We’re from Shades Cliff, Couldn’t Be Prouder!

Head Coach: Mary Claire Shingleton

Team President:  Josh Bowden – (205)-541-6481  scswimdive@att.net

Shades Cliff Swim Team began in 1964 with the founding of Shades Cliff Pool in Bluff Park.

Our mission is to deliver an excellent swimming experience and foster a love for the sport of swimming. SCST is a mid-sized team in the Jefferson Shelby Swim League.

Each summer, in June and July, the Shades Cliff Sharks swim up to six regular season meets against other Birmingham area swim clubs on Tuesday evenings. The summer season wraps up with the Senior County Championships where athletes who meet the time standards set forth by the league, compete against each other to determine who is the county champ. There are also invitationals during the summer, typically on weekends you can enter for an additional fee.



Registration is limited to children (18 & under as of June 1) of the members of Shades Cliff Pool. The registration process includes an online SCST registration form/fees and Swimmingly registration/fee.  Your team fees cover your swimmer’s activation, coaches’ salaries, competition swim cap, team tshirt, all regular season meets, and JSSC registration fee. Children can be participate in both swim and dive if they would like.

Each year registration will be open starting in April. Check back the beginning of April for the link to register.  An email will be sent to all Shades Cliff members when registration opens with all the information for swim team.


Team Equipment

You can purchase team equipment at the link below. You may order at any time and your order will be shipped directly to you. All suits and gear are customized for Shades Cliff, so all sales are final. If you can not make the try on dates, Swim N Tri has included a sizing chart on the portal to assist you. Team suits are not required.

Link for Team Equipment Portal


Practice Times

Practices are typically held each morning at the pool Monday through Friday. The practice schedule is as follows:

  • A team (ages 11-18) – 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
  • B team (ages 7-10) – 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
  • Guppies (ages 6 & under) – 10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

**Coaches help place swimmers on the appropriate teams based on age and skill level.**


Regular Season Meets

Swimming is a sport of personal achievement and team competition. It is not required to compete however it is highly encouraged.

How many meets per season?

  • Shades Cliff will compete in up to six regular season dual meets.
  • There are a few additional meets offered on weekends each summer.

When are meets and how long do they last?

  • Meets are held on Tuesday nights.
  • Warm ups begin around 4:00 (home team) and 4:30 (away team). Meets begin at 5:00.
  • They usually last around 3-4 hours, depending on the size of the teams competing.

How much will my child swim in a swim meet?

  • In regular season meets, each child is allowed to swim only 3 of the 4 competition strokes and a maximum of 2 relays.
  • Competition stroke choices are the coaching staff’s decision; we may not enter your swimmer in an event if they cannot compete in the event legally or in a timely manner. The meet referee can register a complaint against the coaches if swimmers display a lack of swimming skill in a competitive event. The coaches will make the final decision to place your child in new strokes to develop their skills (and it may also help the team).

What is the format of a swim meet?

  • Most summer meets are dual meets. Only 2 teams will be competing.
  • Dual meet events always follow the same order: Freestyle, Breaststroke, Backstroke, Butterfly and Relays. (Relays may be moved to the beginning instead of the end.)
  • Swimmers compete in age groups 6 & under, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14 and Seniors (15-18).

How do I know when my child will swim at a meet?

  • Heat sheets will be emailed the morning of the meet. You can print them out or access them from your phone to know the order of events and heats.
  • The clerk of course will call for the swimmers in each event. The clerk of course organizes the swimmers into their heats and then into their own lanes as indicated by the heat sheet.
  • Parents need to know where the clerk of course is and listen as the events are called to line up at clerk of course. Swimmers 11 and older aresometimes called to the clerk of course, but may be expected to look up their own heat and lane in the heat sheet and be behind the starting blocks at the right time.

What are the events at a typical swim meet?

  • Individual events in Freestyle, Breaststroke, Backstroke and Butterfly are swum in distances depending ona child’s age.
  • All 8 and under swimmers swim one length of the pool (25 meters or yards).
  • All 9 and older swimmers swim two lengths of the pool (50 meters or yards).
  • The same rule applies to relays.

What are relays?

  • Relays are a very fun team aspect of swim competition. Each relay team consists of four swimmers who compete together as a team.
  • Relays are either Freestyle (where each swimmer swims freestyle) or Medley (where each swimmer swims a different stroke). Medley relay order is Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly, Freestyle.  The swimmers leave the wall as soon as their teammate in the water touches the wall.
  • Relay participation isnever, ever guaranteed.  Relays always require that each swimmer on the relay team is in attendance and willing to swim.
  • The coaches do their best to put as many swimmers on relays as possible depending on availability.
  • Make sure to check with the coaches before leaving so that all relay teams will be complete.
  • Older swimmers (ages 9 and up) are often required to organize their own relays and be behind the block at the correct starting time. Most of our older swimmers have experience doing this.


Non-regular Season Meets

There are a few additional meets offered on weekends each summer. These vary by summer, but usually there is a Guppy Meet (for swimmers aged 10 and under and have times under the Senior County qualifying times), an Invitational Meet (which offers all events at Senior County), and Senior County Championships.  All of these meets require an additional fee and early registration.  Emails will be sent as they get closer.


Senior County Championships

Senior County is the championship meet for the JSSC teams.  Each swimmer must achieve certain times to be eligible to compete in Senior County. These time standards will be emailed to the team. Senior County allows each individual swimmer to swim 6 events: all four regular strokes, the 100 yard IM, and an additional freestyle event (for 8 & under, the 50 Freestyle, and for 9 & over, the 100 Freestyle).  To achieve times in the IM and longer Freestyle events, your child must either have the times from competing previously, achieve the times during a time trial at practice, or achieve the times during the summer invitational meet (a non-regular season meet).