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WBA Newsletter: May 6, 2013

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Captain's Log

By Marcynda Verdicchio, Board President

We are excited to have Gina Zayas as our Head Coach this year.  We welcome back Armada coaches Bryn Lewis, Don Tran, Danielle Casper and Gregg Gavin.  Many of you will remember Bethany Libby and we’re pleased to announce that she will join our coaching staff once again this year.  We are thrilled to have new Armada coaches Amy Hammack and Tucker Lewis join our staff this year.  As many of you may have noticed, each of our coaches were all once Armada swimmers!

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

Daily afternoon practices start Monday, May 6.  The practice times are posted on the website under the schedule tab.  Your swimmer(s) will practice according to their age as of May 1.  Our swimmers aged 7-8 will practice from 4:30-5:15 pm.  Our 6 & Under swimmers will come after them from 5:15-6:00 pm.  We will have 9-11 year olds swimming from 6:00-7:00 pm.  The evening will finish with our swimmers aged 12 and up practicing from 7:00-8:30 pm.  Swimmers must attend their assigned practice time.  If you have questions or conflicts, please talk to or email me or Coach Gina.

The first meet is the Red, White, and Blue practice meet which will be on May 18. The full meet schedule is here.

If you haven't done so, please read the Team Handbook. It gives a very thorough overview of what to expect from the 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, starting with this one. These 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.
  4. Web site - Our web site is and it contains a lot of useful information.  Spend some time going through it and you will have a great overview of the team and the season.

If you have questions or concerns, please email me at  It’s going to be a great season filled with good times and fun memories!

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Coach's Corner

by Gina Zayas, Head Coach

        Welcome parents and swimmers to the 2013 season of the Wells Branch Armada.  I am so excited about this season for a few reasons.  First, our coaching staff this year are all familiar faces and have all been a part of the Armada team at some point in their swimming career.  I recommend checking out the bios on our team home page.  Second, 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, swim-a-thon, Round Rock Express night and 4th of July. 

          Parents, as we kick off this season on Monday 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 the first week or two.  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.  A minimum of 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!

Gina Zayas

Head Coach

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Your First Day of Practice

We will be distributing t-shirts and swim caps the first week of practice. Swim caps will be given to all girls. Boys are given caps upon request. Boys with longer hair should wear a cap to keep the hair out of their eyes.

The family file boxes are located under the front covered area on the shelf by the kiddie pool. Please check your folder for a welcome letter.

Remember 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 staminia. Be positive and encouraging.

There will be board members around the pool wearing badges the first week. Feel free to ask them questions. During meets, you can identify board members by their bright pink or orange t-shirts.

When it is time for your practice, the coaches will call the swimmers to the pool. The coaches will be trying to learn names and determine swimming ability the first week. The 6 and unders 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 MUD rules posted. The kiddie pool is for children 5 and under, and a parent must be inside the fence with their child. Failure to follow the posted rules will result in the kiddie pool being closed during practices.

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Volunteer Spot

by Jeannie Boylan, Volunteer Coordinator

Welcome parents—new and returning—to the WB Armada’s 23rd 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. Due to my work schedule, I’m unable to attend many practices, but feel free to leave notes for me in my family folder or email me at

Saturday, May 18th is our Red, White & Blue practice meet. For each meet, don’t forget to sign up for a volunteer position when you fill out the Online Meet Entry form (OME). If you are not able to choose a position, please let me know so I can assign you as necessary. Feel free to send me an email with information you’d like me to know for a specific meet.

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.

I look forward to a fun summer with you!


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Practice Schedules

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.

If you have any questions please contact Marcynda Verdicchio.

Practice Schedule: May 6 - June 4 -- Monday-Friday

Practice 1: Ages 7-8 4:30 - 5:15 PM
Practice 2: Ages 6 and Under 5:15 - 6:00 PM
Practice 3: Ages 9-11 6:00 - 7:00 PM
Practice 4: Ages 12 & Up 7:00 - 8:30 PM

Practice Schedule: June 5 - July 5 -- Monday-Friday

Practice 1: Ages 12 & Up 7:15 - 8:45 AM
Practice 2: Ages 6 and Under 8:45 - 9:30 AM
Practice 3: Ages 7-8 9:30 - 10:30 AM
Practice 4: Ages 9-11 10:30 - 11:30 AM


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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Family Folders

Three large file boxes with a folder for each Armada family will be set out at each practice. These folders are a tool for team communications, so check your folder often. You will get notices, forms, and meet ribbons via your folder. If your folder is missing or a name is mis-typed, please let us know and we'll get it corrected. Note - please tell swimmers to dry their hands before checking the box.

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Help send Alix Gavin to 2013 Deaflympics in Bulargia!

Fundraiser, Saturday, May 11 at Willow Bend Pool

WB Armada and McNeil High swimmer Alix Gavin has been chosen to represent the USA at the 2013 Summer Deaflympics in Sofia, Bulgaria!

Unfortunately, the US Deaf Olympic team does not receive government funding and must rely on private donations. Each athlete must raise over $5,000.

The Gavin family is hosting a FUN fundraiser swim meet on Saturday, May 11 at Willow Bend Park to raise money for this event. We encourage WBA swimmers to participate! Cost is $15 per swimmer. For an extra $10, you can purchase a t-shirt to show your support for Alix.

To Register:

  1. Armada Swimmers can register online here: Click on the Swim to Sofia meet. Each swimmer can choose 5 individual events.
  2. Armada Swimmers must also complete this registration form and include payment: Armada Registration form
  3. Non-Armada swimmers are also encouraged to participate and can register using this form: Non-Armada Registration form
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On-line Meet Entry - OME

For every swim meet on our schedule, EVERY family MUST login to our website and register your swimmer for the meet. If your swimmer is not able to swim across the pool or you will be out-of-town and cannot participate, you should still login and and complete the form.

Your family has a Swim-Topia account - your email plus a password you created. If you do not have this information, please email Marcynda Verdicchio and you will be sent a link that you can click on to set up your password.

Please login to

You should see the name(s) of your swimmer(s) and the events for their age group(s).

For the RWB meet, you choose all four events shown - unless your swimmer has not mastered one or more of the strokes yet. Then, please just click on freestyle.

You will be able to tell us if your swimmer(s) will not attend the meet or if they will not be available to swim either the early or the late relays for that meet.

We need each registered swimmer to fill out this form for each meet.

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Red, White & Blue Practice Meet - May 18

This meet will be a "shortened" version of a regular dual meet. Please login to and register your swimmer(s) for events and a parent for a volunteer job.

Entry deadline is by 9 pm on Tuesday, May 14.

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, back, breast 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 before noon.

Key Information
Location Willow Bend Pool
Arrive 6:45 am
Team Picture 7:00 am
Warm Ups 7:20 to 7:50
Meet Starts 8:00 am
Snackbar Donations requested from ages 15 & over
The purpose of this practice meet is to get swimmers and volunteers comfortable in the way a swim meet works, specific responsibilities, and where everyone should be when. If you have questions, please ask. Board members and experienced parents will be on hand to help with questions and training.
Meet Set-up
Friday, May 17 at 6:30 pm
Meet setup will start at 6:30 pm for this meet. We must move all tables and chairs and put out ready benches, ropes and the announcer tables. If you signed up as part of the setup team for your volunteer assignment, or if you'd like to lend an extra hand, please be at the pool then.
The morning of the meet, we need help setting up pop-up tents around the pool. We appreciate all the help we can get putting these tents up and taking them down at the end of the day.
Clean Up
We ask everyone to clean up the pit and pool areas before they leave. We must return the pool area to its original condition. The more people who help, the sooner everyone can leave. Pit parents should not release swimmers until their area is restored.

At a home meet, Armada families normally park in the unpaved lot across the street from the pool, leaving the lot adjacent to the pool for our guest team. Since this practice meet involves only Armada families, there are no restrictions.
Please respect the "no parking" signs where posted.
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Team Photo: May 18

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 18. Please wear your team t-shirt.


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WBA Swim Shop

The Swim Shop will be open from 5 - 7 pm Monday - Thursday the first week of practice. We will set up on the elevated grassy area. Sorry, we don't take credit/debit cards.

Items for purchase:

  • Team swim bags - $15
  • Team Resort Towels - $18
  • Parent Support Team Shirts - $15
  • Team Silicone caps - $10
  • Lane 4 Team Swim Suits
  • Goggles - assortment
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Swim-a-thon: Donations are needed for silent auction

Our annual Swim-a-thon & Silent Auction will be held Tuesday, June 18. 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 auction off during the event. We are a registered 501c3 non-profit organization and donations are tax decuctible.

Please contact Scott Casper at 512.547.5730 or email him at He has letters you can distribute to area businesses.

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