Start of Season Information

Liz Foley
Feb 10, 2019

Greetings 2019 Tidalwaves Swim Families!

As the majority of our registration is now complete, it is time for an overview of how our swimmers and families Splash into the 2019 season.  Here are some links to what you need to know between now and the start of the season, February 25th:

Who Are our 2019 Coaches?  As always, we bring to our swimmers the most dedicated, passionate, enthusiastic, swimming loving, kid loving group of 4+ coaches that exist in Marin County!  What's a "+ coach?" you ask, read on...

Coach Marie McSweeney is back to continue living out her mission as the best youth sports coach ever and to lead our team for her 30 'something' season and Coach Lisa is back for her 3rd straight season of warmth, excitement, dedication and pure enthusiasm.  And new this season we add coach Leena Sahagun as a full time coach!  Leena grew up in a swimming family and comes to us with coaching and swimming experience from the great state of Oregon as well as locally.  Leena, we offer you a Tidalwave size welcome, and look forward to all that you will bring to the team this year!

Additionally, we will have the experience and aid of five very strong part time coaches who togetether make up our "1+ coach".  Coach Matt Whittle (last year's captain of the UC Berkeley Men's swim team and Olympic trialist) is back to wow and work with our team again this season, a couple days a week, as he balances his obligations to a full time job with his love of working with young swimmers.  Scott Sherrod, who coached with us this Fall will be coaching for us at COM along with seasoned junior coach, Monika Platek.  Alex Sennhen, who also coached for us this Fall and Winter, will be coaching at both COM and Redwood, and new this season Sierra Kim, from the Marinwood Waterdevils, will also be on deck working with our kids at Redwood a few days a week.  Phew!  That is a lot of coaching talent for one team!  Bios for this impressive crew will be updated on the website with a week (or two). 

Returning Families, click here for a note about Coach Trevor.

​ Volunteer Sign Ups Open Friday, February 15th at 10:00amOh yes, it takes all hands on deck to run a swim league for our kids!  Each of the 10 Marin Swim League teams uses a system like ours to manage and run our meets and events.  New to the team?  This may be the second most impressive part of our organization--the first being the amazing skills your kids will learn by being a part of our TEAM.  But our volunteer system?  Nothing short of inspirational, fun, and amazingly well organized!  We are putting the finishing touches onto our jobs for the season as we speak, but click here for a list of all jobs and their descriptions.  And, here is everything you need to know about signing up for your jobs.  

Help!  We're Signed Up for an 8 & Under Assessment during Splash Week...Should we sign up for volunteering?  First off, don't panic.  If you believe there is a pretty strong likelihood that your swimmer will be assessed as 'Team Ready', and you have limited flexibility in when you do your volunteering, go ahead and sign up to volunteer on the 15th.  If your swimmer is not quite team ready, we'll back you out of your volunteer sign ups.  If you have more flexibility, there will be jobs open even after the Splash Week assessments, so it is o.k. to wait.

What do Swimmers Need for their First Practices?  Any bathing suit that will stay on (racing suits prefered, but not required), goggles, swim caps for long hair, and FINS.  The type of fins required are included on this flyer.  This year, Sports Basement will be on hand during Splash Week to allow swimmers to try-on and purchase fins on the spot!  This is a huge help for our families that we are very grateful for!  However, if you are anxious and want to have your fins before February 25th, or you will be up at the Novato Sports Basement using your Tidalwaves/Sports Basement 20% off coupon, (valid starting February 9- Feb 24 and can be printed or shown on your phone and shared with all of your friends), all Finis Floating fins are in the store already, and the Aqua Sphere fins should arrive this week.  

Tidalwaves Top-Notched gear including parkas, t-shirts, pajama pants, etc. will be available for purchase during Splash Weeks at REDWOOD only.  This gear is certainly not required, but kids and crazy supportive swim parents and grandparents all LOVE IT!  Team suits can be ordered AFTER Splash Week...all info to come in a future e-mail.

When does the Season Start?  We know this can be confusing...the confusion stems from our 2 practice locations:  COM and Redwood.  Deep breath, here we go:  Our COM practice location has our pre-team tadpole program and an "8 & Under Blue" practice group.  Because COM only has tadpoles and a "Blue," less experienced 8 & Under practice group, no Splash Week is needed.  Practices begin on February 25th and continue every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday thru mid June.

For our Redwood location, our coaches divide the swimmers into 2 groups per age group.  To determine the appropriate group, we hold 2 weeks of assessments that we call Splash Weeks, beginning February 25th.  Splash Weeks have a separate schedule as well as board members on hand to answer questions and point kids in the right direction, hot chocolate for all swimmers and team gear available for purchase (2 days each week).  These weeks alternate assessments for NEW and RETURNING swimmers to determine best practice groups.  Regular practices will begin at Redwood on March 11th based on these practice grouping.   Click here to find both the Splash Week schedules and the regular practice schedule.   COM 8 & Unders may go to Splash Weeks, to see if they are ready for the Redwood "Gold" group, but this is not required.  Please note that tadpoles do not attend Splash Weeks.  

​Swim meets don't start until April 27th, with our time trials meet.  This gives all swimmers time to 'get up to speed' so to speak, and all parents a chance to get into the 'swim of things' before we start putting on our shows!  

What is the Communication Like from the Team?  Oh the many ways to answer this question!  You can expect weekly e-mails (on Monday) from the team beginning with Splash Week, letting you know of upcoming events, schedule changes, meets, etc.  As team presidents, my husband, Jon Kawamura and I, thankfully do not Tweet, and I try to stick to facts in my weekly e-mails, (the real ones, not the alternative ones).  That said, the e-mails can be long, sometimes include spelling and/or grammatical errors, but generally try to get everyone going in the right direction.  Keep your sense of humor and I'll promise to keep mine! The website is chalked full of information that you can find on your own that will answer many FAQs.  Here's the answer to the most popular question:  YES, the kids practice in the rain!  We only cancel practice if there is lightening.    

What is the Etiquette on the Team and and around the Pool?  This is a great question that we appreciate your asking.  Our number one priority at Tidalwaves and within the broader Marin Swim League is to help make swimming a safe and fun activity for all of the kids who participate.  To this end, like the 9 other teams we compete with and against, we have developed a Code of Conduct for our team.  Please take the time to review this code and understand that our role is to support our kids, coaches, and volunteers to make this a great experience for everyone. 

In addition to the Code of Conduct, our team has developed a Parent Resources section of our website that includes a slew of  Articles for Swim Parents published by The American Swimming Coaches Association intended specifically to help parents understand how best to support their child, their child's coaches, and their child's team, as they navigate their swimming, or more generally their youth athletic experience.  All are HIGHLY recommended for Tidalwaves' parents!

One final note on pool etiquette is that parents (and nannies, grandparents, pets, etc.) are not allowed on the pool deck at Redwood during practice.  It is our sincere apology that when the pool was designed it was not designed to accomodate spectators as well as young kids coming in and out practice.  However, we have the pool we have and we all respect the fact that to keep the kids safe and to ensure that every child gets the most out of his or her practice experience, we only have room for swimmers and coaches on the deck during practice.  This is a Tidalwaves' Board policy.

Spectators are welcome at the COM pool, however younger siblings need to be watched at all times and remain in or behind the bleacher seating area.  Thank you for understanding.

Dogs are not allowed at either pool, no matter how cute or well behaved.  These rules are those of both Redwood High School and College of Marin Community college and as renters of their facilities we are obliged to comply. 

We Have Friends Still Interested in Joining.  Is it too late?  It is not too late!  We still have about 50 spots left on the team, split relatively equally among all age groups that practice at Redwood.  Please encourage your friends to register!  Another round of NEW 8 & Under assessments will take place during Splash Week. 

​ Questions?  I'm happy to answer any questions that you may have that are not covered in an e-mail, or on the website.  Remember, I'm an actual person, not "Siri" or "Google" so while I try to answer quickly, finding the answer on the website can be a quicker way to get your answer.  If you have specific questions/concerns about your child, it is best to communicate directly with Coach Marie at

Also, if you are NEW to the Tidalwaves Spring Marin Swim League season, we recommend that you attend our NEW Parent Info Night on March 4th.  A phenomenal overview to the season chalked full of best practices and survival tips.  We hope to see you there!

On behalf of the Tidalwaves Board and all the veteran Tidalwaves families, we are looking forward to seeing you at the pool for a great season!  GOOO WAVES!

Not Getting the e-mails? If you have friends that tell you they aren't getting these emails, please help them out by telling them to get in touch with me, Liz Foley at  I can research it for them and figure out what the problem is.

A Note About Coach Trevor:  It is with a sense of resigned sadness that we must report that coach Trevor, that rugged, yet huggable anchor of coaching warmth for the passed six years, got a taste of life as a mountain man this year and appears to want to continue living the "Grizzly Adams" life for at least the rest of this season.  He tells us, "it's not goodbye, just see ya later."  Sniff, sniff, we know he will be missed but we wish him well in the snow at Tahoe that will surely be around until July this year!