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TEAM NEWS

Weekly Schedule

With maintenance under way at Northridge and upcoming New Year's closures, virtually all our programming will be affected this week. Please check the schedule below or visit the online calendar.

Here is a quick summary:

Note: All practices this week will be run at Westridge or Littleton YMCA. There will be no practices at Northridge until Mon, Jan 5.

Blue groupers have the option to join practice at Littleton Y Monday at 7:30pm. Apologies for the late start this week.

White groupers will be at Littleton Y on Monday (7:30-8:30pm) and Tuesday (7-8pm). Again, apologies for the late start on Monday.

Red1/Red2/HS groupers will be at Westridge on Mon/Tue (2-3:15pm) and Sat (9-10:30am).
Sect/Sen/Nat'l groupers will also be at Westridge on Mon/Tue (12:30-2pm) and Sat (7-9am).

National group should plan for weights following practice on Mon/Tue/Sat. Fri practice will be at Littleton Y (6-8am). Team activities on Wed will be announced later this week.

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CUDA Classic Meet

As we approach the new year, it is time to set our sights on preparing for the upcoming State Championships (High School & Age Group). The CUDA Classic is a great opportunity to get this started.

Please send entries (click HERE) by end of day Monday, January 5. Meet information is attached below. No late entries will be accepted.

Per coaches' recommendation, please include at least one IM event in your event order. 10&U; athletes may enter 100 or 200 IM, 11-12, 13-14 and 15&O; athletes may enter 200 or 400 IM.

High school girls participating in invitational meets on Saturday should enter events for Sunday only.

Top 20 Age Group List

As we continue to recap results from the fall meet schedule, we want to highlight HRA athletes who are currently ranked in the top 20 of the National Age Group rankings.

USA Swimming compiles these lists from sanctioned meets for individual ages 11 through 17. Swimmers who are in the Top 10 in an event for both short course yards and long course meters at the end of the season (August 31), will be awarded a certificate for their accomplishments.

Congratulations to Gabi Sasia currently ranked 10th for 16 year olds in the 100 fly and 13th in the 200 fly.
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And Congrats to Natalie Arky and Kaitlin Nats currently ranked 13th and 19th, respectively, for 14 year olds in the 200 back.
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Fall Season Wrap

The Sprint Meet marks the official end to the unofficial fall season. We saw lots of great progress both in practice and meets over the past three months. Below are some of the highlights:

Swimmers of the Month
We honored the following athletes for their efforts in Sept/Oct: Caroline Clouatre, Keeley LaRiviere, Kara Nelson, Shaun Perkins.

For November, we want to recognize the following athletes:
Grace Haas' persistent hard work and gutsy approach to swimming challenging events has been an inspiration to her teammates and coaches.

Will Kersher has committed himself to becoming a leader and setting the standard for performance in his group.

Both Grace and Will will be honored with the prized HRA Swimmer of the Month cap - "Ad Astra Per Aspera"

Colorado All-Star Team
Each winter, Colorado Swimming selects an All-Star Team in each age group based on the results from Sept-Dec. These athletes will be eligible to compete as Team Colorado at the Midwest All-Star Age Group Invitational in Elkhorn, NE on Jan 10-11.

Congratulations to HRA athletes Cy Sokolowski, Holley Dennis, Wentao Zhang and Morgan Conn for earning the distinction of 2015 Colorado All-Star.

Team Records
Eight HRA athletes broke a total of 26 individual team records this fall. Congratulations to Holley Dennis, Kaylee Gassen, Hannah Huddle, Kaitlin Nats, Abbey Owenby, Gabi Sasia, Patricia Van Law and Wentao Zhang.

Click HERE for updated team records. Let's go for more in the winter!

Qualifying Times
Click HERE a summary of the qualifying times achieved by HRA athletes. The results reflect upcoming meets for which each athlete is eligible. This is an unofficial list so please excuse any omissions or mistakes.

Gabi Sasia is the first HRA athlete in two years to qualify for the Summer Junior National Championships, the official 18&U; championship meet for USA Swimming and the breeding ground for our future USA National Team members.

In addition to HRA's three current Junior National qualifiers, HRA now has nine athletes who have qualified for the inaugural Futures Championships in Mt. Hood, OR this summer, and 19 athletes who have qualified for the Four Corners Sectional meet in Austin, TX this March.

At the age group level, 20 HRA athletes have qualified for at least one individual event at this March's Age Group State Championships. We had 33 athletes compete last March, so we have some more work to do over January/February.

For those 29 athletes who have at least one Silver State times as well as those who have yet to qualify for Silver State, set your sights on the next level. Goals don't happen by accident. Deliberate and consistent effort over the next two months will help you achieve your goals.

2015 Club Excellence Awards
USA Swimming's Club Excellence program identifies clubs that execute strong, well-rounded age group and senior swimming programs to produce elite 18-and-under athletes. The top 20 clubs earn Gold level and those ranked 21-100 are designated as Silver. The next 100 clubs are recognized as Bronze.

Three Colorado clubs earned Silver status this year (FAST, Jeffco Hurricanes, Denver Hilltoppers) and one earned bronze status (Boulder Swimming). As our club grows and our athletes improve, this will be a distinction we hope to earn in the future.

HRA Mittens

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Kristine Huddle will also be taking orders for HRA mittens. Because of coaching error, we couldn't get this organized in time for the holidays. But if your athlete has an upcoming birthday, these would make a perfect gift.

The mittens come in three sizes: small, medium and large. You can choose from a red button, snow flake button, wooden heart button, or no button. The cuff can be blue or red. See below for pictures.

The mittens will be available for $40/pair. We will have them available at practice for sizing.

SnapBooster Program

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HRA will be participating in an exciting new fundraising program this year.

We hope this email finds everyone well and enjoying the holiday season! Speaking of “Season”… Tis the season for holiday shopping!!!

For those of you who were not able to attend the parent meeting last Wednesday, please see the attached flyer with instructions to get you up and “snapping” with SnapBooster…our new fundraiser.

SnapBooster is NOT changing the way you spend your money or where you shop, and we’re not asking you to sell anything. It’s simple and easy…simply take a picture of your receipt (from any establishment) and text “SNAP” and a picture of the receipt to 343-434, and HRA will earn .10 cents per receipt. Yes, it is that simple!

SnapBooster also runs monthly “specials”, where certain establishments will earn a percentage of the total receipt. December’s specials are as follows:
Bread Winners Cafe, Arvada – 15% of the total transaction
Ralston Road Cafe, Arvada – 10% of the total transaction
Rosati’s Pizza, Broomfield – 10% of the total transaction
Tokyo Joe's – 5% of the total transaction
Jimmy John's – 5% of the total transaction
Starbucks – 5% of the total transaction
Noodles & Company – 5% of the total transaction
Qdoba Mexican Grill – 5% of the total transaction
JewelFire Diamonds – 5% of the total transaction
Kohl's – 2% of the total transaction
Walmart – 1.25% of the total transaction

Make your money go farther by snapping more. Individual Snap Bonus Rates:
10-19 Snaps $1.00 20 - 29 Snaps $2.00 30 - 39 Snaps $3.00 40 - 49 Snaps $4.00 50+ Snaps $5.00

Program Snap Bonus Rates:
100-199 Snaps $10.00 200-299 Snaps $20.00 300-399 Snaps $30.00 400-499 Snaps $40.00 500+ Snaps $50.00

Tis the Season for Shopping … Please register with SnapBooster as soon as possible. Don’t forget to use the “HRA14” program code when you register online. This will link your account to HRA. This fundraiser is NOT a 50/50 split between swimmer and HRA. 100% of the proceeds will go directly to HRA.

Thank you for your support and participation in this new fundraiser!

Happy Holidays from your HRA Fundraiser Committee!

King Soopers Program Update

We are placing another order for HRA King Soopers Gift Cards at the end of this month. This is a great opportunity for those that need more or need new HRA King Soopers gift cards. This fundraising program is very successful and very easy and helps you earn a credit to your account: HRA receives 5% of your purchases/reloads from King Soopers. 50% of this credit (2.5% of total purchase) will be applied as a credit to your account per the new fundraising guidelines. Please see the attached flyer for more details.

Please place your order with Mira Brand at and get your checks into HRA by October 31st. If we don’t receive your check by October 31st, your card order will be postponed until the following month. Gift cards come preloaded with $100 so if you order 2 gift cards, please provide a $200 check to HRA by October 31st. Cards will be available the second week of November. Gift cards used during last season can continue to be used for the new swim season, provided that your card has not had a $0 balance for 90 days.
Katya Vakshteyn | DEC 16, 2014

4 New Year’s Resolutions Every Swimmer Should Make

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With a New Year approaching quickly, the time has come to start thinking about those New Year’s Resolutions. And no, not those resolutions that you make and forget about two days into January.

I’m talking goals, things you can improve on, namely in swimming. Resolutions don’t have to be profound or extremely challenging goals. Instead, they should be something you can work on just a little bit every day and if you do, you will see them pay off at the end of your season.

It’s not too late to start to start working on those little things that are often overlooked in swimming. Here are 4 resolutions that you can start working on even before the New Year:

1. Dolphin Kicks
Dolphin kicks are your secret weapon if you develop them. Make it a priority to work on kicking out as far as you can handle, while still keeping powerful and propulsive kicks. I’ve also found it works best to first start incorporating them in practice on those easier sets like warm up, cool down, and even when doing drills or kicking on your back. Watch your time drop at your next meet after learning to work in those underwaters.

2. Hold your breath off the wall
Going off the dolphin kicking, what good is amazing underwater work if you come up and take a breath off that first stroke? You lose all that momentum you just built up after using those underwaters.

This year, work on keeping that head down for at least one stroke after popping up from your wall and zoom past your competition. Working on this technique will help both distance swimmers and sprinters alike.

3. Work your weak stroke
Your weak stroke is obviously your weak stroke for a reason, but that doesn’t mean that it has to stay that way.

Working on your weakest stroke will definitely improve your IM swims, and it can even help improve your feel for the water in other strokes.

Try to incorporate some new drills to work on the parts of your stroke that give you trouble, choose to do your weakest stroke on a choice part of the set, and make sure to pay special attention to your weak stroke in an IM set.

4. Eat Right
Although this is a cliché resolution for not just swimmers, it is very important to fuel your body with the best nutrients to keep it in tip top shape for competition.

Especially heading into Christmas training season, it is important to keep your energy levels up to help get you through those tough practices. Make sure to eat plenty of good carbs, protein, and fruits to get the most out of your meals.

Regardless of what your personal resolutions are, you should do your best to stick to them. Making a resolution is the first step to becoming a better swimmer, but they won’t be helpful if you don’t actively work on them every day. After all, you’re doing this for you.

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

Katya Vakshteyn is a freshman middle-distance freestyler at South Dakota State University. Prior to college, she spent 10 years training with the Kansas City Blazers and was a high school state runner-up in the 200 free in Kansas.

Notes on Selecting Events

We generally allow athletes and parents to select their own events until we reach qualifying meets at the end of the fall, winter and summer seasons. Here are a couple suggestions as you consider selecting events for meets this short course season:

We have mentioned previously we subscribe to the philosophy of learning to swim fast before one can swim fast longer. In keeping with this, it is generally best to aim for shorter events early in the season then build up to longer events later in the season.

Understand each season is a process, and athletes will experience ups and downs. Progress will not be linear and times will not improve every meet. In addition, improvement becomes more difficult as athletes grow and develop. We target the end of the season for our top swims, so allow your athletes to balance improvement in their best strokes/events while allowing them to challenge themselves with new/different events.

For our 12&U; athletes take advantage of the shorter events (25s, 50s of stroke and 100 IM) while you can. These are great events to practice your skills at high speeds. And there will be a time when athletes will long to do these events when they are older.

We also encourage our age group (14&U;) athletes to attempt a repertoire of events throughout the season. This includes events in all four strokes and the IM. We encourage you to try an event out of your comfort zone each meet. Try to vary some events each meet so your athlete is not swimming the same list each meet.

At the same time, be sure your athlete has the chance to swim their best events at least 2-3 times during the season (not including championship meets). It is important to practice pacing and skills in these events throughout the season.

There is no one formula that works. Get input from your coaches and athletes. Let's remember the big picture: HAVE FUN!

Future Changes to the CSI Schedule

This weekend also marked the annual CSI coaches and House of Delegates meetings. There are some significant changes coming to the schedule in future years which I will cover briefly here. All these changes will be effective for the 2015-16 season.

At the National level
The current Winter Junior Nationals held in December will be split into East/West meets beginning in 2015. The time standards will likely be adjusted to allow for two representative meets. The Summer Junior National Championship meet will remain a single-site, long course championship meet.

At the Regional level
USA Swimming will be creating a tier of meets called the Futures Meets with time standards between the current Sectional and Junior National time standards. There will be three meets (East, Central, West) taking place concurrently with the Summer Junior National Championships. The possibility exists that LSCs such as Colorado Swimming will be rotated between sites on an annual basis.

At the Sectional level
We have already seen the creation of 12 Sectional meets (4 Zones x 3 Meets). The Western Zone will be split for the first time this March into three Sectional meets (Four Corners, CA/NV and Northwest).

At the Zone level
Colorado can now only send a team of 80 athletes to the upcoming Western Zone Championships in Maui this August (we sent a team of 107 to Federal Way, WA this past August). Athletes will be selected based on qualifying criteria rather than being able to qualify based on times. Athletes will likely have to achieve at least one Zone Priority time in LCM (and likely two) in order to have a chance to be selected. Note: Based on the need to select a squad, this summer's LC State meet MAY not be included in the Zone selection process. There will be future discussion on this topic.

At the State level
The Colorado coaches made the following recommendations for future scheduling beginning in 2015-16:
The creation of a second tier of meet(s) following the Pioneer Open in Dec to accommodate those who do not qualify for the Pioneer meet.

The creation of a separate Senior Meet the weekend following the Girls' HS State meet (Feb 20-22, 2015).

Moving the 14&U; State Championship to the week following the proposed Senior meet (Feb 27-Mar 1, 2015).

Rescheduling the existing Silver State meet the weekend following the 14&U; State Championship (Mar 6-8, 2015).

The creation of a new tier of meets the weekend following the Silver State meet (Mar 13-15, 2015). These meets will likely be conducted as Regional meets.

Creating a separate prelim-final Senior Meet in July prior to the LC State Meet. As such, 15&O; athletes will no longer be able to swim at the LC State meet beginning in 2015.

The LC State meet MAY be moved forward one week to allow for additional time in selecting the Zone team.

Creating a new tier of meets the weekend following the LC State meet. Again, these will likely be conducted as Regional meets.