How Did Metro Aquatics Start?
Metro Parks Tacoma has been offering swim lessons in facilities such as Wilson, Mt. Tahoma, Eastside, and Norpoint since 1955. In response to encouragement from patrons, Metro Parks Tacoma started running swim teams at each location swim lessons were offered. Swim meets were held between Metro Parks pools.
In September of 2004, Metro Parks hired Dane Wolfrom to expand the swim teams to include competing at USA Swimming sanctioned meets. In January, 2005, swim teams at all facilities combined to make one single, city-wide swim team, called Metro Aquatics.
Since 2005, Metro Aquatics has experienced amazing growth–assisting many swimmers reach their goals, and having fun too! In 2008, Paul Hughes became the first Metro Swimmer to qualify for the USA Swimming National Championship. In August, 2009, Metro Aquatics won the Western Zone Senior Championship, becoming the fastest team in the 17 Westernmost states! In 2012, Carl Weigley represented Metro Aquatics at the US Olympic Team Trails.
How is Group Placement Determined?
Metro Aquatics employs consistent training emphases throughout the entire program. Swimmers will likely work with all of our coaches from time to time, and will benefit from this interaction. While each training group has minimum qualifying requirements, you may always decide to swim in a group below the highest level you qualify for. For example, you may meet the requirements to train in the Sectional training group at Mt. Tahoma, but for scheduling or facility convenience, you may prefer to swim with the Advanced group. You may train in either group, and your fees and registration will reflect the choice you make. Please consult your coach about what options are available to your specific family.
The Explorer Group (Year-Round) primarily focuses on increasing swimmer efficiency while swimming fast is de-emphasized. Aerobic conditioning is prescribed individually based on swimmer age. Competing at meets is recommended. The main goal of this group is to help the swimmers find a love for the sport of swimming!
The Challenger Group (Year-Round) is a step further into competitive swimming, where technique is emphasized with a focus on swimming efficiency. Training and racing becomes prevalent. Swimming fast is de-emphasized, while body position and efficiency are developed. Aerobic training is administered individually, based on each swimmer’s biological age. Competitions are optional. Coach permission to register required.
The Achiever Group (Year-Round) takes proper swimming technique into higher competition. Aerobic development is based on each swimmer’s biological age. Goal setting, visualization, race strategy, and training cycles are emphasized in preparation for competitive success. Competitions attendance is encouraged. Coach permission to register required.
The Sectional Group (Year-Round) promotes swimming to reach the athlete's highest potential. Swimmers focus on their personal goals; and collaborate with coach to maintain a technical and physiological system that best provides for those goals. Competitions attendance is encouraged. All high school and college swimmers are welcome.
Swim Meets: Where to begin?
Throughout the season, Metro Aquatics swimmers have the option of participating in many different swim meets, at all levels. We encourage everyone to explore these options and take part in team meets. We have a blast and meets are a great chance for our kids to support one another, compete, and have fun. All swim meets are learning opportunities for our swimmers to work on skills and disciplines they have learned in practice. Friendly competition allows them to see the progress they are making throughout each season. Following are explanations of the two types of swim meets we attend as a team throughout the season:
Dual Meets: Dual meets are open to all swimmers. These meets tend to be less formal in nature and offer a great opportunity for those just learning the swimming routine to take that first step into competition. In addition, they allow all our athletes to hone racing skills and compete in shorter events. Dual meets are held with one other team and are low-pressure, high-energy events with typical swim races mixed in with occasional fun events. Dual meets are free and every Metro swimmer is encouraged to attend.)
USA Swimming Sanctioned Meets: Many swimmers on our swim team choose to register as members of USA Swimming, thus opening up a wide array of fun, challenging swim meets available throughout the region. This involves an annual membership fee and registration is done through the team. Metro Aquatics is a USA Swimming member team and we attend sanctioned meets together as a team with one or more Metro coaches there to work with swimmers. These events are slightly more structured and offer broader levels of competition. These meets still occur in fun settings with learning and progress for the swimmers as a central tenet.
Meets available include monthly Challenge Meets with a handful of other teams in attendance and Fall, Spring, and Summer Grand Challenge meets to cap off those seasons. In addition, some of our swimmers qualify each season for Pacific Northwest Swimming (PNS) Championship, Sectional, Zone, or National Championship meets. In essence, the sky is the limit for competitive opportunities for our Metro swimmers. We hope to provide the full spectrum from the time they attend their first Intra-squad or Dual Meet to the time they tackle the challenges offered by USA Swimming sanctioned meets.)
What is USA Swimming?
USA Swimming is the National Governing Body for competitive swimming in the United States. As the National Governing Body for the sport, USA Swimming is responsible for the conduct and administration of swimming in the United States. In this capacity, USA Swimming formulates the rules, implements the policies and procedures, conducts the national championships, disseminates safety and sports medicine information and selects athletes to represent the United States in international competition.
Among the many services USA Swimming provides are publications, educational programs, fund-raising activities, sports medicine programs, resources and general information about swimming related activities. USA Swimming is a non-profit organization made up of very dedicated volunteers and support staff. Interested volunteers donate their time, energy and expertise at every level from the national Board of Directors to the local swimming clubs.
What is the Parents’ Role?
Metro Aquatics provides many benefits to young athletes including self-discipline, good sportsmanship, and time management skills. Competition allows the swimmer to experience success and to learn how to treat success and failure as two sides of the same coin, while becoming healthy and physically fit. As a parent, your major responsibility is to provide a stable, loving and supportive environment. This positive environment will encourage your child to continue. Show your interest by ensuring your child’s attendance at practices, by coming to swimming meets and volunteering for your club at swim meets, etc.
Parents contribute to the success experienced by the child and the team. Parents serve as role models and their children emulate their attitudes. Be aware of this and strive to be positive role models. Most importantly, show good sportsmanship at all times toward coaches, officials, opponents and teammates. Remember that you are teaching your child at all times.
Can I take a break?
At Metro Aquatics you pay each session or month you participate. Our Seasonal Swim Team is paid for by 10-week season (Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter), and we are not able to refund any unparticipated time. Our Year-Round program (Intermediate, Advanced and Sectional Groups) is paid for mid-month to mid-month, and you are able to take a break for any reason. You will not pay during those months you are on break. This includes taking time off to swim or otherwise participate in high school sports. Training fees are due before the first day of practice each pay period. The summer session spans two months.
Do you Offer Scholarships?
Scholarships for Metro Aquatics are available through the Metro Parks Foundation, USA-Swimming, Pacific Northwest Swimming and also Metro Aquatics Boosters. There is an application process, and annual limits may apply to your family. If you would like further information about receiving a scholarship, please speak with Coach Dane (253-381-8389, firstname.lastname@example.org) about the process.
Do we have to Volunteer?
Metro Aquatics is a strong, healthy swim club due—in large part—to its wonderfully dedicated parent volunteers. Joining Metro Aquatics is a wonderful investment in your child’s future. This investment comes with not only a commitment from the swimmer, but also from the whole family. The family commitment is not just your time and finances to support your the swimmer; but also your time and expertise to help manage the swim team. Your personal talents are needed with other fund raising activities and joining committees that suit your expertise. In order to run a healthy swim club we need the help of all our parents. Unlike most swim teams, we do not currently have family volunteer requirements.
How do we find out if Practice is Cancelled?
If practices are cancelled or other time-sensitive information needs to be disseminated, a Metro Parks staff member will call, email, text or App-Flash you using contact information you provided during registration. We likely will use more than one means in attempt to contact you. Usually calls originate from our Aquatics Headquarter at Eastside Pool. If you need further information, or have time-sensitive questions, please direct them to Coach Dane at 253-381-8389 or Eastside Pool at 253-591-2042.
How do we Pay our Training Fees?
We prefer you register for training and meets online using you favorite credit card. You may also register over the telephone at 253-305-1022, or in person at the Metro Parks Main Office or cashiers at any of the following locations: Eastside, Mt. Tahoma, Norpoint, Stewart Heights, and Titlow. Please ensure that the five-digit code for the session or meet you are registering is attached to your payment. Please retain your receipt for all cash payments at least 90 days.
Do we have to join USA Swimming ?
Our Sesasonal Swim Team (Spring, SUmmer, Fall and Winter Swim Teams) members do not need to join USA Swimming in order to participate. You may choose at some point to participate in an optional USA Swimming sanctioned activity or competition, at which time you will need to join. All year-round (Explorer, Challenger, Achiever and Sectional) swimmers are required to be members of USA Swimming.