May 31, 2020
Dear Whomping Turtle Families,
First, we want to say that we got a bit ahead of ourselves last week and while we had good intentions to get information to you sooner, we had to wait a bit longer and change some decisions we had made. If nothing else we are learning patience and flexibility, but like the club email you got Friday, we wanted the details that go out to be finalized. We had to make some really tough decisions this past week, but the most paramount goal was to create a safe environment not only for our swimmers, but to those that take care of our swimmers when they go home.
Second, We are very excited that we are finally able to send this long awaited email. While we know that NVSL has cancelled our summer swim league, we at Highlands are able to offer swim team practices through the end of July. While we may not have Bagel Mondays, Pancake Friday’s, or Pep Rallies we are going to be able to hold practices and potentially hold a few Virtual Meets against some other clubs.
In order to successfully run practice groups by utilizing BOTH POOLS through Phase 1 and Phase 2, we would like to go over a few key information. We hope the details below will provide your families with enough information to make a sound decision about registering your swimmer or asking for a refund. While we aren’t able to give absolute full details in this email such as who is required to wear a mask and how to enter the pool, we will be providing more in depth information and practice guidelines as we finalize those very important steps on how practices will work
PHASE 1 - starting June 8th –– We will be offering swim team practice for swimmers ages 13 and up only . Your swimmer must turn 13 by July 1 st . The State of Virginia Phase 1 guidance tells us that we can only have 1 swimmer per lane at practice. We feel doing this with our oldest swimmers is the best way to go. We will be utilizing both pools and will be rotating swimmers who will be placed into 3 different practice groups from 3:30 – 6:30 pm until school is out on June 12th. Details about the practice groups/times and guidance criteria/requirements/rules will be forthcoming no later than June 7th to those swimmers that register by June 3rd. Please be on the lookout for that email.
* If we continue to be in Phase 1 on June 15 th then practice for the 13 and ups will move to 8:30 – 11:30 am again broken up into 3 practice sessions in both pools.
PHASE 2 – While we don’t know when this Phase will start or the amount of swimmers that will be allowed per lane, we are optimistic that we will be able to integrate the rest of our age groups into the water at this point. Again details will be forthcoming once we are informed what those Phase 2 Guidelines will be and look like. Unfortunately, we just don’t have that information at this time. We do know there will not be an afternoon/evening option for swim practice this year as there has been in the past.
7 and 8 year old Assessments – Towards the end of Phase 1 we will be giving assessments to ALL swimmers that are 8 and/or turn 7 by July 1st, 2020 that signed up for swim team. There are no exceptions to this criteria. This year we will be asking that all swimmers swim 2 full lengths of freestyle with side breathing and one length of backstroke without stopping for the assessment. Please consider this requirement when you register your swimmer. The criteria has been changed to ensure the safety of the kids as coaches will not be allowed to get into the water with the swimmers this year for practice. The assessment will allow us as coaches to see if the swimmers can be safe in the water while the coaches are on the deck. For the 7-8 year old assessments we will ask that parents are ready and prepared to get into the water should the need arise since a coach will be unable to do so. So parents, please come prepared in your swimsuit to help your swimmer if they are unable to make the full 2 lengths of the pool without assistance . Refunds will be provided if your swimmer(s) does not meet the assessment criteria stated above.
Mini Whompers – While the above is all good news, it does come with some unfortunate news. After many discussions with other pools and with various Health Departments, we will not be offering our Mini Whomper Developmental Program this summer. We know this is upsetting for many of you. Please read further in - Mini Whomper Explanation for a detailed description as to why we had to cancel this program for this summer only. We promise it will return next summer. We will be offering refunds to all Mini Whompers that have registered already.
Coaches – Along with suspending our mini program for the summer, we also had to decrease the number of coaches on deck this summer. This was extremely disheartening. Some of our Coaches will deeply miss your swimmers (and we will greatly miss them), but we are hopeful that these coaches will join in for practice each day and can give some virtual hugs and virtual high fives to our younger swimmers in Phase 2. We also can’t wait to welcome them back on deck next summer!
Seniors – Please be on the lookout on our website and in future newsletters as we celebrate our 9 SENIORS this summer. We have exciting ideas in store for them, as we wish them well in all of their future endeavours!
Registration - if your swimmer(s) are already registered then you need to do nothing further. If you haven’t registered yet then please do so using the registration link on the team website. Reminder - Registration closes June 3rd for 13 and ups and June 5th for 12 and Unders. We will not be allowing you to register after this time.
Registeration Fees - We will not be reducing fees for swimmers ages 13 and up since they are able to swim in Phase 1. We will, however, be reducing fees for 12 and unders who begin swimming in Phase 2. The prorated fee is NOT currently listed on the registration page. Once all swimmers are registered, we will begin issuing credits to families that start swimming in Phase 2. We will be issuing a credit to the amount of $50 per swimmer. Please note, we will not be issuing credits until we have first issued refunds to families that have chosen not to swim this season. So please be patient as we sort through this process.
REFUNDS - We understand that some families are not comfortable sending their swimmer to practice in either Phase 1 or Phase 2. We know for sure in Phase 1 that parents will not be allowed in the pool area. It might be the same for Phase 2. If you are requesting a refund for the season please fill out this survey
Refund Request Google Form We will issue refunds during the month of June. This process may take a while to complete so please be patient with us.
We know many of you will have questions and we hope that future emails will provide you with further details and some more clarification. Our main goal is to create a safe environment, while maintaining social distancing practices outlined in various USA Swimming documents and from various Health Departments, so that your swimmer can enjoy the sport they love. We realize it won’t be the same, but we are in a different time right now and as a result everyone is managing expectations differently, but we do hope they have fun and learn along the way.
Meggie Scogna and Cheryl Farley
Highlands Swim Team Reps