August 25, 2012
I look back on my quadrennial plan from the past four years and I am thrilled that we have accmpomplished many of the goals that were set in 2007. With the Olympics held as our most prestigious meet, serious clubs and might I add the most successful, begin a new four year cycle in club planning following every Olympic Games. When one realizes that out of all the swimmers training in American swimming, only 52 earn the right to represent this country and it is no wonder that it takes four years to understand the education and commitment in obtaining such a goal. With that being said, STAR Swiming had 5 swimmers qualify and compete at the 2012 Olympic Trials. One of our swimmers finished 9th overall just missing the Olympic Dream!
Our last 4 years!
Since September 2008, our program has committed itself to becoming one of the best swim teams in New York as well as the country. Our identity has been established as one of excellence. Our Red coaches work primarily with the teaching of strokes and teach drills that are consistent with getting them ready to succeed at the Blue level. Our Blue coaches have done a fine job of getting our swimmers feeling comfortable in competitive environments and our Senior Prep coaches have taught our swimmers how to compete with excitement as well as humility. At the Senior level, our swimmers compete against many of the best swimmers from around the country and do extremely well. We have brought stability and pride back to our program which has enabled us to think brighter.
We have coaches that are in place that are committed to the future of all our swimmers in and out of the water. Our coaches have taught the swimmers and parents over this time that you can be successful no matter what level you reach as long as you set goals. This has been done and done well. Personally, my goal is to develop a competitive base through which opportunity exists for EVERY swimmer to gain national exposure if he or she wants to.
Four years later, we have surpassed most of what I had originally planned and I am very grateful to all those that have helped STAR get there. Our swimmers are motivated more now then they were four years ago. We have a plan to continually increase our membership which will enable us to continue to be a strong factor in the Niagara LSC as well as the country.
We have a staff that continues to strive for excellence. We have swimmers that compete locally, regionally, and nationally. We now have had six straight years of swimmers achieving the USA National Championships (The highest level of competition in the country) and eight straight years of swimmers achieving the Junior National standard (the 2nd highest level of competition in the country). This is a strength of STAR Swimming that we are very proud of. We have placed almost every senior swimmer in a collegiate swim program and many have gone on and received scholarships. Our board of volunteers is working hard to clear the way for even a greater opportunity for STAR over the next four years and beyond.
Our mission statement: To empower swimmers to become champions, both in and out of the water--dreams, dedication and excellence throughout a lifetime.
Our Vision: We at STAR Swimming are dedicated and committed to developing successful people through competitive swimming.
To advance competitive swimming in the Buffalo community.
Recruit individuals who share in the vision.
Provide swimmers with the highest quality of coaching
Recognize each individual and value his/her role in the success of our organization
Encourage positive mental attitudes and mutual respect
To offer programs to the community, enrolling the greatest number of individuals possible while maintaining a high learning quality.
Teach and develop life skills through competitive swimming
Provide swimmers the opportunity to grow and succeed to their highest level, including the Olympic dream
To continue a strong relationship with Erie Community college
These next four years (2013-2016)
The biggest factor for me right now is evaluating current talent and potential that we have. You have to develop a long range plan and know how to bring them through it. Then you have to communicate that with the swimmers and then with their parents. Everyone needs to take ownership.
Identifying talent? What do I mean?
Certainly, performance level is a factor. Aging is also a factor as it plays into the relationship as to the quadrennial. The athlete’s age is a critical factor in realizing whether they are going to be able to reach physiological and psychological potentials. Identifying a 10-year old and saying that I think he could be ready in four years in not what I mean. Identifying a 13-14 year old female and male is. For males, it is a little more difficult because of the evolution of how they grow and how they mature. For just about every senior swimmer, I like to prepare them for college swimming and then the college coach can take them to even a higher standard.
Where do we go? The process begins with every athlete, are they willing and what chances do they have? They have to ask themselves to what level do I want to take this sport. Each year, the senior swimmers will do a seasonal plan, from those plans, I find out a lot about the individuals and their personal drive. From these meetings, I recognize who is showing signs of ownership and on what level they would like to succeed. I’ll take the opportunity and ask the hard question. From this moment, a plan in meet preparation is devised. Training and understanding time commitment is discussed and so the four years are scheduled.
He can’t mean my swimmer. Yes I do! Look, regardless on what level your swimmer decides to compete, the principles remain the same. Taking ownership of skill development, setting real goals, time commitment, and racing, and then with maturity, it is amazing what can be realized.
The cycle begins again.
Every four years it begins again. With graduations, it becomes important that the next generation turns to inherit the water and traditions of our sport. If fortunate, our club’s roster has depth so that with each year passing, we can continue the efforts necessary to promote great accomplishments.
In 2013, STAR will have at least 10 swimmers that graduate and so it is time to call on the athletes who are swimming with the senior team of all ages to step to the front of the line. Our staff will be working very hard to build the middle of our program to make it the very best it can be. Not forgetting our age group, as it is with our young swimmer that we have to find our senior swimmers of tomorrow. Remember that in our plan, the 11-12 year old in four years will be our 15-16 year old senior swimmers. We will continue to strive in our work with skill development at all ages, especially in the RED and BLUE teams. This includes technique, turns, and race strategies. So as we move from 2012 to 2013, our swimmers will once again grow stronger in all skill levels.
Structure will be on the front burner as we really will place a lot of value on the process of graduating from the RED level to the BLUE level. Every athlete will be evaluated and when a level change is offered, it will be a true signal that growth and skill knowledge is progressing appropriately. The STAR coaching staff has its eyes focused on further development of all our training levels with greater standardization of skill advancements.
In the next cycle, we will be working very hard with our age group program establishing sound guidelines in stroke mechanics. We want to afford as many age group swimmers at STAR the opportunity to compete locally, regionally, and nationally. We want to build a better program each year that offers those swimmers who have high goals the opportunity to reach their goal and yet balance our program with fun through friendships that develop.
Our direction for our senior program is to continue working in conjunction with local high schools as we seek to develop an open relationship so as to benefit both our program as well as the high school during respective seasons. We will be striving to build our talent by exposing our athletes to meets of high quality. We want our senior swimmers to have a very specific understanding of personal goals and in the next cycle, we want to have multiple swimmers continue to attending national level meets.
Our staff will be given opportunities of coaching seminars as they too grow in their knowledge of the sport.
Our athletes are encouraged to seek the highest level of competition from the Niagara LSC to regional and national levels.