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Team Handbook

2020 FAMILY HANDBOOK [ Revised May 2020 ]

*The information on this page may not apply to the summer 2020 swim season. Please see the 2020 Swim Plan under "Documents" for information on the 2020 swim season.*


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The Riss Lake Swim Team provides a fun and competitive swimming program in a community atmosphere. This is a developmental program designed for the benefit of all swimmers of all abilities.


  1. Provide qualified swimming instruction for a team member, which is accomplished by contracting with qualified coaches.
  2. Provide a chance for each swimmer to perform to the best of their ability in as many events as possible.


A volunteer board manages and organizes the Riss Lake Swim Team. The board is responsible for contracting qualified coaches, providing practice and home meet facilities, managing team finances, coordinating volunteers and maintaining team membership in the Northland Swim Conference. The team By-Laws contain a description of each of the 10 board positions. Board members are elected by the entire Swim Team at the end of the season for the next season. A copy of the by-Laws is posted on the team website and may be requested from any board member.

Swim Board

CLICK HERE for current board members


Any Riss Lake resident or previous team member may join the team if they meet the age and ability requirements. Non-residents are accepted in age groups with less than 40 swimmers and may register approximately 2 weeks after resident registration opens.

Prerequisite Skills

The Riptides do not hold formal tryouts, however, we do require some skill evaluations:

  1. 4 to 8 year olds must be able to jump into the pool unassisted and swim the length of the pool [25 meters] in either freestyle or backstroke, without assistance, to compete.
  2. 9 to 18 year olds must be able to swim 50 meters of freestyle or backstroke to compete.
  3. A developmental team called the Little Ripples is designed for swimmers who are not ready for competition. For the safety of all, Little Ripples are expected to be able to jump into the pool and swim the WIDTH of the pool unassisted (can be dog paddle) and be at least 5 years of age by August 1st [age will be verified by birth certificate] and kindergarten eligible. Coaches will provide evaluations during the first practices to make sure all are prepared.

Interested swimmers must submit all required forms and pay swim team fees prior to the first scheduled practice.

Obligations to the Team

Team Dues

The dues cover expenses such as coaching fees, insurance, conference fees and equipment (public address system, upkeep on starting blocks, lane ropes, flags, tables, etc.)

  • $165 per swim team member 4 to 18 years old, as well as Little Ripples
  • An additional family fee of $15/family for residents and $25/family for non-residents will be assessed beginning with the 2017 swim season.

Registration can be completed online and all registration fees can be paid online with a credit card payment. If an alternate payment method is necessary, please contact the Riss Lake Riptides Treasurer.

Release Forms

Medical and liability release forms must be signed and on file before a swimmer enters the water on their first practice. For this summer, all swim families must also sign and have on file a copy of the team "Return to Swim" practice plan, as well as the "Assumption of Risk Waiver of Liability" related to COVID-19.

Discipline Policy

In order to make practices and meets the most beneficial and safe for all, a discipline policy for both athletes and parents must be signed. If a coach encounters a problem, they will give your child one warning to stop their disruptive behavior. If the behavior continues, the child will be asked to sit out for a period of time. If the behavior continues, the parents will be notified and the child will be sent home for the day.

Parent Volunteers at Swim Meets

All families are required to work 4 to 6 shifts at our meets during the course of the 6 meet season. Families with 1 swimmer must work 4 shifts, 2 swimmers - 5 shifts, and 3 or more swimmers - 6 shifts. A shift is approximately one half of a meet. We need to fill approximately 120 jobs at each meet. Swimmers will not be permitted to participate in swim meets until their families has signed up for ALL of their required shifts. If you have swimmers who qualify for conference, you will also be expected to volunteer, based upon the request from the Northland Conference. If you do not sign up for the expected number of volunteer positions, someone will contact you or you may be approached on the pool deck during a meet and asked to volunteer. For the summer of 2020, the number of volunteer shifts per family is still TBD. It is unclear how many meets will be held and how many volunteer slots we will need to fill at each meet. Please plan to work the same 4-6 shifts per family if you choose to join the team.

If you find that you cannot work your shift, a roster of team members will be made available so that you can arrange for your own substitute.

  • Volunteer Workers – parents work either the 1st or 2nd half of meets at a designated job, [i.e., timer, concessions, scoring table, etc.]. Most jobs change at the completion of the Backstroke. Most of these jobs are fairly simple and you can be trained the night of the meet.
  • Certified Workers – stroke and turn judges, starters and referees must be certified with Missouri Valley and USA Swimming. Interested parties should contact a board member for further information.

Set up/Clean up: Set up will be completed by the 13 and up swimmers and board members. Clean up duties will be assigned to each age group for home meets during the season. Please check the online schedule to see when you are responsible for a job.

  • Set up at 3:30 - 5:00 pm for home meets
  • Clean up and put away equipment after home meets

Practice Procedures: Daily practices are used to build strength, improve skills and increase speed. Swimmers should make every effort to attend daily practices. If a swimmer finds it necessary to miss practice, advise the coach as soon as possible.

When arriving for practice, ALL BIKERS/WALKERS MUST USE THE STAIRS NEAR THE SOUTH END OF THE POOL ON RISS LAKE DRIVE. It is too dangerous for bikes and walkers to use the driveway at the north end due to too much car traffic.

Morning practices

  1. Practice will begin with “dry-land” exercises geared toward warming up swimmers before they enter the water. Please wear athletic shoes – no flip flops.
  2. Siblings may not swim before, during or after practice. This includes the baby pool.
  3. Practice will be canceled if it is lightning, though a light amount of rain will not keep us from practicing. Check your email for last minute schedule changes.
  4. Parents should refrain from coaching their children and stay back from the sides of the pool during practice. The coaches will communicate to the swimmers whether they are working hard enough or doing the stroke correctly, etc.

Night practices [optional]

These practices are provided primarily for swimmers who have morning conflicts and cannot make it to morning practices. They are not meant for swimmers to "double up" on practices in a day. Depending on evening attendance, the coaches may occasionally designate these practices for specific skills work (i.e. starts, turns) and might encourage some swimmers to attend to get extra work in these areas.

Practice Times: 2021 practice times

Days & Times Age Group
Monday - Thursday

8:00 - 9:10

11-12 year olds
Monday - Thursday

9:00-10:10 AM

9-10 year olds
Monday - Thrusday

10:00 - 10:40 AM                           10:30 - 11:10 AM

8 and Unders Group A
8 and Unders Group B
Monday - Thursday


13 and Older Swimmers

Monday - Thursday

12:25 - 1:00pm

Little Ripples 

9:30- 11:00 AM

Awards & Fun Swim! All age groups except Little Ripples. 
Evening Practices on Monday & Wednesday [Optional]

6:00 - 7:30 PM

All Age Groups (no Little Ripples) 

For any schedule changes, check the website: www.risslakeriptides.swimtopia.com or email, text, Facebook, etc.

Season Schedule

5/2 Open House/Parent Q and A/Meet the Coaches Event at Woodhaven Pool 2:00-3:00

5/24-5/27 Evening Practices and 8U evaluations (Times TBD)

6/1 - First day of regular morning practice schedule

6/3 - Blue and White IntraSquad meet

6/10 - Home Meet vs. Thousand Oaks

6/17 - Home Meet vs. Brooktree

6/24 - Away Meet @ Clayview

6/29 - Away Meet @ Woodneath Farms

7/8 - Away Meet @ New Mark

7/13 - Home Meet vs. Old Pike

SWIM MEET PROCEDURES:*See 2020 Swim Plan under "Documents" tab for information on summer 2020 swim meet procedures*

Parking on Riss Lake Drive is limited to the poolside only, and no parking along the driveway to pool parking lot. To ease parking issues please reduce the number of cars being driven to the meet by carpooling when possible.

  • 3:30 pm – Setup crew arrives for home meet
  • 4:30 pm – Team arrives for HOME meet for warm-up
  • 5:00 pm – Team arrives for AWAY meet for warm-up
  • 6:00 pm – Meet begins

- Plan on the meet lasting 3-4 hours, plus clean up time.

- Parents need to arrive prior to the start of the meet to check-in for their assigned volunteer duties.

- Meet Cancellation: Regardless of weather conditions, we MUST be at a meet to avoid a forfeit. In case of inclement weather, Conference Reps and Coaches will confer on possible cancellation and rescheduling of the meet.

- Please sign up for swim meet participation on the team website or advise the coaches as soon as you know if you are unable to swim in a meet. The meet line-up takes hours for the coaches to prepare so please be considerate of the coach’s efforts.

Pre-Meet Preparation:

  • The Coach will inform swimmers of the events in which they are swimming on or before the day of a meet.
  • Directions to away meets may be found on the website.
  • Pack swimmer’s gear: suit, caps, goggles, towels, warm-ups, Sharpie pen for writing events/heats on swimmer’s hand, highlighter, etc.
  • Pack parent’s gear: sunscreen, chairs, drinks, snacks, etc.

Arriving at the Meet:

  • Get to the pool on time.
  • Check-in with the Coaches to let them know you are there.
  • For $1 you may purchase a Heat Sheet that lists the names of swimmers and the event in which they’re entered for the meet, conference qualifying times, and the fastest time for your child to-date.
  • Parents check-in with Volunteer Coordinator

During the Meet:

  • Parents, especially for younger swimmers, can help getting their swimmer to the Clerk of the Course on time to avoid missing their event.
  • After swimming an event swimmers be sure to ask Timers for their “unofficial” time.
  • Swimmers should be notified if they have been disqualified or “DQ'd” in an event.
  • Swimmers are encouraged to check with the coaches after they swim an event to receive helpful tips and pointers, but may not sit at the coaches table.
  • Concessions, including bottled water, soda, and snacks will be available for purchase at all pools, both home and away. However, you are welcome to bring your own.

After the Meet:

  • Pick up team and pool area.
  • Volunteers will be asked to help put away equipment [ age groups will be assigned for each home meet].
  • We must leave the pool as we found it for use the next day.


The four competitive strokes are:

  • Freestyle is characterized by an alternate overhand motion of the arms and an alternating up and down flutter kick.
  • Backstroke consists of an alternating motion of the arm while on the back using a flutter kick.
  • Breaststroke requires simultaneous movements of the arms on the same horizontal plane. The hands are pulled from the breast in a heart-shaped pattern and recovered under the surface of the water except at the finish. The kick is a simultaneous somewhat circular motion similar to the action of a frog. On turns and at the finish, the swimmer must touch with both hands.
  • Butterfly consists of a simultaneous overhand stroke of the arms combined with an undulating dolphin kick. In the kick, the simmer must keep both legs together and may NOT use any other kick.

The following events are in addition to the above strokes:

  • Individual Medley (I.M.) features all four strokes. The swimmer begins with the butterfly, then changes to the backstroke, then breaststroke and finally freestyle. This event is only for swimmers ages 9 and older.
  • Medley Relay consists of 4 team members swimming one leg each of the four strokes. The first swimmer swims the backstroke, the second swimmer swims breaststroke, and third swimmer swims butterfly and the last swimmer swims freestyle.
  • Freestyle Relay consists of 4 team members swimming freestyle for each leg.

Order of Events:

First Half:

#1 Medley Relay 8 & under Boys

#2 Medley Relay 8 & under Girls

#3 Medley Relay 9-10 Boys

#4 Medley Relay 9-10 Girls

#5 Medley Relay 11-12 Boys

#6 Medley Relay 11-12 Girls

#7 Medley Relay 13-14 Boys

#8 Medley Relay 13-14 Girls

#9 Medley Relay 15-18 Boys

#10 Medley Relay 15-18 Girls

#11-20 Freestyle, all age groups

#21-30 Butterfly, all age groups

#31-40 Backstroke, all age groups

Second Half:

#41-48 Individual Medley (I.M.), 9 years and up

#49-58 Breaststroke, all age groups

#59-68 Freestyle Relay, all age groups

The order is the same for each stroke; boys compete first and then girls compete in each age group.


All swimmers who compete in three dual meets and meet the qualifying time in an event will earn a place at the Conference Championship meet held at the end of the swim season. The Head Coach will post times throughout the season so that each swimmer can compare their time to conference qualifying times. Qualifying conference times may be found on our website and on the bulletin board at the pool. An excellent goal for the season is to improve on time at each meet and strive to qualify for the Conference Championship meet. While a swimmer may qualify in some or all events, the swimmer is allowed to swim in only three individual events at Conference.


  1. Fluids and hydration are critical to maintaining the body in top training and competition shape.
    1. Drink plenty of water, before during and after practice.
    2. Sport’s drinks are good for carbohydrates, while water is good for hydration.
    3. Drinks that contain sugar and caffeine, like sodas, cause dehydration.
  2. A daily nutritional plan to enhance healthy growth and top performance is optimal.
    1. When planning nutrition for a meet, realize that the food that is consumed 24-72 hours prior to a meet are the substances that will provide primary energy for performance. Emphasize carbohydrate-type foods and items that contain complex carbohydrates.
    2. The meals eaten the day of the meet should contain lots of fluids and foods high in carbohydrates. Breakfast and lunch should be of good nutritional value and dinner should be normal.


Competition Suit: We suggest you wear your competition suit only for meets, not for practice or recreational swimming. These suits are usually created smaller to cut down on resistance. Team suits are encouraged but not required, especially for Little Ripples who may not compete in a meet. The swim team selects a new style of suit every two years for families to purchase if desired.

Practice Suit: Swimmers should have a suit that is only used for practices and recreational swimming. Girls should have a one piece with a cross back; boys should wear a jammer, Speedo or drag suit.

Caps: A swim cap is worn during a race or practice to cut down on resistance and to protect the swimmer’s hair from the effects of chlorine. It is recommended that all swimmers wear a cap. Team caps also are available for purchase.

Goggles: Swimmers wear goggles during practice and competition to enhance visibility and protection from the effects of chemicals in the water.

Towel: Large beach towels work best.

Sweats: Swimmers are encouraged to bring/wear sweat suits during meets, and before/after practice.



Each year during Registration the team has a variety of items with the Riss Lake Riptides logo to purchase for swimmers, family and friends. This is the only time these items are available for order for the year. Most items are ready for pickup at the beginning of the season.


  1. Love and support are the most important things parents provide their swimmer.
  2. Encourage your swimmer without being pushy.
  3. Get your swimmer to practice on time with the proper equipment. Be early so they can socialize and prepare for practice/meet
  4. Help your swimmer accept responsibility without you doing the job. If he/she feels that his sport is in their control, it will mean more to them when they accomplish their goals.
  5. Don’t compare your child’s effort or performance to others. Swimmers mature physically and mentally at different ages.
  6. Encourage your swimmer to develop a good relationship with the coaches. Swimmer-related questions should be dealt with between swimmer and coach.
  7. Develop good communication with the coaching staff. If you know your swimmer will miss practice or a meet, please communicate this as early as possible so the Head Coach can plan accordingly.
  8. Be positive at swim meets.
  9. Do not criticize or ask questions of the stroke officials if your child has been disqualified (DQed) in an event. It is the coaching staff’s responsibility to handle questions with the officials, and then communicate with the swimmer.
  10. HAVE FUN! The summer is for enjoying a break from school. While the team encourages the success of each team member, it is just as important for us to all have an enjoyable summer.
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The Riss Lake Swim Team part of The Northland Swim Conference since 2001

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