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Dear new and returning Thunderbirds parents,

The start of a brand new season is upon us, and we are very excited about this upcoming year. We wish to welcome all new and returning T-birds. We are looking forward to a rewarding and fun season.

We take a great deal of responsibility in providing a safe and productive environment for our athletes and look forward to working with each of you, as partners in this endeavor. One of the most valuable characteristics of a strong, motivated team is the parents' support within the organization. We therefore encourage each of you to take an active part in our Thunderbirds Swim Team Parents Committee (see details below). This group assists the coaches with many behind the scene details in order to help the coaches focus on coaching. We look forward to working with you this season.

As always, if you should have any questions please feel free to contact Head Coach Alyse Marion at 646.505.5712 or

Thank you,

Alyse Marion
Edwin Nunez
Viviana Merced

The JCC Manhattan Thunderbird Swim Team strives to build a vibrant, passionate swimming community. Through practice and competition, our swimmers develop an appreciation for the rewards of hard work, respect for others, personal responsibility, as well as team and community spirit.

All swim team members must:

  1. Report to practice on time and with a positive attitude
  2. Encourage and support each other during meets and practices
  3. Act with sportsmanship at all practice and meets
  4. Notify coaches in advance if they will miss a practice or a swim meet
  5. Be fair and kind to all members of the swim team
  6. Help elect captains for the swim team who will lead the team
  7. Obey and listen to the coaches at all meets and practices
  8. Have one pair of goggles — we recommend 2 pairs (place your name on the strap)
  9. One team suit and one practice suit (Do not wear your team suit at practice. It is for swim meets only.)

It is our policy that every member of the Thunderbirds swim team participates in dual and tri-meets. Each swimmer is expected to attend all swim meets and stay for the duration of the meet. This contributes to positive team spirit and develops sportsmanship. We can only win if all swimmers are in attendance.

Swimmers should be prepared with team suit, team cap, goggles, team t-shirt, multiple towels, sweatpants and sweatshirt if desired, and appropriate snacks and drinks (Please see the Food Guide for specifics). Extra caps and goggles are recommended.

It is absolutely essential that parents let us know well in advance (at least one week) if there is a conflict emergency and their son or daughter cannot make a swim meet. Please leave a message for Coach Alyse at 646.505.5712 if you know your son or daughter will not be attending a swim meet.

The main purpose of practice is to improve the swimmer's technique and increase his/her speed and endurance. Each practice will target our team goals as determined by the coaches.

There is a direct relationship between the amount of practice and the level of improvement. Good, hard practices will show great improvement on the swimmers' times and endurance levels.

Practice is the key for a swimmer to become better. Just "showing up" to practice doesn't cut it either! PRACTICE DOESN'T MAKE PERFECT, PERFECT PRACTICE DOES!

Our team is divided into Bronze, Silver and Gold swimmers. Our Gold swimmers are ages 13 and Over. Our Silver and Bronze swimmers are 12 and under and are assigned a color based on their times, technical abilities and demeanor both in and out of the pool. We are also pleased to offer an Elite portion of our program to swimmers age 13 and over who qualify.

Each team member is required to practice three times a week; Sunday and two weekdays. The only valid excuses for missing practice are a family emergency or sickness.

Practice Schedule:

Monday–Wednesday 4:30–5 pm Dry Land (11 & Over)
5–6:30 pm Swim (9 & Over)
5–6 pm Swim (8 & Under)*
Thursday 4:30–5 pm Dry Land (11 & Over)
5–6 pm Swim (All)
Sunday 12:30–1:30 pm Dry Land and Team Meeting (All)
1:30–2:30 pm Swim (All)
Tuesday 6:30–8 pm (Swim)
Thursday 6–7:30 pm (Swim)


* Swimmers 8 & under are required to swim one hour only

The Swim Team Parents Committee is responsible for working with the coaches to ensure a successful and fun season. The Committee will help with:

  • Home and away meet responsibilities
  • Metro League championships
  • Holiday party
  • Awards dinner
  • Fundraising

The most valuable source of inspiration and motivation for the swimmer is his/her parents. More than anyone else, swimmers seek their parents' admiration. A highly motivated swimmer reflects his parents' enthusiasm. Keep in mind that pushing a child so hard that the child can never meet the parent's expectation will result in frustration for both.

All parents are expected to participate in meets. The team is dependent on this group for hospitality, organization of meets, communication and transportation.

Daniel Brand wrote an exceptional article on the role of swim team parents, which included the following guidelines:

  1. Give encouragement to the swimmer when needed
  2. Get the swimmer to practice regularly and on time
  3. Attend meets
  4. Become familiar with various officials' duties (just in case)
  5. Become an active member of the Parents Committee
  6. Help with rides to away meets
  7. Keep records of your child's times and events for each meet to compare and discuss. This helps the swimmer to feel accomplished and improvement relating to their individual times.
  8. Set an example of a healthy attitude towards competition—one you would want your child to see and follow.
  9. Check with the coach whenever you have a question pertaining to the team program or your child's participation in it

Parents can further help the team in the following ways:

  1. Giving encouragement does not mean stroke correction. Please leave the training to the coaches
  2. If you have any questions or concerns about the training needs of your child, please see a coach
  3. Private instruction is impossible at a team practice. Most instruction is given at a group level, so the swimmer that pays attention is the one that gains the best knowledge available to them
  4. Please do not assume when a swimmer is doing a stroke incorrectly that he/she has not been told by the coaches, or that the swimmer is not trying to correct this habit. Habits are difficult to break; some are never completely eliminated.

The swim team has three types of awards to acknowledge the achievements of its swimmers: ribbons, trophies and medals.

Ribbons are awarded for placing first through third during dual meet competition in a five lane pool and first through fourth in a six lane pool.  Medals are awarded for first through third place in our Metro League Championship meet, and ribbons are awarded for fourth through sixth place. Awards are also given at the swim team banquet at the end of the season!

Proper eating and sleeping habits are necessary for a swimmer to keep in shape and swim well. Excess fats should be avoided. Swimmers should be eating fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates. Naturally, too many desserts and sweets will add weight that the swimmer will have to pull along. A good night's sleep is essential to perform up to potential. Please see the food guide for specific food recommendations.

We are looking forward to a very rewarding, successful and fun swimming season. Thank you for becoming an active parent and reading this manual.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Thank you,

Alyse Marion
Edwin Nunez
Viviana Merced

the JCC in Manhattan