Q. What's the difference between PAQ, PASS, swim team, and swim school?
A. Punahou Aquatics (PAQ) offers both a competitive swim team and the Punahou Aquatics Swim School (PASS). All PAQ swimmers, team and PASS, are registered with USA Swimming. The swim team is divided into groups, based on age and swimming ability, and the focus for swim team is on developing good stroke technique and endurance to prepare for swim meets. Swim team membership is subject to availability, ability and approval of the head coach. The PAQ swim school is open to swimmers who are learning to swim, though all swimmers must be able to swim at least one length of the pool unassisted. The focus for swim school is on learning the four competitive swimming strokes, as well as competitive swimming techniques such as racing starts and turns.
Q. Where do I start? We are brand new to swimming and I have so many questions!
A. Sometimes it seems like swimmers speak a foreign language. Qual Times, Classified meets, Invitationals...it can be overwhelming for new families! You'll find a lot of good information in the PAQ Handbook. Also check out our Parents section (tab at the top of this page). You'll find great resources from USA Swimming to help you understand the sport. Next, encourage your child to talk to his/her coach. At PAQ, we feel strongly that our primary focus should be on the coach-swimmer relationship, so that's always the place to start when your child has a question (like, "should I swim in this meet? What events should I swim? When and how can I move to a different group?"). Parents, of course, are welcome to contact their child's coach or the head coach at anytime. But please encourage your child to talk with their coach as a first step.
Q. I still have questions - how do I register my child for a swim meet? What's that charge for $9.50 for? Can I change my email address?
A. Which brings us to our next best resource, our website. Please take some time to really explore the website. You'll love what you can do, from seeing your invoices and billing history, to changing your billing and contact information to registering for meets and lots more. You're welcome to stop by the PAQ office for a personal "tour" of the website...contact Ashley at email@example.com to set up a time.
Q. I see the calendar of swim meets under News, but how do I know what time the meet will be? Is my child swimming first session or second session? WHERE is the meet? Why can't I sign up yet? Why does it always seem like these questions don't get answered until the very last minute?
A. Yes, this is a definite inconvenience, and if we could work around it, we would. But here's why some very important questions (like, when and where is the meet) go unanswered until just before the meet:
- the meet calendar for the season is set by Hawaiian Swimming (a wonderful group of all VOLUNTEERS).
- a call goes out to teams to volunteer to host the meets (set up/take down, registration, hospitality and more).
- the host gets to pick the place (their pool, UH, CORP are the most common venues).
- if no team volunteers to host, Hawaiian Swimming finds a pool for the meet (which is also why sometimes we have to do big jobs at no-host meets).
- Host or no-host, someone has to write the meet notice and set up the events online before we can link to that for our team sign-ups.
- Usually the meet notice is out at least a few weeks before the event, but sometimes something in one of the steps above causes a delay.
- AFTER all of the above happens, THEN we can open the meet for online signups. Entries are due 5-6 days before the meet.
- You can get a rough idea of when your child is swimming when you sign up for events. On the signup line for an event there will be a notation like "d1/s1," which means "day 1 session 1," which is early...or "d1/s2," which means "day 1 session 2," which is right after the end of the first session.
- When the first session ends and the second session begins is entirely dependent on the number of swimmers who enter the meet. More swimmers means a longer meet.
- after the host gets all the entries from all the teams and resolves any discrepancies or late entries and places all the swimmers in events, then they send out the timeline - which usually takes us up to a day or so before the meet.
Q. My swimmer is entered in the meet this weekend - how do I know which session?
A. After your child has committed to a meet:
1. Sign in to the website
2. Go to Events
3. Under the meet name, click on Edit Commitment
4. Look next to swimmer's name. The first thing is the event number. Then you'll see: (d1/s1), which means "day 1 session 1," or (d1/s2), which means "day 1 session 2."
When you first sign up for a meet:
1. Sign in to the website
2. Go to Events
3. Read the info for the meet you're interested in - there should be a link to the meet notice there.
4. Click on the link. You can also find Meet Notices at www.hawaiianswimming.org under Events.
5. The Meet Notice may be confusing at first, but you'll get used to it. In the first pages it talks about eligibility - how many events a swimmer can swim, what the entry requirements are (if any), etc. The last page lists the events, so you can tell what's in the first session, second session, etc.
6. Back at the PAQ website,click your swimmer's name. The events they can enter should be listed in Black. You'll see the event number and that (d1/s1) or (d1/s2) notation, too.
Q. What are "Volunteer Hours?" How do I get credit for mine? How do I check mine?
A. PAQ runs on parent volunteers. We couldn't function without them! Same with Hawaiian Swimming...parent volunteers organize and staff ALL the swim meets. If we relied just on paid staff (coaches and office manager), we could hold practice and manage our membership, and that's about it. Because of parent volunteers, we are able to host and attend swim meets (all Hawaiian Swimming meets are 100% run and staffed by volunteers), have team bonding events (like the Halloween party, Polar Bear club, and team dinner during the State meets), offer the kids incentives (it's amazing what a swimmer will do for a small team prize!), travel as a team to off-island meets, and so much more (tents, bulletin board, cool team shirts...the list goes on and on).
PAQ asks every family to volunteer at least 20 hours per year to support the team. Many families go well beyond this, for which we are truly grateful! Along with each meet or event where we need volunteers there will be a tab for "Job Signup." Please log in and sign up for any job(s) you can help with (see below for a description of the most common swim meet job, Timer). Within a week after the meet, your hours will be credited to your account. To check your family's hours, first log in to the PAQ website. On the left side of the screen, under My Account, click $ My Invoice/Payment, and there you'll see a tab for Service Hours. Your hours should be reflected there. If you forget to sign up in advance, or get "drafted" to help at a swim meet when we're short-handed, just email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will manually credit your hours. Thanks for your help!
When you've volunteered with the team enough to have a sense of how the team and swimming work, we encourage you to take the next step and join our parent-run board of directors.
Q. Do we keep paying dues if we're (going on vacation, playing another sport, taking a break for cold weather, etc.)?
A. Here's a long answer to a quick question. Our PAQ season officially goes from September - August (year-round, a big change from other seasonal sports). We used to just have everyone pay for the year upfront, no refunds, but for the past two years we've allowed monthly payments so this issue comes up more often. We set our budget and coaches' salaries based on year-round enrollment projections, and we'd lose that stability if we had lots of swimmers taking breaks throughout the year. We do two things to encourage families to commit for the full year. First, there's the option to pay for the whole year in September, and we offer a discount for doing that ($5/month for the 2011/2012 season). There are no refunds after you pay for the year, though. Second, if a swimmer has a break in membership, they need to pay the standard "join PAQ" fee to rejoin ($75 for the 2011/2012 season).
It would be nice if we could just say sure, take a break, without making it so complicated. But unless we raise dues to support that, it probably won't happen (since we're limited by pool space in how big the team can get, we can't "grow" our way to a more stable dues base). And since over the course of the year, just about everyone travels/gets sick/plays another sport, hopefully it evens out. The bottom line is that it's your decision...we appreciate it if you stay as paying members even while your child(ren) aren't swimming, and we also understand if you decide to take a break. If you do withdraw from PAQ, we require 30 days notice in advance (so if you know you want to stop swimming as of July 1st, please notify us by June 1st).
Another important thing to consider is that our age group program (Blue-Silver-Gold groups) is now full, and our programs for older swimmers are filling fast, so new or returning swimmers may need to go on a waiting list until spots are available.
Q: I see you always need Timers at meets. How can I learn to be a timer?
A: No training necessary! If you can push a button when you see a hand touch the wall, you can do it! When you get to the meet, go to the officials desk and sign up on a clipboard. You put your name there next to a lane (PAQ may be assigned a lane, so fill that one first). There are 3 timers per lane, so you're not working alone. Before the meet starts, you'll hear the announcer ask for all timers to report to their lanes. There's a brief training session on how to time. All 3 timers in the lane hold push buttons that connect to the automated timing system. When the swimmer in your lane finishes, you push the button. That's really it! One person in the lane also has a stopwatch, which he/she starts when the buzzer goes off and stops (along with the push button) when the swimmer touches the wall at the end of the race. A second person has a clipboard with all the kids in that lane pre-listed on it. They check that the right kid is ready to swim, and they write down the time from the stopwatch at the end of the race, and they tell the swimmer what their time is. The third timer in a lane simply pushes the button as the swimmer finishes.
This is an awesome job, as you always have a seat, you can always see your child swim, they bring you snacks and water, and you're in the shade! Great way to get your parent volunteer hours.
Q: What are the office hours?
A: Look for our Office Manager, Ashley Cambe, at the pool Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday 3:00-4:30 p.m. (No Wednesday). You may also contact her via email: email@example.com.
Q: What GEAR does my swimmer need for practice?
A: All swimmers need goggles, fins and a gear bag. Other requirements vary by swim group - please check with your swimmer's coach if you are unsure.
Q: Where do I purchase GEAR?
A: See the PAQ Gear link at the top of this page, or the PocoLoco palm tree logo at right to buy your gear online for free shipping. Gear bags need to be labeled with swimmer's name for storage at the pool.
PAQ Wear FAQs:
Q: How long will PAQ be using the current suit pattern?
A: PAQ has a new suit (as of Aug 2011). This blue Speedo Aquablade suit with PAQ logo will be our suit at least through the 2012/2012 season. All swimmers should have a team suit for meets (but not for practice - get a different, less expensive suit for practice).
Q: Where do you get a team suit?
A: Check out the PAQ GEAR link at the top of this page, or the PocoLoco palm tree logo at right. Buy online (free shipping).
Q: Where do I get a team cap?
A: Also for sale online ($8.50) or in the office ($12). These caps and $12 STATES caps for swimmers with a QUAL times are also available at the pool (See Ashley in the office).
Q: I want those PAQ slippers!
A: Yes, they've been a huge hit! We have many sizes still available in the office.