AN EXPLANATION OF THE USA SWIMMING MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES
As a member of USA Swimming, all of our swimmers (except Summer League Only members) must have some type of USA Swimming membership. In the past, we have registered our swimmers with either an Annual or Seasonal USA Swimming Membership, depending on when they joined the team. This year, USA Swimming has rolled out a new, less expensive but limited option called the Flex Membership. Here is an clarification of the membership types and an important explanation of how we intend to maximize the value of your membership. (None of this applies to Outreach (Scholarship) members).
Premium Membership: This is the normal annual membership. This membership runs until December 31, 2019. There are no meet restrictions. Cost is $72. Everyone will automatically be charged the Flex membership fee at registration. If you wish to upgrade to the Premium membership, simply add that to your fees at the time you check out.
Flex Membership: This is the new membership category. This membership also runs until December 31, 2019. There are restrictions, however. A swimmer registered on the Flex Membership can only participate in 2 USA Swimming-sanctioned meets. If he wishes to participate in more than two of these meets, then he will have to upgrade to a Premium Membership. Also, no swimmer can participate in a meet equal or above the Southeastern Championship level on a Flex membership. Cost is $20.
Seasonal Membership: This is a 150-day membership. We used this membership to cover our swimmers who joined after April, as it saved them money over the Premium Membership. This spring we will look at offering the Flex option for the summer months. The only restriction is that no swimmer can participate in a meet equal or above the Southeastern Championship level on a Seasonal membership. Cost $35.
Upgrading from the Flex Membership: A swimmer who starts on a Flex Membership may upgrade to a Premium Membership by paying the difference between the two memberships ($52). You cannot upgrade from a Flex to a Seasonal Membership.
Now the juggling of the various membership types to help you get the most for your money. Why is this necessary? When setting up the rules around the Flex membership, USA Swimming did not take into consideration that swimmers who are renewing their memberships still actually have time remaining in their current memberships until December 31, 2018 (Annual) or until the end of the 150 days (Seasonal). The software that USA Swimming employs is designed to immediately override an older membership with the renewed membership. This has never been a problem before as neither the Annual or Seasonal memberships had any meet quantity restrictions. Since the Flex membership does have the 2-meet limit, we want to keep you on your current (2018) membership as long as possible.
We always collect the USA Swimming membership fee at the time of your registration. That will not change. However, we will be manipulating the actual submission of the fee and the form to USA Swimming for your benefit.
1. Swimmers who are currently Annual (Premium) members and opt to remain Premium Members: There is no benefit in delaying your 2019 registration, so we will submit them in a timely manner.
2. Swimmers who are currently Seasonal members and opt to become Premium Members: There is no benefit in delaying your 2019 registration, so we will submit them in a timely manner.
3. Swimmers who are currently Annual (Premium) members and opt to register as Flex members: We will hold your 2019 USAS registration until the end of this year. Why? Because you will be able to go to as many meets as you want from September through December. Your 2-meet limit on the Flex membership then will not begin until January, 2019.
4. Swimmers who are currently Seasonal members and opt to register as Flex members: We will hold your 2019 USAS registration until the end of your 150 days. Why? Because you will be able to go to as many meets as you want from now until the Seasonal membership expires. Your 2-meet limit on the Flex membership then will not begin until that Seasonal expiration.
5. Swimmers just joining our club this fall: You will choose either the Flex or Premium membership, depending on which better meets your needs. Remember, you can always start with Flex then upgrade to Premium.
A scenario: To see how all this works, assume Susie Swimmer has a 2018 Annual (Premium) USAS membership. Her parents decide to register with the Flex membership for 2019. The Barracuda Swim Club will collect the $20 fee for Susie's Flex membership at the time she completes all the other Registration requirements for the club. Slightly before December 31, 2018, the club will send Susie's renewal to USA Swimming and she will be covered by her Flex membership beginning in January, 2019. From September through December, 2018, Susie may swim in as many USA Swim Meets as she pleases (except Nationals) because she is still enrolled as a full 2018 member. Beginning in January, Susie can compete in two more USA Swim Meets while on the Flex membership. If she wishes to swim more than those 2 meets, or wishes to compete at the Southeastern Championship or some higher-level meet, she will have to upgrade to the Premium membership.