Noteworthy News XXXII

NOVA Coaches
May 1, 2019


THE NOVA ALUMNI ASSOCIATION WAS ON THE MARCH LAST WEEK . . . and that involved beating a path to the Saturday AM practice for the awarding of the Diane Cayce Scholarship to a graduating NOVA swimmer. This was the second year and this year’s winner was, as always, a difficult choice. Some great essays and some heady accomplishments made the scholarship’s committee more than a bit difficult. This year’s winner was Patrick Madden and his essay detailed his fourteen years of friendships, accomplishments and life lessons experienced at NOVA. Patrick will, presumably, graduate from JR Tucker provided he doesn’t lose himself too deeply in his Game of Thrones obsession. He will join 2017 graduate Sydney Lenz at Denison in the fall. His reason for choosing the Denison swimming program? It reminded him a lot of NOVA!! Congratulations, Patrick!


WITH THE SUMMER LEAGUE SEASON ON THE VERY NEAR HORIZON . . . , I strongly encourage all NOVA families to do their swimming related shopping at NOVA’s own Virginia Swim Shop and to encourage any summer league friends to do the same. All Virginia Swim Shop profits go to benefit NOVA swimmers. The Virginia Swim Shop staff offers years of unmatched experience and will get your swimmer into the right suit and the right goggles. Check out the NOVA spirit wear as well. If it’s something that NOVA swimmers need or want, the Virginia Swim Shop has it or can get it. It’s easy to order on line but that doesn’t your children the way shopping at the Virginia Swim Shop does. So stop by, chat with our friendly staff and see how they can help you and your swimmer with summer league or NOVA outfitting!


THE RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH ANNOUNCED THE 2018-2019 ALL METRO TEAM . . . this week with Grace Sheble repeating as Female Swimmer of the Year and Zach Cram debuting as Male Swimmer of the Year. The list of honorees is long and it should be noted that the NOVA women once again swept every first and second team spot. NOVA’s Men certainly upped their game from last year’s ranking with an impressive showing as well.

First Team All Metro

                     Female                    Male
50 free        Sydney Whiting         Garrett McGovern
100 free      Sydney Whiting         Garrett McGovern
200 free      Grace Sheble             Nikolas Lee-Bishop
500 free      Grace Sheble             Hunter Locher
1000 free     Grace Sheble            Garrett McGovern
1650 free     Maddie Wallin           DC Hellams
100 breast   Grace Sheble
200 breast   Sarah Bender          
100 back     Josephine Fuller        Zach Cram
200 back     Zoe Dixon                Zach Cram
100 fly        Megan Pulley            Zach Cram
200 fly        Grace Sheble            Zach Cram
200 IM       Grace Sheble        
400 IM       Grace Sheble             Zach Cram

Secod Team All Metro

                    Female                    Male
50 free         Josephine Fuller        Nikolas Lee-Bishop
100 free       Grace Sheble            Nikolas Lee-Bishop
200 free       Sydney Whiting         Zach Cram
500 free       Cooper Ackerly          Chris DallaValle
1000 free     Maddie Wallin            Chris DallaValle
1650 free     Lizzie Danforth          Danny Chance
100 breast   Sarah Bender      
200 breast   Annabelle Young        Aidan Duffy
100 back     Zoe Dixon
200 back     Grace Sheble
100 fly        Zoe Dixon                 Nicholas Viers
200 fly        Caroline Sheble        
200 IM        Zoe Dixon                 Zach Cram
400 IM        Zoe Dixon                 Hunter Locher

  Congratulations to all !! 


SWIM-A-THON IS LESS THAN TWO WEEKS AWAY . . . and S-A-T envelopes have been distributed. Any not picked up have been put in the family files in the lobby. S-A-T is more than a fund-raiser - it is a vehicle to teach NOVA swimmers that they can be part of the process that allows NOVA to function. Last year, I saw some superb letters created by NOVA swimmers to send out via e-mail. These letters explained what NOVA is, detailed each particular swimmer’s view of what NOVA meant to them and to the community and concluded with a request for S-A-T support. Some included pictures. We do have a certain pride in this yearly exercise. We have been #1 in the country and we are always finishing in the top echelon. Winning the #1 spot means that the club wins the right to spin a wheel to win a visit from an Olympian later in the year. But S-A-T cannot succeed without parents support: proof-reading that request letter, providing a list of e-mail addresses and being there to support the actual S-A-T day. S-A-T’s theme this year is NOVA-CADE and the pool has been decorated with many varieties of gaming icons so let the excitement build!!!


A NOVA FIRST !!! IN MIAMI !! Gee, that should attract a little curiosity. Coach Megan will lead a group of seven swimmers to NOVA’s first ever participation in an Open Water Nationals. Three young ladies- Cooper Ackerly, Sanna Peterson and Maddie Wallin - and four young men - Danny Chance, DC Hellams, Nikolas Lee-Bishop and Garrett McGovern - will collectively dip NOVA’s toes in new waters and inaugurate an exciting new chapter in our team’s history. And yes, for those of you wondering, we think we have sufficient safeguards in place that will keep Danny Chance from breaking away and swimming to any off-shore islands.


NOVA HAD NO EXCITEMENT THAT MATCHED LAST WEEK . . . unless you count the Senior Class’s College Dinner night help Sunday at the Westwood Club. This dinner plus the various proms prove that our always well scrubbed swimmers dress up well. This is Executive Director Ann McGee’s baby and it continues to grow and improve. Board President Adam Russell saluted swimmers, parents and coaches then Coach Mark lent his dulcet baritone to the festivities, reading a small assortment of accomplishments and memories from each graduating swimmer. Pictures abound so check out the various social media platforms on our website for a better sense of this evening. A common theme graced many of the memories: what good friends they had made during their years at NOVA.


WE GET BACK TO THE MEET GRIND THIS WEEKEND . . . with meets in Lynchburg and here in Richmond. The Lynchburg meet begins Friday and the BASS meet here in Richmond begins on Saturday so expect some practice changes. AS always, please consult the website for details.

WARM WEATHER WARNINGS FOR THE WISE . . . . We all love the onset of spring. Blossoms, warmer weather, that yellow dust - OK - mixed blessings. Here are some heads-ups from the coaching staff that might make your spring/summer swimming experience more pleasant and more effective:   

         Swimmer’s ear prevention: A 50/50 mix of isopropyl alcohol and white vinegar will do the trick. All a couple of drops to each ear during the more humid spring and summer months and that bit of unpleasantness and expense will be avoided.

         Use sunscreen - weekends and gym classes can bring unnecessary ouch to a practice.

         Wear sandals or shoes. A cut toe, a skin flap, a significant slice can be highly annoying when exposed to the movements and length of a practice

         Hydration. Thirst is a sign of dehydration. The practice performance of dehydrated swimmers will suffer. Drink 8-12 ounces before going to bed to battle any creeping dehydration. Bring a large water bottle to practice!!


SOME OF OUR COLLEGE-BOUND SENIORS HAVE MADE DECISIONS . . . and we are delighted to announce the following future destinations. Our rule here is simple: gotta know before a name is added to this list. So here’s what we currently know. If you know and we don’t, stay calm and drop me a line. Our latest addition is Alexa Owen, enrolling  at the University of Virginia. NN listed Alexa last week but this is her shout out! Maybe that basketball championship caused NN to blink more than once. A few more remain: NN will let you know as soon as it knows!!

  Maggie Baham      Allegheny College
Colin Clements    William & Mary
Mary Cornett      Penn State
Zack Cram         North Carolina State
Chris Dalla Valle  Duke
Sally Ennis       Washington & Lee
Claire Evko       University of Lynchburg
Mark Graff        Vanderbilt
Maura Graff       William and Mary
Reid Hutcherson   Villanova
Conner Jorgensen  Virginia Military Institute
Quinn Keatley     Roanoke College
Tillie Lewis      NYU
Alli Lovell       University of the Cumberlands
Patrick Madden    Denison
Iain Moore        Franklin & Marshall
Alexa Owen        University of Virginia
Peyton Proffitt   William and Mary
Clara Rodriguez   University of Virginia
Michael Senter    Randolph-Macon College
Ethan Spencer     DePauw University
Laney Van Lenten  Washington & Lee
Nicholas Viers    Duke

SPRING AND THEN SUMMER CAN BRING UNSETTLED WEATHER . . . in the form of thunderstorms. We have a grounded pool and practices will proceed without being interrupted by the sound of distant thunder. We do evacuate the pool when a storm is right on top of us as an extra precautionary measure. As soon as the storm has passed, we will get back in. We have no mandatory 30 minute policy as many summer pools do.


THE COACHING STAFF IS ALWAYS LOOKING TO IMPROVE THE MEET ENTRY PROCESS . . . both for parents and for our meet management folks. Each meet entry is posted and coaches strongly request that parents either accept or decline a meet entry. We do aim to accommodate late entries whenever possible but that means extra work for our meet entry team. So please let us know your intentions for meets listed for your swimmer’s training group.  Just log in, find the appropriate meet and let us know your intentions. The coaching staff will also often send reminder e-mails as meet deadlines approach.


DAYLIGHT SAVINGS/SPRING TIME MEANS THAT NOVA SWIMMERS EMERGE INTO DAYLIGHT . . . and that some will be playing outside as they await pick-up. Drivers beware; parents beware. Please advise your children to stay on the NOVA grounds in front of the building where more traffic exists.


PARENTS BE ADVISED THAT CHILDREN PLAYING OUTSIDE THE BUILDING ARE NOT UNDER THE SUPERVISION . . . of any NOVA staff member.  If your child plays outside and that is OK with you, please remind them that ours is a “trafficked” parking lot and that swiftly darting young children should be wary of the driving lanes.  On the other hand, we are asking that all parents be especially vigilant when you enter our parking lot.  On a slightly related note, please respect the handicapped parking places.  I know folks like to use these spaces for picking up swimmers but they are there to provide easy access for handicapped or special needs swimmers and visitors.  We appreciate your support !


OUR LOST BUT NOT FOUND . . . is one unmanned store with some customer friendly store hours, generally 4:45 AM to 8:30 PM M-F with generous weekend hours available as well. Its business cycle is unusual. Inventory grows and grows until the invisible hand of the marketplace sweeps all away to the waiting hands of Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Towels, suits and water bottles are inventory staples but jackets, boots and umbrellas are not unknown! Feel free to stop and shop and claim what is yours. Look for all that inventory currently hanging on the bleachers in the competition pool to be finding a new home by the end of the week.


A TIMELY REMINDER:   As parents, we all hope our children do well in school and that means a steady diet of “A’s” and correct answers. Success is what we want them to embrace. While we want them to do the same in athletics, it is worth noting that the path to success in sports is littered with failure. LeBron fouls, Bryce Harper strikes out, Messi misses. Failure and/or mistakes are constants in all sports. It is part of the passage to success. Some failures are absolutely the key to great future success. So stay patient during the process: it’s sports, not school. NOVA’s coaches understand that DQ’s, missed turns and their kith and kin are learning moments!


DO YOU HAVE ADDITIONAL FAMILY MEMBERS WHO HAVE EXPRESSED INTEREST IN NOVA? FRIENDS WHO SEEM INTERESTED?  We stand ready to evaluate any and all who have summer swim team level abilities.  Evaluations are quick, easy and free. Interested? E-mail Drew or Geoff. We can take care of most swimming levels somewhere in our program.  From lessons to Masters, NOVA is a full service swimming organization, the best in Richmond and in Virginia.  Modesty forbids us to say more so we’ll stop with that minor bragging.


BEFORE DONATING ELSEWHERE . . . check with the staff to see if NOVA has a need. For example, re-doing your kitchen? Have a decent refrigerator? Consider taking the tax write-off and helping NOVA. We have three such refrigerators here at NOVA but we are always looking to update.



WE HAVE THE NOVA FLAT HAT BULLETIN BOARD . . . that traces, through pictures, the travels of NOVA families and their NOVA caps. I thought it would be fun to see NOVA’s international bloodlines. Here is the rule: only parents and children count. So parents or children have to be first generation here in the United States.  Here’s what we have gathered - I suspect we have more. That proved to be true once again after a long calm!! We now have 39 countries and counting! Exchange student Varin Schefte breaks our South American streak by hailing from the land of the Midnight Sun, Norway. Don’t hold out on us regarding your point of origin if you’re not on this list! 

Czech Republic


Seychelles Bosnia & Herzegovina
South Africa
Sri Lanka
The Philippines

E-mail Coach Geoff with any additions. I suspect we will have an amazing NOVA tapestry when we are done - if we ever get done!!!