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Team Handbook

Willow Oaks Stingrays

2018 Season

Welcome swimmers and parents as the Willow Oaks Stingrays Swim Team begins another season. One of the aims of the swim team is to provide an opportunity for our young people to participate in an activity that requires self-discipline, dedication and team spirit, while at the same time having fun. THE TEAM PHILOSOPHY is to be competitive, while allowing as many swimmers to participate as possible. We have put together the following information that should be helpful.


Registration for the 2018 season can be completed on the Willow Oaks Swimtopia site (register).  There will be an In-Person registration session on May 5 from 9a-12pm at the pool. "Parent packets" will be available during dry land practice the week of May 21-25.


The purpose of practice is to build endurance, improve stroke technique, and learn competitive strategies. Dry-land practice will be May 21- May 24 at Gosnold's Hope Park in the Cedar shelter from 5:30p-6:30p. All age groups will practice together during this time frame.(Bring water and a towel for stretching on the grass.) In-pool practice will be from Tuesday May 29 to Thursday June 14 from 5:30p-6:30p. 

Morning practices will begin on Monday, June 18. Monday to Friday practices are from 8:15am-9:15am for 12 & Under and 9:30am-10:30am for 13 & Older. If you have swimmers in both categories please choose the schedule that fits best for your family and attend that practice only. To limit confusion please stick to that practice time for the whole summer as best you can.


1.For safety reasons, swimmers must be able to swim the length of the pool, in a reasonable amount of time, using a competitive stroke of choice. If swimmer is unable to do so by the Intrasquad meet, they will be asked to complete swimming lessons and meet the requirement before returning to practices and being included in swim meets.

2.Attend practices, be on time and help with set-up and/or clean-up when asked.

3.Swimmers who refuse to participate in practice must leave the pool premises, so as not to disrupt practice (See Code of Conduct).

4.Exhibit good behavior and cooperation at practices so as to gain maximum benefit of available time.

5.Work with younger swimmers as part of the "buddy system" if asked to do so.

6.Seek additional help with stroke and competitive techniques when necessary.

7.Attend swim practice the day of a meet in order to be eligible to swim in that meet, unless otherwise excused. (Please note that other sport practices do not count.)

8.USA or other club swimmers should attend as many WOST practices as possible to aid in team unity. The expectation will be at least once a week.

9.If a swimmer is assigned to swim in a meet and he/she does not show up, he/she may not be allowed to swim in the next meet (at the coach’s discretion).

10.Abide by GPSA code of conduct, show team spirit, and good sportsmanship at all meets.


1.Fill out and sign the registration/medical/Code of Conduct forms.

2.Notify coaches of any medical conditions.

3.Have swimmer arrive at practices and meets on time.

4. Inform the Head and Assistant, in writing, as far in advance as possible, of any practices and meets your swimmer will be unable to attend .

5.Do not approach coaches during practice or swim meets. Coaches need maximum interface with swimmers during these times. Any coaching concerns should be brought to the parent liaisons or GPSA Representative or Booster president.

6.Learn as much as you can about competitive swimming so you can better realize and support the coaches’ responsibilities and decisions.

7. Attend a Parent/Officials Swim Clinic. (more information on page 4)

8.Address constructive criticisms and/or concerns to the Parent Liaison or the Vice-President of the board. Please do not approach the coaching staff during practices or meets. The Parent Liaison or the Vice President is equipped to help in anything you may need addressed and will help you have any issues resolved. 

9.Each family will sign-up to volunteer for a minimum of 6 points upon registering their swimmers for the team. Please understand the commitment that is necessary to have swim meets and show up for your assigned volunteer shift. We cannot do this alone and those who do not fulfill their obligations are only hurting the swimmers. If something unexpected happens and you need to miss your assigned shift please contact the volunteer coordinator asap so arrangements can be made to fill your slot. Please note this may mean that you will swap a position with another parent volunteer. You will be notified of this change if it occurs. Point values can be seen when registering for the swim team and signing up for a shift. 

Swim Meet Officiating Positions

A summary of all the volunteer positions required to run a meet can be found here.


Our schedule typically consists of seven league meets (intrasquad and 6 competitive meets) and any additional practice meets that we can schedule. League meets are those set up by the GPSA. These meets determine our standing within the league. Practice meets are designed to provide additional experience in a competitive setting. Weekday meets are from 6-8:30 p.m., warm-ups are either from 5-5:30 p.m. if the meet is at home, or from 5:30-6 p.m. if the meet is away. Swimmers should arrive at least fifteen minutes prior to warm-ups.

Primary correspondence and notification about the meets including directions will be via e-mail. If you do not receive e-mail, please check the swim team bulletin board for information.


It is important that the coaches are notified promptly if a swimmer is unable to swim in a meet due to illness/vacation. This gives them time to make the necessary changes in the line-up.

Remember to notify the coach if you know in advance (in writing) that you will be unable to swim in a meet for any reason.


Parents are responsible to see that their swimmer(s) has transportation to and from practices and meets. (The coaches are not allowed to provide a ride to swimmers.) Parents are encouraged to stay and support the team. If parents are not on time to pick up their swimmer, coach must be notified immediately via phone call or text. Hourly coaching fees will be assessed.


On the day of the meet, please stay out of the sun as much as possible. Eat a big meal around mid-day, but stay away from sodas and candy and drink lots of water. The team often goes out to eat after meets, but this is optional.


Due to the size of our team, we are sometimes unable to swim every swimmer in every meet. The coaches consider the following when creating the line-up:

  • Who swims the stroke the fastest.
  • Who is available.
  • Participation in practice.
  • A swimmer may only compete in three individual events and one relay per meet (per GPSA rules).
  • Please remember that the coaches do their best to allow everyone a chance to swim.

Please note: If the coaches know that the meet will be close, the fastest swimmers will be placed in the meet. The coaches try to obtain the other team's times before preparing the line-up. Therefore, if a slower swimmer can be used, then he/she may be placed in the meet. Additionally, during the course of the meet, if coaches realize a safe margin of points exist, the remaining line-up may be revised to allow swimmers to participate in accordance with GPSA rules who might otherwise not have been scheduled in a specific event. The coaches always try to get exhibition lanes to ensure as many swimmers as possible the chance to compete.


These lanes are the two outside lanes in a six-lane pool, with each team using one. The coaches are free to use it at their own discretion. No points are earned toward the score, but the times are applicable to the Championship Meet. A swimmer is free to request an exhibition event. The coaches will make good use of this lane during the season. Note that all pools do not have six lanes. As a result – there will be some meets where there will be limited slots for swimmers.


This meet is held Saturday, Aug. 4, at Fort Eustis Aquatic Center. Only those swimmers who meet posted GPSA-qualified times will be eligible to participate. The coaches urge swimmers to use these as their goals.


Private swimming lessons may be arranged through the pool manager. Check pool bulletin board for details.


Three clinics have been scheduled to provide parents with basic fundamentals of competitive swimming so that they may be prepared to assist with officiating at the swim meets. In addition to the Referee and Starter, responsibilities for Timers, Lane Judges, Stroke and Turn Judges, and Scorers are discussed. At least 16 officials are needed to conduct a home meet. We encourage our parents to take part in one of the clinics as we are always in need of officials.

Please attend one of these:

  • Wednesday June 6 - Training for Officials (Stroke & Turn, Referee & Starters, Scorekeeper) @ James River Country Club - 6:30 pm.
  • Monday, June 11 - Training for Coaches & Officials (Stroke & Turn) @ Poquoson Pool - 8:30 am.

Please contact Bethany Oliver, GPSA rep at 660-8784 for more information.


Team and Individual pictures will be taken during practice on June 21. Ms. Ginny Hagin will be taking the pictures and packages will need to be paid for at the time pictures are taken. Additional information and order forms will be forwarded later in the summer.

Please wear your TEAM SUIT for the picture

Willow Oaks Stingrays Swimmers' Awards


Ribbons are awarded for each swimmer who participates in an event. Ribbon colors are as follows:

1. 1st place - Blue

2. 2nd place - Red

3. 3rd place - White

4. 4th place - Yellow

5. Participation - Rainbow - for those who swim in an exhibition lane or an exhibition heat.


Given to each swimmer who is available to participate in at least three meets during the summer . This includes any regular meets and practice meets (B Meets), but does not include the intrasquad meet, Mini meet or the GPSA Championship meet.


A special award will be given by the coaches to one boy and one girl who exemplifies the following during the season: Contribution to the team, Sportsmanship, Team spirit, Cooperation, Determination, Attendance, etc. This award will be given in addition to a participation award.

Visit for rules and GPSA league information.


More information to come on selection of team suits for the 2018 season.

If you know your child’s size and would like to order online, please visit site and they will contribute 8% or your order total back to the team as a fundraiser.

If you would like to “go local” you may visit Swim and Sport Stop to try a suit and place your order with them.

Swim and Sport Stop, 13641 B Warwick Blvd. Newport News

Phone: 874-7946 (874-SWIM) (It is best to call for the availability of the size needed)

Hours. Mon-Fri. 9:30am-6:00pm Sat. 9:30am-1:00pm


In order to keep our registration costs low – WOST asks for parent drink donations to the concession stand. Concessions are our primary source of income throughout the season and help to support our coaching staff, pool equipment, and team activities.

Last names beginning with the following letters should bring the listed drink items by June 9. Please label your donation when you drop off it at the pool .


8 pack of 20 ounce Gatorade and 12 pack of 12 ounce Pepsi/Coke


8 pack of 20 ounce Gatorade and 12 pack of 12 ounce Diet Pepsi/Diet Coke


8 pack of 20 ounce Gatorade and 12 pack of 12 ounce 7Up/Sprite


8 pack of 20 ounce Gatorade and 24 pack of 16.9 ounce bottled water


8 pack of 20 ounce Gatorade and 24 pack of 16.9 ounce bottled water

Willow Oaks Swim Team – Code of Conduct


The Willow Oaks Swim Team is a swimming program based on water safety, fun, and participation. We realize meets are competitive situation when teams are swimming against each other, BUT winning is not our primary goal. We expect coaches, spectators and team members to participate with this philosophy in mind. We have a zero tolerance policy for coach, swimmer and spectator misconduct. To develop positive sportsmanship skills and athletic ability in a positive, safe, and fun environment, swimmers, coaches, parents, spectators and staff all play an important role in meeting our mission.

All Parents, Spectators & Players are required to adhere to the following conduct:

  • Parents and spectators are expected to encourage their team and their opponents.
  • Parents, spectators and players are expected to support our league officials and understand that conducting a swim meet and officiating are not easy tasks in the course of a child-intensive event, and that timers and their clocks are subject to errors.
  • All swimmers and spectators are expected to follow the facility guidelines, and be respectful of the facility at all times.
  • Parents are expected (and required) to treat all swimmers, coaches, and officials with respect.
  • Negative comments towards swimmers, coaches, or officials will result in the parent being asked to leave the facility.
  • Disciplinary Actions:

    Verbal and physical abuse, as well as abuse of facilities will not be tolerated. Infractions may be grounds for expulsion. The zero tolerance policy applies to swimmers, coaches, and spectators.

    In order to ensure the safety of all swimmers and to allow for a fun and productive practice session and meets for all participants – the following disciplinary actions will apply:

    During a practice if the swimmer is "goofing off, not listening etc"

    First time--verbal warning

    Second time--sit out of practice for 10 minutes then be allowed to return

    Third time--parent is called to come and get child from practice that day.

    Physical Contact

    Zero Tolerance – Swimmers should not be pushing, shoving, hitting or otherwise touching another teammate. It is dangerous and can result in serious injury. It is also distracting to swimmers that come to practice to improve their techniques and swimming ability.

    Physical contact with other teammates or participants will result in an automatic suspension from the next meet. Serious infractions such as a physical fight could result in suspension from the team.

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