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Issue 1: April 26, 2017

Welcome to the 2017 WBA Swim Season!

See you on Monday, May 1!

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Please take a few moments to read the entire newsletter! There are numerous items below which include: News from the WBA President, Head Coach and Volunteer Coordinator, Weekly Reminders, First week of Practice, Communication avenues, Red, White & Blue Practice Meet and Team Photo.  Thanks.


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Captain's Corner

by Peter Mielcarek, President

We are delighted to welcome our 2017 swimmers and families to the pool!

We are excited to have Head Coach Gina Spataro Zayas returning this year along with Assistant Head Coach Tucker Lewis and Assistant Coaches Danielle Casper, Mason Freeman and Miranda Wadehra. New to our 2017 coaching staff are Assistant Head Coach Dan Schackelford and Assistant Coaches Courtney Black, Jack Prud’Homme and Amy Taffinder. We are excited to see some returning faces and delighted to welcome our newest coaches to our Armada Family. You can read the biographies and see pictures of all our coaches here.

PRACTICES: Daily afternoon practices begin Monday, May 1 and the practice times for each age group are posted on the website here. Your swimmer(s) will practice according to their age as of May 1. (More details below)

The first meet is the Red, White, and Blue practice meet which will be on Saturday, May 20. The full meet schedule along with Team Spirit nights is located here.

If you haven't done so, please read theTeam Handbook. It gives a very thorough overview of what to expect from swim season.

Communications will be done several ways:

1. Email: We will send emails to the addresses that you specified when you registered. You may go back online and change or add addresses if you wish.

2. Newsletters / Facebook: We will send weekly newsletters via email, which contain important information concerning meets, practices, and other events.

3. Family folders: There are three file folder boxes at the pool containing folders for each family. Files are set up according to last name. Check your folder at the pool daily. It will have meet ribbons, and forms or other information for you that can't be done via email. PLEASE dry your hands and take your ribbons and awards home with you each week!

4. Website: Our web site is wellsbranch.swimtopia.com and has a great deal of useful information on it. Spend some time going through it and you will have a great overview of the team and the season.

5. Rained Out: You may opt in to our messaging system to receive text messages regarding practices and meets. Text ARMADA to 84483

You can email me at president@wbarmada.org. Looking forward to another fun and rewarding season!

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Important Reminders:

1. New Parent Orientation: We will be hosting a New Parent Orientation on Thursday, April 27th at the Wells Branch Recreation Center (3000 Shoreline Drive, Austin, TX 78728) beginning at 6:30pm

2. Pool Maintenance: The Wells Branch MUD will be re-flooring the bathrooms at the Willow Bend Pool beginning Thursday, May 4th. The large boys and girls bathrooms will be closed. The family bathroom inside the gates and the small bathrooms outside the pool will be open.

3. Mobile Alerts: You have the option to opt into our mobile messaging service to receive text alerts for cancelled practices and other important information. To join - Text ARMADA to 84483.

4. Kona Ice Spirit Night: Kona Ice will be at the pool on Friday, May 5th beginning at 4:30. What a great way to celebrate the end of our first week of practices. Kona Ice will donate a portion of the afternoon sales to Armada. Thank you for your support.

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Coach's Corner

by Gina Zayas, Head Coach

Welcome parents and swimmers to the 2017 season of the Wells Branch Armada. I am so excited about this season! We have some new additions to our coaching staff this season so, I recommend checking out their bios on our team home page.

Parents, as we kick off this season today I’d like you to keep a few things in mind:

  • The first 3-4 days will appear very chaotic…this is normal.
  • The first week we will spend a lot of time getting the swimmers into a lane that best fits them according to their ability. Please feel free to ask me before or after practice if you have a concern about anything having to do with what lane your swimmer is in.
  • As coaches we want the opportunity to get to know all the swimmers and for them to know us. Therefore, our coaches will be moving to different lanes some days to work with different groups. This is a positive since we all know that kids learn differently and we are fortunate to have coaches with different swimming backgrounds and coaching techniques.
  • May is a very busy time and the coaches totally understand that many of you have other commitments during the week. Three practices a week is recommended, but please feel free to speak with me if you have a concern about this.

I am happy to answer questions and address any concerns you have. It would be best to speak with me either before or after practice, through email or a written note left in the coach’s folder.

Again, I look forward to an awesome season and cannot wait to begin! See you at the pool!

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Your First Day of Practice - Mon, May 1

Parents

We will be distributing bags containing t-shirts and swim caps the first week of practice. EVERY family will have a bag and it will be organized by the swimmers last name. Please pick up your family bag as soon as possible. Parents with older swimmers who may come to the pool on their own, please be sure to remind them to pick up their bag.

For those that ordered team swim suits, please remember that they will NOT be available until closer to the Red White and Blue meet. An email will be sent out as soon as they arrive and are available for pickup.

Remember to bring water, sun block, towels, and a well-fitted pair of goggles.

Please remember that many of the swimmers haven't been in the pool for 9 months. It will take them awhile to regain technique and stamina. Be positive and encouraging.

There will be board members around the pool the first week, handing out t-shirt packets and wearing name badges. Feel free to ask them questions. During meets, you can identify board members by their orange t-shirts.

Swimmers
When it is time for your practice, the coaches will call you to the pool. Prior to this, please use the restroom, shower and be wearing your cap and wearing your cap and goggles, if applicable. The MUD has asked that each swimmer shower off before entering the pool for health reasons, so please help us comply with that request.

The coaches will be trying to learn names and determine swimming ability the first week. The 6 and under swimmers will be spending a lot of time sitting on the side of the pool while the coaches work one-on-one with them. If it is chilly, they can have a towel wrapped around them.

Please don't read too much into the lane assignments. We will be grouping the swimmers so we can work with them most effectively. They may be changing lanes throughout the season.

Kiddie Pool
The kiddie pool will be open but you MUST follow the posted MUD rules. The kiddie pool is for children 5 and under, and a parent MUST be inside the fence with their child. Failure to follow the rules will result in the kiddie pool being closed during practices.

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Practice Schedule

We may make changes to this schedule after practice starts if we have too many swimmers in the pool at one time. Our goal is to make each practice as even as possible so the swimmers have the best experience possible. We may make changes to this schedule after practice starts if we have too many swimmers in the pool at one time

Rain/Bad Weather: In case of weather changes, please have a back-up plan for your swimmer (bike riders, walkers, etc). Everyone must be out of the water during a thunderstorm and if lightning is seen. Swim practice may continue if it is only raining and the coaches feel practice will be beneficial. If in doubt, you can call the pool and ask the lifeguard if swim practice is on. If the weather changes quickly, and the swimmers must get out of the pool, a coach will remain with them until everyone is picked up. The telephone number to the pool office is 512-310-1833.

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Red, White, & Blue Practice Meet - May 20

This meet will be a "shortened" version of a regular dual meet. Meet sign-up will be opened soon. Once you receive notice that this meet is open, please login to register your swimmer(s) for events and a parent for a volunteer job.

We will start by having every swimmer who is able participate in the freestyle relays. Following the relays, each swimmer will have the opportunity to swim all four strokes -- freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly. Swimmers who have not learned a stroke yet will not have to swim it.

This will give all participating swimmers seed times to use the following week when we put together the relays and will also help us get them seeded correctly in events.

Younger swimmers will be allowed to have kickboards and coaches in the water at this meet if needed.

We should be finished around noon.

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​2017 Team Photo: May 20

The team photo - featuring all swimmers and coaches - will be taken prior to the start of the Red, White, and Blue meet on Saturday, May 20. Please wear your team t-shirt.

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Volunteer Spot

by Wesley Freeman, Volunteer Coordinator

Hello everyone and welcome to the 2017 swim season!

I am your volunteer coordinator and look forward to working with all of you. As a reminder, at least one parent is required to volunteer for at least one position during the meet in which they have a swimmer. If our database indicates a swimmer’s parent has not signed up for a volunteer position, I will be calling and emailing you. Be courteous of my time and those of others by fulfilling the commitment you made when signing your child up for the swim team - volunteer!

For questions or concerns about volunteering or special circumstances, please call me at 512-310-1013. Do not hesitate to pick up the phone and call; many times, talking over the phone will resolve an issue in a fraction of the time it can be done via email. In addition, feel free to leave notes for me in my family swim folder or email me at volunteers@wbarmada.org.

Saturday May 20th is our Red, White & Blue practice meet. Here are a few things I would like to highlight leading into this meet:

  • First, if you volunteer to be a stroke judge, corner judge, or starter, training is required. Training details will be posted on the website once they are finalized.
  • Secondly, if you are the parent of a 6 and under, volunteer early! 6 and under swimmers all swim in the first half and at the same time, first shift positions fill first. This period is when you can volunteer so sign up early.
  • Finally, if you have swimmers in the 6 and under age group and you need to watch them after the first half, please do not sign up for volunteer positions in the second-half. If second shift positions are the only positions available, please email me and let me know; I will try to move individuals within positions to enable you to volunteer.

Remember, ALL positions need to be filled in order for a meet to run smoothly. It takes between 80-90 volunteers per team per meet. We need everyone to pitch in to make the meets a success for the sake of the swimmers and us adults.

Let’s have a great season and go Armada!

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​Swim-a-thon: Donations requested for the Raffle

Our annual Swim-a-thon will be held Tuesday, June 13. We also begin selling Raffle tickets at this event, with the winners being announced at our Awards Night. This is our primary fundraiser for the year and the funds raised help us keep our registration fees low and help us purchase needed equipment.

We are asking for donations of goods or services or gift certificates that we can raffle off during the event. We are a registered 501c3 non-profit organization and donations are tax deductible.

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