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FMST Time Trials and Basic Team Info

posted Jan 23, 2012, 12:54 PM by Fort Myer Swim Team   [ updated Mar 25, 2015, 7:10 PM by Mark Tramontozzi ]
Dear Squids,
 
For those of you who are new to our Ft. Myer family, my name is Kristina - I am the head swim coach here at FMST. This is my ninth (whoa!) year as head coach and I am so excited to not only be returning, but also to see how far we have come as a team! Before I get to my regular intro email, I wanted to provide some quick basic info about the team and about time trials tomorrow.
 
FMST is a member of the Colonial Swim League. We are maintaining our position in the Red Division this year -  that is the highest division in the Colonial Swim League! This Division will continue to bring exciting, but challenging meets and really force us to do our absolute best every time we get in the pool. I know our Squids will do great again this year and step up to the challenge! We have roughly 190 kids on the team this season - we love having so many kids being exposed to the sport of swimming, many for the first time, but please bear with us as we work to manage and coach such a large team.

We are a very email-dependent team. This year we have created a Google Group to help get emails out easier. Please be sure you add our group name to your contacts so they don’t end up in spam – the address is:ftmyersquids@googlegroups.comReplies to this email will only send back to the original sender, not the whole group. We have limited permissions on who can send to the group, so as not to spam folks. Please be sure to check your email regularly for FMST updates (including info about meets/practices and lineups). Also, I will email out meet information and identify it as such in the subject line with "FMST Meet #1 Info" (the number will change based on week/meet) so you can sort your email for meet-specific information. That email will typically be out every Friday, by mid-day at the latest.

TIME TRIALS
Time trials in run like a regular meet – we will need all our usual volunteers there to assist (timers, officials, clerk of course, etc).
We are asking everyone to arrive by 7am to help get the pool set up and the kids ready to swim.
We will start warmups at 715am and the meet will begin around 8am. We plan to be done by 11am at the latest.
** We will do a roll call at the meet also to ensure that everyone who has not completed registration does so tomorrow.
All swimmers are required to swim at least two events. For kids under the age of 8, they will need permission to swim breast or fly. I would strongly encourage our older swimmers (9 and up) to swim as many events as they can so that we can get baseline times for everyone to help inform our lineup development in advance of our first meet!We will likely NOT be doing IMs for time trials, just due to our time constraints and number of swimmers participating. However, if we have time at the end we may run a few heats for kids 13 and older.
We will make some announcements tomorrow about how the meet will be run, but basically we will call down all swimmers interested in doing a particular stroke. They will be given a card and sent to clerk of course to be put into heats/lanes. The order of the meet is Free, Back, Breast, Fly – youngest age groups to oldest age groups within each stroke.
 
OFFICIALS (certified and in-training) – please wear a white shirt and blue shorts.
 
Now for the general overview information…this is long, so just bear with me.
If you’re a new FMST parent, please take the time read the below – it should answer all your questions!
 
COACHING STAFF:
I just wanted to take a moment to quickly introduce myself and the rest of our coaching staff. As most of you know, I am also the head swim coach at Washington-Lee High School (Go Generals!). Despite how much time I spend at the various Arlington pools, I actually have a day job that doesn't revolve around swimming. I work at the Department of Homeland Security in our Office for Cybersecurity and Communications.  If you ever need to reach me during the day, have a question or idea, etc you can reach me on email at kvd9802@yahoo.com.  If you need me in an emergency (say you are en route to a swim meet, but got in an accident or had an unexpected change in attendance at 6am due to illness, etc) you can reach me by text at 571-214-3576… please don’t over use my personal cell number. :)
 
I have been lucky enough to have not only a great coach, but also one of my good friends by my side on deck for the last eight years - Rachel Wishner will be returning as our Assistant Coach this year as well. She also is the Assistant Coach at Washington-Lee. Her day job does not revolve around swimming either. She also works at DHS, supporting the Department’s Office for Bombing Prevention. 
 
Also a familiar face on the pool deck is Coach Daniela – a lifetime Squid who has been with the team for over 11 years! She works at Suited for Change in DC. In addition, our Junior Coach this year is Coach Sam – also a former squid, who graduated last year and is currently in college. Contact Sam if you are interested in private lessons. You may see some other old squids hanging around/helping – they do that voluntarily because they love the team and want to help!
 
EXPECTATIONS:
As I’ve mentioned, this is our third year in the Red division - what an accomplishment to be in the highest division in our league! Our season will continue to be very competitive and we will be developing all our lineups strategically and to ensure we have a successful season – we are a competing sports team, after all! We will do our best to allow for as many kids to swim as possible in one A meet this year, however, we cannot guarantee that will happen based on the size of our team and the increase in competition in our Division. That said, we will be asking the other teams to allow exhibition heats in both 6&U and 8&U Free and Back and also possibly an exhibition relay entry for each age group to allow more kids to swim. However, it is important to note that BOTH team reps must agree to this request – if a team we are swimming does not want to include those exhibition events, we will not be allowed to do so.
 
Each week our meet computer workers will have the ‘ladder’ of all times by event. You can see how your swimmer is doing week to week based on their times in the ladder. The higher you are on the ladder, the better your chances of swimming regularly – I think this is a great motivating factor for the kids and a great way to show that hard work, dedication, regular practice, and a positive attitude all contribute to improvement and opportunity (not only in swimming, but in life!).
 
Also based on this, our developmental B meets on Wednesdays will be even more important for our team to ensure that everyone is getting a chance to participate in a competitive, racing atmosphere and have opportunities to improve their times and swimming skills. We will be shifting how we organize B meets as well to help ensure a more timely execution (Hooray!). More on that below in the Swim Meet section.
 
I have the same expectations and general coaching philosophy as in previous years. They are:
- Be a team player and show respect to all fellow swimmers and coaches.
- Attend Saturday (home) meets and every team event, regardless of if you are swimming or not.
- Stay until the end of every meet and show support for your teammates. No other sport would allow you to leave the field/court in the middle of game just because you weren’t playing anymore, swimming is no different. Cheering and team spirit is equally as important as swimming.
- Have good team spirit (this is a very important aspect of FMST).
- HAVE FUN.
 
ATTENDANCE:
All swimmers are expected to be at practices regularly and attend all meets, with the caveats noted above for non-home meets. At minimum, we expect everyone to be at two practices a week. However, swimming is a sport of repetition so don’t expect to see drastic improvement if you aren’t regularly at practice.
 
If you are going to miss a meet - please let me know by email as soon as possible. Thanks to those of you who have already sent me your summer schedules! If you are going to miss more than one practice at time (3 days in a row because of camp or vacation, etc), please also let me know that by email as well. This is CRITICALLY important. We spend many, many hours over the course of the week working on our lineups and each swimmer is put into an event for a specific reason. We do not like to have to make changes at 6am the morning of a swim meet because you did not notify us that your swimmer would not be available (it’s really stressful on us and our parent volunteers).
 
We may switch your swimmer into different practices groups based on their ability level. Please let us know if you can’t accommodate time changes or if you need to discuss alternate practices for your swimmer based on schedule (especially when we move to mornings). Please help us be productive coaches to all our swimmers. It can be challenging to do this when your child isn’t able to swim the practice or regularly runs to you during the course of practice – anything you can do to support our requests for their active participation during the course of practice would be most appreciated.
 
As a friendly reminder, parents are not allowed on the pool deck during practice times.
 
SWIM MEETS:
General Information:
1. Lineups – We will work to get the weekly A meet lineup out to everyone no later than Friday mid-day so that everyone can be prepared for what they are swimming before arrival on Saturday.
2. Themes - Every swim meet as a theme that we dress up for. The swimmers are expected (and parents are welcome) to come dressed up for this theme. We will take a group photo before warmups. If you arrive late to the meet, you will miss the picture. No need to spend money - just try to find hilarious and fun costumes around the house that are creative and fit the theme. Info on that coming shortly.
3. Big Brother/Big Sisters -  We will be assigning all kids 12&U a BIG on the team. I have attached an overview of the program. We will send out and go over assignments before our first regular meet. Please note, we are asking that NO gifts are given during the course of the season. This is about spending time together and supporting one another. You can, however, give a small gift of thanks at the END of the season once we conclude meets.
 
A MEETS: Not everyone will swim in A meets, but everyone is expected to attend A meets when they are at home at the Ft. Myer pool. We will not require the entire team to travel for away meets, unless you want to be there (you’re always welcome and I know we have a few die-hard cheer squad members who will take us up on the offer!). We will be designating an alternate swimmer for every age group who will be required to attend the meet regardless of location – this will ensure that if someone is unexpectedly sick or unavailable, we have a backup plan to fill the gap. If you are not swimming and are not the designated alternate, you need not arrive at the pool until 8/830am.
 
B MEETS: The B meets are usually on Wednesdays, but we have one Monday night B meet next week. Everyone is eligible to swim, except in events that you place in (1st, 2nd, or 3rd) at the prior Saturday meet. We will use Wednesday results to help develop the Saturday lineups so please encourage your swimmer to participate in as many events as they are eligible for and can do legally (this is especially important for swimmers under 8 in the breastroke and butterfly).  We require that all B meet swimmers sign up in advance for what events they would like to swim at the upcoming Wednesday meet. Each Saturday we will post a sign up poster in the clubhouse. Swimmers will have until Tuesday at 12pm to sign up for events. If you have an extenuating circumstance (i.e. vacation) and you miss sign up, you can email me directly. Please try your best to limit this – I get about 40 emails a day related to FMST during the regular season. J
 
We will print cards only for those swimmers who signed up. In addition, as noted above, if you are an 8&U swimmer, you must get approval from a coach to sign up for fly or breast. Finally, don’t worry – the coaches will still talk to swimmers to encourage them to do events that they may be nervous about as we have done in past years.
 
TEAM APPAREL:
Information about the team suit has been sent out – you can purchase our team suit from Sports Fair in Arlington on Lee Highway. Everyone must be in the team uniform for meets and everyone MUST have an FMST swim cap for swim meets. Also, please don't wear your team suit for practice - we would like them to last and be bright for the duration of the season. Caps and other FMST paraphernalia will be for sale again this year at meets.

EXTRAS:
If you are a parent of a swimmer under the age of 8, you may want to invest in a pair of fins (can be purchased online or at sports fair) - they really help us in teaching the kids the basics of the strokes and having them not tire out too quickly.
 
We want to ensure we are being fair to every swimmer at practices. We simply can’t provide individual coaching instruction to one or two swimmers who are not able to meet basic practice requirements (staying for the duration, swimming a full lap, participating fully, etc). We have seen, especially in the younger ages, kid progress quickly – but just want to manage expectations that some kids may not yet be ready for the swim team and also that we will not be able to provide ‘swim lesson’ instruction. We have assistant coaches available for private lessons if you think your child might benefit from some extra one-on-one instruction in addition to the team practice – it’s always great to supplement swim team with this if it’s needed.
 
If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know! I'm looking forward to another fun and exciting season!
 
Your Coach,
Kristina