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The Willmar Aquatic Racing Stingrays (WARS), founded in 1980, is a non-profit organization offering a year-round competitive swim program to individuals from a beginning swimmer to the most competitive and skilled swimmer. The Stingrays further develop on the skills required for competitive swimming and should therefore not be confused with swimming lessons. Stingrays swimmers must be able to swim in deep or shallow water; be able to swim the front crawl and back crawl the length of the pool without resting; in addition, be mature enough to listen and follow directions. WARS is a member of United States Swimming: USA Swimming, which is a national governing organization for competitive swimming in the United States. The USA age group swimming program is America's largest program of guided fitness activity for children. Age group swimming builds a strong foundation for a lifetime of good health by teaching healthy fitness habits. When a young person becomes a member of the WARS, he/she learns the values of sportsmanship and teamwork. Swimming with the Stingrays provides physical, emotional, and intellectual skills that will last a lifetime.

Swimming is the most injury-free of all children's sports.
• Swimming is a sport that will bring kids fitness and enjoyment for life.
• Swimming is considered the ideal activity for developing muscular and skeletal growth by many physicians and pediatricians.
• Swimming develops high quality aerobic endurance, the most important key to physical fitness. In other sports, an hour of practice may yield as little as 10 minutes of meaningful exercise. Age group swimming teams use every precious minute of practice time developing fitness and teaching skills.
• Swimming does a better job in proportional muscular development by using all the body's major muscle groups. No other sport does this as well.
• Swimming enhances children's natural flexibility (at a time when they ordinarily begin to lose it) by exercising all of their major joints through a full range of motion.
• Swimming helps develop superior coordination because it requires combinations of complex movements of all parts of the body, enhancing harmonious muscle function, grace, and fluidity of movement.


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Our mission is to develop the character traits and technical skills of each individual swimmers' potential through training, teamwork, and competition.
Willmar Aquatic Racing Stingrays believes that COURAGE, PERSEVERANCE, RESPECT, and RESPONSIBILITY developed by swimming will prepare the individual for the challenges they will face in life.
  • COURAGE is the willingness to accept risk(s) and endure failings.
  • PERSEVERANCE allows the individual to find the true strength of their character.
  • RESPECT for the coaches as well as for other swimmers helps to build a team where every swimmer can be successful.
  • RESPONSIBILITY is behaving in such a way that you actions words and deeds reflect positively on you, your family, coaches and your club.
Communication between club leadership, coaches, parents, and swimmers is CRITICAL to the success of our organization.
• E-MAIL - is our primary form of communication. Please make us aware if you are not able to receive emails. All swimmer families should include their email address when registering. Families are responsible for updating contact information on the website.
• CALENDAR - monthly calendars are posted on the website listing practice times, competitions, and volunteer opportunities.
• COACHES - feel free to contact our coaches about any questions you may have regarding your swimmer. Please do this after practice so as not to interfere with the program.
• BOARD MEMBERS - contact any board member with any question that you may have regarding the club. They will be happy to answer your question or direct you to the individual that can answer it.


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Practice Groups
Swimmers are placed in practice groups (see section on Team Levels) based on the age and ability of the individual. The emphasis in the early stages of participation is placed on developing technical skills and a love for the sport of swimming. Each swimmer will progress at their own rate and as the swimmer advances in ability, they will be placed in a more challenging training group.
Fall, Winter, and Spring Session Practices
Practices are held at the Willmar Senior High pool but can be subject to change. It is the responsibility of the swimmer and their guardian to check the Stingrays calendar to know where practices are held. Please note: The High School teams naturally have priority in scheduling of practices and meets. Many of the home meets for the High School are held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. On those days, we would not have practice. PLEASE REFER TO THE MONTHLY CALENDAR posted on the website ( for current practice times.
Summer Session
In the summer, the swimmers train Monday-Thursday in the mornings. This schedule is subject to pool availability.
Please refer to the monthly calendar posted on the website for current practice times. 
Practice Equipment
Swimmers need swimsuit (one-piece for girls, jammers [preferred but not required] or swim trunks for boys), swim cap, goggles, snorkel, and water bottle at practice daily. Label all equipment with the swimmer's name.
Practice and Attendance Policies
The following guidelines are to inform parents and swimmers of the policies regarding practice. These policies have been developed and are designed to provide the best possible practice environment for all.

• Do not drop your swimmer off without confirming that there is swim practice.

• For the swimmers' protection, they should arrive on the school grounds no earlier than 15 minutes prior to their workout time. They should also be picked up NO LATER THAN 15 MINUTES AFTER their practice is over. Swimmers should be ready to swim within five minutes after they arrive at practice. There is a penalty of $25 dollars for 15 minutes or later pick up of a swimmer.

• Swimmers plan to stay the entire practice. The last part of practice is very often the most important. If you need to leave early, let the coaches know when you arrive at practice.

• Swimmers are to enter the building at the Athletic Entrance and go directly to the pool area.

• While on school grounds, the swimmers are the responsibility of the coaching staff. During practice sessions, swimmers are never to leave the pool area without coach's permission.

• The club has an obligation to act as guests while in the school (both swimmers and parents). Any damages to school property may result in financial liability of the swimmers' parents. Any damage may also result in the swimmer being asked to leave the team permanently.

• Parents are allowed to observe practice from the bleachers just inside the pool area or the upstairs bleachers. Do not try to communicate with any swimmer from these areas. This is not only distracting to the swimmer, but can also be distracting to the entire team, as well as the coach. No parent should be on deck without invitation from the coaching staff.

Illness and Injury
Please inform your coach of any injury or illness that may affect your swimming performance in the pool, regardless of how serious or trivial it may be. Any injury at practice should be communicated to the coach immediately. If your swimmer will be out of the water over a long period of time with an injury or illness, please notify the Willmar Aquatic Racing Stingrays coaches or one of the board members.
Swimmer Responsibilities
The Stingrays follow the Minnesota Swimming, Inc. (MSI) Safety procedures AT ALL TIMES. This includes the following:
• Bring required equipment to practice daily (swimsuit, goggles, swim cap, snorkel, water bottle)
• Absolutely NO diving from the diving boards at any time, during or after practice.
• Slip-in entry into the pool. NO diving during the practice unless there is a coach watching or a coach has already told you to practice starts on your own.
• Never interfere with the progress of another swimmer during practice.
• Treat everyone with respect in and out of the pool.
• Show good sportsmanship - behave like a CHAMPION whether you have a good swim or a bad swim. Respect officials, congratulate competitors, encourage teammates.
• Unsafe behavior WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. Unsafe swimmers will be asked to leave the pool and parents will be notified.
• Swimmers will remain in the pool area and locker rooms only. Swimmers are not allowed in any other part of the school building, with the exception of team potlucks which take place in school cafeteria.
Parent Responsibilities
  • Practice teamwork with all parents, swimmers and coaches.
  • Allow coaches to instruct the swimmers.
  • Demonstrate good sportsmanship by conducting myself in a manner that earns the respect of my child, other swimmers, parents, officials and the coaches at meets and practices .
  • Please make every effort to have your swimmers at practice on time.
  • Positively encourage swimmer at practice and meets.  Understand there will be ups and downs in your child’s progress in swimming.
Coach Responsibilities
  • Teach swimming techniques.
  • Encourage good sportsmanship.
  • Emphasize competition with oneself – The individual’s improvement is our primary objective. Winning ribbons, medals, or trophies is not our main goal.
  • Emphasize all swimmers are winners.
  • Distribute meet information.
  • Keep track of swim times for each swimmer.
The Board of Directors oversees the administrative functions of the club.  People who serve on the board receive one paid swimmer.  
The following are the board positions and their general areas of responsibility. 
President:  oversee all functions of the club including: scheduling and conducting meetings, holding elections, delegating authority and responsibility, attend MSI annual meeting if coach is unable to attend, and coordinate with Varsity Swim coaches and Stingray Coaches about equipment and/or event needs.
Treasurer:  handle Payroll, pay bills, file taxes, maintain receipts, financial reports at board and registration meetings, maintain invoicing system, balance sheet and profit/loss sheet monthly.
Registrar:  responsible for USA Registration- Club/Coaches/Swimmers, prepare and publish roster with phone address and email, maintains email contact list on club email account, assure all rosters match, works closely with treasurer, prepares seasonal forms (MSI, medical info, registration, code of conduct), collects registration fees, contact school district officials to reserve rooms for banquets, concessions, etc, arrange pool availability, billing and collection of registration and meet entry fees.
Secretary:  prepare, update and post monthly calendar and quarterly newsletter on website, takes, prepares, and keeps record of and distributes board minutes, send thank you notes and gifts as needed, maintain historical records.
Marketing: advertising the club in all areas including social media, assist in updating the website, organizing volunteers through the website.
Members at Large:  develop ideas and maintain supply of team apparel for sale including swim caps, swimsuits, goggles, clothing, shirts, sweats, parkas, banners, etc.
Seasons and Times
  • School Year Session:  September-May
  • Summer – June & July
  • Refer to the Calendar for current practice schedules
Swim Levels
The Stingrays Swim Team offers a program for all ability levels. The goal of all swimmers is to improve continually, tracking individual swimmer’s progress. Each of the programs listed below is designed to
provide the correct level of instruction and participation to keep swimmers improving and having fun. Our swimmers are promoted to each new level per coach discretion. Please consult our head coach if
you have any questions or concerns regarding the group your swimmer was placed in.
In our entry-level program, swimmers need to be able to easily swim one length of a 
pool. Emphasis is put on learning the four basic strokes, starts and turns. Practices last 45 
minutes and swimmers are encouraged to attend 2-3 times per week. We encourage our 
Level 1 swimmers to attend smaller meets. 
PUPS SKILLS:  Front Crawl and Back stroke 50 yards confidently growing to 400 yards a 
practice. Able to listen to instructions with minimal corrects.  Ability to focus during full 
practice. During instructions, keep feet on the ground and head above water consistently.
This level teaches swimmers more advanced competitive swimming skills and the very basics of training. Practices last 45 minutes and swimmers are encouraged to attend 2-3 practices a week. At this level we encourage attendance at beginner meets. 
MINI RAYS SKILLS: kicking for all four strokes, basic flip turns, backstroke flip turns, proper use of a kickboard, racing starts from the blocks, backstroke racing starts and finishes, two hand finishes, the proper technique for all four strokes.  Swim a set with out rest period. Ability to get warm-up gear ready and put away. Limited interaction with lane mates. 
Ability to maintain focus between sets. Consistency in behaviors and swimming. 
Level 3 fine tunes strokes, starts, and turns. It also develops good training habits. This is when training for stroke work has begun. Practice lasts 1 hour and swimmers are encouraged to attend 2 or more practices a week. Meet attendance highly encouraged. IMR event is completed during this level.  
WHIPTAILS SKILLS: Fine tune stroke techniques, flip turns, open turns, IM transitions, and starts. Underwater pull-outs for breaststroke, flip turns, backstroke racing starts and finishes, two hand finishes, the proper technique for all four strokes. Front crawl with rhythmic breathing on both sides and open turns for IM races, relay starts, swim a set with rest periods, swim a set with training intervals, can read their times from a pace clock, know two-stroke drills for each stroke. Minimum of 1000 –1500 yards a practice.  'C' times with a few 'B' times. Character: Finishes set consistently. Leads by example. Know and implements lane courtesy and etiquette. 
This is the top-level youth program. These swimmers train hard for both stroke improvement and conditioning while maintaining and improving racing skills. Swimmers are encouraged to practice 3 or more times per week for up to 1.5 hours. Meet attendance is required. Minimum of 2 short course meets and 2 long course required.   
MANTA RAY SKILLS: IMR completed working on IMX events. Heavily 'B' times. Develop excellence in race skills, including strokes, turns, tempo, and race preparation. Know at least three stroke drills for each stroke, and learn proper technique for streamlines, pull-outs, and break-outs. Improve conditioning and add yardage. Teaching and practice of skills is often at training/race pace.
Swim meets are optional but highly encouraged.  Swim meet information will be emailed to you.  Registration for swim meets is completed on the website. There are additional fees for each swim meet that are paid for online at the time of meet registration.  Be aware of the registration deadlines.  No swimmer can be registered after the deadline. Swim meet procedures and suggestions are available from the coaches and board members.
Registration Fees  
Minnesota Swimming, Inc. ( MSI) Registration - All Swimmers must be registered with MSI before entering the water, no exceptions. We obtain our liability insurance through MSI therefore every swimmer is required to register. This program is secondary to other primary insurance in place through the athlete’s employment, school, and parents or family. 
There is an annual non-refundable registration fee of $110 dollars for September through July of each year. This fee is payable online through the Stingrays Swim Club website and is required for each swimmer. The annual non-refundable registration fee assists in the cost of USA and MN swimming registration and with administration fees. Swimmers will not be allowed to begin practice until this registration fee is received.
If you have not previously swam with our club, there will be a New Swimmer Fee charged. This fee covers a snorkel, swim cap, and team bag tag.
Please note– the Willmar Aquatic Racing Stingrays requires a credit card remain on file in your account to pay for monthly charges and meet fees. Reminder to check the fees associated with using a credit card or ACH payment.
If your swimmer decides to NOT continue with swimming, please inform the Stingrays Registrar by the 15th of the month prior, or you will be charged for the following month.
Swimmers will be registered September through May 31st each year payable in 9 monthly installments.
Summer participation requires an additional sign up and regular monthly fees.
The first team installment is due the first day of practice in September and then will continue to cycle on the 1st of each consecutive month that follows. Meet fees will be charged the 1st of each month.
In the event a swimmer voluntarily opts to suspend membership at any time prior to completing the month, no refunds will be issued, and you may be charged for the following month if you fail to inform the Registrar of your intent by the 15th of the month.

Monthly Fees

Pups & Mini-Rays: $80

Whiptails: $90

MantaRays: $95

Group Move Increases:
The WARS coaches may move your swimmer based on the group guidelines. If your swimmer is moving to a group with a higher fee, this fee change will occur the month following the move.
High school policy:
High school swimmers may attend practices with the swim team during the high school swim season provided there are no conflicts with the high school coaches.
Family Discounts:
1st swimmer: Full Fee
2nd swimmer: 10% discount
3rd swimmer: 20% discount
4th swimmer: free
This discount only applies to an account when multiple swimmers are active in any given month.
Transferring from another USA-Swim team:
Welcome! If you are already registered with the USA club you will only need to pay a $5 transfer fee and fill out a form. Please contact the WARS registrar for assistance in this transfer.
Swim Meet Fees
Meet fees vary in amount based on the entry fee and registration charges. Statements for fees can be found on the Stingrays website and the auto payment will be occurring on the 1st of each month following participating in a meet. Pricing  varies by meet location, sanction and overhead costs.
Financial Assistance 
USA Swimming/Minnesota Swimming as well as the Willmar Aquatic Racing Stingrays provides reduced fees for qualified swimmers. Income-based scholarships are available. Please contact the Registrar for more information. Current evidence of participation in the school free and reduced lunch program is needed.
The Willmar Aquatic Racing Stingrays Club awards scholarships to qualified applicants.  Applications and information are available on the Stingrays website.  
The following is a transportation policy that is in effect for all functions related to the club: It is hereby the stated policy of the Willmar Aquatic Racing Stingrays, effective immediately and until either revoked or restated by the Willmar Aquatic Racing Stingrays Board of Directors, that transportation of swimmers and/or coaches to practices, meets, or any other event considered to be a club function by any non-public conveyance, as defined to include privately owned vehicles, is recognized by the Willmar Aquatic Racing Stingrays as a purely private agreement between the parties involved and that neither the Willmar Aquatic Racing Stingrays, nor the Willmar Aquatic Racing Stingrays Board of Directors, separately or as a group, except for the parties directly involved can be or will be considered as a party to such arrangement and that any liability in any form arising from such arrangement is purely and completely the responsibility of the parties involved.