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Urgent news about ESC status

 

Hello swimmers, parents, and families,

As you hopefully know by now, the Evergreen Swim Club board was faced with the difficult decision of either ceasing operations of the team as an independent team, or choosing to join forces with King Aquatics.

After taking input from families, and continuing discussions with both the owner of King Aquatics, along with the President of the King Aquatics Booster Club, we have decided to cease operations of Evergreen Swim Club, and join King Aquatics.

For full disclosure, the vote was 97.1% in favor of joining King Aquatics, and the board vote was 8-0.

While we were making the decision whether or not to join King, they were actively setting up practices for us.  STARTING THIS WEEKEND!  (More to come on this.)

 The first thing we want to say is that if you are interested in continuing with the club to King Aquatics, you should register for King Aquatics at https://www.teamunify.com/team/king/page/team-registration. There is an option to choose the Lacey pools.  Please make sure you choose this option.

 Next, the reason we were so comfortable joining King was that the owner of the club stated it is their goal with the club to  keep swimmers and meets at the Evergreen State College pool.  He intends to return the swimmers to Evergreen by mid-September.  The reason we cannot yet immediately return to the Evergreen State College pool is that we have not been approved to return to the pool by the college and pool manager.

So, to make up for this, King Aquatics will have pool space available in one of the Lacey pools starting on Saturday and then Monday, and continuing on to September 8th.  On Saturday the practices will be at River Ridge High School, and on Monday through Friday the practices will be at Timberline High School.

 They will be setting up an event (just like meet sign-ups on Team Unify) for the event at this page:  https://www.teamunify.com/team/king/page/events#/team-events/upcoming

  So, to clarify and explain, here will be the schedule for this weekend, and going into next week:

  Before Friday - Sign up for King Aquatics (if interested) or the King Aquatics event (or both).

  Friday at 6PM - Zoom meeting for those interested in joining the King Aquatics practices in August and early September. (The time may change, and if so, we or King will contact you with the new time.)

  Saturday (River Ridge) and Monday (Timberline) - Informational practices for parents and swimmers.  The times will be determined by skill level of the swimmers.  They will be divided up, and each swimmer will be assigned a time to practice.  They will have most swimmers assigned by the Friday evening Zoom session.  The earlier you sign up, the better they can set groups for practices.  These practices will be mostly informational for the parents and swimmers.  There is a chance that swimmers will have about 20 minutes minutes or so in the water.

  Tuesday until Sept 8th - Practices will be at Timberline (M-F) and River Ridge (Saturday).  They have scheduled 4 hours per day at those pools.

  The host (Lacey Parks and Rec) has limited us to Thurston County residences only.  You will need to give a Thurston County zip code in order to practice at Lacey pools.

 Next, just like the re-opening plan that we anticipate using when we get back to Evergreen, King needs some volunteers to help with the event.  They have volunteer hours (called "Work Share"), and you will be able to sign up for those hours to help out during the practices starting Saturday.

 Additionally, we wanted to address some of the concerns brought up in the comment section of the survey. The most common was that people wanted to ensure that King would have pool time in Thurston County, and specifically at Evergreen.  As we mentioned this was a priority for us, and we believe that as long as Evergreen State College allows us to swim, we will be back in the Evergreen pool in September.  Terry, the owner of King, also has stated that we will definitely have Senior group practices at Evergreen, and intends to have a regular coach at Evergreen, along with bringing in additional coaching on a regular basis.  We do know that there will be an expectation that there will be some practices for all groups to swim at pools further north, but most practices will be held for our swimmers in Thurston County.

 

There was also some concern about dues coming up.  You can see the dues schedule for King at https://www.teamunify.com/team/king/page/information/team-fees . While these are an increase compared to last year's dues, it is similar to what we were going to have to charge for dues, with less coaching available than King offers.  Because this was a significant increase for the senior group (over $100 per month), we negotiated that swimmers that were members of Evergreen will be given a $60 discount per month for the first year.

 Additionally, during the COVID restrictions, they have decided to simplify the group structure at King.  For those that are new swimmers, up to Fifth Grade, they will be assigned to the Developmental Tier.  For those in 6th-8th grade, plus swimmers from the lower age group who have made Champs Times will be in the Age Group Tier.  For those in Grades 9 and above, they will be in the Senior Tier (or those who have made their sectional times from the lower age group).  This will revert back to normal grouping after the restrictions are lifted (anticipated in early 2021).  You can see more information here:  https://www.teamunify.com/team/king/page/information/group-descriptions

 I know there was also concerns, especially last season, with lane fairness and practice times. While those decisions are left to the coach, we believe that these issues will be reduced, and we will also convey these concerns to the the new incoming coach, as well as the owner of the team.

 There were also some questions about coaches, and returning coaches. At this time Ryan Retana will be the primary coach for the Thurston County/Evergreen group, and King Aquatics will move or hire additional coaches.  We do not know who these coaches will be yet, but we will keep you up to date on that as well.

 There was also a question about parent volunteer hours and opportunities.  In a normal year, the requirements for Evergreen and King are both very similar (both about 30 hours).  However, this is not going to be a normal year.  We simply won't have all the meets that we have had before, but there will still be opportunities to complete volunteer hours, and we will work to make sure that they are available in Thurston County.  We also really hope to have meets at Evergreen, but the college, and the pandemic will determine when that happens.

 Finally, some asked about the remaining budget reserves of the club.  First off, there are some dues still owed back to members of the team, which will be reimbursed to those members in the coming weeks.  This will leave us with a reserve that the board voted to use to help pay for the King Aquatics registration fee for active Evergreen swimmers who were still members of the team after April.  We hope to cover as much of the registration fee as the reserve can afford, and believe this will be a majority of the registration fee.

 Also, masters swimmers:  Keep an eye out for more information.  We are still working on plans for a Masters club at Evergreen, and will need more time to determine how to do this.

 On a personal level, this was a difficult decision for all members of the board. We believe it is the right decision though. I personally swam my first ever swim meet in an Evergreen meet about 28 years ago. It's an important club and an important pool.  And we believe that it is in good hands as part of King Aquatics.

 

Sincerely,

Henry Valz

Evergreen Co-President