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Issue 1: May 2, 2016

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Captain's Corner

by Marcynda Verdicchio, President

We are delighted to welcome our 2016 swimmers and families to the pool!

We are excited to have Head Coach Gina Spataro Zayas returning again this year along with Assistant Head Coach Tucker Lewis. We would also like to welcome coaches Zack Casper, Mason Freeman, Robbie Hale, Sarah Marquez, and Miranda Wadehra.

You can read the biographies and see pictures of all our coaches here.

PRACTICES: Daily afternoon practices begin Monday, May 2 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 21. The full meet schedule along with Team Spirit nights is located here.

If you haven't done so, please read the Team 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: 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. 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. Web site: 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 newest messaging system to receive text messages regarding practices and meets. Text ARMADA to 84483

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

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Mobile Text Alerts

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

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Coach's Corner

by Gina Zayas, Head Coach

Welcome parents and swimmers to the 2016 season of the Wells Branch Armada. I am so excited about this season! All of our coaching staff this year has been a part of the Armada team at some point in their swimming career. I recommend checking out their bios on our team home page.

We have a number of new families joining us this season which means new friendships and lots of fun. I hope to see everyone at some of our events outside the regular practice and meet schedule, such as Spirit Nights, Swim-A-Thon, Round Rock Express Night and 4thof July!

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.

With so many new faces for the coaches and the swimmers, a lot of time will be spent getting the swimmers into the lane that best fits them according to their ability.

Our coaches are finishing up their school year as well and may not be at practice on a daily basis for a few weeks. Therefore, your child may have a different coach some days. 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. 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.

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.

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.

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

Parents

We will be distributing t-shirts and swim caps the first week of practice. Swim caps will be given to all swimmers unless you told us you don't want one. Girls should wear a cap to keep hair out of their eyes, as should boys with longer hair.

* Personalized caps have arrived and will be in the family bags

* Armada signs, bags and extra shirts will be arriving soon and you will be notified once they arrive.

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 purple 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 21

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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Team Photo: May 21

Team Photo:  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 21. Please wear your team t-shirt.

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Volunteer Spot

by Wesley Freeman, Volunteer Coordinator

Hello everyone and welcome to the 2016 swim season!

I'm delighted to be your volunteer coordinator and look forward to working with all of you. Please feel free to contact me with any questions about the volunteer positions at the meets.

If you have any questions or concerns about volunteering or special circumstances, please call me at 512-310-1013. You may also but feel free to leave notes for me in my family folder or email me at volunteers@wbarmada.org. Please don't hesitate to pick up the phone and call; many times talking over the phone will resolve something in a fraction of the time it can be done via email. Finally, I will also be at evening swim practice over the next couple of weeks, and you can always come up to me then and ask questions or discuss a topic.

Saturday May 21st is our Red, White & Blue practice meet.There are a few things I would like to highlight leading into this meet:

  • First, if you volunteered to be a stroke judge, corner judge, or starter, training is required.  Details will be posted on the website once they are finalized.
  • Secondly, 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-half positions are all that is available when you sign up for the meet, please email me and let me know, and I will work to find you an opening when you are available.

Remember, ALL positions need to be filled in order for a meet to run smoothly. It takes between 70-80 volunteers per team per meet and we need everyone to pitch in to make the meets a success for the sake of our children.

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 & Raffle will be held Tuesday, June 14. 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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