2009-12-18 / Letters

Mismanagement Leaves Youth Swim Team Treading Water

Dear Editor,

I would like to warn all the parents in Rockaway about the treatment our children received from the Brooklyn Sports Club recently. In August, a large number of children from Rock - away who had been part of the swim team for years signed up for another season. The price this year was higher than previous years, but with success comes a price increase. The year started off with just two coaches, who alternated nights, coaching five lanes with up to seven or eight swimmers in each lane, as opposed to last year when they had three coaches on the pool deck for the children at all times.

After a parent meeting in October, the problem was brought up about the lack of coaches on the pool deck, and we, the parents, where told they were interviewing people but since it was a part time position it was difficult to fill.

On Tuesday, November 17, the parents and head coach Robert Valentine were all notified by the Aquatic Direc tor Eric Mitchell and the Executive director Barbara Dean that the pool would close on November 23 for "emer gency repairs." The swim season for the children had just started and we were all amazed and upset at the timing of the closing. Imagine closing the pool without ever consulting the head coach of the team. After numerous failed attempts to talk to someone at the club I finally received a call from Barbara Dean and she in formed me of the nature of the 'emergency repairs" that had to be made right away and could not wait until after the swim season was over or for the summer time.

They are going to install a new liner in the pool and up the steps because they were in code violation. They also are going to install a bulkhead in the pool. On November 30, the parents re ceived a letter informing us that the head coach, Robert Valentine, will no longer be coaching for the BSCAT team, and that the next two swim meets which the team were entered into, had been canceled. Yet in the same letter they state "it is our goal to keep team interruption to a minimum."

As a parent of children on the team I need to point out a few things: Over 100 children are on the swim team each paying well over $1000 per season. You are paying more money this season for your children, yet you are receiving less coaching. The coach, Robert Valentine, who had built the team up and knew each one of our kids and what they were capable of was just let go. Think how long it will take a new coach to build a rapport with each child and know what each is capable of achieving. The pool never had a liner in the last ten years. The people of Rockaway pay a lot more to use the club than the people that live there do.

Please inform your family, friends and neighbors of the treatment the kids received from the people who run the Brooklyn Sports Club.

I am disgusted, fed-up, and a new former member.

PAT KILGALLEN

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