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Team Handbook




A. Introduction

Welcome to the Hurricanes Swim Team!

The mission of the Hurricanes Swim Team is to provide a structured recreational activity where your child can learn the value of competition, sportsmanship and teamwork, as well as individual achievement, and not to mention making new friends and having fun.

Northwest Swim Circuit (NWSC) - The Hurricanes are part of the NWSC, which govern the activities of the Hurricane Swim Team. The NWSC follows accepted rules and standards of USA Swimming, as well as rules and procedures designed specifically to meet the needs of the league and its member teams. https://nwsc.swimtopia.com/

Hurricane Swim Team Board for 2021 Season

The Hurricane Board is made up of ten positions. With the exception of the Swimmer Rep, these volunteer positions are elected by the parents. The terms are two-year terms. At the end of the season, a nominating committee forms a list of willing parents to serve as Board members for the following season. Elections take place at the end of season awards banquet. The following is a list of your Board members for the 2021 season:

Position Name Email
President Mariana Raley [email protected]
Vice President Heather Jewell [email protected]
Treasurer Ahren Lembke-Windler [email protected]
Secretary Christine Newman [email protected]
Computer Rep Jarrod Lewis-Peacock [email protected]
Circuit Rep Sara Kinnison [email protected]
Meet Director Eric Derby [email protected]
Asst. Meet Director OPEN [email protected]
Community Relations/Marketing Chair Meghin Huerta [email protected]
Swimmer Rep

B. Registration Information

Swimmer Eligibility

The NWSC bylaws set eligibility requirements for all swimmers and the various rules, which the Hurricanes follow. The swimmer's age on May 1 of the current swim season shall determine the age group in which the swimmer may compete for that season. Note: A swimmer must be able to legally swim one length of the pool (25 meters) in Freestyle by the first day of practice in under 2 minutes. The Hurricane Swim Team is a recreational competitive swim team, not a swim lesson program. Please consider your child’s swimming ability when deciding to join the swim team.

Registration & Fees

In order for your child to swim with the Hurricanes, parents are required to go online and fill out the following: Hurricane Registration Form with Release of Liability and Volunteer Agreement

  • March 15-April 15- All Swimmer registration begins. The registration fee is $165.00 for all swimmers.
  • April 16 and later– Due to Covid-19 and staffing, we will NOT be accepting late registrations. Late registrations may be considered on a case by case basis.

Note: Registration fees are our primary source of team revenue and cover the following expenses:

  • Pool fees for practices and swim meets
  • Coach’s Salaries
  • Northwest Swim Circuit Fees
  • Team T-Shirts & One Latex Team Cap
  • Swimmer Insurance
  • Ribbons, awards & medals
  • Team Equipment
  • Computer and printing supplies
  • Divisional Swim Meet Entry Fees

*** In addition to registration fees, this year swimmers will also need to purchase their own kickboard & fins (age dependent) to avoid sharing equipment.

Parent Volunteer Requirement

Parent volunteers are vital to our swim team. Swim meets cannot be held without parent volunteers.

Hurricane families must volunteer a minimum of 18-24 hours (official hours required depends on final registration numbers) per swim season regardless of whether the swimmer swims at a Saturday meet. The family with 0 volunteer hours by the sign up period for the second dual swim meet may not be eligible to come to practice or swim at the third dual swim until the family has signed up for two volunteer shifts for the third meet. Note: The Red/White Time Trials counts as the first meet.

A penalty per volunteer hour will be assessed per family for failure to meet the parent volunteer requirement by the last meet of the swim season (the Divisional Meet). The fee will be prorated for any unfulfilled volunteer hours and must be paid by July 31st. **Families with outstanding balance due to unfulfilled volunteer hours from last year’s season will be required to pay the fine prior to the beginning of this season.

C. Team Policies and Additional Info

Behavior and Discipline

Swimmers are expected to be on their best behavior at practice and at meets. Normal pool rules apply: no running, no fighting, no horseplay, and no vandalism/destruction of pool property. Coaches will sit swimmers from practices and/or meets for disciplinary reasons. Repeated and/or serious offenses may result in expulsion from the team. Disciplinary decisions may be appealed to the Hurricane Board. But the key to avoiding any of these conflicts is good behavior.

Club Sponsorships

Each family is encouraged to ask local businesses to sponsor the Hurricanes.

  • A $250 donation from a local business will merit one free swimmer registration.
  • A $500 donation from a local business will merit two free swimmer registrations.
  • A $1,000 donation will merit 4 free swimmer registrations.

To avoid soliciting the same business, parents must contact the Community Relations Chair for a list of businesses that have already made a donation. The Community Relations representative will have a form letter detailing what each business will get in return for the donation.

Hurrithon (Pending for 2021)

Every year the Club hosts a Hurrithon, a fundraiser where swimmers can seek pledges and donations from family and friends. The Hurrithon is held during one practice and parent volunteers help prepare a pancake/OJ breakfast for the swimmers after practice. Parent volunteers also count laps for the swimmers.

Spirit Days/Spirit Nights (Pending for 2021)

The Club may have at least two Spirit Days where the Club will host team-building events (i.e. bowling or movies). Additionally, the team may host two Spirit Nights during the season at a local restaurant and serve as fundraisers for the Club. Door prizes will also be awarded for team spirit. See calendar of events for upcoming spirit days and nights.

Pep Rally (Pending for 2021)

The Club will host 3 Pep Rallies at Rattan Creek Park, on Thursdays, prior to away meets. The team will show their team spirit with painting nails, painting cars, and practicing cheers. The Club and coaches will hand out Bingo Bars and Invitational caps to eligible swimmers.

Hurricane End-of-Year Awards Banquet

Our annual awards banquet usually takes place on the Monday after the Divisional meet. The banquet features dinner, cake, recognition of outstanding achievements, coaches’ awards and a parent meeting to elect the next year's officers and handle any team business. We also provide a terrific slide show from the season. The event lasts about two hours, and tickets are sold to cover the banquet costs.

Refund Policy

You may withdraw from the team and request a refund on or prior to the end of the second week of practice. Swimmers will be refunded the registration cost minus the club's administration fee which covers insurance fees and processing costs. After the second week of practice, no refunds will be granted.

D. Swimmer Information

Swimming Equipment

  • Swimsuits – There will not be a Team suit for 2021.
  • Swim cap - Each swimmer will receive a FREE team swim cap and t-shirt at registration.
  • Goggles
  • Kickboards are required to be purchased for all swimmers. They will NOT be provided by the Club for use during the 2021 season.
  • Fins are required to be purchased for swimmers who are of a determined age by the head coach. More details to follow.

Swim Meets

  • Regular/Virtual swim meets are held on Saturdays at our home pool. Meets will be composed of Hurricane swimmers only and we will virtually compete with other NWSC teams by comparing times. The Hurricanes will have 4 meets during the season.
  • Parents must sign up their swimmers on Sundays! The Head Coach will determine relay assignments on Mondays. The Computer Reps must exchange meet entries by Tuesday. A swimmer may compete in a maximum of three individual events and two relay events per swim meet.
  • All Hurricane home meets are held at the Rattan Creek pool. Most meets begin by 7:00AM to ensure that the meet is finished and the pool area clean and clear before it opens to neighborhood members for regular swimming.
  • All Hurricane swimmers are REQUIRED by the coaches to wear the team swim cap and T-shirt at the meets
  • Please notify the Head Coach as soon as possible if your swimmer will not swim at the Saturday meet. Failure to provide notice may cause relays to be cancelled and team points to be lost.
  • Red/White Time Trial– This is the first meet of the season. It’s an intra-squad practice for Hurricanes. For new parent volunteers, it is also an opportunity to learn the duties associated with running a swim meet.
  • HOME/AWAY MEETS: Swimmers must check in with their age group parent usually by 6:00 AM the morning of the meet. Warm-ups usually begin at 6:00AM for Hurricanes at HOME meets and 6:30AM for AWAY meets.
  • Divisional Meet– This is the last swim meet for the team held at the end of the season. All the teams in Division 4 will participate. Since there are no playoffs, this is the “Super Bowl” for Division 4 teams. A big trophy and swimming pride is at stake. To be eligible to participate in a Divisional Meet, a swimmer must have competed in a minimum of two Dual Meets during the current season and have an official time in an event from the current swim season to be entered in that event. Only dual meet times will be used to seed swimmers in relays.
  • Invitationals–It is yet to be determined if NWSC will hold Invitationals for the 2021 season.

Swim Practice

  • The Hurricanes practice at the Rattan Creek neighborhood pool.
  • Swimmers practice according to ability and age groups.
  • Cancellations - While light rain might only delay practice, some practices may be cancelled due to heavy rain or lightning, the Head Coach or Meet Director will send an email or text to all parents.
  • Important: Swimmers are strongly encouraged to swim in their age group during practice. We try to accommodate family schedules as much as possible, but it's not always feasible depending on the size of the age group or ability level of different swimmers. Parents must get approval from the Head Coach to have their child swim in a different age group.
  • Note: Per the MUD, no one will be allowed on the pool deck during practices, except coaches, swimmers, and Board members.
  • Please see our website for the practice schedule.

Stroke Clinics

Coaches may hold one hour clinics at the Rattan Creek pool to focus on certain strokes and techniques (i.e. Breaststroke, Butterfly, starts, turns, etc.) during the summer. Clinics are small, no more than 5 swimmers per class. Check our website for stroke clinic dates as they become available and to register online. Note: For private one-on-one lessons, parents may speak to the coaches but the MUD prohibits these lessons to be held at the Rattan Creek Pool 

E. Tracking your Swimmer’s Progress

Time Improvements

You can evaluate your child’s success by improvements he/she makes on their swim times. Below is a sample table to help you understand how your child’s time improvements are tracked by the team’s computer system. The sample is based on a child in the 6 & Under age group. You can replicate this table for your own child by replacing the events with those events for your child’s age group.


Events Seed Time Red/White Meet Time Improve Seed Time Meet 1 Time Improve Seed Time Meet 2 Time Improve
25 Free 43.01 35.97 -7.04 35.97 35.97 36.64 .67
25 Back 45.08 44.76 -.32 44.76 38.66 -6.1
25 Breast NT DQ --- NT 53.34 --- 53.34 56.55 3.21
25 Fly NT 44.22 --- 44.22 41.27 -2.95

Seed times are a swimmer’s “personal best” time in an event.

oA seed time is not limited to a current swim season. With the exception of Divisional and Invitational meets, seed times can be determined from any previous swim seasons for which the circuit or team has recorded a time for the swimmer in a particular event. The seed times for Divisional and Invitational meets, however, are derived only from dual meets in the current swim season.

oNT indicates no seed time.

oIf a child has never swum an event before, his/her first qualifying time [i.e. child is not disqualified (DQ’d)] becomes their seed time.

Time Improvements are noted by a negative sign (-) indicating how much time a child has removed from their seed time.

oA positive number indicates a child added time to their seed time and does NOT qualify for a time improvement

oA child swimming an event for the first time will NOT qualify for a time improvement.

F. Swimmer Awards

Ribbons Place, Time Improvement & Heat Ribbons

At all swim meets, ribbons are awarded for places one through ten, and points are awarded to the team for swimmers who place first, second, or third.

Time Improvement Ribbons are red/white/blue ribbons presented for individual achievement in an event that resulted in a faster time than previous swims in that event.

"Heat Winner" ribbons are black ribbons and are the only ribbons awarded at the swim meet to swimmers aged 4-10 who win an individual heat within an event, regardless of disqualification or final standing.

All swimmers will receive at least one ribbon for every meet in which they participate. If your child does not earn a place ribbon, they may receive a Time Improvement ribbon. If your child does not qualify for a place ribbon or a time improvement ribbon, they will receive a “Participant” ribbon

Ribbons will be placed in the swimmer’s folder at practice on Monday or Tuesday following a meet. NOTE: Due to the fast-paced nature of the Red/White meet, ribbons will not be distributed as quickly as they would for dual meets. Your patience is appreciated.

Bingo BarsA huge Hershey’s chocolate bar is awarded to a swimmer when he improves his time in all 3 individual events in the same meet. The Bingo swimmers will be recognized at one of our pep rallies or Spirit nights. 

Invitational Swim Caps– Swimmers who meet NWSC invitational times for individual events will be awarded a special Invitational swim cap. Invitational swim caps are passed out at Spirit Nights.

End of Season Awards

Hurricane Lifetime Achievement Award (formerly the Founder’s Award) (plaque) - This plaque is awarded to a swimmer for longevity, sportsmanship, and overall contribution to the team.

Coach’s Award (certificate) – Awarded to one female & male swimmer in each age group who has demonstrated effort, team spirit and dedication.

Category 5/High Point Scorer (certificate) – Awarded to one female & male swimmer in each age group who caused the most “destruction’ for opponents and scored the most points for the team in the season.

Most Improved Hurricane (certificate) – Awarded to one female & one male swimmer with the MOST significant time improvement in one event as measured from the Red/White Time Trial.

Storm Team Award (certificate) – Awarded to all swimmers with PERFECT attendance & Swam at all 5 meets and the Divisional meet.

Most Bingo Bars in a season (certificate) – Awarded to one female & one male swimmer with the most overall bingos earned.

Best Relay Team– Awarded to age group that wins the most relay events during the regular season.

Medal – Each swimmer will receive a medal for being part of the team.

H. NWSC Pools - Length and Adjusted Times

Individual swimming pools vary in length and require a conversion factor so that official times reflect a consistent distance in the water. Stopwatch time is adjusted to the official time according to the conversion factor. Rattan Creek pool has eight lanes, while others have six or four lanes.

To calculate the official time, multiply stopwatch time by the adjustment factor. For example: 25.50 (stopwatch time) X .913 (Rattan Creek pool adjustment factor) = 22.28 (official time).

Anderson Mill 75.06 ft. .999 6
Balcones Country Club 82.38 ft. .910 4
Block House Creek 75.00 ft 1.00 6
Brushy Creek 81.91 ft. .916 6
Cedar Park 81.90 ft. .915 8
Forest North 81.59 ft. .919 6
Georgetown 75 ft. 1.00 8
Rattan Creek 82.19 ft. .913 8
Pflugerville 82.93 ft. .904 8
Round Rock 75 ft. 1.00 8
Steiner Ranch 75 ft. 1.00 8
Wells Branch 75.08 ft. .999 6

I. Parent Volunteer Positions at Dual Meets

Each family must volunteer at least 18-24 hours during the course of the swim season. Some of the volunteer positions will have multiple openings, while others only have 1 or 2 openings. All positions must be filled in order to hold a swim meet. Each parent is allowed to watch their child swim during the meet. These are the descriptions of the duties for each of the volunteer positions:

Age Group Parent: Hurricanes swimmers sit together in their age groups during the meets and the Age Group Parent is responsible for keeping them together, and making sure they get to their events on time. The Age Group Parent will check the swimmers in initially, and work with an assigned Coach to make sure the relays are covered. The Age Group Parent will distribute Event Cards to the swimmers at the appropriate time, and assist the younger swimmers in getting to the Ready Bench area with their Event Card. The Age Group Parent will help the Meet Set Up crew with providing shade protection, and posting the Age Group Sign. (One position lasting 3.5+ hours.)

Ready Bench: As the swimmers line up for their events, the Ready Bench volunteers organizes them into their swim lanes, and makes sure the swimmer has the appropriate Event Card. (2.5 hours per position.)

Lane Timer: Timers are responsible for using a stopwatch to time the swimmers in their event and writing it on their Event Card. (2.5 hours per position.)

Head Timer: Head Timer is responsible for organizing and briefing the Lane Timers on their duties prior to the meet, and shall be in charge of the Lane Timers throughout the meet, with authority to remove and replace any Lane Timer, with the approval of the Home Meet Director. The Head Timer shall run two watches for use as backups during each heat of each event should a Lane Timer’s watch malfunction. (2.5 hours per position.)

Announcer: The Announcer uses the PA system to notify the swimmers what event is being swum currently and what the next two events are. The Announcer is a critical position to ensure meets run smoothly. We need several people trained. (2.5 hours per position, with 2 positions available.)

Starter: The Starter announces the event about to be swam, calls the swimmers to the starting blocks, and begins the race by using a tone button starter system. This position requires certification, which is provided by training from the Team Coach, and by attending a Circuit Clinic. This is a critical position and we are looking for several volunteers to provide backup when necessary. (2.5 hours per position, with 2 positions available.)

Stroke Judge: This position watches the swimmers from both teams during the event to make sure they are swimming the strokes legally. Disqualification Forms are filled out and initialed by the stroke judge for swimmers who are not swimming legally. This position requires certification, which is provided by training from the Team Coach and from the Northwest Swim Circuit. (2.5 hours per position, with 2 positions available.)

Exchange Judge: This position makes sure the exchange between swimmers during the relays is legal. This position requires certification, which is provided by training from the Team Coach and the Northwest Swim Circuit. The relays are held at the beginning and the end of the meet. (Two positions, each position lasts about 45 minutes.)

Runner: This position makes sure the Event Cards are distributed to the Timers before the event, and are picked up from the Timers after the event. They are also responsible for taking Disqualification Forms from the Stroke Judges to the Scoring Table. This is a very active position and needs someone who can be on his or her feet for a couple hours. (2.5 hours per position.)

Scoring Table: Scorers write the official time on the Event Cards, organize the cards for data entry into the computer program, and attach Disqualification Forms to the appropriate Event Cards. (2.5 hours per position.)

Ribbons: This position works with the Scorers and the Computer Rep to make sure the printed labels are attached to the appropriate Ribbons, and then distributed to the team. This is a2 hour position, with 2 positions available, but it starts later (about 9:00), and finishes later (about 1:00) than the other shifts.

Concessions: This position works at the Concession stand selling drinks and snacks to parents and swimmers. There is preparation work needed on Saturday morning. (2.5 hours per position.)

Spirit Committee: Parent volunteers will coordinate with local restaurant to host the Hurricane team on Spirit Night. Parent volunteers will also coordinate with coaches and the Computer Rep for passing out Bingo Bars and Invitational Caps. Parents will also coordinate team-building activities on Spirit Days. (One position lasting 2.5 hours.)

Hurrithon Committee Parent volunteers will coordinate with coaches to host swim-a-thon during practice. Parent volunteers are needed to make pancakes, pour orange juice and assist with counting laps, collecting money, and buying gift cards/prizes for overall winners. (Several positions last 3 hours.)

Hurricane Banquet Committee Parent volunteers are needed to take tickets and serve food. (Several positions lasting 2.5 hours.)

Alternate: When our scheduled Volunteers can’t fulfill their responsibilities, this position fills in the gaps whenever needed throughout the meet. (2.5 hours per position, with 2 positions available.)

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