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2017 Stingrays Team Handbook


Welcome to the Forest North Stingray Swim Team!!!

We are so excited to have you join us for the 2018 season!!!

Joining a swim team is the perfect way to spend your summer. Not only do you get to see your friends almost every day, but you get fantastic exercise as well as awards like ribbons, certificates, trophies, and maybe even some cool prizes! It is based on having fun but it is also a very big commitment. Swimming is different than most sports whereas more volunteers are needed to run meets – more dedication is necessary for each child to improve – and it is also more expensive to run a swim team. Therefore, in joining the Stingrays Swim Team, you are agreeing to the following:

  1. One parent/adult family member is expected to volunteer at least ½ of each meet. Sign up early so that you can get the volunteer position you prefer. Please read the Volunteer Section of this handbook for more details.
  2. Your child must attend all practices and meets that they are able. Dedication is the secret to a great team.  If your child will not be attending a meet – the coaches definitely need to be advised ASAP. This is very important. We do not want to disappoint any children by having to scratch their relay team because someone was unable to attend and did not notify the coaches in a timely manner. This information should be put in writing in the coaches folder, by the Tuesday prior to the Saturday meet, as well as verbally making sure that the coaches know that your child will not be at the meet. 
  3. Your family is encouraged to participate in the Stingrays fundraiser's. Fundraising is necessary for our Swim Team, as well as most other non-profit organizations, so that our registration costs can be kept reasonable. Typically there are two fundraisers, the Swim-A-Poolooza and the Silent Auction. The money raised with the Silent Auction will help cover some of the fees associated with our Swim Team Banquet at the end of the season, and help to purchase equipment that may be needed. The Swim-A-Poolooza proceeds fund two scholarships for our aging out swimmers.  Please read the Fundraising Section of this handbook for more details.
  4. Have Fun!! In addition to the practice sessions, pep rallies, and swim meets, the Stingrays Swim Team will offer your family several opportunities to have fun this summer. Read the newsletter each week and watch for our team activities. Possible activities might include: Movie Day, Coaches Scoop Night, skating, etc.

There is also a Banquet at the end of the season that you will not want to miss!!


Who are the Forest North Stingrays?

The Stingray Swim Team is a recreational summer non-profit organization whose goals are to:

  • Provide an enjoyable summer activity for the families in our area
  • Assist the youth in developing physical fitness, self-discipline, self confidence, good sportsmanship, and determination
  • Assist the youth in developing good swimming skills and improving technique
  • Instill self and team pride as they watch their improvements throughout the season and reach their individual goals
  • To develop a strong team environment where each and every swimmer is an essential part of the team

We have been serving our youth since 1981. Our swimmers, ages 4-17, compete with other community teams in the Northwest Swim Circuit. We have an extremely dedicated coaching staff who are focused on helping improve swimming skills, who encourage individual improvement and good sportsmanship. The Stingrays are a friendly, family-oriented team with strong traditions and dedicated parent volunteers, without whom we would be lost. The season runs from May to early July. Practices are held daily at the Creekside pool (see "About" Tab for directions to pool; see practice schedule under "Schedules" Tab). We usually have three Family Pep Rallies each season and they are held on Friday nights. Swim meets both home and away are held "bright and early" Saturday mornings.


Minimum Requirements of a Swimmer

Please understand that practice is for improving skills and training. While some skills will be taught, practice is not a group swim lesson. Upon registering for the team, a swimmer must be able to swim one length of the pool on their back and/or on their stomach. Any swimmer who is not able to meet this requirement by May 19 (Time Trials) will not be placed on the team. If your child cannot complete the requirements by Time Trials you will receive a partial refund (less a registration fee.)  Please keep in mind that it is a NWSC rule that a swimmer must compete in 2 dual meets to be eligible to compete in any post-season meets (Divisionals and Invitationals). If you are interested in purchasing private lessons, please speak to a coach for information.


Refund Policy

Refunds require Board approval, any refund granted will be less a $50 administration fee to covers costs of fees and insurance incurred by the team at the beginning of each season.  There will be no refunds granted after Time Trials.  If it is determined by a Coach that your swimmer is unable to participate on the team (see requirements above), a refund less the $50 fee will be granted.  Please note that beginning in 2017, there will be no refunds granted after the end of the first week of practice.

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Communication

Each family will have a file folder in a box at the pool. If we have information specific to your family, a note will either be emailed and/or left in your folder. All information regarding upcoming events will be sent out as a group email, posted on the team website (https://forestnorth.swimtopia.com) and placed on our Facebook Page (search: Forest North Stingrays). Please be sure to visit the website, Facebook Page or follow us on Twitter to get the latest Stingrays news - hot off the press!! Newsletters are published each week and sent out as an email on Thursdays or Fridays and can be found on the Stingrays website (https://forestnorth.swimtopia.com). It is the swimmer’s responsibility to check the web site and their folder each week in order to stay informed about upcoming events. After meets, ribbons will also be placed in each family’s folder. There is also a coaches’ folder in the back of the box. If you have a comment or concern, please write a note on one of the designated forms in the box and place it in their folder and they will address it as soon as possible. If you want a personal reply, please leave your name and phone number or email address. Any information regarding missing practices and or meets can be placed in the coaches’ folder.


Practice

Practice is the most important thing swimmers can do to improve their times and technique. Swimmers are encouraged to attend all practices. Please be consistent in your attendance, and let the appropriate age group coach know if you will be missing practice for an extended period of time by putting a note in the coaches’ folder and/or verbally letting them know. See the practice schedule for detailed dates and times for each age group. Parents are welcome to stay and watch their children’s swim practice, however, they are not allowed on the deck at any time during practice. It is easier for children to concentrate when they are not distracted by parents or siblings. If you need to talk to a coach, please leave a note in their folder or wait until after all practices have been completed.


Pep Rallies

Thursday night, prior to three of our swim meets, we will have a Pep Rally at a location that will be determined soon. This is a wonderful time for team bonding and building team spirit! They are a lot of fun and we encourage everyone to attend. We always have an inexpensive dinner that is put together by a different age group that brings and serves the food each week. Information regarding the Pep Rally, the menu, and the theme for the week will be in the newsletter and on the website. The coaches will announce the Swimmer of the Week for each age group for boys and girls and time improvement ribbons are passed out at the Pep Rallies! Please try to come to as many as possible!!


Meets

Swimmers are allowed to compete in a maximum of 3 individual events and 2 relays (1 relay for 6 and Under) at each swim meet. The coaches will determine which events your children will swim - with the swimmer’s and team’s best interest in mind. The coaches will also determine all relays positions. Meet information will be in the newsletter each week as well as on the website. It is very important that your swimmer(s) arrive at the meet on time so that they may check in and be ready to swim before warm-up begins. If your swimmer is late to the meet, they may be scratched from relays and possibly individual events. Your teammates may also lose the opportunity to swim if you are late, so please plan on arriving no less than 15 minutes prior to warm-up.


Annual Swim-A-Poolooza Fundraiser and Silent Auction

Fundraising is a very important aspect in the development of the Stingrays - as with all non-profit organizations. We cannot rely on sponsorship's and membership fees alone to cover the costs of our wonderful coaching staff, sound system rental, printing costs, ribbon fees, medals & trophies, circuit fees, various equipment, team t-shirts & swim caps, etc. This year we will have two fundraisers, the annual Swim-A-Poolooza and the Silent Auction. We have hosted Swim-A-Pooloozas for the past 10-15 years, It’s a fun & easy way to raise money for our team. Each swimmer will be given a form to collect pledges - based on the amount of laps he/she swims. The actual Swim-a-Poolooza will be held during a regular practice day and we’ll have several parent volunteers counting laps and bringing yummy goodies for all the swimmers to enjoy after they swim. Beginning in 2014, funds raised by the Swim-A-Poolooza were allocated to a scholarship fund to award to two “aging out” swimmers at the end of each season.

In previous years we have also had a Silent Auction that has been very successful. The team accepts donations from Sponsors, Community Businesses and team members then auctions them off during one of the last few weeks of practice, the winners receiving their goods at the Saturday Meet.


Equipment

Team Swimsuits: While not required, it is recommended that each swimmer purchase a team suit to wear at swim meets. If they choose not to purchase the team suit, the girls should wear a black one-piece suit, and the boys should wear a black Speedo or jammer. If you have any questions as to what is appropriate attire for practice or meets, please ask a coach.

Team T-shirts: A Stingrays T-shirt is included in the registration fee. Please have swimmers wear them at all meets and team functions (please write your swimmer's name in Sharpie in the t-shirts in case they get lost). It is an important aspect in the development of team spirit. You can purchase extra t-shirts at registration or at the swim shop during home meets while supplies last.

Swim Caps: A Stingrays swim cap is also included in your registration fee. These caps must be worn at meets by all swimmers. All swimmers whose hair is longer than the top of their ears must wear a cap at practice. Proper technique cannot be achieved when hair is in the way. Extra swim caps will be available at the swim shop during home meets while available.

Goggles: Although not required, goggles are strongly recommended. They improve the swimmer’s vision in the water, as well as eliminate irritation caused by pool chemicals. Check the fit of the goggles before you purchase them. Goggles that don’t fit properly leak, and leaky goggles are worse than no goggles because they distract the swimmers. Goggles will be available at the swim shop during home meets.

Ear Drops: When water is left in a swimmer’s ear for an extended period of time, it causes an ear infection called Swimmer’s ear. This is very painful, but easily avoidable, simply by placing 2-3 drops in each ear after every practice. Swimmer’s Ear drops are available at most drug stores and some grocery stores.


2018 Meet Schedule

May 19 - Time Trials at Creekside Pool

May 26 - Stingrays vs. Anderson Mill Barracudas (Away)

June 2 - Stingrays vs. Round Rock Dolphins (Home)

June 9 - BYE Week

June 16 - Stingrays vs. Balcones Country Club Sharks (Home)

June 23 - Stingrays vs Steiner Ranch Red vs Pflugerville Piranhas (Home Tri-Meet)

June 30 - Stingrays vs Wells Branch Armada vs Blockhouse Creek Tidal Waves (Away Tri-Meet)

July 7- Divisionals (hosted by Stingrays at Anderson Mill Pool)

July 14 - Invitationals @ Texas A & M University time TBD (for qualifying swimmers)

Meet Information

Please notify the coaches in writing (in their folder) and in person if you will be unable to attend any meets. Please make sure they have this information no later than Tuesday on the week of that meet. If a last minute emergency should arise, please call one of your tent parents or a coach. The first thing each swimmer needs to do when they arrive at a swim meet is check in with their age group/pit parent. Even if they are late, have them check in with their pit parent before they join the team in warm-up so that they are not scratched from relays and/or individual events.

Once your swimmer has checked in, please check yourself in at the Volunteer Table to confirm your volunteer position, whether you are working the 1st or 2nd shift. This way we can be sure that you are there & and that all of our shift positions are covered for the meet.

All swimmers should stay in their pit with their age group parent during meets. This ensures that they will get to the ready bench on time to swim their events. It is NOT the pit parent’s responsibility to search for each swimmer for each event. It is the swimmer’s re-sponsibility to stay with their age group and notify their pit parent if they are leaving to go to the concession stand, bathroom, etc. The pit parents would also appreciate it if you would check in with them on occasion to see if there are any issues that you may help in resolving.

The only swimmers that may leave prior to the end of the meet are those in the 6 & under age group (their last event is 47)or any swimmer that is not swimming in the relays at the end of the meet. Please be sure your child has advised his/herpit-parent when they are leaving. There is usually a break during all meets. Generally the break takes place after event 45.

Be prepared to do your best at a meet by bringing all of the following: team suit, team cap, towels, team shirt, goggles, books, games, a blanket or tarp to sit on, and sun block. Label all of your items with your name and team name!


Schedule of Events for Dual Meets (subject to change):

Event #
(Girl-Boy)
Age
Group
Event Event #
(Girl-Boy)
Age
Group
Event
1-Mixed 6 & U 100 Free Relay 46-47 6 & U 25 Breaststroke
2-3
7-8 100 Medley Relay 48-49 7-8 25 Breaststroke
4-5 9-10 100 Medley Relay 50-51 9-10 25 Breaststroke
6-7 11-12 100 Medley Relay 52-53 11-12 25 Breaststroke
8-9 13-14 100 Medley Relay 54-55 13-14 50 Breaststroke
10-11 15-17 100 Medley Relay 56-57 15-17 50 Breaststroke
12-13 6 & U 25 Freestyle 58-59 7-8 50 Freestyle
14-15 7-8 25 Freestyle 60-61 9-10 50 Freestyle
16-17 9-10 25 Freestyle 62-63 11-12 50 Freestyle
18-19 11-12 25 Freestyle 64-65 13-14 100 Freestyle
20-21 13-14 50 Freestyle 66-67 15-17 100 Freestyle
22-23 15-17 50 Freestyle 68-69 7-8 25 Butterfly
24-25 9-10 100 IM 70-71 9-10 25 Butterfly
26-27 11-12 100 IM 72-73 11-12 25 Butterfly
28-29 13-14 100 IM 74-75 13-14 50 Butterfly
30-31 15-17 100 IM 76-77 15-17 50 Butterfly
32-33 6 & U 25 Backstroke 78-79 7-8 100 Free Relay
34-35 7-8 25 Backstroke 80-81 9-10 100 Free Relay
36-37 9-10 25 Backstroke 82-83 11-12 100 Free Relay
38-39 11-12 25 Backstroke 84-85 13-14 200 Free Relay
40-41 13-14 50 Backstroke
86-87 15-17 200 Free Relay
42-43 15-17 50 Backstroke

44-45

6 & U 25 Butterfly

Volunteers

The Stingray Swim Team is known for its focus on personal best and team commitment. Swimming is different than most sports whereas more volunteers are needed to run meets. The Northwest Swim Circuit and the Forest North Stingrays are both parent run organizations. It would not be possible to run a meet without our wonderful volunteers. We count on the parents of our swimmers to help out at each meet (seven shifts per season). Volunteering is not only necessary, but also a fun way to get to meet new folks and pass the time away doing something productive. Home swim meets require about 100 volunteers, not counting the 32 Team Parent positions. Away meets require about 90 volunteers, not counting Team Parents.

We NEED everyone’s help and support! Therefore, in joining the Forest North Stingrays, you are agreeing that one parent/adult family member will volunteer at least 1/2 of each meet—which will be a total of 7 shifts for the 2014 season. We have tried to make volunteering as painless as possible. Every volunteer opportunity is listed online through our links on our website (under ―”Volunteering”). As mentioned above, each family is responsible for seven (7) shifts throughout this season (1 shift = half a meet). Working a whole meet counts as 2 shifts. Please review the following descriptions to see what may interest you and please feel free to try different positions throughout the season. They are all FUN!!


Swim Team Volunteer Positions

  • The Starter starts each event with the announcement of the age and stroke and the words 'Swimmers take your marks', then pauses to make sure that all swimmers are motionless, and then gives an electronic sound or a blast of a whistle. He/she shall be the sole judge of false starts and all false starts shall be restarted.
  • The Announcer is responsible for calling the event number, age group, sex, and event name so that the swimmers will know when to report to the ready bench.
  • The Lane Timers keep an accurate time (using a stopwatch) of the swimmer in the lane to which they are assigned and record all three times on the event card at the end of the event.
  • The Stroke Judges observe strokes, turns, and finishes to see that swimmers comply with requirements for that stroke.
  • The False Start Judge drops the false-start rope into the water only when the starter signals a false start and will also be responsible for flipping the event board.
  • The Exchange Judges are responsible for observing exchanges in all relay events.
  • Ready Bench workers organize the swimmers into pre-determined heats before the start of each event.
  • Runners are responsible for delivering the completed event cards and DQ forms for each race from the timers and judges to the scoring table.
  • Scoring/Ribbon Officials identify the official time for each swimmer in an event and determine the official order of finish, according to the recorded times. They keep an accurate count of the team points as the meet progresses, post official results, and prepare ribbons.
  • Team Parents check in the swimmers in their age group upon their arrival at the meet. During the meet, they are responsible for distributing event cards for relays and seeing that the swimmers make it to the ready bench, in order, for their events.
  • The Set-Up/Clean-Up Crews set up covers, ropes, tables and chairs in preparation for the meet, and take down and store these items at the end of the meet.
  • The Concessions Group sets up and operates the concession stand throughout the meet. This includes purchasing items and transporting them to and from the meet, taking inventory of items and organizing baked goods donations. At the conclusion of the meet, they take down the stand and store it for use at the next meet.

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