The Valley Aquatic League is not planning any meets in person this year, but may do some virtual swim meets where coaches get swimmers’ times at practice. We will keep you informed about that later. Westgate Swim Team (Gators) is a member of Valley Aquatic League, along with 4 other swim teams that we compete against. They are Los Ranchitos Swim Team (Sharks) – 5 lane pool in Campbell, Encore Swim Team (Dolphins) – 6 lane pool at Pioneer High School, Los Gatos (Stingrays) – 5 lane pool on Oka Road and the Morgan Hill Splash Aquatics, Olympic size pool at the Morgan Hill Aquatic Center. The Westgate Cabana Club’s San Jose Conditional Use permit doesn’t allow the team to host a meet at our Westgate facility as we do not have sufficient parking without being a nuisance to the neighborhood. Westgate Swim Team rents a high school pool for our home meets in a “normal” swim season.
WESTGATE SWIM TEAM PHILOSOPHY – adopted in 1985
The Westgate Swim Team supports the development of the skills of each individual. We value the participation of ALL swimmers, every swimmer is a winner. Winning, while valued, is not our primary objective.
The Westgate Swim Team philosophy is to develop in your children the love for the sport, improved aquatic skills, teamwork and the principles of good sportsmanship. The coaches’ philosophy is for the swimmers to have fun and build friendships as they develop improved techniques, stamina and fitness. They want to help each swimmer improve and be the best they can be. Most of all, the coaches will ensure that a swimmer does not prevent someone else from doing their best.
The swim team provides many wonderful benefits to the children and families of our community. Summer swimming is unique in that there is a place on the team for kids of all ages and genders. How many other youth sports have children spanning such a wide range in age participating on the same team? In addition, the Gators offer the only sporting activity that is truly neighborhood based. All swimmers are offered the opportunity to compete, improve their performance, and have fun.
Develop a love for swimming, make friends, learn about teamwork and common goals.
What other sport do you have the same teammates from age 5 to 18 years and get to have all your siblings competing at the same swim meet?
· Boys are requested to wear racing-style swimsuits to practices. Big baggy boardshorts can make learning the strokes more difficult, but the older swimmers will often wear them to create “drag” which works the muscles harder.
· Girls are required to wear one-piece suits for practice and that it must be tight enough not to bag.
Practice suits should be more comfortable fitting. The practice suits will have a little more drag in the water which helps build up the muscles. Some older swimmers will wear 2 practice suits for even more drag in the water. If a little hole develops or the seat wears thin, just put on another suit over it! When you see the older, high school swimmers with their layered suits, you will know why.
· Official Westgate team caps are available for $10. Any cap can be worn for practice.
· Anyone with hair long enough to get into the face must wear a swim cap for every practice. Braids and ponytails must be tucked inside caps. Caps protect hair from the sun and chlorine.
· Practice and racing caps can be purchased from our team store.
· Rinse immediately after swimming! Getting rid of all the chlorine and chemicals helps the cap last longer. Pat dry with a towel. · Use cornstarch or talcum powder on the inside of the cap.
· Keep out of the sunlight when not in use.
· Goggles are an aid to training. They protect the swimmer’s eyes from chlorine and enable them to see clearly under the water to use the lines on the bottom of the pool, as well as the wall ahead.
· Goggles should fit well enough that swimmers do not have to keep adjusting them or draining water from them. Goggles are worn more tightly for racing than during practice. Many new swimmers lose their goggles the first time they dive because they are too loose.
· Have an extra pair on hand, since this is considered the most common item in any pool’s “lost-and-found” box. Write their name on the goggle strap!
TOWELS AND WATER BOTTLES Don’t forget towels, and a water bottle.
· Swimming fins improve your kick technique (via positive muscle reinforcement). allow for proper body positioning in the water, improve ankle flexibility, increase strength and endurance, improve stroke technique and reduce shoulder stress. Younger/novice swimmers will gain more confidence by improving faster and older swimmers will conserve more energy while protecting their shoulders from overuse. Short swimming fins are best! Not the long scuba diving fins!
· Rain or shine: We will hold practice in any weather, unless there is lightning!
· Maintain 8 feet distancing while at practice, except for siblings!
Do not wear a mask in the pool! Put mask on when out of the pool, before leaving!
· Don’t splash, wrestle, or grab another swimmer.
· Don’t stop in the middle, don’t walk or stand up. Swim wall to wall.
· Use of facilities: We are guests of ALL the facilities we use. Showers are not allowed this season due to Covid protocols. Come to the pool ready to swim and leave immediately after practice through the back gate to maintain 1 direction in and out of the facility.
· Teammates: This is your team; make it enjoyable for everyone on the team. Offer encouragement to at least one other swimmer each day. A “good job” or “nice swim” helps make the practice time nicer.
· Valuables: Do not leave valuables in the restrooms. Please keep them out on the deck, where you can keep an eye on them.
· Problems: If you have any questions or problems, email the director or head coach. Do not disturb coaches while they are coaching.
· Fun: Make sure you always have lots of fun!
· Circle Swim: To swim on the right-hand side of the lane, except in England and Australia (left side)!
· DQ: Short for disqualification. A DQ is given to the swimmer by an appropriate official who observes the swimmer in violation of a stroke requirement or rule.
· False start: Movement by the swimmer after taking his/her mark before the starting signal sounds.
· Fly: Short for butterfly.
· FR: Short for Free Relay. A free relay consists of 4 swimmers all of whom swim freestyle leg (age 10-under swim 25 yards each; 11-up swim 50 yards each).
· Heat: Each relay has only one heat. Individual events may consist of several heats. Swimmers are put in heats with others of very similar times and abilities. Unlike U.S. Swimming, Valley Aquatic League swims the fastest heat first, and the slowest heat is the last heat.
· IM: Short for Individual Medley. This is an event where swimmers swim each of the four strokes one length of the pool, for a total of 100 yards, in this order: butterfly-backstroke-breaststroke-freestyle.
· Racing start: Streamline shallow dive.
HISTORY OF WESTGATE CABANA AND SWIM TEAM
Westgate Cabana Club’s facility was built in 1962 as a nonprofit corporation. It was not built as an HOA. Ann West swam (along with her three siblings) for the Cabana Club in 1966 and the team was already established. One of their ribbons had the year imprinted on it (1968) and "VSA" on the front. The name of their swim coach was Steve Fox (he was tough and made quite an impression on them!). Their family moved out of the neighborhood in 1968 and soon after started swimming for LTAC (Lynbrook-Tantau Aquatic Club) at Lynbrook High School. Ann remembers taking team photos at the Cabana Club (swim suits had blue and red vertical stripes. In the 1970s Westgate combined with Cloverdale and was known as the Cloverdale Westgate Dolphins. It was then a part of the Mission Oaks Aquatic League where swimmers could only swim 2 individual events. The parents voted in 1986 to become the Westgate Gators. A few years later, they joined the Valley Aquatic League. One of the main advantages was that each swimmer could now swim 3 individual events at a meet. The League has a limit of 135 swimmers ages 5 to 18 years per team.
Westgate Cabana Club’s pool and deck were renovated in 2003. Westgate Cabana had a 15-year loan for the renovation that was paid off in 2014. The Cabana is open to all neighborhoods and has a goal to continue renovations to the facility. The Board of Directors are all volunteers who are passionate about volunteering to keep this facility as a valuable neighborhood community pool where lifelong friendships are made for many decades to come.