Thank you for your interest in the Elgin Cyclones Swim Team! As the premiere team in Elgin, our mission is to provide the best competitive swimming experience for all swimmers. We have designed this page to provide you with detailed information and expectations for the team. We understand this may seem overwhelming but it is a great foundation for a creating a successful swimmer. We hope you find this information helpful and after reading this information, should you have any additional questions, feel free to email us at [email protected] or [email protected].

Below is a description of the workout groups.

Pre-Team Group: This group is for the relatively new competitive swimmer that is not ready for the Gold or Senior groups. Pre-team is designed to help the new swimmer meet the minimum requirements for acceptance into their rightful workout group. Once the minimum requirements are met, the swimmer will be transferred to their right group. It is not uncommon for swimmers to spend an entire season in this group. 

Bronze Group: The Bronze workout group is the initial team experience for the beginning Cyclone swimmer aged 6 to 10. To become a member of this group, swimmers must be able to perform the following: 50 yards of freestyle from a standing dive; 25 yards each of butterfly, breaststroke, and backstroke (25 yards of streamline dolphin kick may be substituted for the butterfly); and a freestyle flip turn. The ability to listen and to follow directions is important for success in this group. 

Silver Group: This group is for the swimmer who has been in the Cyclones or similar program and has achieved a designated level of success based on effort, practice consistency, swim meet participation, and time standard achievement. Swimmers must successfully demonstrate a 200IM with correct starts and turns, have the ability to swim between 3,500-4,000 yards/meters, participate in as many ISI meets as possible and show up for a minimum of 3 of the 4 workouts a week. The group will be specifically working towards seasonal goals which include developing a good work ethic, continued stroke and technique development, goal setting for meets, and a love for racing! This group is for those whose goal is to be a multi-event state championship qualifier by the end of the short course season. Must be able to swim 3,500 yards/meters per practice. 

Gold Group: The emphasis of this group is to refine competitive stroke technique, build strength & endurance, promote a healthy lifestyle and expose 10-13 year old swimmers to greater racing opportunities. Swimmers are expected to practice 4 to 5 times per week throughout the swim season and attend the majority of meets including three ISI meets minimum. Must be able to swim a legal 200 IM with correct stroke and turn technique. Dryland training will be part of the training regimen. 

Senior Group: This is for the 13 and older swimmer who has been swimming competitively for numerous years and can make the time commitment to continue to swim at the highest level. Competing is a high priority. Swimmers on this level compete at most ISI meets as well as Regionals, Age Group State, Senior State, Speedo Sectionals, and any national meets a swimmer qualifies for.  These swimmers should have solid overall swimming technique and be capable of competing in any stroke at any competitive distance.  Seniors will have dry-land training at least 2 days per week. 


What are the swimming seasons?

The Elgin Cyclones, like most other teams, have two seasons: the Short Course Yard (SCY) season and Long Course Meter (LCM) season.  The short course season is usually from September until early March.  The Long Course season is from April until late July.  The season start date is dependent upon your child’s group (younger swimmers usually start later than the older swimmers) and time standards.

Are swim meets required?

Yes, meets are required. Swim meets are a fun way to gauge your progress as a swimmer. Imagine basketball players never playing a game! Meets are the same thing for swimmers. 

Why do I have two accounts?

You will need two accounts: one is for registration onto the team while the other one is specifically for the swim team i.e. meet fees, meet declarations, etc.  You will receive monthly invoices from the team website for meet fees while the registration fees must be paid to a credit card monthly, if not paid in full.

Is there a fee for meets?

Yes.  Each swimmer must pay an Illinois Swimming surcharge of $2 per swimmer per meet.  In addition, there is a $1 per swimmer per meet surcharge.  Lastly, each event has a cost associated with it along with each relay.  For instance, there may be a fee of $5 per event and $12 per relay ($3 per relay participant).  If your swimmer is entered in 3 events and two relays, the cost is $19 for the meet.  Some meets also have ancillary fees like a facility fee.

Is my child ready for swim meets?

Swimmers in Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Senior groups are ready for swim meets.  Swimmers in the Pre-Team groups will be invited to swim in meets at the Coaches discretion.  Those not ready to swim in meets will be disqualified if their strokes are not legal.  Although disqualifications happen to every swimmer, the novice swimmer usually has a fragile psyche that can be damaged if disqualified.  Our goal is to teach the swimmer proper technique then allow them to swim in meets. 

Are there any volunteer requirements?

Yes.  Swimming is much different than other traditional sports where one coach and one official can run an event.  Because each swimmer is being judged, based on time, each swimmer in each race needs to have at least two timers.  In addition, there are other volunteer jobs that need to get done to confirm the official results.  Specific volunteer jobs can be found on the website under Event Information when you log in.  We will be offering training sessions for all new parents or parents new to a particular job assignment.

Five Session Home Meet
If a meet has 5 sessions, each swimmer in Bronze, Silver, Gold, Pre-team, and Senior will be required to work at least 2 sessions. If a family has more than one swimmer, add up the requirements based on the level they are in to determine 
the number of sessions you are required to volunteer for, not to exceed 5 sessions. For example, if a family has 1 swimmer in Gold (2 jobs), 1 swimmer in Silver (2 jobs), the family will be required to work 4 sessions.

Number of Required Volunteer Sessions for a 5 Session Meet




Practice Group                 Number of Required Sessions
Pre-Team 2 Sessions
Bronze 2 Sessions
Silver 2 Sessions
Gold 2 Sessions
Senior 2 Sessions

Seven Session Home Meet

If a meet has 7 sessions, each swimmer in Bronze, Silver, Gold, Pre-team, and Senior will be required to work at least 3 sessions. If a family has more than one swimmer, add up the requirements based on the level they are in to determine the number of sessions you are required to volunteer for, not to exceed 7 sessions. For example, if a family has 1 swimmer in Gold (3 jobs), 1 swimmer in Silver (3 jobs), and one swimmer in Pre-Team (3 jobs), the family will be required to work 7 sessions.

Number of Required Volunteer Sessions for a 7 Session Meet
Practice Group                 Number of Required Sessions
Pre-Team 3 Sessions
Bronze 3 Sessions
Silver 3 Sessions
Gold 3 Sessions
Senior 3 Sessions

***Please note, all families must volunteer for all home meets, even if their child is not swimming in the meet. This includes Regionals or any other time qualifying meets.***

There is a $100.00 fine for each job that you do not fulfill.  For example, if you are required to work 5 jobs and you only work 3, you will be fined $200.00 for the 2 jobs not worked. All jobs must be filled before the meet; you will not be able to sign up for a job at the Volunteer Check-in table during the meet. I know this may seem severe but this is meant to be punitive. We do not want your money. We want your time and talents to create the best experience for the swimmers.

If you are unable to work a meet, you must find a sub. This means you may have to time for another family at a different meet. For example, if you are out of town for Blizzard Blast, ask a family to work Blizzard Blast and you will work Regionals for them. If you do not work a meet, we will be forced to fine you, regardless of the excuse.

Away Meets
For some away meets, we will be required to provide timers. In these instances, you will be able to sign-up for the job on the specific meet page on our website. For away meets, the sessions are broken into hour-long jobs to help the flow of the meet. Parents are allowed to sign up for the session they are interested in timing. If we do not have enough timers the Monday before the meet, parents will be assigned to time for the meet. We will only assign those parents who have a swimmer in that session. If you are not in that session, you will not be assigned.

Although we do not quantify the number of away sessions you are required to work, we do take past jobs worked into consideration when assigning open jobs. If all the jobs are not taken, we will assign families to work those jobs. We will not assign jobs to families who do not attend the meet.

If you have any questions on the above information, please email us at [email protected] It is important that you understand the team requirements so there is no confusion.

What are time standards?

Each year, USA Swimming establishes time standards, or "Cuts" for each of its major meets, from BB or age group meets through Olympic Trials, swimmers are always striving to make their next cut.  Time standards can be found on  USA Swimming website.

Does my child have to be a USA Swimming member?

Yes.  All swimmers must become USA Swimming members.  It shows a dedication to the sport, team, and coaches.  In addition, it is an insurance requirement of USA Swimming clubs.  Also, your swimmer is coached by a USA Swimming member.  Lastly, your swimmer must be a USA Swimming member in order to swim in meets.  All meets are sanction by USA Swimming and their Local Swim Committee, Illinois Swimming.

Your USA Swimming membership is good for one year.  We accept memberships at our fall registration day and send in all memberships together.  If you register after that date, you are responsible for sending in your membership and fee to Illinois Swimming.

What if my swimmer transfers from another team?

If your swimmer transfers from another team to the Elgin Cyclones Swim Team, they will need to fill out a USA Swimming Transfer Request Form which can be found on Illinois Swimming’s website.  According to USA Swimming rules, “For a swimmer to represent a USA Swimming club in a competitive event, one hundred twenty (120) consecutive days must have elapsed with the swimmer having represented any other USA Swimming club in USA Swimming competition.”

Do I need access to the Cyclone’s website?

Yes.  All of our swimmers get access to our website.  Access is essential for signing up for meets, getting communication, signing up for jobs, checking invoices, checking your swimmer’s times, and other functionality.  Unfortunately, our system does not allow you to create your own account so please email [email protected] to get your account setup.  You will be required to provide the following information:

  • Parent/Guardian Name(s):
  • Parent/Guardian Mailing address:
  • Parent/Guardian email address (must be checked frequently):
  • Parent/Guardian contact phone number (1 required):
  • Swimmer(s) name (First, Middle & Last):
  • Swimmer(s) Date of Birth:
  • Swimmer(s) level / group:

Creating your account usually takes one business day so please be patient.

Is there a new parent meeting?

Yes. We hold new parent meetings in March and September for the Long Course and Short Course seasons. We usually review the website, an introduction to the sport, and other pertinent information along with a Q&A session at the end of the meeting.

Are there tryouts for the team?

At this time, the team does not have tryouts.  Instead, we have evaluations.  The purpose of our evaluations is to determine if your child is ready for a competitive swim team and if they are, to determine what group your child belongs on.

Is there a payment plan available?

Yes. The Elgin Cyclones offer a payment plan.  For the Short Course season, an initial payment that is due at the time of registration, usually August, and the remaining balance is equalized over 6 months, September, October, November, December, January, and February; the initial payment varies based on which group your swimmer is assigned to, and the initial payment ranges from $70.00-$120.00.

Does my swimmer get ribbons for meets?

Swim meets do offer ribbons and some offer medals and trophies for the top finishers.  In the meet packet, posted on the website under the event link, the host team has identified the finishers that will receive a ribbon.  For instance, at our Blizzard Blast meet the top 16 finishers receive rosettes and ribbons.  At other meets, it might be the top 8 finishers.  If your swimmer were to receive a ribbon, all ribbons are placed in their folder, just west of the pool desk.

Besides a suit, does my child need anything else?

Each group has certain items that are necessary for training.  It is strongly encouraged that all swimmers bring a water bottle with them to each practice.  Having water is essential in training but also minimizes the amount of out-of-water time walking to the water fountain, instead of swimming.

  • Pre-Team: Goggles, swim cap for those with longer hair, competitive swimsuit, and fins.
  • Bronze: Goggles, swim cap for those with longer hair, competitive swimsuit, and fins.
  • Silver: Goggles, swim cap for those with longer hair, competitive swimsuit, and fins.
  • Gold: Goggles, swim cap for those with longer hair, fins, hand paddles, and a water bottle.
  • Senior: Goggles, swim cap for those with longer hair, fins, hand paddles, and a water bottle.

Tips for a successful swim meet

Warm-ups: Arrive at the pool with enough time to find a parking space, a seating place, find the locker rooms, and ready to go 15 minutes before warm-ups for our team are to start. Please look at the meet information packets carefully to find out our warm-up times.

Post Warm-Ups: Your swimmer needs to know the event(s) they are swimming in. Many pools will have these assignments posted in various locations, and the team coaches will have copies as well. It is helpful for the swimmers to write their event numbers, heat assignment, and lane assignments down at this time. Many swimmers opt to write this information on their hands or arms.  Also during this break, your swimmer should use the restroom, and perhaps even a quick snack.

Meals: Your swimmer needs to eat a big meal before they come to the pool. They should have it finished about 30 to 60 minutes before warm-up. This meal will need to carry them through approximately 30 minutes of constant swimming during warm-ups (including laps and warm-downs). It needs to be big, but comfortable. Let them eat what they like within reason. Pack some nutritional snacks in their bags (bagels, bread, crackers, fruit or vegetables are great choices), and also some rehydration drinks (Gatorade, Propel, fruit juices, or plain water are good choices).

During the Meet: Your swimmer should be aware of what event is swimming, and when their next event is. Many pools will have an announcer calling the events to the deck and getting them in their correct lane assignments. Other pools will utilize the scoreboard to show which event is currently in the water swimming. For our younger swimmers (8 & Under), many pools will utilize a “bullpen”. This is an area located near the pool, where the swimmers are put into order for their lanes and are supervised by parent volunteers.  Many swimmers will read, or play games with other teammates. This is great, however, please don’t get so distracted that you miss your event or cause your teammate to miss their event!  At the meets, please keep in mind that you are representing the Elgin Cyclones Swim Team—your behavior should be respectful to the host team, other spectators, and also to our team.

After the Meet: After your last event, the swimmers are officially done. Please ensure that you clean up the area around where you were sitting before you start to pack up their gear and head to the showers (unless specifically told by the coaches to stay with the group), and subsequently join their families. Awards are distributed back at the Centre in our Cyclones mailboxes at the Centre Pool Desk.