The 2024 swimmers’ fees are:
  • Early Registration: $115.00 per swimmer – must be registered by 5/8/2024
  • Standard Registration: $125 per swimmer – beginning 5/9/2024
Additional costs to the swimmer may be associated with the purchase of swimsuits, caps, goggles, or spirit wear.

Expenses that are covered by the registration fees include but are not limited to coaches’ salaries, registration to GRAL, insurance, trophies/plaques, social events, complimentary gifts, equipment (e.g., lane lines, kickboards, timers’ watches, etc), supplies used to run a meet, and state taxes and dues.  If you are interested in a more in-depth report, please contact the Treasurer in writing.

In addition to registration fees, it is necessary to have other fundraising events such as team sponsorships, local fundraisers, and Breakfast with Santa.

Primary Communication Methods:

Method Purpose Description / Details
Text Messaging via GroupMe App urgent / weather related communications This is our fastest and most efficient means of
getting messages out to the whole team.
Please use the GroupMe QR code to sign up!
If you need any help setting this up, please reach
out to any of the board members or email info@pebblecreekswimteam and we’ll
Email Weekly Emails on Sundays We will be sending weekly emails to let you know
what is coming up in the next week. Please look
for these as this will be our primary method of
keeping everyone updated on what is coming up!

Secondary Communication Methods:

Method Purpose Description / Details
Social Media Weekly social media posts
Shout out to swimmers /
Facebook: Pebble Creek Piranhas
Instagram: @pebblecreekswim
Website General Team Information
(Practice Schedules, Meets,
Team History, etc…)

If you know ahead of time that you will not be at a meet, please email info@pebblecreekswimteam.com as soon as possible, but AT LEAST two days prior to the meet so the coaches do not schedule your child.  Missing swimmers especially impact relays and it takes a lot of work to redo the relays if the coach finds out later that a swimmer will be absent.  You can also update your schedule in your Swim Manager portal.

It is each family’s responsibility to fulfill the assigned volunteer slots.  If unable to make it, you must find a replacement or switch with someone.  Failure to work your volunteer slot makes extra work for others and will result in your child not swimming in the meet.

All swim meets begin at 6:00 p.m., unless otherwise noted.  Warm ups and last minute instructions take place 45 minutes or more prior to the start of the meet.  It is imperative that your child arrives BEFORE warm-ups begin to receive important instructions and not be considered a no-show.  Check the calendar for exact arrival times.  An email will also be sent to you about a week beforehand with more specific details.

Your child MUST sign in when s/he arrives at the meet.  If s/he is not signed in by an adult or in person at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the meet, s/he will not be able to swim that night.  If you are running late the day of the meet, text or call Christy at 804-310-1128 so that she doesn’t scratch your child from the meet.

  • Extra towels – car shams work well to dry off first
  • Extra goggles – good idea to always have a back-up pair
  • Extra hair bands for swimmers with long hair
  • Swim Cap – we encourage you to wear the Piranha logo cap provided
  • Camp Chairs and/or blankets to sit on – esp. at away meets
  • Sweatshirts – it can get chilly at the night goes on
  • Money for concession items
  • Things to keep your swimmer busy while they are waiting to swim (books, cards, etc.)

Swimmers will get a card with their event numbers when they check in at the meet.  You can declare the strokes that your  child wants to swim in Swim Manager but the coach has final say.

The team will provide sharpie markers to write events on your child’s hand and even your own.  ** GRAL rules state the children may only write their events on their hands – they may not write anything else anywhere else on their bodies. ** The only exception is dive certification which is noted on the swimmer’s upper arm.

Swimmers line up at the Clerk of Course prior to swimming their events.  Only those parents who are working at the clerk should be in that area.  It will be the swimmers’ responsibility to be at the Clerk of Course when their event comes up.  The event numbers will be announced and there will be a display at the clerk of course, but children will NOT be called individually or searched for.  If your child misses his/her event, s/he cannot make it up.

Note that girls’ events are even numbered and boys’ events are odd numbered, with the exception of relays that are mixed.

For the 8 & under 25 Freestyle and 25 Backstroke, the events are split into A and B.  A is for 6 & under swimmers and B is for 7 – 8 year old swimmers.  Those two events score those age groups separately.

A swimmer may not enter more than three individual events plus one relay event per meet.  If a swimmer misses his or her event, s/he cannot be entered into another event once the meet has started if it is to exceed the three event maximum.

The swimmer’s entries are pre-determined by the coaches and are not negotiable.

No.  Each regular season meet consists of age group relays and individual events in each stroke.  Some events are only offered every other meet.

  • Meets 1, 3, and 5 have these events: Long course freestyle (50 for 8 & under, 100 for 9 & up), Backstroke (50 for 13 & up), Breaststroke (100 for 13 & up), Butterfly (50 for 13 & up), Short course freestyle (25 for 8 & under, 50 for 9 & up), Freestyle relays
  • Meets 2, 4, and 6 have these events: Individual Medley (aka 100 IM), Backstroke (100 for 13 & up), Breaststroke (50 for 13 & up), Butterfly (100 for 13 & up), Short course freestyle, Medley relays

Swimmers are placed in relays at the coach’s discretion.

There are two types of Relays – Freestyle and Medley.  In Odd Weeks, Freestyle relays are run and all four swimmers swim Freestyle.  In Even Weeks, Medley relays are run with the strokes in this order – Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly, Freestyle.

There are two divisions of Relays – Advanced and Senior Varsity.  Only swimmers with Novice or Advanced times in the stroke and distance s/he swimming can be in an Advanced Relay.  Senior Varsity Relays must have at least one swimmer with a JV, V, or SV time in that distance/stroke.  Advanced Relays can be mixed or single gender, but Senior Varsity Relays must be mixed Gender.

Swimmers should not leave the meet before notifying a coach – even if they think they are not in a relay.  Relays are changed often and if someone leaves early, it may scratch an entire relay.

Swimmers compete against other swimmers of the same gender, of the same age group, and of the same basic ability.

GRAL classifies your child as a Novice, Advanced, Junior Varsity, Varsity, or Senior Varsity swimmer, according to the top time s/he holds in each stroke. This allows for up to 30 ribbons (5 each of first through sixth place) to be awarded per event.  Swimmers are seeded slowest to fastest, and multiple heats are common. Thus, a swimmer can win his/her heat but not necessarily win a place in the event.  Also, because of pre-seeding, it is not uncommon to see empty lanes in any heat.

At the end of the meet, team scores are calculated in each of the seven divisions and a total of the four determines the winner.

GRAL publishes new time standards at the beginning of each season if they have changed. The standards generally change every other year.

Swimmers beginning the season without times will be placed as Novice swimmers in all strokes. GRAL times are carried over from the year before.  Beginning in 2011, Non-GRAL times are no longer accepted for seed times.

When your child achieves an Advanced time in an event, he/she will then swim as an Advanced swimmer for that particular event. Therefore, your child may swim Advanced in one event, and may eventually become a Varsity swimmer or even be a Novice in another.

However, as your child’s age increases, his/her Varsity time may become a Junior Varsity time in an older age group because of the new time standard for that age group.

If your child swims a slower time in the next meet, s/he does not lose his/her Advanced, Junior Varsity, Varsity, or Senior Varsity status.

Each child who qualifies in at least one event (in the current season) for a Junior Varsity, Varsity, or Senior Varsity time will be invited to CHAMPS held at the Greater Richmond Aquatics Partnership in Richmond, the last weekend in July/first weekend in August.  Last year’s times do not count for CHAMPS in the current year, but will be used for seeding.

Relays are done a little differently. They are classified as either Advanced (must include Novice and/or Advanced swimmers) or Varsity (must include Junior Varsity, Varsity, and/or Senior Varsity swimmers and be mixed gender).  CHAMPS relays have different regulations.

Why does my child have to be dive certified?

All diving is done in the deep end only in pools (like PC) where the shallow (called the turning end) is less than 4’ deep. Therefore, the timers will move to the other end (at most pools) when the 8&unders are swimming their 25M/Y events.  For the 8 & under relays, swimmers 2 and 4 will have to start in the water.

Beginning in 2010, every child must be certified to dive prior to diving in practice or at a meet. Those not certified will have an “X” written on their upper arms at the meet so that the Starter knows that they need to start the event in the water.  Some swimmers will be certified to dive off the side or edge of the pool, but not the blocks.  They will have a “O” on their upper arms.  Coaches will certify divers in the deep end of the pool and will attempt to get all swimmers certified prior to the first meet.  However, some children may not be able to dive at all during the season.

Note that meet improvements were made by the 2008 GRAL Board of Directors and include the following:

  • Flyover starts for swimmers 9 and older (flyover starts are starts that happen while the previous group is still in the water)
  • Some events have been moved around so that swimmers 8 and younger are finished earlier.
  • Each division determines a time cut-off time. If relays have not been completed by that time, they will not be swum that evening (with the exception of the 8 & under relay, which is swum first).

The age group is determined by your child’s age on June 1 of the current year.  Children are grouped as follows.

Mini Mites – Any Age, doesn’t swim in meets until ready
6 & Under (separated for 25 Free & Back only)
8 & Under (7 – 8’s are separated for  25 Free & Back)
9 – 10
11 – 12
13 – 14
15 – 18

Prior to 2012, each classification had a name (mite, midget, junior, intermediate, senior), but those names are no longer used.

At each swim meet there are four Stroke and Turns (S&T) Judges and a Referee on the deck of the pool.  Their job is to ensure that each swimmer swims their stroke properly with no unfair advantage over another swimmer.  The dominant principal is:

“Fairness to all competitors, giving the benefit of the doubt, in every instance, to the swimmer.”

If you see a Stroke and Turns Judge raising his/her hand indicating a disqualification, PLEASE DO NOT discuss it with him/her. It should be discussed with your team’s Coach and only a Coach can dispute the disqualification with the Referee.  Remember that these Judges are parents too and they are there to make things fair for all swimmers.  No one enjoys disqualifying a swimmer.  Additionally, the judge is watching up to four swimmers and it is often difficult to tell for which swimmer the judge is raising his/her hand.

A disqualification card (DQ Card) should be considered a learning tool for a swimmer to learn to swim the stroke properly.  It should be discussed in a positive manner with encouragement towards improvement. DQ cards are typically discussed at the practice following the meet.  If a parent or a swimmer would like more information about the disqualification, please see the coach.

The most common reasons (but not the only reasons) for a “DQ” card are:

  • Freestyle:
    • Pulling with a forward movement on a lane line or wall
    • Pushing off of the bottom of the pool giving the swimmer forward momentum
    • Walking on the bottom of the pool
    • Swimming completely underwater after the start (resubmerging)
  • Backstroke:
    • Turning over onto the stomach (past vertical towards the breast). This usually happens just before they touch the wall on the finish
    • Incorrect turns
  • Breaststroke:
    • Feet and Hands not moving simultaneously
    • Order of movement: should be pull then kick, only one of each
    • Hands below the hips in the propulsion part of the stroke (not on the start)
    • A non-simultaneous two hand touch (or one-hand touch) at the turn and finish. (Number one reason for a DQ in Breaststroke!)
  • Butterfly:
    • Hands not moving simultaneously and recovery is not over the water
    • Legs not moving up and down simultaneously (i.e. flutter or scissor kick)
    • A non-simultaneous two hand touch at the turn and finish. (Number one reason for DQ in Butterfly!)
  • Individual Medley:
    • In addition to the above – swimming the strokes out of order (the correct order is Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, Freestyle)
  • Relays:
    • In addition to the above – starting before the prior swimmer touches the wall
    • Swimming the Medley Relay out of order (the correct order is Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly, Freestyle)

For more information about disqualifications, see an off-duty Strokes & Turns judge, or a coach.

GRAL stands for the Greater Richmond Aquatic League. We belong to this league with 27 other teams. The teams are broken into divisions (determined based on past performance) and we are in the 4th division this year. Our division determines the teams against whom we compete. See the GRAL Web site for more info.