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January 1999
Head Coach Message

I hope you enjoyed your holidays. I know that what I like best about them is the rejuvenation of my spirit and sense of gratitude. Beginning with Thanks-giving and continuing through New Year's, and spreading throughout the year. I am reminded of all that I have. A large portion of what I have, and what I am about, centers around this team and the people who make it such an enjoyable organization. I am grateful to have VJO as part of my daily routine. Thank you.

Also I must thank the many swimmers and parents who continue to make attending practice a part of their weekly schedule. Three times in December we had more than 70 swimmers in the water between 4:30 and 7:00 P.M. Already in January more than 30 swim-mers in my group came to a Tuesday evening practice. With busy holiday schedules and the cold weathe~ I'd say that our participation has been tremendous! Thank you!!

One other thing I wanted to address is about concentration and focus. I'm not referring to making sure that you compete against your teammates, or even that you must swim fast all the time (which would be nice). I refer to paying attention to how you swim: are you constantly applying the technique tips that your coach gives you for each of the strokes? Harness good stroke and turn techniques and you'll be on the way to swimming more efficiently and with less effort, allowing you to use more energy swimming fast. if you lack concentration and focus (and swim lazily) during any part of a workout, you'll find that you will not have made any improvement in any aspect of your swimming during that time. So beginning with your next workout warm-up: start with the basics... am I doing this right? How can I do this better? Make a checklist of all the various parts of each stroke and see how you are doing. That's what coaches do every time we see you swim. Ask what you are doing right... as well as what you can do to improve.

One more thing. Many of you know that we have Masters swiminers. There are a few of us who will compete in Masters swim meets: February 6 at USF; February 21 at Pacifica - relay meet; March27 at Contra Costa College; April 16-18 at Pacific Masters Championships at San Jose State; and May 13-16 at USMS National Championships at Santa Clara. What I mentioned above about coming to workouts and concentration and focus during practice also applies to the adults who complete the workouts I write on the board. (It also applies to me since I hope to do well in backstroke, fly, and IM events.)

Why Do Starters Sound Monotonous?

Boring, Boring. "50 yards freestyle .... take tour mark ..." bleep .... Droning all day long.

The main reason a starter is monotonous is to prevent false starts. All spoken directions are to be given in a clear, consistent, unemotional way. Changes in inflection cause swimmers to get jumpy and false start. If movement occurs immediately prior to the horn then the false start signal is given. If there is confirmation between the starter and the head referee that a swimmer jumped the gun then a disqualification is issued. Many times there is no confirmation, so the swimmers are asked to step up again for another start. Sometimes it is the starter who causes a swimmer to jump early due to voice inflection. If this is confirmed then no disqualification is issued.

There is skill involved in good starting. After saying "take your mark," the starter must be sure there is no movement before giving the signal.

  Why Do Starters.... (cont'd)
If swimmers take too long to find a position, the starter will ask the swimmers to stand. This is done to avoid too much delay to a start which also causes swimmers to get jumpy. A good starter who is concentrating will help swimmers to start their races successfully.

Other responsibilities of the starter include: keeping track of the timeline; teaching timers how to start; keeping track of long events; and ringing the cow bell to signal the last lap of a long race.

Training for being a starter is offered at clinics or on deck. If you are interested, just ask how you can be trained. We always need more officials. You too can do a good job being boring and ringing cow bells.

VJO Swims Well at Zone III Championships!

There were lots of improveed times and great swims at the USF Zone championships on January 9th and 10th.

Swimmers who swam in finals:
Hayden Campo (50 Fly, 100 IM, 50 Back, 100 Back, 50 Free)
Donald Mata (100 Breast, 100 IM, 50 Back, 50 Breast, 50 Free)
Brendan Kearney (200 Breast)
Andrew Allison (200 IM, 200 Back, 200 Free, 100 Back);

Meet results are now available on-line.

VJO Swim Meet February 27th and 28th at Cunningham Pool.... Please mark this on your calendars!!!

Please plan on helping out at our swim meet on February 27th and 28th. Mike Reay is the Meet Director and will be signing people up to fulfill duties. Please make things easy on Mike by volunteering before he even asks or putting your name down on sign up lists or SAYING YES WHEN ASKED TO HELP IN ANYWAY NEEDED. MANY HANDS MAKES LIGHT WORK!!! If you are new to VJO, swim meets are lots of work and fun. All parents are invited and expected to help out. Jobs include: setting up the pool, snack bar, marshalling (supervising the deck), judging the meet, hospitality clerk of the course, computer room, announcing, head timing, taking down the meet equipment, dean up, etc. Swim meets are also an impor-tant source of funds for the team. The hard work pulls us all together as a close team.

VJO General Membership Meeting, Sunday, February 7,6:00 Potluck, Meeting at 7:00

Mark your calendars! The next general membership meeting of the Vallejo Aquatics is on Sunday evening, February 7. There will be a family potluck dinner at 6:00. The meeting will be at 7:00. For new members, each month there are VJO Board meetings with elected and appointed officials. Twice a year and as needed there are general membership meetings for all parents and team members. One of the topics for this meeting will be setting up a scholarship in honor of Jeanne Favaro. The Favaros have been members and honorary members of VJO for years and years. (If your last name begins with A-G, bring a salad; G-S a hot dish; and T-Z a dessert. The team will provide paper plates andutensils.)

Questions About Swimming and VJO?

If you have questions that may be of interest to all VJO members, feel free to put them in the Communications Chair's folder at the pool. We will publish the question and our best shot at an answer in the next newsletter.

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Copyright  1999 Vallejo Aquatic Club. All Rights Reserved.