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Swim Team Overview

Welcome to the Livorna Dolphins Swim Team!

The Livorna Swim Team is committed to developing its members into better swimmers with technically correct strokes. Our training focuses on team spirit, good sportsmanship, and community camaraderie.

Our mission is about more than just swimming; it’s about instilling values and skills that will serve team members throughout their lives. Through their participation on our team, we hope our team members will learn valuable work habits and see the positive results of their efforts. We intend to foster the development of useful life skills such as: how to deal with adversity, learning how their individual actions can impact a group, sportsmanship, respect, courage, determination, humility, cultivating a sense of personal responsibility, and how to deal with success, failure and their emotions.

Another important element of our team mission is to offer a competitive swim team on which kids of all abilities can have fun and improve their swimming skills. The challenge is to offer enough competition for the fastest swimmers–to challenge them, retain them on the team–while also offering enough opportunity for the slower swimmers to compete, improve their skills, and feel successful. We believe these goals are not mutually exclusive.

We wouldn’t be the Livorna Dolphins if we didn’t have a great time along the way! We have lots of fun social events throughout the summer.

Our League : DCSL

Livorna is a member of the Diablo Community Swim League (DCSL) which consists of eight teams: Las Trampas, Livorna, Scottsdale, Sun Valley, Forest Hills, Rancho San Miguel, Rancho Colorados, and Pleasant Hill Aquatics.

At the end of the swim season, we have our league championship meet, which includes all eight teams. This is the most exciting meet of the season where spirit runs high, and we shoot for 100% best times! The DCSL Championships are historically held the first Saturday of August (or the last Saturday of July, if that is closer to August 1). All of or our swimmers are strongly encouraged to participate. Every swimmer will be entered in up to two (2) individual events and there will be only one relay from each team per event. Update for the 2024 season: the DCSL Championships will be a two-day meet. The meet programming and scoring information will be made publicly available soon. 

Types of Swim Meets : League, Non-League, Invitational

Aside from the League Championship and County Championship meets, there are three types of swim meets in recreational swimming: league, non-league and invitational swim meets.

We swim one League Meet (sometimes referred to a “dual” meet) with each team in the league. Points are scored for each event and our League wins/losses are tallied at the end of the season. We attempt to seed our faster swimmers for the first heats of these meets in order to score points.

Non-League Meets are additional meets we schedule with teams that are not in our League. Although meets are scored, these wins/losses do not impact our league standing. The roster of teams we swim against changes from year to year. These meets provide additional swim opportunities for all of our swimmers.

Invitational Meets are meets that generally consist of more than two teams. This year, we have two invitational meets: 1) the annual Walnut Creek City meet and 2) the Blackhawk (HOX) Last Chance Meet. A change for the 2024 season: for the 2024 season, the Last Chance meet is before the DCSL league meet.

The swim team covers the cost of some of these invitational meets, but not all. Look for more information about fees, events, and locations as we get closer to the meets. Participation in invitational meets is highly encouraged. Fees are non-refundable. Each registered family will be assigned and responsible for completing a meet work assignment.

Getting Ready for a Swim Meet

Opting IN and OUT of Swim Meets: At the beginning of the swim season, your swimmer will automatically be “opted OUT” of every swim meet. At your earliest convenience, we ask you to go into your Swimtopia account and “opt IN” to the meets that you can attend. 

To sign out of / into a meet, go to our Calendar

  • Click the blue “MEET ENTRY” button next to the meet name and then click the blue “Edit” tab under your athletes' names. 
  • Click on the drop down menu next to each of your swimmers' names and choose “attending.” 
  • You may leave notes for Coach Matt in the "Notes" field if you’d like. 
  • Click Save to record your choices. You must be logged into your account to be able to edit your commitment. This step must be done one week before the meet so our team can accurately schedule and seed the meet for those participating.

To find out the event(s) that your swimmer is swimming in, go to our Calendar. From there, you click on the appropriate meet. You can view the entire meet sheet, which includes all events at a meet, or view by swimmer. After each meet, meet results are posted on the Meet Results page. Meet sheets are also posted on the pool deck. Changes do occur, so please check meet line ups the day of the meet. The meet sheets will also tell you what heat and lane your swimmer will be in for each event.

What to bring to the swim meets: team suit, sun screen, black Sharpie pen, team cap, 2 pairs of goggles, more than one towel, optional shade (umbrella, tent), parka, sweats, blankets, chairs, warm shoes and socks, and games. Food is available for purchase at every meet.

When to arrive at the meets: For home meets, arrive 60 minutes prior to the start of the meet. For away meets, arrive 30 minutes prior to the start of the meet. Saturday or Sunday meets typically start at 9:00 AM, while Wednesday/Thursday night meets typically start at 5:30 PM, but check the schedule for exact times since it may vary. All swimmers should be at warm-ups, even if they are not swimming in the first event.

Length of swim meets: Dual meets (meaning those with two teams) on Wednesdays and Saturdays should last about 3 - 3.5 hours. Invitational Meets are longer: 6-8 hours. You may leave the meet after your child's last event. Every meet varies depending on the size of each team, so please plan accordingly.

How a Swim Meet Works

Warm-Ups: Warm-ups are not required, but are encouraged. If your child is scheduled for the medley relay, they must be at the pool for warm-ups so that the coaching staff can ensure all relay swimmers are present prior to the start of the meet (the medley relay is typically the first event, provided the meet uses DCSL's standard dual meet format). Also, the walls and blocks are different at every pool, so warm-ups help the swimmers be prepared.

Order of a Medley Relay (MR): Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly, Freestyle

Order of an Individual Medley (IM): Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, Freestyle

Swim meets for 8 and under swimmers: The team will have coaches or lane clerks ready to check in each 8 and under swimmer at their lane before their race. Parents: be sure to mark your child clearly (see instructions below!). Listen to the announcements made throughout the meet as the announcer will notify parents when to bring their child to their lane to swim. It is the parent’s responsibility to get their swimmer to the designated lane that they are to report to. Parents of 9 and ups need to get their own swimmers to the blocks (or make sure that the swimmer gets themselves to the blocks).

Number of events each swimmer can swim: Each swimmer can swim a maximum of three individual events and two relays, but that does not mean each swimmer will be swimming the maximum events at every meet. Please remember that swimming is a team sport and we do what is best for the team. Our goal is for all swimmers to have an equal opportunity to swim their individual events and improve throughout the season. The number of events each swimmer can swim at each meet also depends on the host team and league policies. 

Standard Order of Events (Dual Meets):

1. Medley Relay – Each swimmer swims a different stroke

2. Individual Medley (IM) – Swimmer swims each stroke Fly, Back, Breast, Free (7-18 only)

3. Freestyle

4. Breaststroke

5. Backstroke

6. Butterfly

7. Free Relay

Order of ages for each event: Youngest age group to oldest age group (for most swim meets). 6&U/ 7-8/ 9-10/ 11-12/ 15-18

Laps per event:

8 and under = one lap (25 yards)

9-14 years = 2 laps (50 yards)

15-18 years = 4 laps (100 yards) * depending on meet programming, 15-18s may also swim the 50 yard freestyle. In this case, the 15-18 50 yard freestyle will often occur before the medley relay, with the 15-18 100 yard freestyle taking place at the end of the other freestyle events. 

7-18 years = 100 IM (4 laps, one of each stroke)

Supervision of kids at swim meets: There must always be a legal guardian present or a designated adult in charge of your child in case of emergency.

Assignment of swimmers to each event: Meet assignments will be posted one day prior to the meet, both on bulletin board at the pool and on the website under “meet entries.” Changes do occur so please check meet line ups the day of the meet. The meet sheets will also tell you what heat and lane your swimmer will be in for each event.

How to mark your swimmer for a swim meet: To help us keep the meet on schedule and ensure your swimmers do not miss their swims, please mark your 6U and 7/8 swimmers. This gives our swimmers, coaches, and lane clerks a "map" of where your swimmer is swimming and their events, heats, and lanes. Please write the following on the back of your swimmer's right shoulder and on their arm with a sharpie. Here's a guide:

Last Name, first letter of first name: Phelps, M

Event Abbreviation (Medley Relay - MR, Free - FR, Breast - BR, Back - BK, Fly - FL,  Free Relay - FRR), followed by heat #/ lane# / + for relays, which # swimmer they are):

MR - 2/1 #2 = (Medley Relay, Heat 2, Lane 1, 2nd Swimmer) 

FR - 1 / 4 = (Freestyle, Heat 1, Lane 4) 

BR - 2/3 = (Breaststroke, Heat 2, Lane 3) 

FRR - 1/3 #4 = (Freestyle Relay, Heat 1, lane 3, 4th Swimmer)


Jobs and Volunteering : It Takes a Village

Apart from our coaching staff, all of our swim meets and social events are staffed entirely by LIV families. It really does take a village to make these events successful for your swimmer and we appreciate your willingness to help.

The number of jobs per season: The number of jobs that are required to be worked by each family changes from year to year and is determined by registration numbers and job needs. To run a successful event we need to staff the following number of jobs per meet:-

HOME MEETS - 60 jobs AWAY MEETS - 23 jobs

In addition, our social events also require approximately 40 workers to ensure success.

Job Tip: Many of our members sign up for multiple jobs at one event and have friends or family work for them. This is a great way to fulfill your commitment and be able to enjoy future swim meets. For example, you could knock out two volunteer slots in one meet by 1) being part of set-up crew and 2) being a timer or working in the snack shack.

Working at Invitational Meets: When your swimmer signs up for an invitational meet (which includes our DCSL Championship Meet), you may be assigned a timing position for a few hours. This is in addition to your family’s Livorna Swim Team job requirement.

Job Sign Up: All of our job sign ups are done online via our website on a first come first served basis on the announced job sign up date. Once you have selected your jobs for the season, they are yours and cannot be taken away from you. If you do not fulfill your job commitments you will be subject to a fine of $100 per missed job and possible suspension of your swimmer from an upcoming meet.

Substitutes: You do not have to personally work every job. A friend, family member or a paid substitute may take your place at an event. It is however your responsibility to ensure they are present to work their job. We have a list of paid substitutes on our website under the JOBS tab.

Annual Jobs vs Meet Jobs: There are two ways to fulfill your job commitment at LIV. Annual Jobs, for example, (Starter, Referee, Stroke and Turn Judge, to name a few), enable a family to fulfill their commitment without having to sign up for meet/social jobs. Most of these jobs work within a team and you will be able to work out a schedule that suits your needs. Meet and Social jobs are selected online and include Timer, Lane Clerks (for our 8 and under swimmers), snack shack worker and set up and tear down.

More detailed job descriptions and available annual positions are available on the JOBS tab of our website. For more information or questions, please feel free to contact our Jobs Director.

Social Events & Fundraisers

Spirit Week, LIV style

In the spirit of LIV tradition, we up the spirit a notch the week prior to DCSL with a variety of events at the team practices. This eventful week comes to a pinnacle when we end the week ready for DCSL with a Team Pasta Feed and Talent Show.

Social Events of the season:

Buddy Night – Let's kick off the season, swimmers! This is a wonderful opportunity for your swimmer to get to know his/her teammates better, have pizza and play some fun "land" games with the coaches (there will be no swimming at this event). This evening is for swimmers only and one that the kids love.

Pasta Feed / Talent Show – This is a spirited, fun evening for the whole family at the pool to get pumped up for the DCSL Championship! A pasta dinner is available for purchase. Swimmers (and parents) may participate in the talent show, which is also a highlight of the season. Car windows are often painted to show our Livorna spirit the next day at DCSL.


What is time trials?

Time Trials is the first meet of the season. This event is used to obtain each swimmer’s base time for each stroke. These times are used to seed swimmers for their first meet, and also aid in the calculation of swimmers' improvements throughout the season. In the event a team member misses Time Trials, their first swim time in any event becomes their base time.

How to I get my swimmer their team suit, or order apparel?

Team suits change every two years. Coordination of ordering of suits and apparel will happen at the beginning of the season. Details will be communicated via email.

How do I find out about meet & events?

All events (social and meets) are on the website. In addition, a weekly email will be sent out to remind you of the pool location and meet times, social activities and other swim-related tidbits that arise during the season.

What is the County Meet?

The Contra Costa County Championship Meet held each August is a two-day event. All participants in individual events must have achieved a county qualifying time which is included in all of our meet entry sheets for each event. Although swimmers may qualify for several events, a swimmer may only participate in two individual events in addition to relays.

Why is my swimmer not scheduled for a meet when I didn’t sign out?

We strive to schedule all available swimmers for each meet, but all meets have time constraints which limit our number of swims. Some age groups have more swimmers than others which makes it difficult to schedule everyone. We strive to provide ample swims for all of our swimmers.

Can I just drop off my child at the meet?

NO! There must always be a legal guardian present or an adult that you designate to be in charge of your child in case of emergency.

Can we leave the meet when my child is done?

Yes. That said, we highly encourage families to stick around at Championship meets until the end! We would love to see a sea of LIV blue in the stands for the final relays of the DCSL Championships, followed by the awards ceremony. Your kids will love cheering on their peers, mentors, and mentees in other age groups (the multi-age group component of swim team is part of what makes it truly special and unique). Go Dolphins! 

Why don't we receive meet line-ups sooner?

It takes a lot of work to put a meet together. We get the line-ups as soon as they are completed. Coaches from both teams have to enter lineups into a computer system, the computer representatives switch data, coaches edit the meet sheet and consolidate the meet, then return the changes to their computer representative, and then email it to the opposing team. At this point, coaches will FINALLY get a copy of the meet line-up... and then it can be sent out to families. Sometimes opposing teams do not send back meet line-ups until the day of the meet. We try our best to get line-ups out ASAP, but it is a complicated process.

If my child misses practice can they still swim in the meet?


Will my child improve at every swim meet?

No. Swimmers are working hard and swimming tired all season. In some meets, swimmers might go their best times while in the next meet they might go slower. This is normal.

If I have a question during the meet, whom do I ask?

Please talk to a one of the Board Members and not the coaches during a meet. The coaches are working. If you don’t know the Board Members, ask around and introduce yourself. They are very interested in getting to know you.

Why don't coaches come talk to the swimmers after each race?

We have over 100 swimmers in every meet. If the coaches tracked down each swimmer to talk to them, they would miss more races and not be able to give any feedback. Swimmers need to get in the habit of talking to their coaches after their race.

Why was my child disqualified (DQ’d) and what does it mean?

There are league rules--informed by USA Swimming and Olympic Committee swimming rules--on techniques for each stroke. If your child’s swim violates any of these rules, then their swim is disqualified, and their time is not recorded, nor are points awarded. A DQ provides valuable information that can make a swimmer a better competitor. Your swimmer is encouraged to ask their coach why they got DQ'ed and how to improve next time they swim the event.

How does a swimmer avoid disqualification? (Important: this is general guidance and not all-inclusive) 

Avoid false starts for all swims. For specific strokes: 

Freestyle: Feet must touch wall on turn. No part of the body may touch the bottom of the pool.

Backstroke: Both feet must be entirely in water at start of race. Must stay on back entire race except on flip turn. Once the swimmer turns onto the stomach for the turn, the arm and body must be in continuous turning action.

Breaststroke: Head must break surface of water after each pull before hands turn upward at widest part of the stroke. Hands start backward progression. Both hands must touch at turn and finish. Hands cannot touch one at a time. No freestyle or scissor kicks.

Butterfly: Feet must stay together on kick. Two hand touch at turn and finish. Hands cannot touch one at a time. No underwater recovery (breaststroke pull into wall).

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