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Team/Season Details from Coach Debra

posted May 24, 2017, 8:45 AM by Louisa Gators Swim Team   [ updated Mar 27, 2018, 7:13 PM ]
Copy of Coach Debra's first team email for the 2018 swim season...

Hello Gator Families!


It is almost time for our summer swim team to get started, hopefully if we get rolling we will create some heat.   Today gave me hope but with snow in forecast?!!   I have confidence that one day soon it will get warm to stay!!!  Here is some preliminary information and important dates for you to remember.   Practice begins May 29 with both mornings & evenings available, with the opening picnic on May 27 (new date).  Prep Team has changed so be sure to check out the information below.  We are having registration/sign-up meetings this year…especially good for new swimmers to ask questions and meet coaches and POGA board members.  We will also be having a float in the Mineral Fire Department Parade! 


Team Registration & Sign-up Meetings

There are several ways to sign up for the Swim Team and/or Prep Team.  We will be holding three sign-up meetings at the Betty Queen Center, each from 6:30-7:30 PM.  The dates for are 3/28, 4/18 & 5/16.  In addition, swimmers may be registered by completing the attached registration form and mailing to POGA, P O Box 1373, Louisa, VA  23093.  Registration forms will also be available on our team website at in the near future.  The meetings will be a fantastic way to meet coaches and board members as well as getting many of your questions answered.


Mineral Fire Department Parade Float – April 27

We will be submitting a float for the Mineral Fire Department Parade.  We have a trailer but will need a person to tow the trailer.  In addition, please let Coach Debra know if you have ideas for the float or are willing to help decorate (or make decorations in advance!) the float.  Line up for the parade will be at 5:00, parade begins at 6:30.  All team members are welcome!!


Opening Day Picnic – May 27   7-9 PM at the pool

This is a great opportunity for families to get to know fellow team members, POGA Board members and the coaching staff.  Registration paperwork and fees will also be collected at this time so if you haven’t registered…no worries, the POGA board members will handle this during the picnic.  Families should bring a side dish and dessert plus drinks for your family, the team will provide hot dogs, buns, utensils, plates and condiments.   The picnic is open to the entire family so bring your suits & towels and enjoy a relaxed afternoon at the pool.  (NOTE – after this date, registration fee is $200 per swimmer!)


Coaching Staff

Debra Bickley – Head Coach

Lindsey McClellan

Jennifer Thorpe

Janice Van Tornhout


There will also be a variety of Junior Coaches who will assist practice both from the pool deck and in the pool.


Parents of the Gators Association (POGA) Board Members

April Pekary – President               

Margaret Hiter – Vice President

Colleen Moore – Secretary          

Tracy Eppard – Treasurer             

Debra Bickley – Head Coach       

Kate Straley – Fundraising           

JSL Representative – VACANT                            (let us know if you are interested!!!)

Heather Ways – At Large              

Missy Lonce – At Large                  

Lewis Keller – At Large                  

Stephanie Gurski – At Large       


Registration Fees

The POGA board is offering an Early Gator fee of $160 per swimmer if registered by 4/20.  From 4/21-5/27 the registration fee will be $180 first swimmer/$175 each additional swimmer.  Any registrations received after 5/27 will be charged $200.  (Note…the last day to register for $180 will be at the picnic!!!  Let your friends know early!)  We are trying to get paperwork out of the way ahead of time, so come to a registration meeting or send your fees in ahead of time so we will know to expect you.  I have attached a registration form in the event you send your forms via mail.


Practice Information

Morning & Evening Practices begin on Tuesday, May 29.  As always, swimmers are welcome at one or two practices per day…depending on family schedule.  Our swimmers are assigned a color based on their ability, returning swimmers should come to the same practice as last year.  New swimmers should come at 8:30 AM and/or 7:15 PM to the Activity Pool to meet with Coach Debra during the first week of practice.  The new swimmers will be assigned a color at that time and will then switch to the appropriate practice and main pool for the remainder of the year.  It is possible the new or young swimmer will remain in the activity pool for several days to work on a specific skill or endurance prior to moving to the main pool.


All swimmers should wear one piece suit & have goggles for practice.  The team will be providing a swim cap for each child, additional caps or replacement caps will be $15.  The caps will be available from POGA board members during the picnic and practice.  Please bring several towels and have sweatpants & sweatshirts to change into after practice…your swimmer will be COLD!


Prep Team

Our prep team is designed as an eight day intensive skill instruction 30 minute practice.  We focus on basic skills need for freestyle & backstroke as well as building confidence and endurance.  Do not worry if you are only available mornings or evenings…we will work with your schedule – just let us know!  Prep swimmers may progress to the main pool/team at any point during this time, the more they are with us the faster they progress.  At the end of the week, Prep members are expected to join the team and practice in the main pool unless the coaching staff deems they are not ready.  At that time, the remainder of the team fee will be assessed, with credit given for all but $10 of the Prep Team fee paid.


Practice Schedule – Week One ONLY  (5/29-6/1)

Main Pool  

7:30-8:30 AM  Red & Green

8:30-9:00 AM  Blellow

9:00-9:45 AM  Yellow


7:00-7:45 PM  Yellow

7:45-8:15 PM  Blellow

8:15-9:30 PM  Red & Green


Activity Pool

8:30-9:30 AM   &    7:15-8:15 PM


The Activity Pool will be used for the Prep Team and new swimmers for the first week only.  All new swimmers & Prep Team should plan on attending during this time.  New swimmers will be assessed and given the appropriate practice time for the Main Pool.  Depending upon the size of the Prep Team, the Prep team may be split into two groups.


Team Suits & Apparel

All swimmers will be required to purchase a team suit for competition.  Additional information and a link will be provided in the next few weeks.  We will also have other items available such as team shirts, spirit shirts, sweatpants, hoodies, tank tops, flannel pants etc.  Information on these will also be provided soon.



Goggles should be purchased in advance…swimmers should have several pairs in case one is lost or breaks.  There are several pair listed on our team store at gators or you can purchase them at WalMart, Sams, Cosco or sports stores.  Please be sure to make some identifying marks on your goggles…paint pen or fingernail polish usually works. 


Swim Meet Schedule

Wednesday, June 13   Home meet with KWC, arrive at 4:45, meet begins at 6

Wednesday, June 20   Home meet with GOST, arrive at 4:45, meet begins at 6

Wednesday, June 27   Away meet at CCC, arrive at 4:45, meet begins at 6

Tuesday, July 3              Home meet with GHG, arrive at 4:45, meet begins at 6

Wednesday, July 11    Away meet at FAST, arrive at 4:45, meet begins at 6

Wednesday, July 18    Home meet with ELKS, arrive at 4:45, meet begins at 6


Directions for away meets will be provided prior to each meet.  LCPRT will be providing concession during our home meets.


JSL Championship Meet

The Championship Meet is the culmination for the entire summer swim season.  The meet is open to ALL swimmers who compete in at least two meets during the regular season.   All swimmers will be placed in this meet unless on vacation or specified conflict.  There are many changes with the Champs meet this year, but please note the times & age group information is tentative and will be confirmed once all teams have submitted registration information.  For new swimmers, swimmers are only required to come at that time of their age group…they will not need to be there all day both days!



Each family is responsible for raising $100 per swimmer in addition to registration fees.  The fee may be handled in several ways:  outright payment, get a team sponsor or participate in a team fundraiser such as a team raffle.   I will be sending you the sponsor information later in the week.  Sponsors must be obtained by May 20 in order to be featured on our team t-shirt.


Feel free to contact me or a POGA board member if you have any questions!  Looking forward to seeing (and meeting) everyone at the pool!!


Coach Debra

540 760-1464