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Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the Fort Washington Sharks?

Since 1971, the Fort Washington Sharks have been a competitive youth swim team. The Sharks are the home team of the Fort Washington Pool Association, Inc. The team swims competitively as a part of the Prince-Mont Swim League.

What is the Prince-Mont Swim League?

The Prince-Mont Swim League (PMSL) is a summer, recreational swim league comprised of teams from Prince George's County, Montgomery County, Charles County, Anne Arundel County, Howard County, Calvert County, and the District of Columbia.

Who manages the Fort Washington Sharks?

The Sharks are led by a volunteer board— and we are always looking for new members.

What are the basic requirements for joining the Fort Washington Sharks?

Skills: Sharks must be able to swim the length of the pool (25 meters) unassisted.

Age: Sharks must be 18 or younger on June 1st

How much does it cost to register as a Fort Washington Shark?

1.Shark families must be up-to-date members of the Fort Washington Pool Association. See fwpool.com for the current annual membership fees.

2.All Sharks and Guppies need to have registered and paid all team fees in order to swim. For 2018, fees are as follows:

1st Swimmer - $120

2nd Swimmer - $55

3rd Swimmer - $50

Each additional swimmer - $45

Guppy (age 0-5) - $45

3.Sharks are required to wear the official team suit and cap at all swim meets. These can be purchased at the beginning of the season. The team tries not to change team swimsuits each year, but discontinuance of a style by a manufacturer is beyond our control. In 2018, the team suits remain the same from 2017.

How does the swim team use these fees?

Swim team fees are used to cover numerous expenses incurred by the team before, during, and after the season. Our major expenses include salaries for the coaches and equipment used for meets (timers, flags, audio equipment, etc.). There are numerous other expenses from the beginning of the season (marketing) to the end of the season (e.g. year-end trophies and medals) in addition to basic supplies and operating needs.

How many swimmers are on the team?

The size of the Sharks team has varied widely over our nearly 50-year history. Some years we have had fewer than 3 dozen swimmers, some years we have had nearly 100.

What is the Guppy program?

The program is designed to teach swimming fundamentals and the love for aquatics to youngsters aged 0 - 5 years. It also provides instruction experience for older Sharks who can earn school service hours for their volunteerism.

How many meets are there in the season and when are they held?

Each season, there are 5 meets. Some are held at the Fort Washington Pool and others are “away” meets, at the pools of other teams in the assigned division.

The summer meet schedule is determined by the PMSL.

Meets are held on Saturday mornings, from mid-June to mid-July.

The regular season is followed by a divisional meet and ends with a PMSL All-Stars meet. Only swimmers who qualify are invited to the divisional and PMSL All-Stars meets.

Swim meets typically begin at 7am and end around noon— and are held rain or shine (but not in thunderstorms).

Which PMSL division is the Fort Washington Sharks in?

The Fort Washington Sharks have been in a number of different PMSL divisions since 1971. In 2018, the Sharks will swim in Division F.

When the does the team practice?

Until mid- to late-June, the team has practice only in the evening. Generally, after schools have dismissed for the summer, the team practices in the morning, with options for evening practices. The 2018 practice schedule is below and online at fwsharks.com.

May 30 - June 22

Daily Evening Practice

Monday - Friday

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM - Younger Sharks up to the age of 11

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM - Older Sharks aged 12 - 18

June 25 - July 14

Daily Morning Practice

Monday - Friday

7:30 AM - 8:30 AM - Younger Sharks up to the age of 11

8:30 AM - 9:00 AM - Technique Clinic for all Sharks

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM - Older Sharks aged 12 – 18

Stroke Technique Clinics

Monday & Wednesday

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM - Younger Sharks up to the age of 11

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM - Older Sharks aged 12 - 18

How important is parent involvement?

So very important! While parents have little to no role at practices (besides chauffer), it takes dozens of parents to pull off a successful swim meet. We’re not joking! At most meets, we are looking for parents to pitch in as timers. Lane timers are provided a stopwatch and help record swimmers’ times. This job gives you the best view of the pool and the swimmers during their races! But, there are numerous other roles, from announcers to stroke judge, to data entry and scoring.

At home meets, the Sharks may need help with concessions, set-up, clean-up, and parking.

If you child is a Shark, please plan to pitch-in as a volunteer as frequently as possible. Friends and relatives are welcome to lend a hand as well!

Who organizes the swim meet concessions?

In the past, Shark families were asked to donate concession supplies for each home meet. This year, the Shark board will handle stocking the concession (a part of this year’s registration fees will help offset set-up costs). The concession sales at the Shark home meets are separate and independent from the snack bar sales at the Fort Washington Pool. Any profits from the concessions are used to help offset team expenses.

How else can I help the team?

Certain swim meet duties require training which is offered by PMSL. The League offers referee and starter; stroke and turn; HY-Tek (data management); and coaches training, as well as a PMSL101. Please consider becoming a qualified meet official! Our team must staff certain roles in order to qualify to participate in PMSL swim meets.

During the season, the team also hosts social events, special “Shark Week” events, and a year-end banquet. Your help is needed to make each of these activities a success.

What is Shark Week?

During the 4th of July week, the team often plans a number of fun activities. In the past, this has included an arts and crafts night, a breakfast buffet during morning practice, a swim-a-thon in support of a local charity, and a pot-luck dinner.

What else do I need to know?

There is a lot to learn if you are new family to competitive swimming! Never hesitate to ask questions and please refer to fwsharks.com for additional information. 

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