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Summer Season Update

Greetings  -

I hope that everyone enjoyed their “off” weekend as it has been a busy, but rewarding, start to the long-course season for the NFS family. It started at the Bolles meet where we were “slightly” out-numbered but our kids came to swim. This led to an exciting night of finals where we had some great swims and brought home several trophies. But the highlight had to have been the cheering section. Led by the kids and sustained by the parents, the energy level was high and even though we had a fraction of the bleacher space, everyone knew when an NFS swimmer was in the water.

Last weekend’s First Coast Kid’s Triathlon was another opportunity for our kids to shine and for NFS to represent. It was great to see the coaches and all the parents at the expo booth Saturday night and the kids passing out fliers and “campaigning” for their team. And what can I say about Sunday – everywhere you looked there was NFS – on shirts, hats, bikes, crossing the finish line and on the podiums. The kids did great and the support from the NFS family was impressive.  The “NFS Tri Team” should be very proud of themselves.

As we move into the summer season, let’s keep the momentum going. I know that several of our swimmers will be swimming on summer-league teams, which is great. Eva has written an excellent article about summer swimming that if you haven’t read, I encourage you to do so. Especially for the younger swimmers, the experiences of summer swimming can’t be replaced.  Some of you may not be around much over the summer (not encouraged but understood) so remember to check in by visiting the website so you don’t miss out on important news and updates throughout the summer.

The summer for NFS will be a busy one. The summer practice schedule has been posted so make sure you check that out. The meets schedule is set and has a heavy “local” flavor, with a few road trips added for kicks. Savannah is always a great time so if your schedule allows, try and join us for that one. But if that weekend doesn’t work, the local meets throughout the summer should give all the swimmers plenty of race opportunities.

Now for the fun stuff, for months we have been threatening to recruit volunteers for committees and that time is now. Below is a list of the committees/positions we are looking to fill so please take a look and let us know what you would like to help with.

  1. Official’s Committee:  The bottom line is that for NFS to be successful, we need to have “our own” officials. Right now we have a small handful of dedicated officials (Keith Powell, Dawn Bloom and Lori Szymczak) but we need more. If you have ever thought about becoming a stroke-and-turn official now is a great time. It isn’t the easiest job, but it isn't that hard. It is very rewarding and is an extremely important role within our team. Please contact a board member, coach or current official if you have interest or questions.
  2. Social Committee:We are looking for 3-5 willing parents to help organize “off the deck” activities for our swimmers. This committee is charged with providing opportunities for each group and the team as a whole for interacting with each other away from the pool. Fun activities should be planned that are inclusive and promote team bonding across the age groups and a positive experience. This committee will also be in charge of the end of the year banquet, usually held in August.
  3.  Welcoming Committee/Age Group Liaisons:  We would like 4-6 parents who are available during practice hours who will greet prospective members, introduce them to the coaches and other swimmer and families. Parents from all age groups are needed. You do not need to be at every practice, should have a minimum of 6 months with the team and have participated in at least 1 meet.
  4. Web-Site review committee:  Responsible for keeping www.northfloridaswimming.com current and accurate. Web programming isn’t needed, only an eye for detail.
  5. Apparel Committee: 1 – 2 volunteers to help distribute team apparel, including shirts and caps. Also may work on NFS Team Store – which is in development.
  6. Travel Committee:Shefali Vashi has graciously accepted this position, but if you feel that it is something you may be interested in taking over in the future just let us know. Duties primarily include securing hotel room blocks for away meets, but may also include organizing team dinners or other activities on the road.

Just a few other quick things then I will let you get back to your regularity scheduled activities. Some of you have noticed that we have gone back to letting the swimmers (parents) select events for the meets. Keep in mind that the coaches will have final say in what events your child swims, but take advantage of registering your and picking their races. Use the opportunity to learn about the events, talk with your kids about what they want to swim, why they want to (or don’t want to) swim certain events and talk about the goals your kids have for themselves. It is great way to educate yourself about how the meets work and even learn a little “game day” strategy. Make sure you include any information that you want the coaches to be aware of in the "notes" section (i.e. "have to leave early on Saturday"; "only can swim 3 events per day for budget purposes", etc) so if changes are needed, the coaches know your requests.

Don’t be afraid to talk to the coaches about what events they think your kids should swim. Or if there were changes – ask why? It may be that your swimmer wasn’t ready to swim certain events, or that they wouldn’t have had time to recover properly between races. Maybe they are needed for a relay or a better opportunity for your child was realized in a different event. It could just be that the coaches wanted to see how your child fares in a certain event. The point is that all of our coaches want the best for each of our swimmers, and I can promise that the best interest of each swimmer is taken into account.

Speaking of talking with the coaches, please try and limit the conversations to non-practice times. We are very lucky to have coaches that are polite and conversational and they will all be happy to talk about your children before and after practice but impromptu meetings on the deck take away from practice time for the team. If you have anything to talk to the coaches about, the best thing would be to schedule a time to talk to them, or at least wait until practice is over.

Thank you for your time. I am looking forward to another successful season for NFS.

Mark