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  • Hilary Irons

Mid Week Dolphin Update: June 24, 2022

This is a mid week update to cover items from our first swim meet, for our coming 2nd (final home) swim meet, and also setting the stage for what’s to come this season (and in the future). So please set aside some time to read through this update.

FIRST MEET Reflections:

Great job! The first meet is always a little slow going as new swimmers learn the ropes, veteran swimmers recall how it works, and administrators focus on remembering all the little details. We are off to a solid start, with only one more home meet to go!

Home meets are much more labor intensive than away meets where we just show up at another pool. I love our home meets (because it means we can celebrate and enjoy the club together afterward) but the season’s work will be much lighter once home meets are complete!

NEXT MEET: Tuesday June 29.

Neither Lena (VSL president/Clerk of Course) or I (Team director/Meet Director) will be present for our second (and final home) meet this season. So I have lined up specific people to be in charge of the collection of things that I normally do so that all goes swimmingly (see what I did there?)! ;-)

Pool Setup: Parker Lenz and the lifeguard staff

Computer + Ribbons: Amy Lenz. Starter: Gannon Irons

Meet Director: Coach Alexis Minnick Clerk of Course: Sarah Sawyer

Stroke & Turn/Relay Take Off: Mike Hendricksen Timers: Patrice Ludwig

Hospitality: Keri Davis

WHAT’S COMING (next month, next year)?:

Some background information: our swim team runs under the umbrella of the Valley Swim League (VSL). Our team is required to provide a representative, and we meet monthly all year long.

The VSL works on a 6 year leadership cycle. This is my 7th year running the team (6th year serving VSL which was inactive in 2020). The rotation is as follows:

Year 1: VSL Past President (2016). We had just been the host planning team for VSL Champs, so we essentially get one summer off.

Year 2: VSL Secretary (2017). Small job of hospitality at champs.

Year 3: Vice-Treasurer (2018). An observatory role to prepare the team to take over treasurer in the following year. Small job of champs clean up.

Year 4: Treasurer. (2019) Medium size champs job of managing t-shirt sales.


Year 5: Vice President (2021). Large task of creating VSL Heat Sheets & Ads.

Year 6: VSL President (2022). Completely in charge of running all monthly meetings and executing champs.

While I have also served as the VSL rep for our team (a choice I made intentionally to gain understanding about my position as Team Director), in year 4 Rebecca Brannon graciously stepped up to serve as treasurer; and this year, Lena has taken on the role of VSL President. Our team has our work cut out for us as host of champs (at Westover Pool on Saturday July 30, 2022). Unfortunately, our heavy VSL year is coincidentally our smallest team in over a decade. Which leads me to address the following…

There have been some questions coming up such as, “Why isn’t the snack bar open?” “Why don’t we have enough volunteers?” “Where did the swimmers go?” Here is my take: our team size is reflective of the impact of covid on club membership overall. And, given our back to back home meet schedule, team size, my own conflicts as team director, I have been making decisions that prioritize efficiency and simplicity.

The good news as I see it is: this too shall pass. I attended a new member event at the club just last night (on behalf of the pool and swim team) and I was excited by the number of people joining the club. We also have two new policies that I believe will grow our swim team: non-member swim team access; summer only new member pool memberships. I believe that are planting seeds this year and will see another harvest down the line.

One other question: “who is going to take over the team next year?” I want to be clear that this is not the verbiage I would choose, nor am I leaving the team. I am however drawing boundaries for the sake of the team itself and saying, “I can no longer bear the weight of the team without more help.” Organizationally, the past 7 years have looked like this:

For the benefit of the team, I believe it should look like this:

These 3 circles encompass the roles, jobs and tasks needed to execute summer swim. I have lots of ideas on who could serve where, and how to expand each of these; but more on these circles later. For now, please consider your own gifts. Where do your talents fit within this new diagram?

Also, if you see a need, just jump in and ask to help. Chasing people down only adds more work to an already encompassing role. All are welcome to help (find a buddy if you feel hesitant), and all ideas are welcome provided they are shared to the leadership team. More on ways to help at another update…

Lastly, thank you for reading this all the way through! Thank you to everyone who has already jumped up to fill a role. I love this team; I love summer swimming; and I am grateful to be “in it” with each of you. I am sad to miss this next home meet, but I look forward to being at the pool with you again later in July!

Hilary :-)

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