FAQs & Parent Info

FAQs & Parent Info

Have questions about BAC's training groups, volunteer service hours, or swimming terminology? Find your answers here!






These FAQs answer common questions people have about the structure of our swim training groups. If you have other questions, please contact us at:

Ben Chung: ben@burlingameaquatics.com

When do group move-ups occur?

What happens if we can’t come to our designated practice time?

What happens if we do not meet the attendance or meet participation requirements of our group?

What if I want to join the swim team but have no competition history to qualify for my age group?

When do group move-ups occur?

Group move-ups will occur 3 times per year.  Coaches will confer about specific swimmers in advance of these 3 move-up times: beginning of fall (mid-August), middle of winter (end of December), and at the conclusion of short course season (mid-April).  Swimmers will move between groups in a stage (i.e. Junior 1 Group to Junior 2 Group) or swimmers may move groups when they have aged or are about to age into the next age bracket (i.e. 8 turning 9 or 12 turning 13).  These group move-up dates are targeted to have relevance to and to correspond with the competitive swimming calendar.

What happens if we can’t come to our designated practice time?

The coaching staff has done our best to build group rosters that will put our swimmers in the best position to succeed with respect to our staff’s knowledge of your swimmer.  The BAC Age Group Swimming program does share the pool with the high school as well as other BAC groups, and we’ve done our best to create a schedule that will keep our coaches and athletes in the best position to succeed. Our group times maximize our pool space, and we hope that you can manage your schedule to accommodate for the swim team.

What happens if we do not meet the attendance or meet participation requirements of our group?

If you cannot meet the requirements of the group you have been placed in, you will be encouraged to have a sit down meeting with your group coach to determine the best course of action.  This may include moving down a group (within the same stage) or refocusing the time commitments of the swimmer.  We have these attendance and competition requirements in place for the best interest of the competitive development of the swimmer.

What if I want to join the swim team but have no competition history to qualify for my age group? 

We encourage all prospective swimmers to do a tryout with our coaching staff.  If a swimmer exhibits the requisite skills to be placed in one of the groups, then we are happy to have that swimmer give it a try.  If a swimmer cannot demonstrate those requisite skills, we will encourage that swimmer to seek out lessons and perhaps give the tryout process another attempt at a future date.

CONTACT: Ben Chung: ben@burlingameaquatics.com

Team Support Hours With BAC

Much of BAC’s success is thanks to help from our parent community. Team Support hours are an integral part of our club, and we are lucky to have so many active parents. It takes a lot of energy and time for the coaches to plan seasonal outlines, training regimens, and daily practices, not to mention the actual time and energy spent on the pool deck for workouts and competitions. BAC wants its coaches to continue to focus their efforts directly on the athletes, which creates a need for parents to help out behind the scenes with planning/running major events, assisting with administrative tasks, and many other small but crucial jobs. To ensure the success of BAC and its athletes, BAC requires that all families contribute a certain number of service hours every year.

Much of the service hours center on three annual meets at BAC, lane timing at "away meets", the annual Lap-A-Thon fundraiser, and extra events such as the Awards Banquet and other “out of the pool” experiences. Roles range in size and responsibility. There are also many other “odd” jobs along the way that can fulfill the service requirement without a major commitment. New jobs arise all the time, and if you have any special talents you would like to share with the club, we would love to hear about them!

Each BAC Swimming family is required to fulfill 30 hours of service every swimming  year (August-July). If a swimmer is not a current member for a full year, the family is required to serve 10 hours per Trimester.  Any hours not fulfilled by July 31 of the current year are billed at a rate of $25 per hour not worked. Deadline for emailing hours is Aug 15 of the current year.  Invoices for unfulfilled hours are sent on Sept 1, no adjustments can be made once the invoices are issued.  If you withdraw from the Swim Team before the end of the year, you will be billed for any unfulfilled hours at that time. 

Exceptions to the 30 hour requirement:

  • Families with only Wave, Neptune, Triton swimmers must fulfill 21 hours of service work annually.

Many of the ways you can help are outlined below. The list covers both meet-related jobs and jobs that are ongoing. Please discuss your interest in a particular role with our Service Hours Coordinator.

Key Year-Round Service Positions

These positions are most important to running our club and automatically fulfill a family’s yearly volunteer commitment.

  • BAC Board Members – The needs of the BAC Board change throughout the year based on the make-up of the current group. If you are interested in becoming a part of this important group of club representatives please talk with the Club Director.
  • Team Support Hours Coordinators – Assign and coordinate parents' service hours throughout the year. Track service hours for the club and communicate with each family about their service hour status.
  • BAC Boosters – Join our parent committee and act as a liaison between parents, coaches and management. Coordinate special events, fundraisers and be available to support the Swim Team as needed. 
  • Meet Director – Run the three BAC-hosted swim meets by coordinating with other volunteers to ensure the events are effectively sanctioned, organized, and staffed. (If you would like to be involved as a meet director but cannot commit to all three meets, please discuss this possibility with the Head Swim Coach.)
  • Meet Computer Chairs – Run the computer system at all three BAC home meets. Use entries to create program before the meet. Use computerized meet management system to create all check-in sheets, heat and lane assignments, timing sheets, results, and other documents during the the meet. Organize additional help as needed.
  • Snack Bar Chair – Determine menu for snack bar and coordinate all food donations and procurement for the three BAC home meets. Supervise snack bar set-up and run it during meet.
  • Head Meet Marshal – Oversee all safety issues at all three BAC home meets. Work with Meet Director and Service Hours Coordinator to staff venue during all hours of meet, from warm-up until closing. Supervise team of marshals and work with Pacific Swimming officials as needed.
  • Lap-A-Thon Chair – Organize annual Lap-A-Thon fundraising event, ensuring that all families are informed of the event. Coordinate prize options, ordering, and distribution. Organize items for the silent auction.

Additional Yearly Service Positions

 These positions are annual positions that will likely, but not necessarily, fulfill a family’s yearly volunteer requirement. Hours spent for these positions must be logged through the Volunteer Coordinator.

  • Team Records / Time Standards Coordinators – Maintain an up-to-date account of all club swimming records for both short and long course races. Coordinate the distribution of parka stars for age group swimmers who meet certain time standards. Track and distribute awards for milestone achievements such as Torch Club, Team Records, JO’s, Far Westerns, and PRT times.
  • Stroke and Turn Officials – Train with Pacific Swimming to become a Stroke and Turn Official. Work home meets and/or other meets your swimmer attends. This is a great way to learn more about swimming, and it’s very important that the Club has enough Stroke and Turn Officials to cover our share of our Zone responsibilities. For further information please visit: Pacific Swimming.
  • Team Gear Coordinators – Coordinate distribution of basic team gear and ensure that all order forms are up-to-date and accessible. Order any special team gear for specific events such as Far Westerns, Zones, etc.
  • Administrative Support – Work with Age Group Registrar to help regularly update databases and folders. Publish annual member directory.
  • Member Support – Work with Member Liaison on various tasks, including the welcoming of new families.
  • Travel Coordinators – Organize team trips, including travel arrangements and chaperones as required by BAC Chaperone/Travel policies.
  • Special Projects – TBD by coaches: may include equipment set up, ordering special team gear, additional administrative support, etc.

Swim Meet-Related Positions

These positions can be signed up for preceding any home (or away) meet. BAC’s online sign-ups will tell you in advance which positions are open and need to be filled. Hours spent for these positions must be logged through the Team Support Hours Coordinator.

  • Meet Program Coordinator – Gather information for meet program the week before the meet. Copy program for coaches, officials, and meet sales.
  • Assistant to the Meet Director – (Two or three positions) Work with Meet Director to fulfill any volunteer and organizational needs.
  • Assistant to the Computer Chair – (Two or three positions) Work with Computer Chair to fulfill any operational needs during BAC hosted meets.
  • Timing System Operators – Set up, test, and run the timing system during the meet.
  • Snack Bar Workers – Tend the snack bar during the meet. Work with Snack Bar Chair to provide hospitality to coaches, officials, and timers during the meet.
  • Head Timers – Stay at the starting area during shift and start extra watches. Provide clipboards and pencils for each timing lane. Assist timers in individual lanes as needed.
  • Meet Timers – Sit in a timing chair and press the buttons; needed at away meets as well as home meets. When your swimmer checks in at a meet, please find out via the program or host club where BAC is assigned and plan to take a shift during the meet.
  • Meet Volunteer Coordinator – Sign up volunteers to staff our home swim meets and ensure that all positions are filled. Generate sign-up sheets before the meet and report hours to the Head Volunteer Coordinator after the meet.
  • Meet Entries Chair – Coordinate all meet entries.
  • Clerk of the Course – Oversee swimmer check-in at meets. Work with officials and computer chair to follow meet timeline.
  • Check-in Table – Staff the check-in table during home meets and help swimmers check-in.
  • Marshals – Survey the pool deck and locker rooms during the meet to enforce all safety rules. Monitor warm-up lanes during the meet; make sure swimmers and spectators follow all posted rules. (The orange vest people who keep all meet areas safe and clean.)
  • Announcers – Announce swimmers and results during the meet.
  • Meet Awards – Order ribbons and “A” medals before a meet. Put labels on awards and distribute to coaches of all clubs at end of meet.
  • Facility Assistance – Set-up, take-down, and clean-up at home swim meets.

Remember to track the hours you have worked by sending an email to: service@burlingameaquatics.com.

If you have questions about any service positions please let us know! Thank you for your support of BAC and all the time and energy you put into making BAC one of the best places to swim in the bay area!

Glossary of Common Swimming Terms

AGE GROUP SWIM MEET - All USA Swimming registered swimmers, 18 years of age and under, who have met the qualifying time standard for a specific event(s) are eligible to participate in these meets.  Swimmers race and are awarded in pre-determined age groups.  Age on the first day of competition shall govern the entire meet. (See also: Senior Swim Meet)

AGE GROUP SWIMMER – At BAC we consider everyone from 6-18 to be “age group swimmers.” High School age swimmers and post grads can compete in “senior meets,” if qualified.  See Senior Swimmer

BAC - The official abbreviation for the Burlingame Aquatic Club.

CHECK-IN (POSITIVE CHECK-IN) - The procedure required before a swimmer swims an event in a meet. Sometimes referred to as positive check in, the swimmer must see the check in desk or meet admin and have their name marked on a list to confirm they will be racing. Failing to do so will mean the swimmer is not seeded in his or her entered event. 

CIRCLE SEEDING - Used only in the prelims of Championship meets with events that have "prelims & finals." This affects the top 24 seeded swimmers (8 lane pool) who compete in the last 3 heats. All other heats are regular seeding. In Circle seeding, the fastest seeded swimmer will be in the last heat in lane 4. The second fastest swimmer will be in the second to last heat lane 4. The third fastest swimmer will be in the third to last heat lane 4. The fourth fastest swimmer will be in the last heat lane 5 and so on. For an event with 60 swimmers, the seeding would look like this: #=swimmers seed in prelims

(Lanes 1 - 8)









Heat 1









Heat 2









Heat 3









Heat 4









Heat 5









Heat 6









Heat 7









Heat 8









MEET ADMIN AREA - (AKA The clerk of course desk) The area where meet administration and officials handle the seeding, placing, scoring, and all other functions of swim meet processing. 

IM (INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY) – A race done by an individual swimmer consisting of one equal leg of each of the four competitive strokes - butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle - in that order.

FINALS - The session of a meet after prelims at a prelims/finals meet. It is generally swum in the evening. Finalists are the fastest swimmers in the preliminary rounds usually swum earlier that day. The number of finalists depends on the meet.

HEAT SHEET - A listing of all swimmers in a meet by event number, heat, and lane assignments.

LONG COURSE POOL - A type of competitive pool that measures 50 meters in length. Also called an "Olympic sized pool." Seniors may compete in Long Course at any time throughout the year, while Age groupers typically have a Long Course season of March to August.

PRELIMS (PRELIMINARIES) - In certain meets, qualifying rounds held for each event to determine the finalists - usually the morning before the finals at USA Swimming meets.

PROOF OF TIME- A requirement at some meets to make certain that all swimmers have legally met the time standards for that meet.

PSYCH SHEET- A ranking by seeding times for all the swimmers entered in each race of a meet.

MEET REFEREE - The USA SWIMMING official who has authority over all other officials at the meet. He makes all final decisions and sees to the efficient running of the meet.

SEEDING TIMES - The time a swimmer uses to enter a meet. This time usually determines one's heat and lane in a particular event.

SENIOR SWIM MEET - A meet that allows all USA SWIMMING registered swimmers to compete, regardless of age who have met the qualifying time standard for a specific event(s). Usually the time standards are of a challenging nature.

SENIOR SWIMMER – BAC allows swimmers into our Senior program if they meet the minimum age of 14 or have met the minimum requirements in terms of speed, talent, and work ethic, they have graduated from the BAC Gold Group, or they are returning from College to train.

SHORT COURSE - A type of competitive pool that measures 25 yards or 25 meters in length. In American swimming it will almost always be 25 yards. The Age Group Swimmers short course season usually lasts from September to March while the Seniors short course season varies depending on level and age. 

Pacific Swimming. - The name of the Local Swimming Committee (LSC) charged by USA SWIMMING to govern competitive swimming - mainly in the Bay Area but can stretch as far as Reno Nevada. There are approximately 150 active teams in Pacific Swimming.

SPLIT - An incremental time that may be in the results and that coaches often record for teaching the concept of pacing. For instance, a swimmer's time for each 50-yard leg of a 100-yard event.

Negative Split– Making the second split of a race faster than the first split. For example, in a 200 yard free this might be 101.00 for the 1st 100 and .59 for the 2nd 100.

STARTER - The USA SWIMMING official at a meet responsible for starting each heat and calling the next to the blocks. Starters rotate throughout a meet.

STROKE JUDGE - A certified USA SWIMMING official, who determines the legality of strokes and disqualifies swimmers who do not conform to USA SWIMMING rules.

"SWIMMING WORLD" - A monthly magazine with articles and stories about competitive swimming, as well as some regional and all national meet results. Write "Swimming World" / P.O. Box 45497 / Los Angeles, CA 90045.

TIME STANDARDS - Certain qualifying times that insure all competitors are of reasonably the same ability in their respective meets. The swimmer's goal should be the betterment of his or her time progressing through Barracuda, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Senior, National level and all the way up to Olympic Trials.

AGE GROUP NATIONAL TOP 10 - A tabulation of the Top 10 fastest swimmers for each age and event, starting at 11 and ending at 18, in a given competition year. The final list is published in Fall for the previous year and broken down into Short Course and Long Course. 

TOUCH PAD - The part of an electronic timing system that rests in the water at the finishing end of each lane. Swimmers’ times are electronically recorded when the pad is touched.

UNATTACHED - The status a swimmer receives when not representing a club or when changing from one USA SWIMMING club to another. A swimmer must be "unattached" for 120 days from his or her last competition with a previous USA SWIMMING club. During this time that swimmer may compete individually and train with the club but is not eligible to score points for a team or swim relays. Swimmers representing their High School during the HS season must swim Unattached at club meets after they have competed in their first HS meet of the season. However, once the HS season has concluded, the swimmer can return to his or her club team without having to wait the 120 days.

USA SWIMMING - The governing body of Age Group and Senior Swimming in the United States. National Headquarters are in Colorado Springs, Colorado at the Olympic Training Center. 

USA SWIMMING # (ID) - The personal registration number of each athlete member in USA Swimming. The formula for deriving your USA SWIMMING # is: birth date (6 digit format MMDDYY), first three letters of the first name, middle initial, and first four letters of the last name. For example: John A. Smith was born September 1, 1959. His USA SWIMMING # is 090159johasmit (If the swimmer has no middle name or their name is less than 3 letters, the spaces are filled in with ***)