June 2010

Minutes from the Club’s Annual Meeting on June 2, 2010

Mary Cooperman, Jeanne Bowles, Andy McNab, Peggy Mevs, Sheila Stolarski, Chris Gannon, Lisa Krakoff, David Blansfield, Ronald Wimer, Sydney Hunter, Mary McGrade, Adrienne Williams, Martha Corneck, Kathy Santarella, John Fusco, Chuck Katter.

Annual Meeting

Board Nominations

The full slate of Board Candidates for the 2010-2011 year was unanimously approved. The newly elected members are:

  • Ronald Wimer: Co-President
  • Barbara Wiederecht: Ex-Officio
  • Suzanne Rogers: Secretary
  • Mary McGrade: 8/U Rep
  • Sydney Hunter: 8/U Rep
  • Andy McNab: AG Rep
  • Sheila Stolarski: AG Rep
  • Lisa Krakoff: Sr. Rep
  • Sandra Morrison: Sr. Rep
  • Chris Gannon: USA Swimming Manager

Treasurer’s Report for 2009-2010

Martha reported that the team is in excellent financial shape. We are fiscally sound and on or close to budget on nearly every account. We lost the LC Invitational this year and we will lose about $3800 against budget and we will not budget this meet in for next year. However, we also received more income than expected from the SC meets and from non-compliance fees. Next year we need to budget in some additional capital expenditures (a new computer, harnesses) and fees may have to rise accordingly.

President’s Report for 2009-2010

I begin my remarks by confirming that the Water Rats Parents’ Club remains a strong organization comprised of dedicated and competent volunteers. We are a non-profit organization with annual revenues and expenses in excess of $155,000. You just heard our Treasurer report that we are well managed and fiscally sound. We remain on budget for our current fiscal year, which ends in August.

We were founded to assist the Water Rat Swim Team and the strength of our organization lies in our volunteer base. Our effectiveness over the past year has resulted from the willingness of our many volunteers to pool their collective knowledge, skills and abilities, and work together to achieve our common vision which is to become a world class competitive swim team. Our future success will depend on this as well. Our team embraces a philosophy that commits it to developing the highest level of competitive excellence for every swimmer, while simultaneously encouraging spirit, honesty, team pride, personal commitment and individual growth.

Over the past several years, this board has focused on four main themes: education, communication, volunteerism and strategic initiatives. We are continually striving to improve in all of these areas, and our 2010 Annual Survey showed that we still have some work to do. (We thank all the parents who responded to our survey.)

Our single biggest initiative over the past 18 months has been the redesigned WRAT website, which was launched at this time last year. It is a state-of-the-art site; it’s very flexible and easy to use. We have since added an e-mail system called WRAT Mail, which the coaches and Parents’ Club use to communicate with all swim parents. We thank our web master Mary Cooperman for managing the new site and e-mail system.

This past year, we continued our emphasis on training and educating parents through coaches meetings and will try to expand this activity in the upcoming swim season by including more small group meetings. This past year, Adrienne Williams revised and updated the club’s Meet Manager Guide, which was originally written by Andrea Boissevain in 2006. Additionally, David Blansfield and Jacquie Tumminia have been updating and shortening the Team Handbook. The new version will be posted online in the coming weeks.

Our online volunteer system SuperMeets continues to be successful. Almost all Water Rat families have completed their volunteer requirements to date. More important, we experienced fewer problems this year in staffing our home and away meets with volunteers.

Connecticut Swimming asked the Water Rats Parents’ Club to be in charge of hospitality during this year’s Short Course Age Group Championship, which was held March 11-14 at Wesleyan University. Hospitality is a big responsibility, which required feeding 60-80 coaches and officials during all ten sessions of the championship. We were asked to take on this job because of our long-standing reputation for efficiency and hard work. We thank all the parents who helped out during this demanding work assignment.

We have continued to pursue advanced levels of achievement in the USA Swimming Club Recognition Program. This is an accreditation program that allows us to assess our team in four categories: Business and Organization Success, Parent and Volunteer Development, Coach Development and Education and Athlete Development and Performance. We have completed the requirements for Level 1 Recognition and are well on our way to Level 2 Recognition. Additionally, we were awarded a Bronze Medal in the USA Swimming National Club Excellence Program for the second year in a row. We thank the coaching staff, which made this possible. We also thank Charles Katter who helped Jacquie Tumminia prepare and file the team’s applications.

But I personally am prouder and more impressed by the Water Rats participation in Swim for Haiti, which was organized by my wife Peggy Mevs and Linda Bruce. Swim for Haiti – which included Staples High School Swimming, the Westport Swim Club and the Water Rat Swim Team – raised more than $47,000 for Save the Children’s relief work in Haiti following that country’s devastating earthquake in January.

As always, it has been an active year for our organization. We’ve continued to make progress as an active parent support group, while helping our team adapt to the challenges of a changing coaching staff and a changing Y management team. We look forward to continued success in our upcoming swim season, we encourage all parents to become involved and help us provide our kids with a superlative competitive swimming experience, and we thank all of you who have been actively engaged this year.

Ronald Wimer

Water Rat Survey

Following Ron’s President’s Report the Board reviewed the results of the Water Rat Survey. Discussion centered on ways to get the 8/Unders to feel more comfortable at meets and how to get parents more involved. A recurrent theme is communication—between the coaches, parents and the PC Board. How can we improve? One suggestion was individual parent meets as an option for the upcoming SC season.

The Board also discussed additional ways the swimmers can participate in community service. A Swim Across the Sound Team was one suggestion. At this point in the year it may be difficult to form a team given the significant fundraising requirements, but it can be an option for next summer.

June Board Meeting

Approval of Minutes

The minutes from the May 6 meeting were approved.

USA Swimming

Chris still needs to reconcile the AG accounts but is otherwise up to date. She has sent invoices to families that need to supplement their accounts.


Volunteer pages are posted and Kathy is working on the upcoming August reconciliation.

Coaches’ Report

Jacquie is working on the team registration packet and needs any PC fee changes ASAP. At the same time, Mark is reworking the practice groups slightly so that kids with the same abilities swim together. Jacquie will adjust the schedule accordingly for the upcoming SC season.

Tryouts will be Sept. 7th and 14th. The Seniors will begin the week of Sept. 20th and the younger kids will begin the following week.

Jacquie is working on the most efficient methods of registration. Some portions may be done online for current swimmers. New swimmers/parents will have one-on-one meetings with the coaches.

SC bids are due soon. We will bid on three home meets: Freestyle Frenzy, Pentathlon and a Q Meet. The Board agreed that if we hold the Q meet before the holidays we would only have a one-day meet. If we get it after the holidays we will try and hold a two-day meet. (The schedule is dependent on when Y States will be and that date has not been set yet.)


The Board agreed that we would keep the opt-out system as is, (opting OUT, not opting IN). We also agreed that the survey results should be made public to parents.

The next Board meeting will be on Thursday, July 8, 2010.

Respectfully Submitted,
Mary Cooperman