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2016 Coach's Corner

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Week 7

We only have 3 practices (no practice Friday) and CHAMPS meet left! I am beyond excited with all the improvement made by the Seals at this past meet!

This week is FUN – FAST – FINALE week! The Seals have put in lots of hard work in the last seven weeks, now it’s time to do some fine-tuning and sharpening of our skills for Champs.

We are traveling to a collegiate indoor pool on Saturday. It is beautiful but it can also be intimidating to some swimmers. Even though it will seem larger to some, the pool is the same size as ours and same distance across, the water is wet just like ours and they will have just as much fun hanging in between events with their friends. Please encourage all your swimmers to remember this is a fun last meet just like every other meet!

Please note the procedure to get the swimmers up to the start. I will talk to each group about this every day this week.

1. Blow the whistle multiple quick times to get swimmers ready (this is done as the last swimmer comes under backstroke flags so as to prep the next heat, especially on 25's)

2. Announce the event/heat or just heat

3. Longer whistle burst to get the swimmers up on the blocks or in position

4. Starter command: "swimmers take your mark."

5. Beep

I am already getting sad thinking that this is our last week together until next summer. Let’s go out with some fast swimming!


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Week 6

The Seals raced tough this past Saturday against SAAB and got another WIN! The walls, depth of pool and flags caused some problems during races. It is important that swimmers can be flexible and adapt to different pools, not all pools are as fabulous as ours! I will encourage Seals to really think about what they are doing prior to diving in for a race. There were many swimmers that started swimming the wrong stroke or forgot the proper technique (even when I know they know how to do it).

The Texas heat has arrived! We were fortunate that May and the beginning of June were not too hot. I want to encourage lots of sunscreen and staying hydrated for our swimmers and coaches the next two weeks.

This week is COACHES APPRECIATION week! We have the BEST assistant coaches and volunteer coaches in all of Austin. They care so much about the Seals swimmers and go the extra distance to make sure they learn proper technique, feel special and learn to love to swim. Please take a few minutes to do something special for them whether it is a card, drawing, hug or a Gatorade from the snack bar to let them know they are awesome!

We will continue to work on diving off the blocks during the next two weeks. The Champs meet will have blocks and it is totally optional to use them or not. I encourage anyone who feels comfortable to try them for Champs as it is faster then diving off the side. Remember to tighten your goggles for meets so they do not fall off! Our last home meet is Saturday against Shady Hollow Stingrays and Hays Tidal Wave.

Please note that we will not have practice the day before Champs, on Friday June 24th. I know many families and coaches will be driving up to College Station Friday afternoon. So that means Thursday June 23rd will be our last practice for the season.

That means we only have 7 PRACTICES LEFT (2 will have fun activities) so make sure you get to practice! It has flown by!

Congrats to Kate Livingston for setting a NEW Seals Top Time in the 13-14yrold 50 backstroke – 31.25. The old record was hers from our May 28 meet (31.32).


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Week 5

It was another great week of working hard and another WIN for the Seals at our meet! We are seeing some really fast swimming with three meets left to go! In fact, we already have some NEW TOP TIMES for the Seals record books! Way to go!

Auggie Sefcik – 25 free – 15.00 (old record was from 2012)

Addison Todd – 50 back – 31.57 (old record was from 2011)

Maya Cottman – 50 breast – 34.88 (old record was hers from 2015)

Kate Livingston – 50 free – 26.85 (old record was Leah Elena’s from 2011)

Kate Livingston – 50 back – 31.32 (old record was from 2012)

Last week I asked each Seal to set a goal for the month of June related to their swimming. I encourage all the parents to follow-up and ask about their swimmer’s goal. We will continue to work hard in practice and race fast in meets to help our Seals achieve their goal!

This week we will work on our SPEED! Speed on the first stroke, speed into and out of turns, and speed into the wall for finishes (no more getting out touched)! We will also continue to help our 7-8 and 9-10 year olds swim legal butterfly and breaststroke at meets.

It’s PARENT APPRECIATION week! Swim team practices and meets could not happen without all of the amazing parents on the team! Our Seals parents are the lifeline of the team! Being a Seals parent prior to taking over as head coach helps me appreciate the time and effort it takes to have a child in summer league. Between the driving, suit sizing, sunscreen applying, volunteering at meets (often very early), prepping meals for hungry swimmers, getting hugs after a great race or wiping away tears after a bad race… Swim parents are some of the best around! This week I want our swimmers to give their parents extra long hugs and lots of thank yous for everything they do for them!

Remember we now have practice Tuesday-Friday. So excited to watch more fast races at our Saturday meet against SAAB (South Austin Area Barracudas)!


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Week 4

We are HALFWAY through the season! I can’t believe it – time flies when you are having FUN! I thought all the Seals showed great sportsmanship last week at practice and at the meet! The Travis Country coach told me that they now are asking their swimmers to stay in the water until all swimmers are done. He said he has watched our team do it for years and saw the importance of it and is now following the Seals lead! What an amazing compliment to the WHOLE team!

During meets the coaches and I take notice of things we want to work on the following week. I am happy to say the list is getting shorter and it is very specific, detailed items – that means everyone is improving!

This week is GOAL SETTING week. We will talk to the kids about two types of goals: short-term and long-term. I want each Seal to set a short-term goal for the month of June related to their swimming. Whether it is to get legal in all four strokes, master their dive or flip turn, or a specific time they want to achieve. We then will talk about what it will take to achieve their short-term goal.

I posted this on Facebook about relays but wanted to reiterate it here:

Relays are a chance to race together and have fun, and we want everyone to have a chance to be on a relay during the season. The A relays will be generated by the computer based on the swimmer's fastest times. The B and sometimes C relays will be a combination of faster times and those that have not yet had a relay opportunity. There will also be cases where a swimmer will "swim up" an age group to complete a relay. This means we may move an 11-12 year old to be in a 13-14 year old relay that needs another swimmer. If this is the case, I will email you to give you and your swimmer a heads up to look for their name in the heat sheet. Our goal is to HAVE FUN AND SWIM FAST and relays can give our Seals a chance to do both.

Remember we only have three practices this week and next week we will begin our Tuesday-Friday practice schedule. Let’s get ready to set some goals this week and work hard to achieve them at the next several meets.

See you Tuesday! GO SEALS!

Week 3

Congratulations to all of our swimmers and coaches on their first official WIN of the season! This meet we saw lots of improvements in times since the timing meet, better turns by our older groups and HUGE team spirit.

Thank you again to all the coaches, volunteers, head parents, parents and swimmers that made our first meet a success!

You may have noticed that the 6 and under tents were moved this season close to our older kids. This was not an accident! The older ones have lots of kindness and fun to offer the “littles”. I heard there were even a few games and dance parties led by the older girls! Way to step up!

The ribbon box will now be out on the picnic tables over by the coaches after meets. I really want to emphasize the importance of the ORANGE ribbon! This means a swimmer received a personal best time. As coaches, we want all the Seals to strive for personal bests! We have talked about this prior to getting in for practice throughout the first few weeks. Swim in your own lane, race the clock. So many of our Seals are at different levels in their learning and racing. It is important to not focus on 1st all the time. Time improvements are a huge success!!! 

This week is SPORTSMANSHIP week. We will continue to talk about the importance of a respecting our competitors, including staying in the water until all swimmers finish and giving out high five congratulations. I will emphasize this also applies to your own teammates including during relays!

Please note that there is NO practice on Memorial Day, May 30th. That week we will only have 3 practices so plan accordingly. The week after that we begin our practice pattern of Tuesday-Friday. Our first Tuesday-Friday week will start on June 7th and will continue throughout June.

We have a lot to work on so get ready for a fun, fast and fabulous week 4! See you Monday!



Wow,Wow,Wow is all I can say about our timing meet! It was quite cold and everyone really stepped up! A HUGE shout out to our Seals that were swimming in their first meet ever and those doing 50’s/flip-turns/100IM for the first time in a meet! It can be nerve wracking to do something new and all the coaches are very proud of you! For our veteran Seals it was also a new set-up and I appreciate everyone being open to change.

The timing meet ran smoothly and even finished 15 minutes early due to the hard work of our head parents and amazing volunteers! Thank you! It was also our first time to use the new timing system and it is amazing!

Based on watching the meet and the DQ’s we know what we need to work on this week. Saturday is our first official scored meet and I think we can improve our technique, turns and times by working hard this week.

For the rest of the season we will have a “Theme of the Week”. We will talk about the theme with our Seals in our daily meetings. We will focus on it through the practices and meet.

This week is SEALS SPIRIT week. We will continue to work on our cheer, talk about cheering for teammates at the meets, congratulating each other after races and showing major orange spirit at our first official home meet. Pull out your orange necklaces, orange boas, crazy orange hats, put on your Seals tattoos and get excited for Saturday!

Make sure you are signed up for Remind for last minute practice weather updates. Text @seals2016 to 81010.

Looking forward to a great 3rd week of practices!


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Week 1

Hi Seals! We had a great first week of practice! Each group got introduced to the coaches, reviewed all the rules of being safe on deck and in the water, and talked about the importance of streamline.

This week we will be getting ready for our Timing Meet this Sunday! I encourage all swimmers to make this meet. It’s good to get a feel for how a swim meet is run prior to adding in another team with 200+ other swimmers. We will continue to focus on dives, talking about what is a “DQ”, IM turns for 9+ and flip turns for 11+. For the first part of the season the youngest groups will continue to work mostly on dives, freestyle and backstroke. It is important that the youngest Seals can be efficient in these two strokes first before we introduce butterfly and breaststroke (which are more challenging).

Please do not sign up your Seals for butterfly or breaststroke at the Timing Meet if they don’t know the strokes yet. This mostly applies to all 5-6, new 7-8 year olds, new older swimmers. There is no reason to swim these strokes yet since they are not going to be legal and that would be reinforcing bad technique habits. Also there will NOT be relays this Sunday.

Don’t forget to refer to the website for Swim Meet 101.

Thank you for those who have made dinners for my family or helped out my account! It made the first week less of a whirlwind at our house.

Congrats to our new assistant coaches on their first week! I look forward to guiding and helping them find their own personal coaching styles.

On that same note I know the assistant coaches really appreciated having the ability to get a drink or snack from the snack bar from their accounts. It’s a long, hot 4 hours on their feet and it’s such a treat!

Our Volunteer Coaches all stepped up the first week! They are such a great help especially in the younger groups. They help those little Seals get across the pool safely and properly. Keep it up guys and gals!


  • Label all gear (and the new team shirts –which are awesome!)
  • Bring all your gear, EVERYDAY
  • Pick up gear after practice
  • Head to the tree for our meeting everyday – you can head over even if the coaches are still wrapping up the prior practice.
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