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Info from Coach Kristina

posted Jun 2, 2015, 6:36 PM by Fort Myer Swim Team   [ updated Jan 23, 2016, 9:24 AM ]
Quick info on the weather policy is as follows - if there is rain, we swim. If there is thunder and lightening, we don't swim. You can call the pool to see if they are open, if you aren't sure whether there is practice: (703) 522-5932. Our policy is here: http://www.fortmyersquids.com/stay-informed/pool-closings

Team Background
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! Our placement in the 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. 

Staying Connected
We are a very email-dependent team. Please be sure you add our group name to your contacts so they don’t end up in spam – the address is: ftmyersquids@googlegroups.com. Replies to this email will only send back to the original sender, not the whole group. Please be sure to check your email regularly for FMST updates (including info about meets/practices and lineups). Also, we 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.

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!) and at Williamsburg Middle School. 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.  

Also a familiar face on the pool deck is Coach Daniela, who will be stepping up into our main Asst Coach role this summer. She is a lifetime Squid who has been with the team for over 12 years and no stranger to coaching - she is also a coach at WL. In addition, our Junior Coaches this year are Sam Hall (returning), who goes to VT and is also a WSI/Swim Lesson Instructor at Ft. Myer. Technically new, but not really at all, is our other Junior Coach Hanna Smith-Benjamin. She's a Elon in NC and interning at BAE this summer in addition to coaching. Finally, we have three volunteer helpers who will be in and out during the summer - Kenneth Stiles, he actually lives on Post and is active duty Army. He helped us out at WL this year and we're excited to have him around for the summer too. Austin VanderLey, a former FMST member, who is on summer leave from the Citadel. And finally, Jay DeLancey, also a former FMST member and home (in and out) on summer leave from the Naval Academy. 

Expectations
As I’ve mentioned, this is our fourth year in the Red division - what an accomplishment to be in the highest division in our league!  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.

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. 

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. 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 the kids 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. 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. See out web site for more information at: http://www.fortmyersquids.com/social-activities/bigs-littles
A Meets 
Not everyone will swim in A meets, but we'd like for everyone to attend A meets when they are at home at the Ft. Myer pool. They are always exciting and it's especially great to have the younger kids see what a fast-paced meet is all about. 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!). If you are not swimming you need not arrive at the pool until 8/830am. 

B Meets
The B meets are usually on Wednesdays. 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 breaststroke 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. Swimmers will have until Tuesday at 12pm to sign up for events. 

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
I believe 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. Check out: http://www.fortmyersquids.com/about-us/team-apparel

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