Machine Parent Handbook

Table of content

  1. Our Vision and Values

  2. Our Coaches

  3. Our Programs

  4. Program Duration

  5. Fees, Payment Options and Withdrawals

  6. Team Communication

  7. Team Unify “Parent On Deck” App

  8. Make Ups and Practice Cancellations

  9. Volunteer Opportunities

  10. Meet Participation and Entries

  11. Machine Aquatics Team Suit and Apparel

  12. Our Relationship with USA Swimming


Machine Aquatics was founded in 2001. Our goal is to create safe, positive and productive environment for athletes of all ages and abilities. From our youngest swimmers Machines to our NCAA and Olympic Trial Qualifiers, we provide a space and encourage our athletes to live and train with vigor.

Machine Aquatics strives to make a positive difference in the lives of its team members by promoting good sportsmanship, bio-mechanically sound techniques, nutrition, healthy lifestyle, balance, commitment, responsibility, love for the sport of swimming and self respect.

We are committed to creating an environment where each individual athlete may realize his or her own potential. We believe that the healthiest motivation for a child is the motivation that comes from within. We endeavor to draw out each child's natural energy, hope and courage, thereby fueling the pursuit of their dreams.


Machine Aquatics strives to be one of the preeminent year round swimming club in USA Swimming. We strive to be universally recognized as a leader in compassionate coaching and competitive swimming instruction for young people.


The following is a list of what we live for everyday and try to instill in each one of our athletes: Family, Integrity, Respect for People, Honesty, Growth, Teamwork, Education, Freedom, Individuality and Peace of Mind.

Our Coaches

Machine Aquatics brings together a strong and dedicated group of swimming professionals to provide high-quality instruction in a competitive, safe and nurturing environment for our swimmers to grow and improve as athletes and individuals. Our goal each year is to be better in every aspect than we were in the previous year. We expect our team of coaches to strive for greatness. 

Please respect our coaches while they are on deck with our swimmers. Parents are not allowed on the pool deck during practices. Our coaching staff is available via email for communication with parents. Each coach can be reached at Coaches will respond to email within a 24 hour period. If you have immediate concerns, please contact Paris Jacobs, CEO, or Alison Galbraith, Administrator.

Our Programs

Machine Aquatics provide a safe, positive and productive instruction environment for all ages and abilities. 

GEARS PROGRAM - Gears programs are designed for 12 & Under swimmers of all levels from our Green Gears, Silver Gears and Orange Gears these groups focus development of proper stroke mechanics, balanced with building a base for endurance training for competition racing in meets.

HIGH PERFORMANCE PROGRAM - (Ages 11-14) High Performance groups are the top level training groups within the Age Group Programs for swimmers 11-14 years old.  Swimmers will continue to build upon their swimming base and explore new training thresholds and qualifying for time standard meets.  Swimmers in these groups will have advanced training and aggressive goal setting. Enrollment into the group is by coach invitation and approval only.

SENIOR PROGRAM - Our Senior Programs are our 13 and over swimmers. With practices beginning with two times per week with our Senior Green Swimmers are able to design a practice program that meets their goals. 

NATIONAL PREP AND NATIONAL TEAM PROGRAM - National Prep and National Team swimmers are the top level of training for the Senior Program. Swimmers in these groups compete on a Sectional, National and International level.  Advanced training and aggressive goal setting set the bar high and participants are expected to make all scheduled workouts. This group has a more extensive meet and travel meet schedule.  Enrollment into the group is by coach invitation and approval only.

SEASONAL SESSION PROGRAM - This group is designed to prepare for High School or Summer League seasons. Stroke development will be emphasized while improving endurance and efficiency. This is a partial season program that breaks during the winter moths.

STROKE MECHANICS PROGRAM -  This group is an introduction to pre-competitive swimming and training for young developing swimmers. This is a one day a week program designed to introduce the four strokes and bio-mechanically sound technique in a nurturing environment. This program is geared toward 13 & Under swimmers that do not quite desire to train multiple workouts per week.

Program duration

Machine Aquatics offer 11 months of training for our competitive swimmers. This training is offered with 9 and 11 month training options. 

Our 9 month program runs from September - May. This 36 week program is for swimmer practicing one - four times per week. This includes our Stroke Mechanics program as well as our Gears Green, Silver and Orange (2-4 workouts), High Performance Silver, Senior Green, Silver and Orange (2-4 workouts). This program ends with the short course season in mid-May. Swimmers in this program have the option to join the Long Course program for the summer. There is an additional fee for Long Course. 

Our 11 month program runs from September - late July/early August. This is a 49 week program and is for swimmers practicing five and more workouts per week. This includes the High Performance Orange, Senior Orange (5 workouts), National Prep and National Team groups. This program ends with the conclusion of the long course season in late July/early August. The long course fees are included in the cost of the training fees. We do not charge an additional fee for swimmers during long course when they are registered for the 11 month program.



The registration fee for the competitive programs for the 2019-20 season is $600. This fee includes: Two Machine Aquatics t-shirts, One silicone Machine Aquatics team cap, one Machine Aquatics car magnet, facility passes, meet entry fees for our PVS meets and registration with USA Swimming and Potomac Valley Swimming. These are annual membership fees paid for each swimmer with Machine. After February 1, the registration fee is prorated to $375.

The registration fee for the Seasonal Session programs for the 2019-20 season is $275. This fee includes: Two Machine Aquatics t-shirts, One silicone Machine Aquatics team cap, one Machine Aquatics car magnet, facility passes, meet entry fees for our PVS meets and registration with USA Swimming and Potomac Valley Swimming. These are annual membership fees paid for each swimmer with Machine. After February 1, the registration fee is prorated to $175.

The registration fee for the Stroke Mechanics program for the 2019-20 season is $130. This fee includes: Two Machine Aquatics t-shirts, One silicone Machine Aquatics team cap, one Machine Aquatics car magnet, facility passes, meet entry fees for two meets during the season (selected by Machine Aquatics) and registration with USA Swimming and Potomac Valley Swimming Flex Membership program. These are annual membership fees paid for each swimmer with Machine.

The Developmental Stroke Mechanics (DSM) program does not require a registration fee. Swimmers in the DSM program do not receive t-shirts or cap with their registration.


Machine Aquatics offers two payment plans for the payment of your team fees. 

Full Payment - Full amount due at the time of registration. This payment includes the Registration Fee, Volunteer Fee and all Training Fees.

Three Payments - First payment due at the time of registration includes the Registration Fee, Volunteer Fee and 1/3 of the training fees.

Tthe second payment is due on October 1 and final payment is due on December 1.

Extended payment plans may be considered on a case by case basis.


Families have the option to pay their fees to Machine Aquatics with credit card or check. There is a one time fee for credit card purchases. Returned checks will be charged a $25 service fee.


Machine Aquatics is not able to provide a refund for swimmers withdrawing from the team during the course of the season. All pool rental and coaching contracts are executed prior to the start of the season based upon our registration numbers. Exceptions will be made for military families leaving the area in service to our country and medical reasons with supporting documentation. If a swimmer decides to not complete the full season with Machine Aquatics, the family remains responsible for any outstanding fees.



If a member of the coaching staff waits for more than 20 minutes past a return time to pick up their 12 and under child after a team practice, the family will be assess a $75 waiting fee. This charge will be placed on their Team Unify account. 


Machine Aquatics is a TEAM. We provide a robust meet schedule to allow for ample competition opportunities. There will be a $100.00 penalty fee assessed to each swimmer entering a meet(s) not listed on the Machine Aquatics Schedule posted online. A $200.00 penalty fee will be assessed to each swimmer entering as an unattached swimmer into meet(s) not listed on the Machine Aquatics Schedule posted online. High School swimmers are not restricted in their participation in meets with their High School programs.

Team Communications

All registered swimming families should provide at least one email address to Machine. The majority of communications from the team will come via email. We will send a weekly Team Update. This will include information about upcoming meets and events, practice changes and cancellations and team news. 

The most important link in the swimmer, coach, and parent triangle is the parent-coach communication line.  Machine Aquatics uses a wide variety of tools to communicate with our families. However, if any questions or problem should arise, the lines of communication between the coaches and parents are always open.  Feel free to email  your coach or our staff about problems or suggestions concerning your swimmer.  It is very important that you let us know if there is anything we can do to aid your swimmer in his full enjoyment of the sport from which he will realize greater success.  It is best to communicate with the coach most involved with your youngster's program. 


The team's newsletter is published weekly and provides specific information on upcoming events like meets, achievements, tidbits, ideas, philosophy and changes in practice schedules.  In short, it is our main means of communicating with team parents.  It is posted on the web (under the “NEWS AND EVENTS” heading) and mailed to you via email.  We urge parents to read the “MACHINE AQUATICS TEAM UPDATE" carefully and faithfully.


WWW.MACHINEAQUATICS.COM is the address of our team web site.  It contains our team recent news and is often updated weekly during the season.  The site has meet results, the complete schedule for the 2018-19 season, information on each facility including staff and practice schedule, records, various time standards and a lot more. Be sure to add it to your bookmarks! Our TEAM UNIFY website is used for MEMBER ONLY information, including billing, meet sign-up, and much more. Please take the time to become familiar with what the website can do for you and ask your coach if you are having difficulty finding information.


Paris Jacobs, CEO

Dan Jacobs, Head Coach

Alison Galbraith, Administrator

For specific inquiries:

Maryland Registration - Becky Widman

Virginia Registration - Alison Galbraith

Billing  - Alison Galbraith

Meet Entries -  Becky Widman

Our Machine Office telephone is 703-281-1500.

For site specific questions, please contact your head site coach. They can be reached via email at

Parents On Deck App

If you have a smart phone, the FREE Parent On Decksmart phone app is now available in the Android store and the iTunes App Store .

This is a mobile application for parents of swimmers. This is a great app to have with you while attending swim meets...or just to kill time while at your kids’ practice! The app was created by Team Unify, the folks who run our website and team database and billing system.

Here are some features:

Meet Results-- You can use it to see your swimmer’s historical meet result times from every USA Swimming meet they have ever swum. And it is updated with new meet results every time you sync your app with the results on our website. Just a tap of the “sync” button on your phone is all that is required.

Account/Swimmer Management-- OnDeck pulls the up-to-date swimmer database exactly as we have your swimmer’s information in our website database. When you synchronize OnDeck with our data, you'll see exactly what contact information we have for you. If there are issues or changes needed, you'll know to login into your account to make changes.

In your Account view, you also see all of your kids with their age and the roster group to which they are assigned. Tap on one of your kids’ names, and you'll see a wealth of information -- a full history of all meets swum with instant access to results, plus best their times, with instant access to results and ability to compare times to local and national time standards.

You can see complete info about this application on Team Unify's web page.

You will need the team's "alias" to log in - which is pvma(Potomac Valley, Machine Aquatics)

Additionally, another useful and free app for tracking your swimmer's times and meet results is MEETMOBILE. Although it is not tied into our team database, the majority of meets in which we participate feed data to MeetMobile.

MeetMobile iOS in iTunes for iPhones

MeetMobile for Android phones

make ups and cancellations

make up policy

Machine Aquatics is not able to offer “make up workouts” for workouts missed due to schedule conflicts or illness. Our program has a limited number spaces. Each swimmer reserves their space in the group. Swimmers may request a make up workout from their coach, but are not permitted to attend an unscheduled workout without permission. If space is available, coaches may use their discretion to allow a swimmer to attend an alternative workout.  Please note that we will not allow makeup practice in any workout where additional swimmers will compromise the integrity of the workout in place. Swimmers are not permitted to “bank” work outs during the season.

Practice Cancellation due to Weather

If the facility of your practice is open and it is not a scheduled Machine Aquatics holiday, practice will be conducted. At times, due to extreme weather, Machine Aquatics will cancel practice even when the facility is open. We DO NOT follow school closures for weather. We will email you as soon as a decision has been made about the practice cancellations. If uncertain, please check the website at for updates.  There are no “make up” workouts for weather related cancellations.

Volunteer opportunities


As a Potomac Valley Team we are called upon to provide officials and/or timers for all meets that we participate in.  We are in need of parents to volunteer to become certified as officials. If you are already a summer official, you may be eligible to take the review course to become a USA Swimming official. Please contact Courtney Johnson at

Machine officials should send their hours to to have their service hours recognized by Machine.

Parent Volunteer

Parent volunteers are an important part of the commitment to the sport of swimming and will be needed throughout the year.  All families are required to volunteer 22 hours per season.  

There are several other ways to volunteer within the program.  Some of these include: working at meets as a timer, marshal or runner, becoming a certified PVS official, helping at team social events, working at meets hosted Machine Aquatics, updating bulletin boards, chaperones for travel meets, picnics and keeping track of team records are just a few ideas are only a few ways to volunteer. For most meets, sign ups will be sent to you direction and are included in the weekly Team Update approximately one week prior to the meet. In addition, Machine hosts six meets during our season. Parents are requested to work at these meets if their swimmer is participating.

Once you have worked at an event, please email your volunteer hours should be emailed to with the event name, your role and the hours you worked so that we can have a record of your participation.  Please remember to include the name of your swimmer and family name. You are able to see the hours recorded in the Team Unify site. Once you have made you commitment, the $75 volunteer fee will be refunded to you. Refund checks are mailed monthly.

Please contact Alison Galbraith  to sign up and offer help. 

Meet Entry Procedures


All competitive swimmers with Machine Aquatics are encouraged to participate in meets each month.  We offer approximately one meet per month for our team. This is an opportunity for swimmers to see the benefits of their training, experience the full competitive experience of their sport and connect with their teammates from our site. While not required, we strong believe that competition is fundamental component of a swimmer’s development.


Meet announcements are posted on the Machine Aquatics website under the “Meets” page. Entry deadlines are typically Tuesdays at 5:00 pm. All entry deadlines for the season are posted on the “Schedule” page for the season.

To register for a meet, please read the meet announcement first. You can find the meet announcement on the Meets page under the individual meet or on the PVS website(  under the Meets/Schedule section. The meet announcement will include information about the date, location, events, entry limits, and possible timeline for the meet. Each meet is different, so please read each announcement carefully. Be sure to review the meet announcement with your swimmer(s) before you select events. Please reach out to your swimmer’s coach if you have questions about their events.

All registrations for meets are done using the TEAM UNIFY system. This is the same account that you used to register for the team. At the beginning of the Machine season, you will receive an email with the password for the TEAM UNIFY system.

Once you have logged into the system, you will need to declare you are participating in the meet. Once you declare for the meet, the meet events for which your swimmer is qualified will automatically pop up. Click on the events you would like to swim. 

Remember to hit save or your entry will not be saved in the system. If your swimmer is not qualified for a meet, you do not need to indicate they are not attending.

Once your entries are in the system the coaches will review them. They will either approve or reject them. If a swimmer’s events are “rejected” the coach will select another event for the swimmer. The day after the entry deadline an Entry Report will be posted in the “Meets” page on TEAM UNIFY. Once entries are submitted to the host team NO changes or additions can be made. Check the Entry Report as soon as it’s available to make sure that your swimmer is in the correct events.

A few days prior to the meet, the host team will post a psych sheet on the PVS website ( Machine will also post a copy of the psych sheet on the “Meets” section of our website. Please make sure to check it. It is the swimmer’s responsibility to check the psych sheet and report any errors. If you find an error, please contact Becky Widman as soon as possible. If you wait until the last minute, no changes can be made.

If you have any questions about meet entries or need assistance in the process, please contact Becky Widman.


Once our entries have been submitted to the meet host, we are not able to makes any changes or additions to our meet files. If you wish to participate in a meet after the deadline, you may arrange for a deck entry for your swimmer. The option for deck entries is at the discretion of the meet director. Please review the meet announcement for details on the deck entry procedure for that meet.  There are fees for late entry events that are paid by the swimmer at the meet. These fees are not included in your registration fee.


Machine Aquatics Apparel


To build a complete Machine Aquatics culture, we require swimmers to wear a team suit when attending all competitive meets that are not consider “tech suit” meets by the Machine Aquatics coaching staff. Tech suits may only be worn at championship meets.


All Machine Aquatics apparel will be available exclusively through Metro Swim.  Each Machine swimmer will receive a team cap with their registration. These caps are required to be worn at all competitions. Additional caps can be purchased at the Machine Performance Center in Vienna and Metro Swim.

All Machine Swimmers are required to have a Machine Team Suit or Aquablade with a MachineLogo. -  NO EXCEPTIONS. 

Championship suits (FSII, FSPro, LZR, etc.) will be permitted to be worn at CHAMPIONSHIP meets ONLY- NO EXCEPTIONS.

Our relationship with USA Swimming

Machine Aquatics is a member of USA Swimming. As the National Governing Body for the sport of swimming in the United States, USA Swimming is a 300,000-member service organization that promotes the culture of swimming by creating opportunities for swimmers and coaches of all backgrounds to participate and advance in the sport through clubs, events and education. The website for USA Swimming is

Within USA Swimming, there are four Zones. These are North, South, East and West. Machine is located in the Eastern Zone. The Eastern Zone includes the Local Swimming Committees (LSC) from Maine, New England, Adirondack, Niagara, Allegheny Mountains, Middle Atlantic, Connecticut, Metropolitan, New Jersey, Potomac Valley, Maryland and Virginia. It includes swimmers from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and the District of Columbia. More information about the Eastern Zone can be found at

Machine Aquatics is a member of the Potomac Valley Swimming (PVS) LSC. Potomac Valley represents the swimming clubs from Maryland, Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia. Machine competes against team from Potomac Valley for the majority of our meets. Additional information about PVS can be found at