Letter from Coach Jones

April 1, 2016

Dear Swim Team Parents and Friends:


I am fortunate to come back for a fifth season as head coach of the OBBT Barracudas.  With seven clubs in our Intersuburban Swim Conference (ISC), the responsibility to host the conference meet comes around once every seven years, and this is our year.  So on July 23, 2016, OBBT welcomes the other six clubs for the conference championship.  We have already begun planning for this event, working on the physical layout of tents and bleachers and parking areas, and we have been in touch with some of our returning families to line up “volunteers in chief” to take the lead on such things as parking management and hospitality. 

In a year when we do not host conference, all families are required to volunteer at least twice for our dual meets, and families with swimmers selected for the conference team are required to volunteer as helpers at the conference meet. 

As conference hosts this year, ALL families are required to volunteer for the conference meet in some capacity, regardless of whether their swimmers are selected for the conference lineup; this is due to the greatly expanded set of things that need to be done in order to run the championship meet.  Family conference volunteer commitments are IN ADDITION TO the “normal” volunteer requirements at dual meets.  If you have some special talent, qualification, or area of interest that you think might be helpful in this “event management” context, please let us know ASAP.

Aside from some minor changes to the practice schedule to give us time to transition on dual meet days, the structure of practices is essentially unchanged from previous years.  Swimmers will be placed in Level 1 or Level 2, based on staff evaluation of where they will have the best swimming experience, and their practice schedule depends on this placement.  Our Level 1 group has a lower coach-to-athlete ratio and more basic skill development and instruction.

As head coach, my primary goal is that each swimmer achieves something each season they have never done before. This may be a best time, completing events legally, mastering a racing dive, or getting to practice on time without forgetting anything.  It might be as simple as learning how to be on a relay or as complex as mastering the IM transition turns and having a best IM swim at conference.     

My experience includes 40+ years of competitive swimming (still active), 25 years of business and technology experience, 25+ years of coaching swimming at the club, high school, junior college and masters levels, and 13 years of high school math teaching.  I have taught swimming at every age level, worked with triathletes and disabled athletes, and coached track and field.  My passion in swimming is technique, grounded in the belief that good technique should be taught to every swimmer, regardless of age or level of experience.   I am a Level III coach/ Level II Masters coach member of the American Swim Coaches Association.

I am currently working on filling out our coaching staff.  Amy Christophell is returning for her second season with OBBT and she has taken on a significant role planning for the conference meet in addition to organizing volunteers throughout the season and running the swim lesson program.  Hannah Gabriel is also returning this season after completing her first year of graduate school at Michigan State, and we will keep her busy with swim coaching, water polo coaching, and swim lessons. And Sabrina Kerbo is returning to teach diving and help with swim lessons.

The summer competitive aquatics program at OBBT also includes a masters (adult) swimming program, small group swim lessons, along with dive lessons, and our developmental water polo team. 

The Barracuda swim team is available to swimmers whose skills have progressed to a point where they can swim independently.  We focus on fun and structured training, providing a bridge to year around swimming and/or high school swimming and water polo for those interested.  For others whose primary focus is not competitive swimming, this program builds teamwork and athleticism that complements other sports and activities.

Regular attendance at practices, commitment to the team from both athlete and parent(s), and good sportsmanship are expected. Rewards include the fun activities, athlete recognition, and challenges to improve on something every day and every meet. 

We look forward to working with your swimmers, and hope for great weather and good times.    


Cynthia L. Jones

[email protected]