Team Handbook

Team Handbook 




LEXINGTON, KY 40506-0219





TEAM HANDBOOK 2011-2012 (keep for your records)



Welcome!  The Wildcat Aquatics staff is excited to have you with us for the 2011-2012 swimming season. We feel confident that Wildcat Aquatics will continue gaining National recognition in the swimming community and are glad to have you as a part of our team and tradition.


Team Philosophy:

The philosophy of Wildcat Aquatics is to furnish young athletes with a chance to excel as an individual, while at the same time providing the opportunity to be a contributing member of a successful swimming team. For the individual, swimming teaches self-reliance, discipline, and dedication. Being a part of a team offers the chance to form friendships with teammates, and work with them in pursuit of a common goal. Practicing and competing as a Wildcat swimmer teaches lessons that last a lifetime and are transposed into daily living.


Team Goals:

#1 To be good ambassadors for Wildcat Aquatics, Lexington and USA Swimming.

We are recognized as a team with class, as well as speed. Each team member must understand the importance of displaying a positive image. This positive attitude will be visible through our thoughts, words and actions, in and out of the pool.

#2 To compete as a unified and spirited team.

Each team member will cooperate and contribute to the team effort. Positive support during meets, practice and social functions creates an atmosphere that inspires success, achievement and fun.

#3 To swim tough by facing obstacles with courage and determination.

When faced with a challenge or obstacle we will rise to the occasion. It will be a team trademark to respond to the challenge of a close race under any circumstance.

#4 To enjoy the athletic experience.

We have fun being athletes! We love being a part of this team. We set goals! We achieve those goals and we encourage our teammates to do the same!


Team History & Tradition:

Wildcat Aquatics is the oldest and most prestigious swim team in Central Kentucky.  Its roots date back to 1962, as the Greater Lexington Swim Association (GLSA) under the guidance of Wynn Paul, UK Swimming Coach.  In 1974 the team assumed the name Lexington Thoroughbred Swim Team (LTST) under the direction of Steve Hellmann.  With the completion of the Lancaster Aquatic Center in 1989, on the University of Kentucky campus, LTST moved its headquarters to Memorial Coliseum and additional swim time became available at the new facility.  A dedicated group of swim team parents provided the leadership under the team's new name, Wildcat Aquatics.


Wildcat Aquatics is currently under the supervision of University of Kentucky Head Swim Coach Gary Conelly. Coach Conelly continues the tradition of exceptional leadership.  By making the University of Kentucky facilities available to our athletes and by hiring a full time staff of dedicated coaches, Wildcat Aquatics has established itself as a top notch program.


Wildcat Aquatics has produced hundreds of Kentucky Swimming Champions, nationally ranked age group swimmers, numerous Junior National and National qualifiers, numerous Olympic Trial Qualifiers, one National Champion, three Junior National Champions, two Olympians and one Olympic Gold Medalist. In addition, WA has helped develop many collegiate scholarship student athletes.



Wildcat Aquatics is organized into two levels: Age Group swimming and Senior Swimming. It is the long-term goal of WA to move each participant through the various levels of the Age Group program and into the Senior Program. In addition, WA swimmers will be provided with the skills necessary to be a successful collegiate swimmer. Furthermore, we try to instill a love for swimming that lasts a lifetime.


Age Group Objectives:

1.     Participation- Our desire is for athletes to participate in as many meets, practices, and social activities as possible. Enjoyment in the sport can only be realized through involvement in both practices and meets.

2.     Educational Benefits- There is great opportunity to learn social skills such as cooperation, communication, and independence as well as developing life-long friendships with teammates and competitors.

3.     Physical & Mental Conditioning- Swimming builds strong bodies and strong minds. Our sport develops cardiovascular and musculoskeletal growth important to fulfilling a healthy life.


Senior Objectives:

1.     Participation- Attendance requirements are required for advancement and retention. Swimmers are expected to display a high level of dedication and consistency throughout the season. Competitions may be based on reaching time standards as well as the coach’s assessment of readiness based on workout attendance, health, and (or) attitude. 

2.     Educational Benefits- Senior level swimmers are expected to have a clear understanding of training principles, and biomechanics. Senior swimming also offers potential opportunities to attend regional and national camps through the Athlete Development division of United States Swimming.

3.     Physical & Mental Conditioning- Swimmers who reach this level of our program are undoubtedly an elite group of athletes from the standpoint of overall physical fitness. Top mental preparedness is also a prerequisite to this high level of competition.

4.     Development of Individual Talents- The goal of senior swimming is to prepare swimmers for national and potentially, international competition. Training will be both physically and mentally challenging each day while continuing to focus on the enjoyment that the journey towards success offers.

Your Responsibility as a Swim Parent (Please Read):

1.     Encourage your child to swim, but don’t pressure. Let your child choose to swim or to quit if he or she wishes.

2.     Understand what your child wants from swimming and provide a supportive environment for achieving these goals.

3.     Put your child’s swimming in perspective. Don’t make swimming everything in your child’s life; make it a part of life.

4.     Keep winning in perspective and help your child do the same.

5.     Help your child set challenging but realistic performance goals, rather than focusing on winning or getting best times.

6.     Help your child understand the valuable lessons that swimming can teach.

7.     Help your child meet responsibilities to the team and to the coach.

8.     Turn your child over to the coach at practice and during meets.  Don’t be a coach.

9.     Be a good sport and your child will too. Maintain a cool head and expect your child to do the same.

10.   Cheer for your team. Show enthusiasm and support for your child and their friends.



Wildcat Aquatics is privileged to train in the best natatorium in Kentucky. The Lancaster Aquatic Center (LAC) is a state of the art aquatic center. It can be set up to accommodate two 25-yard courses or eight 50-meter lanes. LAC seats over 700 spectators and has the most advanced timing system and scoreboard system in the country.  It is expected that all staff, swimmers, parents and visitors use the facility as intended and respect the University of Kentucky at all times. Appreciate your surroundings.



We work with the parking office each year to have evening parking passes available for purchase for our parents and swimmers who drive.  The pass you need to ask for is called a RESTRICTED PS1 parking pass.  These passes are inexpensive.  This pass allows you to park in the parking garage to your left, as you are coming to the pool, on weekdays after 3:30 and anytime on weekends (excluding football gamedays).  Just go down to the UK parking office on Press Ave., off of Virginia Ave., and tell them that you are with Wildcat Aquatics and need the RESTRICTED PS1 parking pass.  There is also a pay-parking garage, past the pool on the right on the corner of Sport Ct. and Complex Dr that costs $2.00 per hour.


Pick Up/Drop Off

When picking up Swimmers or dropping them off for practice, please do so in the semi-circle area just past the ramp that leads to the front doors of the building.  Please DO NOT stop in the street, at the base of the ramp, on Complex Drive to do this, as this can hold up traffic.  






Communication is key to our success as a prominent swimming team. The coaching staff, parents and swimmers need to share the responsibility of being informed.

The coaches are available as your number one source of information.  Emailing coaches is the easiest and best way of contacting them and getting information. 

A team roster including names, telephone numbers and group listings will also be available so that swimmers and parents can contact each other. This is very useful to our membership, but we ask you not to share this information with anyone outside of the team.


Numbers to keep handy: Wildcat Aquatics 327-3123

Lancaster Aquatic Center Pool: 257-SWIM



Wildcat Aquatics attends meets for the benefit of the swimmer and the swimmer’s team. Meets are important to maintain team unity as well as provide each swimmer with the opportunity to demonstrate his/her skills. Meets are why we train. It is fun for the athletes to have a chance to race and feel the sense of accomplishment that comes with dropping time or improving technical skills. Swimmers thrive on meets for motivation, self-esteem, confidence, and goal setting.


Additionally, meets are important from a coaching perspective. Meets are where a coach can examine improvements as well as weaknesses and make use of that information during practices.

1.     What to bring to a meet:

Healthy snacks, two towels, goggles, team suit, team cap (if worn), team apparel, warm clothes, money for heat sheet, dry clothes for changing into following meet.


2.     Swimmer behavior at meets:

Sit with the team, be spirited by cheering for teammates, wear team apparel, be a good sport, see coach before and after each swim for instructions and encouragement.


3.     Parents role at meets:

Please have swimmer at warm ups on time, plan on staying for the duration of the meet (your child may be a part of a relay squad), ask veteran parents questions, try to save questions for the coaching staff for after the conclusion of the meet, encourage your child and avoid playing the role of coach (too many cooks spoils the brew!).



How to Sign Up for Meets:

At the beginning of the season the meet schedule will be published with dates, locations and the groups that will be attending. Participation is STRONGLY encouraged for Red, Blue, and Senior level swimmers. The coaching staff will decide in which events a swimmer will compete.


We have online sign up for meets available now, for our swimmers to sign up to go to meets.  Details on how to do this will be on our website and in our Team Newsletter at the beginning of the season.  IF YOU FAIL TO SIGN UP FOR THE MEET BY THE MEET DEADLINE, YOU WILL NOT BE ENTERED!  Upcoming Meet Deadlines will be posted in the Wildcat Weekly, but the responsibility of meet participation depends on you. Many meets that we attend are very popular and fill up quickly.  Please stay on top of this so that no one gets left out of team competitions.


Your entry fees for meets are deducted from your Meet Entry Escrow Account. Remember your Escrow minimum balance is $50.00. Once you have signed up for a meet and the entry has been mailed out, you become responsible for those fees regardless of participation in that meet.




Types of Meets:

Not all swimmers are eligible to attend every meet. Wildcat Aquatics recognizes that meets where the entire team is present are more fun for the athletes and this creates an atmosphere for success. However, it may be necessary for some groups, mainly the senior group to go to a higher caliber meet. In addition, some meets require certain qualifying time (QT’s) standards be met. United States Swimming has six levels of National Time Standards: B, BB, A, AA, AAA, and AAAA. Most meets that we attend will not have QT’s.



Team Travel Meets-

Swimmers participating in these meets will travel with the team on a bus/van. All arrangements will be made by the team regarding food, accommodation, transportation, and will be chaperoned by several parents. The Code of Conduct will be enforced strictly on these trips. Parents not chaperoning that wish to cheer on their child may go. However, parents going to watch will need to make their own arrangements.

Family Travel Meets-

Swimmers and parents going to these competitions will be on their own in as far as making arrangements for transportation, accommodation and food. Possible places to stay, along with warm up schedules will be posted in the Monday Bulletin. Families and swimmers are urged to stay at the same hotel as the coaching staff. A block of rooms will typically be reserved for this purpose.





Kentucky Meets:

The Kentucky Swimming Association holds three championship meets per year.

1.     KYLSC Short Course A Championships- Open to swimmers 9 and older whom have achieved KYLSC Meet Standards in a given event. These time standards are different from the National Time Standards.

2.     KYLSC Short Course B Championships- Open to swimmers 9 and older that HAVE-NOT achieved the KYLSC Championship Meet Time Standards. This is the swimmers last chance to qualify for the KYLSCA Championships and is held approximately two weeks prior to the KYLSC Short Course Championships.

3.     KYLSC Short Course 8 and Under Championships - Open to any swimmer that is 8 years old or younger. Swimmers of all abilities are welcome to compete in this meet.


High School Swimming:

Most of our swimmers, once in high school, begin participating in high school swimming. The majority of the high school meets occur on weekdays. We request our Senior level swimmers to come to practice and then proceed to their meet. This allows the swimmer to remain on schedule and focused on United States Swimming. The primary high school meets are the Regional Meet and the KY State High School Championships. We realize that these meets generate a lot of excitement for our high school athletes. However, these meets are not the focus of our senior program. Our focus will remain on the Kentucky Swimming Championships, Sectional Championships and the National Championships. We believe these meets are more conducive to the full development of our swimmers.


Even though swimmers are often recruited to participate in High School swimming prior to the ninth grade, the coaching staff strongly discourages this. Waiting until enrolled in high school allows the 9th – 12th graders to compete against their contemporaries. In addition, we believe that involvement pre high school may hinder the athletes’ total development by being thrust into an extremely competitive environment at a young age. Furthermore, high school swimming is already a four-year commitment and we see no reason to rush into it.


Sectional/ Junior National/ Senior National Qualifiers

Sectional Qualifiers:  Wildcat Aquatics will pay for %100  of the cost of entries & gas mileage for the meet.

Jr. National Qualifiers:  Wildcat Aquatics will pay for %100 of the cost of entries and pay up to, but not to exceed, %100 of the cost equal to the cost of the Coach’s plane ticket/travel-fare for the meet.

Sr. National Qualifiers:  Wildcat Aquatics will pay for %100 of the cost of entries and pay up to, but not to exceed, %100 of the cost equal to the cost of the Coach’s plane ticket/travel-fare, as well as %50 of the cost of the hotel room for the meet.


Home Meet Work Obligations for Parents:

Home meets are the primary source of fundraising for Wildcat Aquatics. In order to keep our coaching fees low we must continue to raise money through hosting meets at the Lancaster Aquatic Center. One two and a half-day invitational provides as much as half of our yearly budget. Please realize the importance of everyone’s involvement in running these meets.


The Wildcat Aquatics Contract outlines the work requirements for each family and their fundraising responsibilities. Be aware, there are fines that you will incur if you fail to fulfill your volunteer requirements.







Volunteer Positions for Parents at Swim Meets:

1.     Timer- Probably the most basic position requiring very little skill. Great for a first time volunteer. This person backs up the electronic timing system. You will be assigned to a lane, given a watch for use during that session and start and stop your watch for each race.

2.     Runner- (No fitness level required. Ha.) You simply collect watch times from the timers and hand them to the volunteers in the computer center. You will make a trip to and from these people after every few races.

3.     Admissions- Collector of the gate fees. You will also sell heat sheets (programs) to people as they enter. This volunteer position requires arriving 30 minutes before the start of warm ups. You may close up shop one hour after the start of the meet.

4.     Concessions- This person helps sell and prepare basic concession items during the meet.

5.     Pool Deck Safety Marshal- Responsible for keeping order on the pool deck. You will receive a jazzy bright colored "Marshal" shirt and help police the pool deck. (ex. Remind swimmers to keep deck clean, monitor roped off areas, aid in clearing sprint lanes, pace lanes etc.)

6.     Hospitality- Individuals who volunteer here help distribute free food to hungry coaches, volunteers and officials.

7.     Posting Results- Taking the results and displaying them in the Results designated area.


*** The following volunteer positions require some training.


8.     Stroke & Turn Official- Must be certified by United States Swimming which requires attending a clinic, taking a test, and working several meets as an apprentice.

9.     Starter- Must be United States Swimming certified. This person is responsible for starting each race and, along with the referee, determines false starts.

10.   Meet Referee- Must be USS certified. This person is in charge of the pool deck and has the final say in decisions regarding the meet.

11.   Computer Worker- Helps operate timing system or score board. There are three positions under this title: Computer Reader, Timing Machine Operator, and Score Board Operator.

12.   Awards- Charged with putting labels on the appropriate ribbons to be given to the coaches following the meet, which they will distribute, to their swimmers.

13.   Check In- Monitor the check in tables for the distance events and enforce rules that go along with this procedure.

14.   Head Timer- Back up the Timers who are behind each lane. Supplies a watch to timers who may have missed the start or had a malfunctioning watch.

15.   Doctor on Deck- The physician who will be available on deck throughout the meet.

16.   Announcer- Make announcements during the meet, helps to maintain meet tempo.

17.   Equipment Manager- Responsible for all equipment during the meet: stop watches, clip boards, headsets, pens, pencils, awards cartons, tape, etc.


Parent Positions within Wildcat Aquatics:

1.     Parent Advisory Committee (PAC):

A group of experienced WA parents who work with the staff to help keep the team running smoothly.

2.     Examples of Committee Chairmen:

a.     Officials- Organize officials to work at the meets. Train new officials. Recruit new officials.

b.     Fundraising- Come up with new fundraising ideas. Implement fundraisers.

c.     Publicity- Work on publicity outside the team: articles in paper, posters around town.

d.     Social- Organize social events. Team banquet, team picture, picnics. Come up with new and exciting ideas for team activities.

e.     Meet Development- Supervise all positions regarding the running of meets.

f.      Communications- Assist the coaches in getting the word out to swimmers and parents.

g.     Ad Hoc- There are several committees that will be formed from time to time.

1.     Meet Director- The chairman of Meet Development hands over his/her duties to the Meet Director at the start of the meet. The Meet Director can be the chairman of Meet Development and often is.

2.     Meet Coordinator- Fills volunteer positions that are needed to run a successful meet. Notifies Treasurer of families who failed to fulfill their work requirements.

3.     Concession Coordinator- In charge of supplies, money, and organization of the concession stand and the volunteers that work there.

4.     Chaperone- Policing athletes on team travel trips.







During the winter season every family will be encouraged to raise a published amount of money. The vehicle through which money can be raised will be addressed each season. By having fundraising we can keep our team dues low. The fundraising obligation is outlined in the Wildcat Contract.


Glossary of Terms:

Age Group Swimming- the program through which USA Swimming provides fair and open competition for it’s younger members in age groups 10 and under, 11-12, 13-14, 15-18. Local meets may also include the 8 and under age group.

Block- The platform form which the swimmers begin a race.

Circle Swimming- Performed by staying to the right of the black line on the bottom of the pool.

Code of Conduct- An agreement signed by a swimmer prior to being a member of the team or team travel stating behavioral guidelines.

Consolation Heat- The swimmers who finished 9 – 16 or 7-12 in the preliminary session and will swim again in the evening.

Course- Designated distance over which the competition is conducted.

Deck Seating- A procedure of assigning swimmers to proper lanes and heats immediately before each event.

Distance- The term used to refer to events over 400 meters or 500 yards.
DQ (Disqualified)- Occurs when a swimmer commits an infraction against the USA Swimming guidelines. DQ swimmers are not eligible for awards, nor can their time be used as an official time.

Drill- An exercise involving a portion or part of a stroke used to enhance overall stroke technique.

Dry Land Training- Training done out of the water that aids in swimming performance. I.e.: stretching, calisthenics, weight training.

Dual Meet Competition- Competition between two teams.

Entry Form- Form on which a swimmer enters a competition.

False Start- Occurs when a swimmer is moving during the start of a race, leaving before the signal to do so.

Finals- The evening session of a meet for which one must qualify by swimming fast enough in the preliminary (morning) session.

Final Heat- The fastest 6 or 8 competitors from the preliminary session which compete in the Finals.

Flags- Used for backstroke to signal the swimmers that the wall is coming up. These flags are placed 5 yards or 5 meters from the wall.

Goal- A specific time achievement a swimmer sets for themselves.

Heats- A division of an event in which there are too many swimmers to compete at one time.

Heat Sheet- A listing of all swimmers, broken down into heats with lane assignments and event numbers. They are available for purchase at the beginning of the meet.

I.M.- Abbreviation for Individual Medley, an event in which the swimmer completes each of the four competitive swimming strokes: fly, back, breast and free.

Invitational Meet- A two or three day meet typically involving three or more teams.

Junior National Championships- A national level meet held in both short course and long course seasons. There are three regions: Southeast, Northeast, and West. You must be 18 years old or younger and meet certain qualifying time standards. Swimmers are limited to 4 individual events and three relay events. WA is in the Southeast region.

Kentucky Swimming- the LSC that governs all local swimming matters for the USA Swimming member teams in the association.

LSC (Local Swimming Committee)- The governing body for swimming on a local level. Our LSC is Kentucky Swimming.

National Championships- A national level meet held in both the short course and long course seasons. This competition is the most elite semi-annual meet in USA Swimming. It is open to all ages that have met the necessary qualifying time standards put forth by USA Swimming. The meet is always long course (50-meters).

National Motivational Time Standards- Time Standards that are broken down by age, sex and speed (B, BB, A, AA, AAA, AAAA) divisions. These standards may be used to determine meet entry qualifications.

National Age Group Top 16 Times- Time standards set forth by the previous year’s achievements. If you reach this level you may submit your time to be considered for National Top 16 recognition.

Negative Split- Swimming the second half of a race faster than the first half.

Official- A judge on deck at a sanctioned meet who enforces USA Swimming rules. There are Stroke & Turn Officials, Administrative Officials, Referees, and Starters.

Pace Clock- Clocks mounted around the pool used to check pace or to maintain intervals put forth by the coach in practice.

Prelims- Short for preliminary, also called Heats or Trials. Those races in which a swimmer can qualify for the Finals.

Psych Sheet- A printed ranking of the competitors in each event.

Qualifying Time Standard- Time necessary to compete in a particular event or competition.

Referee- United States swimming official whom has the authority over all other officials at the meet.

Scratch- To withdrawal from an event in a competition.

Seeded Times- The time a swimmer uses to enter a meet. These times determine in what heat and lane you will be seeded.

Session- Any portion of a meet that is distinctly separate from another by timing, location, or competition type.

Short Course- A pool 25 yards in length. Most winter meets are conducted as short course competitions.

Split- The time recorded for each part of a swim. In a 100, the first 50 and the second 50 have their own times… splits.

Sprint- Describes the races short in distance (50 or 100). In training, it refers to going as fast as possible on a particular swim.

Starter- The USS official at a meet responsible for initiating the beginning of a race. He/She also calls the competitors to the starting blocks.

Streamline- The position used to gain maximum distance and speed after the start and off each wall following the turn.

Stroke Judge- A certified official who determines the legality of a swimmer’s stroke. This individual has the power to DQ a swimmer because of improper technique.

Timed Finals- Competition in which only heats are swum and final placing is determined by the times performed in the heats.

Touch Pad- The large sensitive board mounted on the wall, which when hit, triggers the electronic timing system to stop at the end of a race.

Unattached- A United States Swimming member who competes but does not represent a certain club or team.

USA Swimming- The international governing body of amateur swimmers in the United States.
WA- Wildcat Aquatics
Warm Down- Low intensity swimming used to rid the body of excess lactic acid, and to gradually reduce heart rate and respiration.

Warm Up- Low intensity swimming used to get muscles loose and warm, in addition to increasing heart rate and respiration.






Gary Conelly: Director, WA Inc.

Letitia Hollingsworth-Gray: Team Bookkeeper

Ben Davis: Head Coach (Senior/Blue Groups)

Dave Little: Head Age Group Coach (Red/White Groups)