May 2018

Upcoming Events:

MARS Parent Training Class

Saturday, May 12th, 7:30-9am

Grapevine/Colleyville Natatorium

We will cover Timer, Head Timer, Meet Runner, Console, Computer, as well as Officiating. Each will be a 10 minute session to wrap with a 30 minute Q&A.

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Coaches Corner:

Greetings from the pool deck,

It’s May and we haven’t started in the long course pools yet....are we in trouble?, will be behind in training? The answer is “NO”! While it’s true that at this time last year we had already had a month’s worth of long course water time. Mother Nature blessed us with unseasonably warm weather during spring break and we were able to get in before the end of March. Here it is almost May and we still aren’t in (except for those few ‘polar bear’ swims at the end of practice). This year, Mother Nature is pretty “normal”, and we’re having to wait until May. Never fear, our staff has things well in hand and we have tailored the workouts for the long course pools for our upper level groups. Our first LC Meet is in two weeks. We’ll be ready.

We have had a few of our staff leaving in recent months, for other opportunities. Some moved away to other cities, some got full time jobs that conflict with our hours, and some had their ‘day job’ hours changed. This is highly unusual for MARS. Until very recently, our staff’s tenure with the team was an average of almost 7 years. That’s unheard of in the swim business. This is testimony to the stability and growth of the team over the years. That doesn’t mean that it’s easy to lose a coach. In fact, it’s really tough. Just ask the swimmers. Here’s a couple of points I’d like everyone to remember about this: 1. Nearly all of our swimmers came to us because of the program, not because of a particular coach; and 2. Our program, mission and vision has remained the same for more than 30 years. We’re not going anywhere. With this said, please know that I always strive to find the very best in coaches for our program. We never put anyone on the deck who isn’t highly qualified. In the coming months we’ll likely have a few more staffing changes. Life happens, even for coaches.

Take a few moments and read this article from SwimSwam, discussing coaches leaving teams. It’s pretty good, and might give parents some talking points with their swimmers, if they’re having difficulty.

We have a big meet coming up May 18-20 at GCISD. Please commit to helping us make this meet successful. Jobs will be posted soon. Please sign up to help. The Bill Nixon Memorial Meet is also coming up, in June. This is a real biggie, with teams from all over coming to town. Please mark your calendars for June 14-17. More info to follow.

A big congratulations goes out to our Open Water team! Those 12 swimmers competed magnificently over the April 28-29 weekend near Houston. We had several swimmers in the top 10 of both races (the swimmers did both the 800m and 3200m races, approximately 45 mins apart). Our own Jibran Himsieh was first overall, in both races. Open water racing is cool. MARS has always been a huge supporter of it. Look for more opportunities in the near future.

Don’t forget about the May 12th Parent Training at GCISD. It’s a great opportunity to figure out what you can help with on the team. We’ll also have some of our team officials there to answer questions about becoming an official, and maybe even get you started with the training.

Have a great May!

Coach Brian

Swimmers Corner:

My name is Harrison “Ty” Miller. I am in the pre-senior group at TCC/UTA and I am coached by Coach Eric. I did my first open water swim last weekend in Houston. I am scared of Alligators. When I was 8 years old I spent Spring Break in Houston. Many of the lakes had warning signs “Beware of Alligators” Now I am doing an open water race in Houston. When I told my fears to my friends, they told me to swim faster than the guy next to me. Out of our group of 12 swimmers only one has experience in Open Water Racing “Ryan Powell” He told me to stay up with him as long as I possible could. The day of the race the weather was perfect and the water temp. was 71 degrees. I did two races, 800 meters and 2 miles. Coach Brain and Coach Shannon told us to warm up in the 800-meter race. It was only one loop and many of the MARS swimmers finished in the top 10, including me. We got a break between the 800 and 2-mile races, waiting for the 1-mile race to complete. The 2 mile had both boys and girls and I stayed with Ryan up until the third lap, when I lost sight of Ryan. I had no more worries as most of the race was done and I was not going to be eaten by an Alligator. Once again, MARS kicked butt, four of us finished in the top 10, including Ryan and me.

Ask MARSian Parent

Q: Why do we have to volunteer at our meets?

A: In order for us to host a successful and safe meet, we need our MARSian families to be part of every meet we host. We all lead very busy lives. However, I can promise you that your swimmer will feel even more supported seeing you as a timer, head timer, meet runner and/or working concessions or hospitality room. Everyone is good at something which means everyone has something to offer. Please be on the lookout for upcoming dates for training classes for each of our volunteer positions. ***Each person will receive volunteer points for attending the training class. ***Please Note: You will receive the points once you put that training into action at our hosted meets. In addition to the points you will receive for your volunteer work at the meet.

Q: Do the service hours start over in January?

A: Yes, service hours are per calendar year (January 1st through December 31st).

Q: How many service hours will we owe for 2018?

A: We will each owe 18 service hours for 2018 per family that have swimmers in Bronze and above groups.

Q: What is OnDeck Parent application and why do I need it?

A: OnDeck Parent is an IPhone or Android application which allows you as a swim parent to manage your MAR's account and follow your swimmer's accomplishments. See these web sites for more information about the application and download instructions. iPhone or Android

Once you download and install the application on your device you can login by filling in the following entries:

Username - Is your email address that you used to login to the MAR's (TeamUnify) web site.

Password - Is your password used to login to the MAR's (TeamUnify) web site.

Team alias - ntsmars

Q: How do I set up the SMS messaging?

A: How to set up and receive SMS from your coach's about pool updates or quick important info.

1- log-in to your account

2- Click on My Account then under the drop down click on My account again

3- Add up to two SMS number and the Carrier and click save

4- Then go to click on Not Verified and you will receive a code via text message that then you type in and hit verify.

5- Set to start getting text from the team when a pool is closed or we need to get you fast information.

Do you have a question for the MARSian parent? Email at

Big picture

Celebrating May Birthdays:

Soufia Sebbari, Michael Xiao, Alina Mugambi, James Irwin, Reagann Stolar, Lindley Cox, Hayden Fickel, Miranda Wagoner, Peter Hasik, Avery Hall, Arya Gupta, Isis Wagema, Andylyn Swain, Katia Chin, Jaiden Vaughan, Logan Pham, Vanna Lee, Shrayes Shrivatsa, Maya Lahlou, Karol Hoang, Madison Fox, Molly Henson, Muhammed Abdualrahman, Isabella Schwartz, Elliot O'Dell, Stephen Lee, Ria Dabas, David Truong, Claire Plasek, Victoria Douglas, Alannah Ross, Kevin Chen, David Henson, Bridget Ferris, Daniel Quiroz, Mya Miles, Sanjog Bilkhu, Nandini Singh, Wilson Le, Maya Witzel, Aidan Jackson, Carson Hall, Maximus Barnes