Betsy Matheney, coach of the Westport Weston Family Y's junior-age Water Rats swim team, has been named Connecticut Swimming's age-group coach of the year for 2011-2012.

Matheny was voted to the honor by fellow coaches at Connecticut Swimming's Long Course Age Group Championship at Wesleyan University late last month. She will receive the award at the state group's Top 16 banquet in November, the Family Y said in a news release.

Connecticut Swimming is the state affiliate of USA Swimming, the national governing body for competitive swimming in the U.S.

A New Canaan resident, Matheny just completed her third year as coach of the Water Rats' 9- and 10-year-old swimmers. The group this year included 200 swimmers, the Y said.

Her selection marks the second straight year a Family Y coach has won the honor. Mark Sedlak, head age group coach, received the honor for 2010-2011.

"That Mark won last year was wonderful and well-deserved, and I'm really proud to receive the award this year," Matheney said in the news release.

Her Waters Rats teams swim in local regional and national competitions, in both short-course and long-course meets. She also is the aquatics director and swim coach at Whippoorwill Club in Armonk, N.Y., and previously taught and coached at Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

"My coaching philosophy is one that emphasizes integrity, honor, respect -- and fun," Matheney said in the release. "Especially when you're working with younger age-group swimmers, you have to have fun."

But her philosophy goes beyond performance in the pool, she said.

"I want my kids to be well-rounded people. If they're good swimmers, that's great, but I want them to be good in school and to be good at whatever they want to do in life," she said.

One-day tryouts for the 2012-13 team will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 5, and Thursday, Sept. 6, at 4 p.m.

Parents may choose either day.

Children may be registered in advance online at or at the door the day of the tryout. Tryouts cost $25.

During the tryouts, the coaches will have the children swim at least one pool length using each of the four competitive strokes -- butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle.

Parents should not worry if their children don't know all the strokes, the Y said. Children also may be asked to perform certain tasks to see how they would work in a practice setting.

For more information on the Water Rats program, call Ellen Johnston at 203-226-8981, ext. 110, or email her at or visit