post-season’ events:

  • We begin with an in-house/time trials meet. Think of this as the swim equivalent of a preseason game. It is an excellent opportunity for new families to get a feel for how a meet operates, and it helps our returning families get back in the groove.
  • Our regular season consists of five dual meets. We will host 2-3 each season, and travel to other pools for the remaining meets.
  • Our ‘post-season’ consists of three meets:
    • Divisional Championships: The top swimmers from each team in our division participate in this event. Selections are made based on each swimmer’s best times from the current season. Team members must swim in at least two regular-season meets in order to participate in Divisionals. Qualifiers are limited to a maximum of three events plus a relay.
    • Cameron Diamond Invitational (nicknamed the Novice Meet): Eligibility for this meet is restricted to swimmers who did not qualify for the Divisional Championships. This meet doubles as a fundraiser for Johns Hopkins Hospital and is held at Crofton Swim and Tennis.
    • Straehle Invitational: Swimmers from all over the Central Maryland Swim League participate in this meet, with eligibility determined by qualifying times. Competitors must swim in at least two regular-season meets and must swim a time that is equal to or faster than the qualifying time specified by the league.


All swimmers must RSVP for swim meets using the signup calendar on the team website, no later than the Tuesday prior to the meet. Within the app or on the website, locate the meet on the events calendar and select yes or no for each of your swimmers. Swimmers who have not RSVP’d that they will attend a meet will not be placed in the lineup. If you will have to leave an event early or have any requests or questions regarding which events a swimmer has been entered in, contact the Head Coach by email. All decisions regarding event entries are made by the Head Coach.


  • Our pool is a short-course meter (SCM) pool, which means one length of the pool equals 25 meters. For meets, the pool is divided into six lanes using lane lines. Lanes are numbered 1-6, with numbers visible on the starting blocks and at the far end of the pool.
  • All events begin at the starting blocks, located on the end of the pool in front of the gazebo. Diving in from the blocks is optional — swimmers can also stand next to the starting blocks and dive in from the side of the pool. Younger team members sometimes opt to start from the side until they build confidence.
  • Backstroke flags are strung across the pool, 5 meters from each end. In practice, swimmers learn to use the flags to judge the remaining distance to the wall by counting the number of strokes it takes them to get from the flags to the wall.
  • The announcer's table is installed next to the starting blocks. Both the announcer and the meet official occupy the table. The announcer broadcasts the beginning of each event and conveys other important information throughout the meet. The meet official uses a starting system, consisting of an audio component and a strobe light, to start events.
  • The clerk of course is set up in the area opposite the announcer’s table and behind the starting blocks. All swimmers report to the clerk of course before each of their events. Rows of benches and chairs are used to line swimmers up by lane number.
  • The tables under the gazebo are used to process meet results and ribbons.
  • The snack bar is set up next to the gazebo and serves snacks, breakfast, and lunch items before and during the meet.


Dual meets are run by a paid official from the Central Maryland Swim League, assisted by a number of parent volunteers.

  • Arrival and warm-ups: Prior to the start of the meet, each team has 30 minutes to warm up. Typically, home teams warm up first, followed by visiting teams. For our home meets, swimmers are asked to arrive at 7:45. Road meets typically have an arrival time of 8:00-8:15.
  • Officials’ meeting: Volunteers who are serving as timers or stroke and turn judges can expect to be called to a meeting with the meet official to check equipment and review procedures, usually at 8:30 a.m.
  • Start time: Meets begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. with the national anthem.
    • As the visiting team finishes the second warm-up, swimmers competing in the first few events will be called to the clerk of course to line up for their events.
    • All volunteers working poolside — timers, stroke and turn judges, clerks of course, ribbon distributors, and the announcer — should be in place before the anthem begins.
  • Lining up for events: Calls to the clerk of course will continue throughout the meet; swimmers are summoned by event and age group.
  • Shift changes: Most volunteer shifts change at the halfway point of the meet – after the backstroke events are complete. Second-half volunteers should pay attention to the progression of the meet and to announcements and report on time to relieve their first-half counterparts.


Swimmers may be entered in no more than four events per meet — either four individual events or three individual events and a relay. Coaches determine the events each swimmer participates in, considering the swimmer’s times and finishes during the season. Individual preferences are considered, but lineup decisions ultimately rest with the coaches. Meets include five individual events and one relay.

  • 100 Individual Medley (IM): 9-10 age group and up complete one lap of each stroke in this order: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle.
  • Freestyle: All ages. 6U and 8U swim 25 meters; 9-10 and 11-12 swim 50 meters, and 13-14 and 15-18 swim 100 meters.
  • Backstroke: All ages. 6U, 8U, and 9-10 swim 25 meters; 11-12, 13-14, and 15-18 swim 50 meters.
  • Butterfly: Ages 7 and up. 8U and 9-10 swim 25 meters; 11-12, 13-14, and 15-18 swim 50 meters.
  • Breaststroke: Ages 7 and up. 8U and 9-10 swim 25 meters; 11-12, 13-14, and 15-18 swim 50 meters.
  • Freestyle Relays: All ages. 6U, 8U, and 15-18 have mixed teams, two from each gender. Ages 9-10, 11-12, and 13-14 have single-gender teams. 6U and 8U swim 25 meters each (total 100 meters); ages 9 and up swim 50 meters each (total 200 meters).


Event order is the same at each meet. Full order of events (as the announcer and official will refer to them):

  1. 9-10 Girls 100IM
  2. 9-10 Boys 100IM
  3. 11-12 Girls 100IM
  4. 11-12 Boys 100IM
  5. 13-14 Girls 100IM
  6. 13-14 Boys 100IM
  7. 15-18 Girls 100IM
  8. 15-18 Boys 100IM
  9. 6U Girls 25 Free
  10. 6U Boys 25 Free
  11. 8U Girls 25 Free
  12. 8U Boys 25 Free
  13. 9-10 Girls 50 Free
  14. 9-10 Boys 50 Free
  15. 11-12 Girls 50 Free
  16. 11-12 Boys 50 Free
  17. 13-14 Girls 100 Free
  18. 13-14 Boys 100 Free
  19. 15-18 Girls 100 Free
  20. 15-18 Boys 100 Free
  21. 6U Girls 25 Back
  22. 6U Boys 25 Back
  23. 8U Girls 25 Back
  24. 8U Boys 25 Back
  25. 9-10 Girls 25 Back
  26. 9-10 Boys 25 Back
  27. 11-12 Girls 50 Back
  28. 11-12 Boys 50 Back
  29. 13-14 Girls 50 Back
  30. 13-14 Boys 50 Back
  31. 15-18 Girls 50 Back
  32. 15-18 Boys 50 Back
  33. 8U Girls 25 Fly
  34. 8U Boys 25 Fly
  35. 9-10 Girls 25 Fly
  36. 9-10 Boys 25 Fly
  37. 11-12 Girls 50 Fly
  38. 11-12 Boys 50 Fly
  39. 13-14 Girls 50 Fly
  40. 13-14 Boys 50 Fly
  41. 15-18 Girls 50 Fly
  42. 15-18 Boys 50 Fly
  43. 8U Girls 25 Breast
  44. 8U Boys 25 Breast
  45. 9-10 Girls 25 Breast
  46. 9-10 Boys 25 Breast
  47. 11-12 Girls 50 Breast
  48. 11-12 Boys 50 Breast
  49. 13-14 Girls 50 Breast
  50. 13-14 Boys 50 Breast
  51. 15-18 Girls 50 Breast
  52. 15-18 Boys 50 Breast
  53. 6U Mixed 100 Free Relay
  54. 8U Mixed 100 Free Relay
  55. 9-10 Girls 200 Free Relay
  56. 9-10 Boys 200 Free Relay
  57. 11-12 Girls 200 Free Relay
  58. 11-12 Boys 200 Free Relay
  59. 13-14 Girls 200 Free Relay
  60. 13-14 Boys 200 Free Relay
  61. 15-18 Mixed 200 Free Relay


The number of swimmers entered in an event usually exceeds the number of available lanes in the pool. In this case, events are divided into heats. Heat and lane assignments are determined by swimmers’ fastest times from previous meets. Heats are arranged from slowest times to fastest; the final heat of an event will contain the swimmers with the fastest times. Swimmers from each team are placed in alternating lanes (in a six-lane pool, one team will be assigned to lanes 1, 3, and 5, and the other to lanes 2, 4, and 6). The swimmers in each heat with the fastest seed times will swim in the center lanes.


The meet official handles the start and end of each heat. Swimmers are first instructed by the official to ‘step up,’ or ‘step in’ (backstroke) when it is time to stand on the starting blocks. They’ll then hear ‘take your mark’ and should bend into the starting position. The start of the race is signaled by a beep. If a false start occurs, swimmers will hear a succession of beeps and should return to the starting blocks. At the official’s discretion, the heat may restart immediately, or the participants may be given some time to rest before they swim again. If a swimmer false starts twice, s/he is disqualified.


In addition to the meet official, stroke and turn judges and timers monitor events.

  • Three timers are assigned to each lane. Their job is to start their stopwatches at the beginning of the race, stop the watches when the swimmer finishes, and record the three times on provided forms. The forms are collected periodically and delivered by runners to the scoring table for processing.
  • Stroke and turn judges monitor the swimmers’ technique in the water. They ensure that the rules for each stroke are followed, and that starts and turns are completed correctly. The meet official may also monitor stroke and turn techniques, and has the final responsibility for all calls made during the meet.
  • Swimmers who violate stroke and turn rules will be disqualified (known as DQs around the pool). DQs should be viewed as a learning opportunity, rather than a sign of failure. They happen to almost every swimmer at some point in their career, most often when the swimmer is mastering a new stroke.


Event placements are determined by the top times across all heats, with team points awarded as follows:

Individual events:

  • First place: 5 points
  • Second place: 3 points
  • Third place: 1 point


  • First place: 5 points
  • Second place: 2 points


Swimmers are recognized for their achievements at meets in multiple ways:

  • Event ribbons are awarded for 1st-8th place and are collected at practice from the team’s ribbon box on the Friday following the meet.
  • Improved time ribbons are awarded to every participant who improves on their previous best time. Swim races are won by tenths and hundredths of seconds, so we treat time improvements as a point of pride for every team member. These are also collected from our ribbon box on the Friday following the meet.
  • Heat winner ribbons are awarded on the spot to the first swimmer to finish each heat. Since the majority of events have multiple heats, winning a heat does not necessarily translate to winning first place for an event. We still like to recognize the first swimmer to finish each heat.


Volunteers are our lifeblood. Without them, we can't host meets, so many thanks in advance to all who choose to help out. Not sure which job suits you? The descriptions below may help you decide. Some jobs are needed only for home meets; others are needed at both home and away meets.


Description: Setup helpers arrive at the pool at 7:00 am and help the team manager set up the pool deck, announcer's table, clerk of course, starting block area, snack bar, overhead flags and lane lines.

Benefits: Your job could be finished before the meet even starts, although you may be asked to help move tables or chairs during the meet.

Number: About six people are needed for setup before each home meet.


Description: The snack bar workers set up and tear down the snack bar, and prepare and serve food at the snack bar during home meets. Jobs include:

  • Taco meet preparation: Four volunteers are needed before each home meet to make about 5 lbs. of taco meat each for Dolphin Diner favorite Taco in a Bag. Save receipts for reimbursement.
  • Taco in a Bag station: Prepare and serve this Dolphin Diner delicacy.
  • Snow cone machine: Prepare and serve snow cones.
  • Grillers: Grilling hamburgers and hot dogs begins around 9:30 or 10:00 am. One person is needed to grill; another is needed to prepare buns and wrap the hot dogs and burgers in aluminum foil.
  • Sales: Two people are needed to handle payments and dispense drinks, snacks, and hubcap-size doughnuts to hungry customers.
  • Cleanup: After the meet, the snack bar workers pack up and clean up. Non-perishable items are stored in the shed, tables are wiped down, coolers are emptied, and the tent is disassembled.

Benefits: Did we mention Taco in a Bag? The food is good, the area is shaded, and volunteers can skip out and watch their swimmers' events (just let the snack bar manager know in advance).

Number: At least four snack bar workers and two grillers at home meets only.


Description: Stroke and turn judges from each team stand poolside during each race and assure that each swimmer is swimming his/her stroke in accordance with the rules of the event. An online training is required for this position. Judges pay particularly close attention to starts/dives, turns, and stroke technique. During relays, they focus on appropriately timed connections between the swimmers on each relay team (e.g., that a swimmer doesn't leave the block before the preceding swimmer touches the wall). When a disqualifying movement is spotted, the stroke and turn judges indicate this to the meet official, usually by raising a hand with an indication of the lane number in which the violation occurred.

At the end of the race, the stroke and turn judge records the DQ on the swimmer's event card and (time permitting) counsels the swimmer about the mistake. It's important to remember that the judges are helping the swimmers to learn proper techniques, and to avoid future DQs.

  • Stroke and turn judges must report to the pool at least a half hour before the start of each meet (8:30 a.m.) to meet with the league official running the meet.
  • This job can be shared, and since it requires attention to detail and concentration, we prefer to split it into at least two shifts.

Benefits: You help ensure the fairness of the meet and earn the team manager's gratitude for stepping up. You also acquire technical expertise.

Number: At least two per meet, both home and away.


Description: The clerks of course organize the swimmers before their races. Two parents work together, along with clerks from the other team, to ensure that the swimmers:

  • Are present at the clerk of course tent prior to their races.
  • Are lined up in the proper order on the benches/seats under the clerk of course tent.
  • Are ready to swim their events.
  • Move appropriately through the rows of seats and to their starting blocks before the race.
  • The lineup of swimmers is provided to each clerk at the beginning of the meet. The clerks of course also work to combine heats where possible, and to communicate any changes in the schedule to the meet announcer. This helps to keep the meet moving.

The clerks work in teams of two for half of the meet. Their job is important, because it is absolutely essential that the swimmers proceed to the proper lane assignments and swim in the correct event.

Benefits: A shady spot, and clerks of course are in a position to see their children's races.

Number: At least four at each meet, home and away.


Description: Timers use battery-operated stopwatches to time the races. Both teams supply timers, with three timers assigned to each lane. The teams are assigned to alternating lanes. CVST supplies one timer for lanes assigned to our team and two timers for lanes assigned to the opposing team. Timers work half a meet, with the shift change occurring halfway through.

  • Timers must arrive a half-hour before the start of the meet (8:30) for a meeting with the CMSL league official. The official will review the general rules of timing and make sure all of the stopwatches work.
  • One timer in each lane will also use a clipboard and pre-printed papers to record the times from all three stopwatches. Papers will be collected periodically. This timer should also verify the identity of the swimmer.
  • Each timer clears his/her watch as the race is being called by the announcer, starts the watch on the "flash" of the starting box (not the horn), checks the watch to see if he/she got a good start, and then stops the watch at the first touch by the swimmer at the end of the race. Backup watches are available for those who don't get a good start on their watch.
  • Lane assignments and assignment to the first or second half of the meet are determined by the team's head timer on the morning of the race on a first-come/first-served basis.

Benefits: Standing next to a body of water holding a watch is a great way to pass a summer morning, right? Seriously, you never miss a race, it's the most exciting place to be, and the time passes quickly. You're in a great spot to cheer not only for your own children, but also for the swimmers in your lane.

Number: At a six-lane pool like ours, each race requires nine timers from each team. Since we split the meet in half, we need 18 timers for each meet. We supply timers at home and away meets; the number may vary depending on the size of the pool at away meets.


Description: Card runners collect papers from the timers and run them up to the table. They work in pairs, with one runner staying inside the ropes with the timers and swimmers to collect papers, and the other staying outside the cord to make the run to the table.

Benefits: You get plenty of walking in, and never miss a race.

Number: At least four to work in pairs for half the meet each, at home meets only.


Description: The table is where statistics from the races are audited and processed. The time sheets go through several levels of review to ensure accuracy and compliance with league rules. The head table worker from the home team assigns duties and guides the other table workers.

The middle of the three times listed on the time sheet is identified and is usually the swimmer's official time for the race. This information is then submitted to the home team's data input worker at the table and is recorded in the computer. Several reports are generated, including meet results, new team records and labels for ribbons issued to swimmers who place in their events. One table worker is dedicated to pasting labels on team ribbons and assuring they are distributed to swimmers following the meet.

Benefits: You spend the entire meet in the shade and can get away to watch your child's races.

Number: We need at least three table workers at each meet,home and away – two to review, audit, and sort time sheets and one to do ribbons.


Description: The announcer opens the meet, introduces each event, calls swimmers to the clerk of course, and relays any other important information (such as whether the Dolphin Diner has run out of Taco in a Bag).

Benefits: Shade, a seat next to the official in the middle of the action, and plenty of talking.

Number: At least one person, preferably two, to allow for half-meet shifts. Home meets only.


Description: This volunteer presents the winner of each heat with a ribbon.

Benefits: The heat winners are always glad to see you, especially the little ones!

Number: At least two ribbon presenters are needed at home meets only.


Description: Depending on the number of people expected, our home meets may include a 50-50 raffle. The winning ticket is typically drawn before the relays begin. The person in charge of raffle sales walks around the pool deck, collecting money and distributing tickets.

Benefits: Plenty of walking, the opportunity to make lots of new friends, and the team manager's gratitude when you bring in lots of cash.

Number: At least one person, preferably two, to allow for half-meet shifts. Home meets only.



  • Arrive early to practices and meets in order to be ready to enter the pool on time.
  • Swimmers may attend only one practice per day.
  • Plan to attend practice regularly. We understand summers are busy, but improvement over the course of the season often correlates to practice attendance.
  • Goggles, cap, suit, and towel are important, but so are a healthy breakfast, sunscreen, and plenty of water.
  • All team members are expected to treat coaches and teammates with respect at all times. Consequences for disrespectful or disruptive behavior may include removal from practice or from a meet.
  • CVST is a mixed-age team. Older swimmers are asked to remember that both their language and behavior are frequently witnessed by teammates much younger than themselves, and to act accordingly.
  • Swimmers will not use any controlled substances, including alcohol or tobacco, at any team activities.
  • All swimmers are expected to respect the property of teammates, of the Nantucket Pool, and of host pools at away meets.
  • At all meets and practices, swimmers will clean up after themselves and leave the Nantucket pool area in the same condition in which they found it.
  • Swimmers are expected to know which events they are swimming, to pay attention to the progress of the meet, and to report to the Clerk of Course when their events are called.
  • Swimmers are encouraged to show good team spirit by cheering on teammates.
  • Swimmers should show courtesy to other swimmers during meets by waiting until all swimmers have finished an event before exiting the pool. A handshake with the swimmer on either side also shows good sportsmanship.


  • Only team members and staff are permitted in the pool during practices or meets. This is a requirement of CVPRA, CMSL, and our insurance carrier and is non-negotiable.
  • Requests concerning practice times or event entries should be emailed to the Head Coach. CVST is a large team. While our coaches are very capable, it is not realistic to expect them to remember verbal requests.
  • Parents must RSVP for all meets via the team website or the SwimTopia mobile app. Anyone who has not committed to attending a meet will not be placed in the lineup. If there is a possibility that your family will need to leave a meet early, please notify the Head Coach by email.
  • At all practices and meets, families are expected leave the pool area in the same condition in which they found it.
  • Parents are expected to model good sportsmanship and should provide support and encouragement to all swimmers.
  • Parents will maintain a courteous manner toward the coaching staff, team representatives, volunteers, and meet officials at all times and instruct their children to do the same.
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The Crofton Village Swim Team competes in the Central Maryland Swim League. Team members and their families must be members of the Crofton Village Pool and Recreation Association (CVPRA).

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