Northern Virginia Swimming League (NVSL)
In 1956, eight Northern Virginia pools founded the NVSL. LHP is one of these founding pools. Today, the NVSL has over 16,000 swimmers on 102 teams. It is the largest summer swim league in the United States. The teams are divided into 17 divisions of six teams each based on their expected performance, with the six highest ranked teams making up Division 1. NVSL establishes the rules of competition, seeds the divisions, certifies and maintains league records, oversees training of officials, and organizes the culminating Championship Meets: All Star Relay Carnival and Individual All Stars.
Little Hunting Park Gators
The Little Hunting Park’s Board of Directors (BOD) is the ultimate authority over the Gators Swim Team. The BOD authorizes the use of the pool for practice and meets and employs the Coaches. The Team Representative (Team Rep) is a volunteer swim team parent who acts as liaison between the Swim Team and the BOD. The Team Representative also represents the Gators to other swim teams and the NVSL. She/he is responsible for the general functioning of the team including: hiring and managing Coaches, scheduling meets and organizing the many volunteer positions required to run meets and other events.
The Head Coach has numerous, crucial responsibilities: ensuring maximum swimmer development and performance, supervising Assistant Coaches, planning practice routines, assigning swimmers and Coaches to practice lanes and selecting swimmers for competitions. The Head Coach rules the deck; all decisions directly related to training and competition are made by the Head Coach.
Assistant Coaches naturally assist the Head Coach. Often these Coaches are also teammates. These are the people who will be interacting with and training the swimmers on a daily basis. Each swimmer will likely have an assigned Coach, whom they should seek out and check in with when first arriving at practice or a meet.
For practices, the Coaches sort swimmers primarily based on skill levels and lane availability. Practice groupings are “Developmental,” “10 and Under” and “11 and over.” The “Developmental” group trains in 30-minute daily sessions. The “10U” and “11+” groups practice in hour-long sessions. While the labels of the practice groups are age-based, assignment to these groups is primarily skill-based.
For competitions (meets), swimmers are sorted by gender and age group. A swimmer’s age on June 1 determines his/her age group for the duration of the summer season. There are five age groups (8 and Under, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-18). In Developmental (B) meets the 8U age group is split into two groups 6U and 7-8. In most events, swimmers may “age up” or compete in an older age group; this is done either to gain competitive advantage, or more typically to fill an empty lane caused by lack of swimmers or unexpected absences.