Frequently Asked Questions
- What is our mission?
- How much is the Registration Fee? Do you have to be a resident to register?
- What are the minimum age and skill requirements to be a Bedford Sharks Swimmer? What happens on the Assessment Days?
- Do I need to buy a Team Suit? What other equipment do I need?
- Who are the Coaches?
- What is Swimtopia?
- How will parents receive team communications throughout the season?
- Where can I find our Bedford Sharks Team Records?
- What is the link to our Team Photos share site?
- How do I become a Sponsor?
- Who do I ask if I have a question?
- Are there year-round swimming opportunities for my child?
- When is Practice?
- Does my swimmer have to come to every practice?
- Does my swimmer have to attend the practice time for their age group?
- Are Parents Required to Stay at Practices?
- What are the expectations of my swimmer during practice?
- What level of individual instruction can parents expect for their swimmers at group practices ?
- Do Coaches offer Private Swim Lessons?
- What is the swim meet schedule?
- Are meets mandatory?
- What time does a swim meet start/end?
- What should swimmers bring to a meet?
- What should parents bring (and NOT bring) to a meet?
- How many meets do we swim each season?
- What are the age groups for our swim meets?
- What are the events/strokes included in the meet?
- What is the order of events?
- How does the scoring work?
- What is a Main Heat? What is a Heat Sheet?
- What about Swim Meet Ribbons?
- What ID number do I mark on my Swimmer’s Arm for a swim meet?
- Why is it important to “declare my swimmer” as a YES or a NO for a swim meet (and not just show up at a meet)?
- How many parents does it take to run a meet? What are my family’s volunteering responsibilities?
- What are the Volunteer Job Descriptions?
- What are “Time Trials”?
- What happens if there is thunder or lightning?
- What are the TSA Championships?
The Bedford at Falls River Sharks Swim Team is a fun and enjoyable summer swim program for children to be further exposed to competitive swimming, improve their swimming skills, learn about team spirit, and represent the community of Bedford at Falls River. The Bedford Sharks is open to Bedford residents only.
The Bedford Sharks Swim Team was founded in 2005. Each year, approximately 200 swimmers (ages 5 through 18 years) join us for our summer swim season May through July. We offer weekday practices in the AM and PM and six Tuesday night swim meets over our summer season.
We are members of the Tarheel Swimming Association (TSA), North Carolina's largest summer recreational youth swim league of over 80 swim teams from private, non-profit clubs in the Raleigh/Wake County area. Teams are placed into divisions of 4 teams each based on the past year’s performance in dual meets.
We are looking forward to another fantastic summer swim season! GO SHARKS!
Registration fees can be found on the Registration page. Registration fees are used to pay for our operating costs including coaches, equipment, league fees, team t-shirts, technology (websites/timing systems), ribbons, and banquet costs to name a few.
2022 Registration Fees:
$100 each swimmer (ages 5-14)
$15 each swimmer (ages 15-18)
Included in registration fees, each swimmer will receive the following:
- 8 fun-filled weeks of swimming instruction and 6 consecutive, weekly dual-team swim meets.
- Qualified Coaching Staff. Our Coaches are SafeSport trained Lifeguards. They are all past or current TSA swimmers for 10+ years. They have experience as high school swim team members and/or year-round swimmers. They have experience in coaching various local swim clinics and each has previous experience in giving swim lessons to young children through Bedford or other organizations.
- Bedford Sharks Swim Team t-shirt & Swim Cap
- End of Season Recognition Award
- End of Season Swim Banquet
** When you register your child(ren), you are agreeing to work at 3 swim meets. The Bedford Sharks will appreciate and welcome you to help above and beyond 3 meets, but 3 meets is the minimum requirement of each swim team family. If you are unable to fulfill this commitment, please respect this requirement and do not sign your child up for the team* *
Do you have to be a Bedford Resident to register? Can I register my grandchild?
The swim team is open to all children who are Bedford residents. If your grandchild is living with you in your house for the summer, then you may register them for the swim team and you are responsible for fulfilling your three volunteer jobs.
Please note the following requirements for being eligible to be a swim team member (suggested age and ability) :
At least 4-5 years of age and, in general, able to swim one 25-yard length of the pool, unassisted, without touching bottom, holding a lane line/wall or needing assistance from a coach. This requirement is in place for the protection of the swimmers. During practice, there may be as many as 40 or more children swimming across 4 lanes. We need to make sure that the swimmers are able to participate in practice safely with minimal risk. If the swimmer can’t complete the 25-yard swim “test”, then for their protection we cannot have them in practice.
All swimmers will be evaluated by the Coaching staff during the first or second week of practice. We will hold 2 Swimmer Assessment Days during the regularly scheduled practices times for each age group. This is especially important for new swimmers and 6 and unders to ensure the swimmers have a strong enough swimmer skill set to safely participate in practice and meets. If you won't be at practice on the designated assessment days, please just make arrangements with your coach. The swimmers won't even realize they are being assessed. If the Coaches feel your child is not capable of swimming well enough to be safe during swim team practices, they will discuss it with you. The coaches are well practiced at being able to determine if a swimmer is close enough to this goal and strong enough to be safe in the water during a regular swim team practice session. Please be respectful of their considered opinions and supportive of our coaches in making sure your child(ren) are ready for a safe and fun summer participating in swim team.
**If you are unsure how close your child is to swimming an entire length of the pool, it would be a good idea to visit one of the indoor pools in the area to give it a try. Millbrook Exchange Park, Optimist…these are two of the closest.
The Bedford Sharks Swim Store is officially open! Click on the Link below to order all of your swimwear and accessories.
The team suit for the 2022 Season will be a solid navy blue swimsuit and jammer by Dolphin. Girls have two options: navy blue with white piping or solid navy blue (both are on the website). Boys have two options: solid navy blue jammer or briefs (most boys pick the longer jammer style). NOTE: We are no longer wearing the blue/orange dotted suits.
Team suits are NOT required, but we look pretty snazzy if we are all matching. If you prefer, you can also order a solid navy blue Speedo or TYR brand suit/jammer on your own. We typically have sample suits you can try on for size prior to ordering.
Each registered swimmer will get one team T-Shirt and swim cap. Additional adult spirt wear shirts are available for purchase on our Bedford Sharks Swim Outlet website.
Note: it’s important to get your team suit (or solid navy blue suit) as soon as possible so you have it for the first swim meet. It’s okay if you don’t have the suit for the first few practices – just wear any one piece/jammer!
Swimmers will also need to bring goggles, a towel, and a water bottle to each practice. See FAQ for suggestions of what swimmers and parents should bring (and not bring) to a swim meet.
Please see the Photos & Bios on the website to learn more about each of our wonderful coaches!
Swimtopia is our new website platform. All swim clubs that are part of the Tarheel Swim Association (TSA) are now required to run under Swimtopia.
For parents, it gives you a way to declare if you are coming to a meet (and sign up for volunteer positions), as well as a one-stop-shop for information & communications.
You can also visit the Swimtopia Parents Help website for more tutorials.
Our old website (www.bedfordsharks.org) will now redirect to our new Swimtopia website (www.bedford.swimtopia.com).
Meet Maestro is our timing system.
E-mail and the Bedford Sharks Swimtopia News section of the website will be used to convey information throughout the season. Please check both for important information.
In the case of inclement weather during practice, the Bedford Swim Team managers will send out notifications about practice cancellations as soon as possible.
Swim Team managers can be reached via email: email@example.com
Click here for Our Bedford Team Records
Click here for Team Photos
Visit our Sponsors page to give a huge thank you to our wonderful Sponsors.
Become a Bedford Sharks Sponsor! A sponsorship is an excellent way to promote your business and show community support.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
If your questions are related to workouts, meets, events, goal setting, and other swimming related needs, please contact one of the coaches directly (individual email addresses listed in our bios on the website). If you have questions for ALL the coaches, please email us at email@example.com. Please be mindful that during practice, Coaches need to focus on the swimmers in the water and can answer your questions after all practices are completed for the day.
For all other questions related to administrative, such as dues, safety, or policy issues, please contact one of the board members at firstname.lastname@example.org. Managers receive the emails directly and will respond in a timely manner. The names of the current Bedford Sharks managers are listed on the Contact Us page.
Many of our swimmers participate in year round swimming teams and/or local high school swim teams. Summer swimming is the gateway for many swimmers into these programs. Below are links that may be of interest to you for opportunities outside of the summer swim team. Feel free to ask any of the Bedford Swim Team Managers if you have questions.
Practice is offered once a day Monday through Thursday PM for the first few weeks of the season. After traditional schools are out, Practice is offered twice a day: Monday through Friday AM -OR- Monday through Thursday PM with Swim Meets held on Tuesday evenings (or Wednesday evenings if Tuesday is rained out).
Swimmers may attend both AM and PM practices if they choose, but this is certainly not expected. AM practices are generally less crowded and a swimmer can receive more individual attention.
Check out our Practice Schedule for dates/times by age group.
In the case of inclement weather, the managers will send a cancellation communication out via email and on the new section of the website.
No. But it’s important to come to as many practices as they can to improve their skills. We understand that families go on summer vacations and sometimes your swimmer may have other obligations. Coaches do not take an official practice attendance. You do not need to notify your coach if you will miss a practice (you do however, need to declare your swimmer as a yes or no for each swim meet using the Swimtopia website).
Yes. Age group practice dates/times are posted on the practice schedule page. Please attend the practice scheduled for your age group (*)
(*) Special requests to attend a practice with a different age group will be reviewed on a case by case basis with the Coaches and Managers. For example, year-round swimmers age 9 and above are encouraged to swim with the older age group.
Parents should stay on deck at practice if your child is under the age of 8 and/or cannot swim unassisted. Please note: Younger siblings are not permitted in the pool area prior to the normal pool opening time of 10AM, so parents may need to wait on the playground for their younger swimmers to finish morning practices.
If your child is over the age of 8 and can swim unassisted, then parents do not need to stay at practice. Parents are always welcome to stay and watch swim practice, as well. You may “drop and go”, but are required to pick your child up directly after practice. If your child is over the age of 8 and can swim unassisted, they are permitted to ride their bike or walk on their own to & from practice, but must leave right after practice is over if they do not have a parent with them.
For AM practices, there will likely be a “Gate Attendant” parent volunteer to check swim team swimmers in the gate for practice. For PM practices, there likely will not be a “Gate Attendant” parent volunteer, so swimmers will need to swipe their pool key card to get into practice.
- Respect your teammates, coaches, officials and opponents at all times.
- Be on time for practices and swim meets.
- Give 100% effort at each practice and meet.
- Support and encourage your teammates.
- Set a positive example.
- Wear the required Spirit Wear at all meets and practices.
- Display good sportsmanship at all times both on and off the pool deck.
- Be alert for any inclement weather updates.
Please be aware that the large number of children per practice, their various levels of ability, and general time constraints preclude any significant individual instruction during regular practice.
Our Coaches are committed to making practices as much fun and safe as possible. Although this is summer swimming, a certain amount of stroke technique instruction and endurance building workouts are required to sustain a level of competition. Much of the enjoyment of the program comes from participating on a team, the camaraderie with fellow team members, and reaching one’s own personal goals. Feel free to talk to the coaches before or after practices about your child and any concerns you may have. During a meet, please allow the coaches to focus their attention on the meet.
Yes, our coaches do offer Private Swim Lessons. Private Lessons for Bedford Shark Swim Team members only are managed by the coaches directly. They schedule all lessons, collect and receive all payments, and handle all communications directly. You may speak with them on the pool deck when they are not coaching swim team and not providing private lessons
** Please be aware that the large number of children per practice, their various levels of ability, and general time constraints preclude any significant individual instruction during regular practice. **
Click on Meets & Events to see the calendar and to RSVP/Signup.
We encourage you to come to all six meets, but we understand if you need to miss a meet. We ask that you declare if you are coming each week (by the Sunday before the Tuesday meet) so we can make sure to include you in our meet lineup. You will use Swimtopia to declare whether you are coming to each weekly meet.
Swim meets are scheduled for Tuesday evenings at 6:00 PM. Warm-ups begin at 5:00 PM for home meets and 5:30 PM for away meets. We ask all swimmers to be at the meet location 30 minutes before warm-ups. If the meet is rained out, it is moved to Wednesday.
Meets begin promptly at 6:00 PM and conclude around 9:00 PM ish, depending on the size of the pool, the number of swimmers, and potential weather delays. Please do not leave the meet until you have confirmed with your coach that you are done with your races and relays.
Note: The 6&U age group does NOT swim the last two events of the meet (Butterfly and the Freestyle Relay) so the youngest swimmers will be done closer to 8:00PM ish.
Bring/wear your team suit, swim cap, 2 pairs of goggles (in case one pair breaks), and 2-3 towels. Bring warm and dry clothing (it can get chilly after dark). Bring a sharpie marker to mark your swimmer number on your arm (or better yet, mark arms before you arrive). Bring healthy snacks and water or sports drinks. Bring a positive attitude!
Bring a chair, sunglasses/sunscreen, dress in layers (it can be sweltering hot and it get cooler on some nights), water, snacks, money for snacks, and a positive attitude!
NOT ALLOWED AT ANY TSA MEETS: alcohol, tobacco, e-cigarettes, firearms, weapons, fireworks, etc.
There are a total of 6 swim meets (dual meets) per season that are scheduled for Tuesday nights (Wednesday in the event of a weather cancelation). There are 3 home meets and 3 away meets. The first three swim meets are out-of-division meets, and the final three meets are against the other three teams in our division. These meet results are used to determine the Division champion. There is an end of season TSA Championship meet that is optional (referenced in FAQ below).
Swim meets are conducted based on the following age groups: 6-and-under (6U), 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, and 15-18 years old. The swimmer’s official age for TSA purposes is determined based on the swimmer’s age on June 1. Swimmers do not change age groups during the TSA swim season.
Swimmers participate in individual events for their age group only. Age groups, distances, and strokes for individual events are as follows, separately for boys’ events and girls’ events:
6-Under: 15 yards each of freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke, unassisted. 6-U do not swim butterfly or relays. A rope is put across the pool at the 15 yard mark for 6-Under swimmers to swim to.
7-8 and 9-10 years: 1 length of the pool (25 yards) each of freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly.
11-12, 13-14, and 15-18: 2 lengths (50 yards) of the pool each of freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly.
Events are swum, alternating between boys’ and girls’ events, starting with the youngest boys’ age group swimming the event, in the following order: Medley Relay, Freestyle, Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly, Freestyle Relay.
The order of events at swim meets is as follows:
Medley Relay: 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13-13, 15-18
Freestyle: 6U, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-18
Backstroke: 6U, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-18
Breaststroke: 6U, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-18
Butterfly: 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-18
Freestyle Relay: 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-18
Each event starts with the youngest boys first, then the youngest girls, on through to the oldest girls. 6U swim 15 yards, 7-10 swim 25 yards, and 11-18 swim 50 yards.
Up to three swimmers may swim the main event. No swimmer can swim all of the main events for their age group. The main event race is held first, with additional heats if there are at least two swimmers desiring to participate. Additional heats are held to provide an opportunity for all swimmers to participate in the meets and build their experience. Additional heats may be discontinued at the discretion of the team TSA Representatives as needed (due to late nights, weather, etc.).
Points are awarded for individual MAIN events as follows: 5 points for first place, 3 points for second place, and 1 point for third place.
For relay events, 5 points are awarded for first place, only.
All swimmers will have the opportunity to swim in all six regular season meets. Three (3) swimmers in each event will be selected to swim in the main heat (the heat which scores points for the team and lane numbers are assigned in the heat sheet) and the rest swim in participatory heats (swimmers are randomly assigned a lane by the clerk of course). All relays are main events - 3 per team. The main heat and relay selection is left to the discretion of the Coaches and is generally based on the best times from the previous week’s meet. No swimmer can swim all of the main heat for their age group. If there are not enough swimmers in a certain age group, younger swimmers can be moved "up" but older swimmers can not be moved down an age group.
Heat Sheets are prepared for the Main Heats only (this heat sheet document tells swimmers in the main heat ahead of time which lanes to swim in for their event). All other non-main heat swimmers will be randomly distributed by the Clerk of Course into heats & lanes (a swimmer's unique ID number marked on their arm will be used by the Timers to match swimmers to their times). Typically, the home team will swim in even number lanes and the away team will swim in odd number lanes (or vice versa). Typically heat sheets are emailed out to the team (or posted on the website) on the morning of the swim meet, and a paper copy will also be posted on the wall at the swim meet.
Each home team will provide ribbons to the swimmers on both swim teams (home and away). Bedford provides ribbons as follows at our home swim meetings:
Parent "Ribbon Writer" volunteers handwrite the 1st - 6th place ribbons (main events only) during the meet. Place ribbons are awarded to the swimmers at the following practice.
Parent "Heat Ribbon" volunteers hand out "Heat Winner" and "Participation" ribbons for non-main heats during the swim meet (for ages 10 and under).
Before you arrive to a swim meet, Mark your swimmer's upper right arm with their unique ID number with a black permanent Sharpie marker. This Swimmer ID number is used by the Timers to match the swimmer to their times.
2022 Bedford Roster ID Numbers will be posted here before the first meet.
It is critically important that parents complete the signup process for each of the six meets (declare your swimmer via the website as a YES or a NO for each swim meet as soon as possible and no later than the Sunday before each Tuesday meet).
This information is used to develop the list of swimmers for the individual stroke main events and the relay teams. Without this information, coaches are unable to effectively perform their job and provide the best opportunity for our swimmers to compete. Swimmers whose parents do not complete the signup process by the Sunday before the swim meet will not swim main events that week and will be assigned a lane for heat races. Coaches need to prepare the swim roster before the swim meet and same-day changes are unfair to the coaches’ time and to the swimmers who have been told they are swimming main events.
Although emergencies do arise, please try not to wait until the day of the meet to notify us of your child’s absence. This adds unnecessary confusion to an already hectic time. Relays and heat assignments are made the weekend prior to the meet and the coaches must be informed of a child’s inability to attend to make the proper assignments.
It take a village of over 40 parent volunteers to run a swim meet (including volunteers from both the home & away teams). To run a successful swim meet, we need many parents filling the following jobs: Meet Set-up and Sound System Set-up, Starter/Announcer, Clerk of Course, Stroke & Turn Judges, TSA Rep, Meet Central Timing System Coordinator, Scorekeepers & Recorders, Place Judges, Runners, Kid Pushers, Ribbon Writers, Timers, and more.
** When you register your child(ren), you are agreeing to work at 3 swim meets. The Bedford Sharks will appreciate and welcome you to help above and beyond 3 meets, but 3 meets is the minimum requirement of each swim team family. If you are unable to fulfill this commitment, please respect this requirement and do not sign your child up for the team**
You will receive an extra prize raffle ticket to use at the End of Season Banquet for every volunteer job over the required 3 jobs (and we have some GREAT prizes). ** If you are unable to fulfill your designated volunteer assignment for a given meet it is your responsibility to find a substitute for that meet.
There are also additional volunteer opportunities (contact a current swim team manager for more details): including Swim Team Mangers, Volunteer Coordinator, Sponsorship Coordinators, TSA Representatives, Treasure, Website/Technology, Team Photographer, Banquet Chair, and Gate Attendants. Note: TSA Reps and Stroke & Turn Judges require additional training.
Sign up for Volunteer Jobs using the "Job Sign Up" buttons on the Meets & Events tab.
Please click to read all about our Volunteer Job Descriptions.
Time Trials is another name for a “practice” swim meet. This is typically done early in the summer swim season on a Saturday morning at the Bedford pool (with just the Bedford swim team, no other visiting teams) in conjunction with the Meet the Coaches + Sponsors event. See calendar for exact date each year.
It provides an opportunity for parents and swimmers to participate in a mock meet and get a sense of the rhythm and flow of a swim meet. It gives parents an opportunity to serve in a volunteer role with other Bedford parents and get a sense of understanding and comfort with these duties. It gives the swimmers a first chance to compete against others and see how fast they can swim. Finally, the time trial results are used by the Coaches to assign main event swimmers for the first meet of the season.
In the event of thunder, the pool must be cleared for 30 minutes. In the event of lightning, the pool and the deck must be cleared for at least 30 minutes. The 30-minute rule applies to the last observation of thunder or lightning; the clock restarts with each observation. A meet may not be delayed more than 60 minutes due to inclement weather. If the meet is interrupted more than once during an evening because of inclement weather, the meet will be stopped. Delays and decisions to proceed are made at the sole discretion of the TSA Representatives for each team. In the event that meet cannot be completed on a Tuesday night, the meet will continue the following night.
In the case of inclement weather during practice, the Bedford Swim Team managers will send out notifications about practice cancelations as soon as possible.
The Tarheel Swim Association (TSA) consists of over 80 teams from private, non-profit clubs in the Raleigh/Wake County Area. The league includes Northern and Southern sections. Each section includes 4-team divisions. Teams are assigned to divisions based on past performance in dual meets.
Check out the TSA roster here: TSA Swim Teams - Tarheel Swimming Association (swimtopia.com)
The TSA Championship is a one-day (additional) swim meet typically held on the first weekend following the last Tuesday night meet. It provides an opportunity for all of the teams and swimmers in the TSA League to compete heads-up in competition. Dozens of teams compete at a large neutral swim facility (most often at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary). This is an opportunity for fun and friendly swim competition on a grander scale. Contact you coach if you are interested.