September 15, 2016
As I reflect back through the last four years, I have noticed that we have accomplished a great deal! Many of our goals have been accomplished since 2012. We just saw an Olympic games that had tremendous performances as well as great story lines. As you might have also heard through those exciting nights, the average swimmer on that team was in their early 20’s. This echoes our STAR Swimming belief that we must always look out for the swimmer’s best interest when we set up seasonal and quadrennial plans. With the Olympics held as our most prestigious meet, the most successful clubs 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, 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 Swimming had 2 swimmers qualify and compete at the 2016 Olympic Trials. That gives us 7 swimmers in the last two Olympic Trials. When you consider that only .02% of all competitive swimmers will actually qualify for the meet, STAR has over achieved in this area and it is all because of the environment these swimmers have come up through the years of being on STAR Swimming.
Our last 4 years!
Since September 2012, our program has continued to commit itself to being 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 great 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 very well. We bring stability and pride to our program which enables 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 reach their fullest potential 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 than they were four years ago. We have an aggressive 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, nationally and internationally. We have had so many of our swimmers continually qualify for higher levels of competition. 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 in Buffalo
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 (2017-2020)
The biggest factor for me right now is to continue to evaluate 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 is 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.
He can’t mean my swimmer. Yes I do! Look, regardless of 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.
STAR Swimming has a higher level of retention than the average swim club in USA Swimming. This is such a great honor as coaches as we know that our swimmers really enjoy being a part of our program.
We 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 2016 to 2017, our swimmers will once again grow stronger in all skill levels.
Structure is always 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 is 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 this next quad, 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.
At STAR, we continually here how much our swimmers love being at practice and how much fun they are having. This is the feedback a swim team loves to hear!
Our coaches are always given opportunities to attend coaching clinics 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.
These next four years are going to be fun and exciting. There is no better time to be a STAR member than right now!