Pre-season announcements

RACE 2014 Spring/Summer Season Announcements

 

Greetings from the RISD Aquatic Center and RACE staff!  We finished up last season with a series of tremendously successful meets, and are very excited about the upcoming season.  As with every new season, there are new situations that we must adapt to.  These situations include coaching changes, practice times, group sizes, group placement standards, lane space, etc.  I would like to go through each situation and explain our plan of action.  I apologize for the length of this message, but it is all very important.

Coaching Changes.  As most of you know, Coach Brigitte is retiring from her coaching career of 30+ years.  These are big shoes to fill, so we are tentatively planning to shift Coach Wagner’s focus from Racer/Silver to Blue/Gold/Silver.  Coach Neil will take the Racer 1 and Sr Racer groups.  We also have Coach Danielle moving to Denver after the season as well as Coach Jessica stepping aside to concentrate on her HS teaching career.  We have already brought three new coaches on board to start shadowing and learning.  Coach Marioli will help with Minnows, Bronze and Orange.  Coach Courtney will head up the White groups, and Coach Sam will help with Black and High School Development.  Please visit the RACE web site for bio info on the new coaches and the new RACE practice schedule to begin March 26th.

We are also awaiting word from the school district on our request to peruse another full-time coach.  With a new coach, RACE can spread out our coaching duties in order to help optimize our growth plan.

Group placement standards.  RACE is experiencing steady growth through increased numbers and impressive team/individual performances.  We are quickly becoming one of the premier swim clubs in North Texas, and within the top 7% of clubs across the country (according to USA Swimming’s Club Excellence Rankings).  With higher achievement come higher standards, especially for our upper levels.  The Senior group now has two swimmers at the National level and the majority of the group at the Sectional level (between AAA and AAAA), so it is time to make sure that group has a higher minimum entry standard.  Starting this spring, it will take three (3) 15-16 “A” times to be invited into Senior.  We are also splitting the Racer group into 1 & 2. Racer 1 will require three (3) 13-14 “A” times to participate.  Racer 2 will require three (3) 13-14 “BB” times, plus a training standard (certain type of set or series of sets) that will be implemented as needed. The High School Development group is geared specifically for High School swimmers and/or water polo players who are looking to improve their District and Regional placing by training and competing year round.  HSD will primarily focus on sprinting and speed-work for races 200 yards and shorter.

Practice Times and frequency.  As with any growing team with one pool, pool space is always an issue.  Our goal is to have as many kids as possible practicing as early as possible.  However, with the distance people have to travel, traffic congestion, differing school bell schedules, coach availability, and lane space, practice schedules are never perfect.  There will always be swimmers that will have practice times later in the evening.  This DOES NOT mean they are not as important as the other groups.  In fact, there are multiple advantages to having later practices:  allows swimmers to participate in other after school activities, allows swimmers to go home and study/eat before practice, and it gives these swimmers more space in the pool.  Please realize that there is no perfect schedule for everyone.  Don’t let the schedule discourage your swimmer from participating in the sport.  We are also offering more practices per week for many of the groups.  We are hoping that more weekly time in the water will help our swimmers progress faster. 

Group Sizes.  The ideal group size for a single coach is around 20 swimmers.  If there is an assistant, that number can be higher.  Our goal moving forward is to have more controlled group sizes to optimize the swimmer experience.  However, this is easier said than done.  We also want to have swimmers with similar skill and age so practices can be structured correctly.  If there are kids in any given group that are progressing quicker than the other kids, they will be moved to a more appropriate group (if there is room).  If there are kids in any given group that are struggling with the day-to-day requirements of the group, they may be moved to a more appropriate group.  In the past, we have announced “move-ups” at the end of each season.  Moving forward, we will move kids around during the season as needed, but the majority of swimmers will still move at the end of the seasons.  This will always be at the coach’s discretion and will have to be unanimously approved by the child’s current coach, the coach of the group where the child may be moved to, and Coach Neil.  We will NOT reassign a swimmer to a different group during the season unless they demonstrate consistent performance that is either well above or well below the group’s average skill level.

Group Descriptions.  Group descriptions can be found on the RACE web site under the “swim groups” tab (rockwallaquatics.com).  We have added 6 groups:  Orange, Black, Green, High School Development, Racer 2 and White 4.  We felt there was a need to add these groups in order to achieve our group size and ratio goals.  Please look at the chart on our website under “swim groups” for more information (rockwallaquatics.com).

Team Banquet.  RACE is having its first ever team banquet on Thursday, April 24 at the Rockwall Heath High School Cafeteria starting at 5:30 pm.  Invitations went out recently.  We will have food, presentations, recognition, and awards.  This will be a casual event, so please be comfortable!

Communication.  Please read all e-mails and keep in touch with our team web site as much as possible.  This is how the vast majority of team information is passed along to families.  Every RACE group will have some sort of parent/swimmer meetings this week and next.  It is very important that these meetings are attended.  Thanks and we’ll see you at the pool!

-RACE Staff