YMCA of Virginia's Blue Ridge Riptides


Join our competitive swim team!

The YMCA of Virginia Blue Ridge Riptides swim team is a great way for kids to get involved in competitive swimming. Our team is centered on character development, competitive swimming, and most of all fun. We strive to engrain a love and passion for the sport of swimming. Our goal is to create a spirit of healthy competition and sportsmanship that is centered on the Y's core values of Caring, Honesty, Respect, and Responsibility. We are proud members of the Piedmont YMCA Swim Association (PYSA) comprised of other YMCA swim teams in our region and members of USA Swimming.


Contact Daniel Smith, Association Director of Competitive Swimming, to schedule a swim team evaluation for practice group placement at dsmith@ymcavbr.org.


Practices are offered at the Kirk, Salem, and Botetourt branches. 2020 - 2021 practice schedules are coming soon!

SENIORS: This is the group for the advanced swimmer with a primary focus on intensity rather than stroke development. Swimmers work with a pace clock and practices are based on interval training. Swimmers in this group need to purchase fins, pull buoy, paddles and a snorkel. Swimmers can register to swim 4-6 times per week. Dryland practices are offered three times a week as well. Registration for USA Swimming is highly encouraged.     

JUNIOR II: This group will focus primarily on intensity, with minor stroke technique.  There also is pace type work and reading the clock for intervals.  Swimmers in this group should be able to swim all four strokes legally, and have the stamina to swim continuous 75s throughout practice.  Swimmers will register to swim 3-5 times per week.  Dryland is offered two-three times per week. Swimmers need to purchase fins, pull buoy, and paddles. Registration for USA Swimming is highly encouraged.     

JUNIOR I: This group swims at a lower intensity and encourages endurance. Swimmers focus primarily on stroke technique.  There is an introduction to pace type work and swimmers will be educated to read the clock based on certain intervals.  Swimmers in this group should be legal in all four strokes, and have the stamina to swim continuous 50s throughout practice.  Swimmers will register to swim 2-3 times per week. Swimmers will need to purchase fins. Registration for USA Swimming is highly encouraged.     

RIP CURRENTS: This group is for the novice swimmer. The group will focus on making sure every swimmer can swim all four of the strokes legally. This group will focus primarily on stroke technique and development. Swimmers will register to swim two times per week. Swimmers will need to purchase fins.  


Short Course - Fall/Winter Season
The season runs August through March

Membership and Registration
Registration will open for new and returning YMCA swimmers in August. A registration fee of $25 is due at the time of registration. All participants must be members of the YMCA of Virginia's Blue Ridge, in compliance with the YMCA of the USA competitive swimming guidelines. Swimmers can have either a household, teen, or child memberships, which is paid through monthly bank drafts.  Learn more about membership.

Swim meets give your child a goal to work towards and a reason to improve their strokes and speed in the water. Healthy competition and good sportsmanship that are learned through swim meets is a skill your child will take with them beyond the sport of swimming.  There are opportunities to swim in at least one meet per month. Most PYSA meets have an entry fee of $5-10 and are within a 50-mile radius. Swimmers also have the option to participate in USA swimming membership which allows swimmers to swim in USA swimming meets.

Program Fees
Monthly fees are automatically drafted on the first Monday of the month of October - March. You also have the option to pay the entire fee at one time.  Your first payment will be paid upon registration.  A swim cap and t-shirt will be included in the program fees.


Swim meets are successful in large part because of our parent and volunteer participation. Each Team is required to provide parent volunteers for swim meets.  We cannot run a meet without your help! We have several specific volunteer opportunities where you can help. If you are willing to volunteer, please contact dsmith@ymcavbr.org for more information.

Starter The starter controls the “pace” of the meet, to keep it moving!
Inexperienced Starters will do an overview training with the Head Referee and/or Aquatics Director.
Experienced starters may be “shadowed” in order to train inexperienced starters.
Head Timer Meets with timers prior to start of meet.
Ensures all stopwatches are working properly, verifies all timers have their timer sheets and reviews the process with them.
Every time an event starts, head timer starts two (2) stop watches in case of a malfunctioning stopwatch with a timer.
Timer Needs to be able to operate a stopwatch correctly.
Verifies swimmer in their lane is in the proper lane (checks timer sheet).
Strokes and Turns Judge Must be knowledgeable and familiar with competitive swimming rules and regulations and be able to fill out DQ cards.
Interaction is with the head referee only.  
Head Referee Thorough knowledge of strokes and turns is necessary. Must be trained in strokes and turns.
Calls a “meeting”with strokes and turns judges prior to start of meet.
Must sign off on all DQ’s.
Communicates closely with aquatics and meet directors.
Clerk of Course Recommended to have three (3) clerks of course per meet. One person calls names.
Second person organizes and seats the swimmers in heats.
Third person releases swimmers to the blocks and assists person seating heats.
Computer/Table Workers Table workers need to know how to verify results and place labels on ribbons.
Table workers verify that computer data entry is correct.
Announcer Volunteer uses PA system or bullhorn to announce what event is being called to Clerk of Course and any other pertinent information.
Runners Recommended to have three (3) runners per meet.
First runner takes timer cards from timers to scoring table after each event, not heat.
Second runner takes DQ cards from strokes and turns judge to head referee, then to scoring table.
Third runner assists other runners, posts results and gets DQ cards to coaches.


Contact us for more information!

Association Director of Competitive Swimming