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PYP Frequently Asked Questions

If you've recently become a Piranha or if you're on the team and still have a few questions, we'll try to answer them in this simple Q&A. If you still have unanswered questions, please contact Lisa Bitting (lbitting@suncoastymca.org) at the Palm Harbor Y.

What does my swimmer need to bring to practice?

Each swimmer should bring their goggles, swim fins, swim cap, a towel, and water to their scheduled practice. Pull buoys, kickboards, paddles, and other training equipment are available at each branch. If your swimmer has a personal preference in training equipment, they may bring their own. Be sure to clearly identify these personal items as the clean up process is typically swift when items are put away into their bins.

What style of goggles should my child wear?

There are many styles and sizes of goggles available. Be sure to find a pair of goggles that "fit the face" as there are both youth and adult sizes. Which goggle is for you comes down to the personal preference of each swimmer.

What kind of bathing suit should my child wear?

Girls should wear a one-piece bathing suit. Boys can wear either a jammer or brief style suit. Practice suits do not need to be racing suits, but should fit nicely and stay in place for swimming and diving. Racing suits should be worn at meets and be well fitted with no gaps to catch water and create drag. PYP is a Speedo sponsored team and we encourage all swimmers to wear Speedo suits.

Are we required to purchase a team suit?

No, a PYP team suit is not required. There is a team suit available and on file with our sponsored vendor, Total Team Wares, that can be purchased at www.totalteamwares.com. It is very important to wear a well-fitted suit when you are racing. Check with your coach if you're not sure what type of suit to race in. We do require PYP swimmers to race in PYP caps.

Where can I get my PYP cap?

There are two types of PYP caps, silicone and latex. Latex is thinner and costs $6 and silicone is thicker and costs $16. The type of cap you choose is based on your personal preference. Caps can be purchased from your YMCA Membership Desk and are always available at swim meets from your coach. There are a wide variety of practice caps available in latex, silicone, and lycra that can be purchased at local stores, online, or at swim meets.

How do we know what's going on with the Piranhas?

Each branch of Piranhas has their own method of communication. All branches either use communication folders (folders located poolside and organized by your family's last name) or an announcement board (a bulletin board located in a public area with announcements and notifications about the team).  It is our way of sharing information about practice and meet schedules, meet entry forms, activities, delivery of your ribbons/recognitions, and other pieces of important information. Please check your folder or board daily. This website also offers tons of information concerning the team and email addresses for each PYP coach in the "About" section. Please feel free to use these communication tools to ask us questions.

What is USA Swimming and Florida Swimming? Does my swimmer have to join?

Included in the PYP Registration Packet you will find the USA/FL Swimming Registration Form. Our team is part of a much larger national organization known as USA Swimming, of which Florida Swimming is a regional affiliate. This is the governing body that helps keep our coaches, officials, and swimmers learning, on-task, and involved in the sport as it continues to grow and improve. USA Swimming provides a great explanation of the different levels of swimming and their role in the sport on their website (www.usaswimming.org). All PYP swimmers are required to become members of USA/FL Swimming.

There are terms the coaches use that my new swimmer doesn't understand.

One of the many benefits offered through USA Swimming's website is a parent section that guides parents through all aspects of the sport. Another great way for parents to better understand swimming is "Swimming 101" on www.usaswimming.org which provides a great deal of informatin about the basics of swimming.

How do I know when my child is ready to swim at a meet?

Ask your swimmer's coach. PYP offers a wide variety of meets for our swimmers to participate in. We encourage all of the swimmers to jump in and begin racing when they are ready. There are many technical aspects to each stroke that coaches work on daily at practice. Simply communicate with your coach after practice or by email and they will be more than happy to recommend the stroke and distance your swimmer is ready to race. Encouraging the swimmers to "go outside of their comfort zones" sometimes results in an amazing race. Your coach will be happy to help select events for your swimmer.

What are entry forms, psych sheets, and heat sheets?

Entry forms are created to help you enter your swimmers in a swim meet. They provide the important details of the meet (i.e. date, location, events, cost, due date) and provide a consistent method of registration to ensure accurate entry. These forms are available at each branch and on this website ("Meets"). Please complete a separate entry form for each swimmer. Payment for the meet entry is required when you submit the form. Submitting meet entries after the due date may restult in not being entered in the meet.

Psych sheets are a preliminary listing of the swimmers entered in a meet for each event, ranked by time. Psych sheets will give the swimmer some idea of where they will be seeded in an event.

Heat sheets are the program for a swim meet. They list each event by session, providing the heat and lane each swimmer will be in. We recommend you bring a highlighter to find your swimmer in the heat sheet throughout the meet.

What is meant by "short course" and "long course" seasons?

Swim meets are categorized by the length of the pool in which they are swum. Short course refers to courses that are 25 yards or 25 meters in length. Short course season runs from August-March each year. Long course refers to swim meets being held in pools measuring 50 meters in length. Long course season runs from April-July each year. Some Piranha branches offer recreational short course programs during the summer.

I keep hearing kids and parents referring to the FL-AG/Age Group Championship. What is it?

When a parent or swimmer mentions FL-AGs they are referring to the Florida Swimming Age Group Championship. The meet is held twice a year, one for the short course season and one for the long course season. Swimmers are divided into the recognized age groups by gender (10 and under, 11, 12, 13, and 14). They must achieve certain times in each event to qualify for the meet. These times are posted on the Florida Swimming website (www.floridaswimming.org) or on this website on the "Home" page under "standards".

I hear other parents talking about cuts and letters. What do they mean?

Certain swim meets require the swimmers to achieve qualifying times or "cuts" to enter the events. Our schedule of meets that require "cuts" include the Gator Meet, FL Age Group Champs, Senior Champs, Sectionals, Y Nationals, and all national level meets. USA swimming publishes a list of times ranked by age which are called Motivational Times and are categorized into C, B, BB, A, AA, AAA, AAAA. Beyond AAAA is the National Reportable Time (NRT). These letters can be used to help each individual swimmer set their goals. You can view the current motivational times and qualifying time standards on the "Home" page under "standards".

How do I pay my monthly fees for Piranhas?

PYP is a monthly program. Your PYP program fee is determined by the division you practice with and the type of YMCA membership you have. Fees can be paid at your YMCA membership desk or at www.suncoastymca.org. Payment for each month is due by the 10th of each month. Attendance is taken daily and notice of unpaid program fees may result in a $10 late fee.

Where do I purchase PYP t-shirts, sweats, and more?

Several times throughout the year PYP outfitting order forms will be made available at your branch or on this website. We will offer PYP t-shirts, sweatshirts/sweatpants, hoodies, crew necks, tank tops, and more. These orders are all prepaid. This is your team and we invite your involvement in the design and types of PYP items we offer. To offer your input/suggestions/ideas please contact Lisa Bitting (lbitting@suncoastymca.org). Total Team Wares offers additional items that can be personalized at Celebrate Embroidery or Image Depot such as parkas and swim bags.

How can I become a sponsor for the Piranhas?

PYP team sponsorship is an opportunity available at each YMCA branch. The tax-deductible donations help offset costs of providing PYP appearal and other recognition for our PYP swimmers. We will happily identify your contribution to the program by recognizing your family or business on our website and offer a "web link" with a simple click. There are four levels of sponsorships: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. The PYP Sponsorship Forms are available for you to download and present to your coach.

How do I become an official?

Every swim meet requires a certain number of USA Swimming certified swim officials and few meets ever have enough officials. The first step in becoming an official is to express an interest. Officials start as Stroke and Turn Judges, advance to Starters, to Deck Referee, and then to Administrative Referee. Each level requires you to take an online, open-book test, attend a seminar (usually held in between sessions at some meets), and then apprentice in the position for a certain number of hours with an experienced official. Bob Bentz is our lead PYP official. He would be thrilled to spend time individually or as a group explaining the opportunity to become an official for PYP. This is a great way to better understand your child's sport and be part of the fun. Let your swimmer's coach know if you're interested.

I still have more questions, who do I contact for answers?

If your question is branch specific, (each Suncoast YMCA branch determines their practice times/schedules/coaching based on availablitiy), communicate with your head branch PYP coach, Aquatics Director, or lead parent volunteer. The Greater Palm Harbor Y is PYP's primary location and will always try to help answer your questions. In addition, the Florida Swimming Parents Page and the USA Swimming Parents Page contain a lot of useful information. If you have a question, please ask.

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