Man O' War Special Olympics Swim Team

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is there an age limit for athletes participating in your program?  Special Olympics require athletes to be at least 8 years old to compete.  In rare cases we will let younger athletes train with our group but they cannot compete.

  2. Do athletes have to have a physical exam to participate?  Yes medical releases must be filled out before Special Olympic athletes may compete in Special Olympics competitions, there are no exceptions. If you don't get your medical done then the State administrators come down and rough up our coaches...and Lucky has a very delicate constitution so we don't want this to happen.  Medicals can be turned in to Sarah Haywood our commissioner of records.

  3. Is there an upper limit on age? In our program we discourage swimmers over 105 years old from competing.  If you are younger than 105 then you are welcome.  For those that are 106 and older I know its unfair, but you have the option of lying about your age.

  4. Who qualifies to be a Special Olympic Swimmer? Anyone can participate in Special Olympics swimming if they meet the eligibility criteria of having intellectual disabilities or a similar developmental disability.

  5. What are your practice times? The pre-competitive program swims at 7:00 on Tuesday nights and the Swim Team trains from 7:30-8:30pm in the teaching pool.  There is also a bonus workout on Wednesday nights at 7:30-8:30pm in the main training pool.

  6. Can you use more volunteer coaches?  Just like money and hair on the top of your head you can never have too much.  We would love for you to help.  We especially need volunteers for the pre-competitive practices at 7:00PM.  The more coaches we have the more individual attention we can give to the athletes.

  7. How many coaches do you have? We typically have 6-12 coaches each practice.

  8. How much does the head coach get paid each year?  The salary has been generously doubled each year since 1994, yet still remains the same.  Yes, the answer is a riddle and if you cipher the correct answer I will reward you with the coach's annual salary.

  9. What is the difference between the pre-competitive practice and the swim team practice?  The Pre-Team is basically working on stroke fundamentals whereas the Swim Team is doing an organized workout.  Some Pre-Team swimmers stay and do the team workout.

  10. How long is the season?  Our season starts in June and runs until early October.  We have a year round group that also continues to swim on Wednesday evenings off season.

  11. What are "scores" that State Special Olympics talks about in swimming?  I have no clue.  Athletes on our team are all swimmers and swimmers have times not scores.

  12. How many meets are held during the season?  We typically have four, The county swim meet, the Area Games and the State Meet. We also host an annual invitational meet as well. We also encourage our athletes to participate in non-Special Olympic swimming events as well.

  13. Can my athlete just swim in the state meet and skip the other meets? No, you must qualify to swim in the state meet which means you must participate in the county and area meets.  Typically to get to go to the State meet an athlete would have to win at Area Games, but even winning at Area Games does not always guarantee a spot to swim in States.

  14. Can my daughter just do the swim meets, practices gets in the way of our dinner time? No.  I would suggest she consider trying out for the eating team.

  15. I don't want my son just splashing around and not getting any exercise how can I be sure he is getting a good workout? Just hop in and do the workout with him one time.  After we resuscitate you, you will never feel the need to question whether he is getting a good workout again.

  16. I have non-Special Olympic children that would like to get in the water and play during practice is this OK? No, sorry,  the teaching pool is closed to all swimmers except Special Olympians during practice. Our only exception is if you own a pet walrus and want to swim with it.

  17. Is there a charge for swimming? The YMCA Aquatic Center subsidizes the Special Olympics program.  If athletes are not members of the YMCA Aquatic Center they do charge two dollars per swimmer for each practice. We like for each athlete to have the responsibility of bringing this fee in themselves.  If there is a financial hardship we will scholarship the swimmer completely. No Swimmers will be turned away for inability to pay.

  18. Where is the YMCA Aquatic Center located?  Click Here for info.  YMCA Aquatic Center

  19. Does my athlete have to know how to swim to be on the swim team? Yes, that's why we call it a swim team. We require athletes to be able to swim at least one length of the pool to be on the team.

  20. Must athletes know how to swim all four competitive strokes?  No, we will work with athletes on developing the competitive strokes. For those swimmers that are just starting to learn the strokes we have a Pre-Competitive group that swims from 7:00-7:30 pm on Tuesdays.  The pre-competitive group spends all of its time working on developing the competitive strokes.

  21. Is there a way to have my son get some private stroke instruction? Yes, one of our coaches, Larry Peck does private stroke technique lessons.  You can contact him at 321-277-0363 for times and fees.

  22. How much swimming does the team typically do during a workout? We usually swim around one mile during our practices, sometimes more sometimes less. The pre-competitive does much less.

  23. How many kids are on the team?  We  have over 50 athletes on the team.  Most of our swimmers are adults so we try to refer to our swimmers as athletes rather than kids. We are one of the largest Special Olympics Swim Teams in the country.

  24. Who are the coaches of the team?  Click on this link for information about our coaches. COACHES

  25. How long has this program been running at the YMCA?  We started the team in 1994.

  26. I am a parent of a Special Olympian, can I coach my athlete during the workout?  We ask the parents to let the coaches be the coaches and the parents be the parents during workout.  If you are qualified and would like to volunteer to coach we would love to have you help, but you might not be working with your child.  Words of encouragement from parents to their athletes are always welcome during workouts.

  27. Does the team do anything fun?  Well swimming is fun the last time I checked, but we also have a movie night and a team Pizza/Pool/Water Volleyball party each season. Many of our athletes also attend the annual YMCA Aquatic Center Gala.

  28. Do your athletes only compete in Special Olympics meets?  No, we encourage them to compete in non-Special Olympic events as well. We have athletes compete in high school competitions, Masters swim meets and open water swims.  We want our athletes to experience the "dignity of risk" which is muted somewhat in Special Olympics programs.  Special Olympics is a great springboard into regular competition, but to become truly mainstreamed athletes must be able to cope with the risk of losing. Our team goal is one of the driving principles of Special Olympics "...Special Olympics encourages its capable athletes to move from Special Olympics training and competition into school and community programs where they can compete in regular sports activities".

  29. Can my Special Olympian do your lake swim?  LuckysLakeSwim is a popular open water swim in Orlando.  Eight of our swimmers have completed the 1 kilometer open water swim.  We would love to have your athlete do the swim, but he/she must be trained and capable and have a chaperone during the swim. Please talk to Coach Lucky before considering doing the swim.

  30. Can I work out at the YMCA while my Special Olympian is doing his swimming practice?  Yes, if you join the YMCA Aquatic Center.  Several of our swim team families are members.

  31. Is the secret of success to the program the fantastic facility or the excellent coaches?  Neither, it is absolutely the parents.  Without the parents making the commitment to get their athletes to practices and meets there would not be a program.  We are blessed with a great swimming facility and wonderful coaches, but without the parents there would be no program.

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