l’anno sta finendo, il torneo finale e l’addio

Closing Out 2022

An overdue update after my return from the UK and hopefully a recovery from a respiratory thing (man, does that linger).

We end 2022 with our largest number of athletes ever, new training opportunities for our girls, more great coaches, and more competition for our athletes. We are now at a point where we have to decide about such things as separating high school training from Age Group, a great problem to have. But stay tuned as we consider changes.

Roster Call

It’s our final tournament of the season, the Jingle Bells Festival at Cy-Fair Natatorium in North Houston. As of today we are entering 14u mixed, 16u boys, 18u boys. For 18u boys we need 2 more athletes to make me comfortable (a couple players can only attend on Saturday). We’re still very short on the numbers of 18u girls we would need to enter that team, which we want to do.

Coach Smiley will be the head coach for all the teams we send to this tournament and will be assisted by Tom Andrew and/or Evan Sayer of Longhorn. If there are any conflicts between teams at the tournament we’ll definitely have a coach to cover it.

Partenza Partita!

Our friend Stefano is returning to Italy as his (blazing fast) semester in Round Rock comes to an end. So we’ll combine a game day with his departure, which will not include any Central Texas version of Italian food (sorry Niki’s) but a small smorgasbord of local delights such as Round Rock Doughnuts, Arandinas breakfast tacos, and whatever you suggest! We’re looking for ideas and/or goodies you could bring to celebrate the end of the year and as a farewell to our amico italiano.

Let’s have some grub ready for all the kiddos as they finish their games. Perhaps a volunteer or two to supervise a goodies table?

The game day schedule looks like this

The tentative schedule is:

  • 9:00 AM pool open for warmup
  • 9:30 AM 12u Coed Game
  • 10:15 AM 14u Coed Game (High School girls should expect to play at this time)
  • 11:00 High School Game
  • noon Masters Game

Girls’ Training

We’ve started our Thursday evening girls-only training sessions. Coach Babs is taking the lead but other AquaTex coaches will be there too or in her place when she can’t make it (she has a career!). Age group girls are encouraged to attend as well, not just high schoolers. We will take time to do chalk talks on Thursdays so all athletes are expected to take notes during meetings (no handouts) so have a notepad ready to go.

About TeamUnify

We have several families new to the program so I thought it would be useful to share some info about the tools we use to organize stuff, including communications. It’s a bit long winded but in the spirit of keeping our families informed about how club administration works I thought it would be useful.

First, AquaTex Waterpolo is most definitely part of AquaTex Swim Team. Without the support of club owner Mark Parshall there would be no autonomous water polo club at Micki Krebsbach pool.

Coach Mark several years ago began using the online swim team management tool, TeamUnify (also called SportsEngine). TeamUnify is, in my opinion, very good at only one thing: finances. It is apparently pretty good at registering athletes for swim meets, but that’s a very different process than organizing water polo events. But, most importantly, it is the tool Coach Mark has chosen. So all AquaTex families are required to register via TeamUnify in order to be considered a member of the team.

I have avoided using TeamUnify in past years for admin and comms because I find it very clumsy and not super waterpolo friendly. Plus, I do not have access to all the tools that Mark has: I cannot update your profile, change your membership status, or charge you. Only Mark can, and he’s a busy guy.

But I do have access to its communications tools and as our club has grown I’ve found it easier to communicate with everyone using it. So we recently began asking asking all our families to use TeamUnify more actively. Given all that, a few things for our families in no particular order.

  • My communications via TeamUnify will only go to active members. That is, if your account is suspended or not yet active you won’t get many or any emails from me. And email is my primary means of communications. There are perfectly good reasons why families suspend accounts temporarily but just know that it’ll limit any communications from the club.
  • My emails will go only to the addresses you’ve added to your profile. So, for example, if you register using only your athlete’s email address (strongly discourage anyone from doing that) and have not added your own as “Alternate” emails then you won’t get emails from me. So please go in to your account and make sure the email addresses you’ve entered are ones that a parent or guardian will receive and are validated.
  • On that note, your TeamUnify account is a family account to be set up by an adult (typically but not always a parent). To your account you can add any number of “members,” AKA athletes. So there is a difference between your “account,” which is meant to be managed by an adult, and your “members,” which include all the members of your clan including yourself if, say, you are a masters swimmer. (I plan on drawing up specific instructions for registering with TeamUnify to explain all that).
  • For those who have not registered yet, there are many swim team groups for which you can sign up. For water polo ignore all of them except: Swim2Score, Novice Waterpolo, Waterpolo, Masters Waterpolo. Do not sign up for “Middle School” or “High School.” Those are swim team groups.
  • When logging on to your account do not try to go via the SportsEngine site. Go to the AquaTex Swim Team home page and click on “Sign In” at the top. Several families are or have been members of other teams that use TeamUnify. But your accounts do not transfer between clubs. So log on directly via the AquaTex Swim Team site.

This site I built to make up for the many shortcomings of TeamUnify. But it is almost entirely meant to share information and news about the club. There is very little if any admin taking place on AquaTexWaterpolo.com. So, again, we appreciate you getting accustomed to using TeamUnify more often.