Stingrays News Update - week of 12/9/19

WHAT A FABULOUS WEEKEND!!!! FFYS showed up in force to run an incredibly successful meet this past weekend! Heartfelt thanks to all of the Stingray Nation for showing up, and helping out when and where it was needed throughout the weekend. We ran (once again) the best invitational meet in our league, and it’s all because we have amazing, generous parents. I want to give a special shout-out to some above-and-beyond volunteers:

  • Our Meet Directors, Mark D’Errico and Anthony Penner, made sure everything was well-organized!
  • Our Head Official, Dave “don’t mess with my timeline” Nykanen.
  • Our Concessions Coordinator, Nancy Jennings, kept everyone well-fed and caffeinated.
  • Our Hospitality Team of Erica Saum and Krisanne & Jim Saleh kept our hard-working coaches and officials from getting too hangry.
  • Our Volunteer Coordinators, Joanne Bieniasz and Natalie Jones, who took our army of parents and turned us into a well-oiled meet-running machine.
  • Our Marshalling duo of Susie Heineman and Blair Borgia for their expert kid-corralling!
  • Our ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE Computer Room team, led this weekend by Allen Pan, Noah Birmelin, Bob Holdridge and Frank Benedetti!
  • Our Awards Coordinator, Jeff Spaude, for lighting up so many swimmer faces with medals and ribbons.
  • Our Sponsorship Coordinator, Sarina Mosher and our Program Designer, Kelly Nykanen!
  • Our Merchandise and Volunteer shirt coordinator, Adam Bayer (shirts are still available if you didn’t get yours! Contact Adam Bayer at!)
  • Our Singing Stingrays, Aditi Kongara, Josie Blanchard and Isabelle LaPorte, for their beautiful renditions of our National Anthem!

We’re also very thankful to our FFYS Volunteer Officials, Eric Gould, Andersen Venturini, Dave Rembiesa, Tom Ludden, Sarina Mosher, and Mark D’Errico (and Wendy Sanders) for helping Dave keep the timeline moving along. 

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the “Swimming Volunteer Saint” award goes to Eric Gould, who officiated all four sessions, and his youngest swimmer graduated several years ago. Why? Because he spent many years being invested in our Stingray Family, and enjoys continuing to be a part of it! Also, because of that amazing hospitality room! smiley

Finally, a HUGE thank you to our coaches for their loud cheers, their enthusiasm, their patience and their devotion to our swimmers. You invest so much in our kids, and we are very appreciative!

Oh yeah…and our swimmers certainly did not disappoint! We had so many great swims, and the CUT BELT was worn by many-a-Stingray for new State and Indy cuts!! Again, thank you to everyone for such a great weekend!

Which brings me to the next important point: INDY. Here’s what you need to know:


If your swimmer made one or more INDY cuts (what’s an INDY cut? Click here.) then you should sign them up for the INDY Meet on January 24-26. Click here to sign your swimmer up.

INDY is a USA Meet, which means your swimmer needs a USA membership to swim this meet. Contact Keli Okopny ( to make sure your USA membership is current.

The INDY Meet is in Indianapolis. (Don’t laugh. Someone out there is face palming right now. cheeky) We have a team hotel room block. Info is found here.

The INDY Meet is a wonderful opportunity to swim in an Olympic-class facility. Those who have not previously been to the IUPUI Natatorium will be amazed. It was the venue for the US Olympic trials for many years, and is arguably one of the fastest pools in the country!


  • Practice on TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10 IS CHANGED due to the home meet for the North Farmington high school team.
    • Silver: NO PRACTICE
    • Gold: 4:00-5:30pm at the YMCA
    • Senior: 3:30-5:30pm at the YMCA
  • The rest of the week is a normal schedule.
  • The Flint Falcons Winter Invitational will be held January 3-5 at Waterford Kettering and is live for signup here. IMPORTANT THINGS TO NOTE:
    • This is the second-to-last YMCA meet. The last one is only one day and it is in Saginaw on February 1. If you have not participated in three YMCA meet sessions by now, you NEED to attend this meet. Preferably at least two sessions (and three if you are able to do a distance event on Friday evening!)
    • This meet has a FRIDAY EVENING SESSION that will run an Open 400 IM, a 12 & Under 500 free, and a 13 & Over 1000 free. These are events that are not offered at every meet, so if you’re thinking about trying some longer events, this is the time to do it! Also, distance events are Coach Rich’s favorite. Just saying. laugh
    • If you swim the 1000 free, you must also supply a timer for the event.
    • In addition, 11-12 boys who want to swim 200 yard events will be able to enter these in the AFTERNOON sessions. Please be attentive to the events you sign up for and when they are held.
  • Sign up for the FFYS Holiday Party (and note the NEW LOCATION) – our Team Holiday Bowling Party will be held on Wednesday evening, December 18 at Langan’s Bowling Alley in Farmington Hills.  Swimmers cost $5, and non-swimmers cost $20 (families are welcome!!). The evening includes:
  • Pizza, Breadsticks, Salad and Pop
  • 2 Games of Bowling per person
  • Rental Shoes
  • Details and signup are found here.

And…the most exciting news…the Swimmer of the Week Award!

Miniray – Emily Saum

Bronze – Juliana Spaude

Silver – Halle Heineman

Gold – Mia Bayer

Senior – Sabine Branford

Congratulations to all for their great efforts and attitudes all week long! Keep it up!

This week in the pool:

Mini Rays and Bronze Group: We will review freestyle stroke technique and continue to work on flip turns. We will also put in some work on IM exchanges in bronze group, particularly the backstroke to breaststroke turn.

Silver Group: We are entering the next phase of training season this week. We will begin to follow up our most difficult main sets with short, full-speed “rehearsal” sets that emphasize a specific racing skill. Test set is the 500. Gentle reminder that water bottles, mesh bags, kickboards, and fins and pull buoys that fit properly are REQUIRED equipment in this group. If you are not bringing all these things, please rectify that. No, you may not just borrow them from the Y. Yes, it can count as an early Holiday gift! wink

Gold Group: We will go back to using the turn sticks this week. (YAY!!!! laugh) We will be working a lot on major stroke and using them in pre-sets and main sets throughout the week.

Senior Group: We will be working on building up aerobic base and getting the high school girls back into swimming shape! Dryland will be Thursday and Sunday this week (no Dryland Tuesday). Test set will be on Wednesday and as a reminder you must have gym shoes for Dryland days! Also make sure you are a bringing water bottle to every practice.


Things to ask your swimmer:


  • How are your flip turns? Are you remembering to NOT breathe on the first stroke off of the wall?
  • Are you excited to go to the Holiday Bowling Party? (Sign up  here!)
  • What do you want to swim at the Flint Winter Meet Meet? (Sign up  HERE!)


  • Do you have your water bottle, mesh bag, kickboards, fins and pull buoy?
  • What is your goal for the 500 test set?
  • Are you excited to go to the Holiday Bowling Party? (Sign up  here!)
  • What do you want to swim at the Flint Winter Meet Meet? (Sign up  HERE!)


  • Do you know why we use turn sticks?
  • Are you working on NOT breathing on the first stroke off of the wall?
  • Do you know how much it slows you down if you DO breathe on the first stroke off of the wall? cheeky
  • Are you excited to go to the Holiday Bowling Party? (Sign up  here!)
  • What do you want to swim at the Flint Winter Meet Meet? (Sign up  HERE!)


  • Are you working on NOT breathing on the first stroke off of the wall?
  • Do you have your water bottle?
  • Are you excited to go to the Holiday Bowling Party? (Sign up here!)
  • What do you want to swim at the Flint Winter Meet Meet? (Sign up HERE!)

Have a great week, Stingrays!