McLean Marlin Swim Team FAQs


What are A meets and who swims in them?

A meets are dual meets between Marlins and the other Division 2 teams. They are swum on Saturday mornings, beginning promptly at 9:00am (warm ups begin at 8:00am or 8:30am) and usually conclude by 11:30am. These meets are scored. The top 3 swimmers in each event in each age group by gender are selected to swim in the individual events. Selection is based on swimmers’ times obtained in time trials, B meets or other A meets. Swimmers can swim up to 2 individual events and relays which are swum at A meets only.  Each age group has one medley relay for girls and one for boys. Four swimmers participate in each medley relay, each swimmer swims a different stroke - backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle. The fastest swimmers in their age group for each stroke are selected to swim in medley relays. Swimmers will be notified if they are swimming by the end of practice the Wednesday prior to the meet. An email will be sent to parents of swimmers who have been selected for that weeks meet. Parents are required to confirm there swimmers availability through the emailed online link. DEADLINE for confirming is Wednesday evening at 9:00pm.


What if I am selected to swim an event in an A meet but have to back out?

If you have confirmed that you can swim an event for an A meet but become ill or are not able to swim for any other reason at the last minute, please contact a coach or team rep immediately to let them know you are no longer available.  


How are A meets scored?

For individual events: 1st place receives 5 points, 2nd place receives 3 points, and 3rd place receives 1 point.  For relays: 1st place receives 5 points.


Should I attend A meets even if I’m not selected to swim?

YES! YES! YES! Saturday meets are super intense and TONS of fun for all members of the team regardless if you are selected to compete.  The Marlins are known as one of the MOST spirited teams in the NVSL because we have such a supportive community. We encourage all members of the team to come out to watch and cheer!


What is a B meet and who swims in them?

B meets are dual developmental meets between Marlins and NVSL teams throughout any of the divisions. All Marlins are encouraged to swim in B meets. They are held on Monday evenings, beginning promptly at 6:00pm (warm ups beginning at 5:00 or 5:30pm) and are usually done by 8:30pm. Any swimmer may swim 2 individual events; up to 3 if individual medleys (IM) are swum. Swimmers are eligible to swim any event in a B Meet except an event for which the swimmer earned a first, second, or third place in the immediately preceding A meet. No relays are swum at B Meets. Swimmers should sign up for events on Monday morning after practice.  Ribbons are awarded to every swimmer and will be placed in the Family folder on Tuesday.


I’ve heard about other meets like Relay Carnival. What are those other meets and what are they about?

In addition to B meets on Monday evenings and A meets on Saturday mornings, there are a few other special meets.  They include one relay only meet at the division level, one relay only meet at the Northern Virginia Swimming League (NVSL) level, one individual event meet at the division level and one individual event meet at the NVSL level. Below is more about each of these meets.


Each season all 18 divisions comprising the NVSL hold a Relay Carnival at one of the division's pools.  This takes place on a Wednesday evening mid-way through the season and ONLY relays are swum at this meet.  Every team may send ONE relay team for each event swum at the relay carnival. Marlins coaches will select the teams who will compete in this meet based on best times and will notify the swimmers individually.

Following are the relays swum by both girls and boys:

200 M Freestyle Mixed Age

100 M Medley Relay - 8 & Under

100 M Medley Relay - 9-10

100 M Medley Relay - 11-12

200 M Medley Relay - 13-14

200 M Medley Relay - 15-18

100 M Freestyle Relay - 8 & Under

100 M Freestyle Relay - 9-10

100 M Freestyle Relay - 11-12

200 M Freestyle Relay - 13-14

200 M Freestyle Relay - 15-18

This is a scored meet.  The winning team is recognized with a trophy. The top 18 relays for each event from across all 18 divisions will advance to All Star Relay Carnival which takes place the following Wednesday during the day.


This meet takes place the Wednesday after Division Relay Carnival and begins in the late afternoon.  The top 18 finishers from across all 18 divisions in the NVSL will be seeded in this meet. The relay teams remain the same (most of the time) as the team that qualified at Division Relay Carnival.  Teams are only allowed to substitute/replace 1 swimmer in each relay team.

This is a scored meet with the winning team receiving a trophy.  NVSL also uses the points each team scores at the Division Relay Carnival and All Star Relay Carnival to seed the teams in the divisions.


Every year on the last Saturday in July, each division within the NVSL holds Divisionals at one of the division’s pools.  The events swum are the same as those at a Saturday A Meet, along with the individual medley. Each of the six teams within their division sends 2 swimmers for every event, for a total of 12 swimmers/2 heats per event.  There are NO relays swum at this meet. Each swimmer can swim a maximum of 2 events at this meet. If a swimmer has the fastest time, based on A Meet results, in more than 2 events they can choose which events they want to swim, opening up the opportunity for another teammate to swim in the meet.  Marlins coaches seed 3 swimmers in each event, with the 3rd swimmer being the alternate.  Swimmers can be alternates in more than 2 events. This is NOT a scored meet.  It is truly for the individual swimmers. The top 18 swimmers in each event across all divisions in the NVSL will advance to All Stars which takes place the following Saturday.


This meet is held on the last Saturday in July and is the last meet of the NVSL season.  The top 18 swimmers and 2 alternates are seeded in each individual event (3 heats per event).  Seeding is based on the results from Divisionals the prior week. This meet is NOT scored. It is an individual meet with your team’s support.  Medals and ribbons are awarded to everyone and there is a group photo after each race.


What are the Pep Rallies all about?

They are about FUN pure and simple! Marlins have pep rallies at MSTA every Friday evening before a Saturday meet.  ALL Marlins, including Future Marlins, and Marlin parents are welcome and encouraged to come and enjoy the fun. Pep rallies are themed which gives everyone an opportunity to dress up in costumes. The coaches organize activities with the swimmers, parents socialize and everyone eats.  Every week we rotate which families bring what to share - one week a main dish and one week a side dish. Everyone brings their own beverages.


I need a team suit! Where can I get one?

Team suits are optional but highly encouraged! To purchase a team suit, visit the Marlins page on Swim and Tri


Am I required to volunteer?

No, you aren’t technically required to volunteer. However, every family provides a deposit during online registration, and if you don’t volunteer a minimum of 10 hours, you’ll forfeit your deposit. Besides, volunteering provides an opportunity to get to know the other parents and swimmers on the team, and gives you a chance to watch your swimmer/s compete! Who wouldn’t want that? You also may not realize that it takes over 40 parent volunteers to run a swim meet, so we need all the help we can get! If you would like to try volunteering for a position but are unsure, please reach out to our team volunteer coordinator or team reps to discuss.


At the end of the season, if you have completed a minimum of 10 volunteer hours, you will have the option to have your deposit refunded, or donated towards the coaches’ end of season gifts, bonuses and other coach related expenses.


What are Future Marlins?

Future Marlins provides group training for swimmers who are still working on their strokes. Focus is on proper breathing, stroke technique, and building endurance. Future Marlins have the opportunity to swim in the last Monday night meet of the Marlins season. Future Marlins can transfer to the competitive team when they can swim the entire length of the pool in two different legal strokes.


What should I do if I think my swimmer needs more hands on or specialized technical instruction?

Swim practices are primarily for working out and building endurance. Coaches provide some technical instruction during these practices when they can but it is not the primary purpose. Private lessons are the best way to get hands on or specialized technical instruction for your swimmer.  All Marlin coaches offer private lessons. Please read their bios on the website, email one of them. If you aren't sure which coach might be the best fit, please reach out to Maya Sharma, the Head Coach of our Futures and Group Lessons program.


Special Needs?

If your child has special needs, please talk to the Team Reps so we can work with the coaches to understand if your child needs special accommodations.


What are the expectations of my swimmer?

We have a code of conduct for all Marlins and Marlin coaches and we take them very seriously.  Please review the code of conduct which you can find posted on the Marlin bulletin board and also on the MSTA website on the Marlin pages.