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Welcome to the Blackhawk Cougars Aquatic Team(BCAT).   BCAT has something for everyone, from the new swimmer who wants to learn and develop their basic swimming strokes to the serious swimmer with big goals.  We’re glad you have chosen to learn more about us and are considering becoming a part of BCAT.

BCAT is a USA Swimming Team, one of America’s largest programs of guided fitness activity for children.  USA Swimming is the governing body of swimming in the USA.  In fact, the Olympic swimmers you watched in Rio are all members of USA Swimming.  Age Group swimming builds a strong foundation for a lifetime of good health by teaching healthy fitness habits.  Our coaching staff is trained and certified by USA Swimming.  

WHY SHOULD MY CHILD BE A SWIMMER?

 

  • Swimming is an outstanding activity for people of all ages.     
  • Swimming promotes fitness and teaches a child to strive for physical achievement. Many super-stars in other sports started out as swimmers and gained strength and coordination that helped them to excel. 
  • Swimming is an exciting individual and team sport.  Swimming is a technical and specialized activity involving extensive skill development. 
  • Swimming is a healthy "lifetime" activity. Participants may be 1 or 101 years old. 
  • Swimming is relatively injury free in comparison to other youth sports. 
  • Swimming teaches the life lessons of sport and sportsmanship which include learning to deal with winning and losing, as well as working with officials, teammates and coaches. 
  • Swimming motivates participants to strive for self- improvement and teaches goal orientation.   
  • Swimming cultivates a positive mental attitude and high self-esteem. 
  • Swimming can prevent drowning. 
  • Swimmers tend to be great students.

 

 

 

BCAT Team Structure

BCAT is a 501c3 non- profit organization that has been in existence for over 25 years. The Team Philosophy: To create and maintain a swim program that will foster teamwork, hard work and dedication in it's swimmers. To encourage swimmers to develop themselves and reach their full potential while instilling respect and self-discipline

 

BCAT is organized and administered by a Board of parents and volunteers.  Contact information for board members can be found on our website at www.blackhawkswimteam.org

 

Coaching Staff – We are very fortunate to have an excellent and experienced head coach, Kyle Daly.  Our assistant coaches all have a background in swimming and some have swam at the college level.  They also have experience coaching, teaching swim lessons and are dedicated to the sport.

 

Communication – The main form of communication will be through our website and email.  You will want to add Team Unify (notifications@teamunify.com) as a contact in your email to avoid it being flagged as spam.  Practice and meet schedules can be found there as well as team news, information for new parents, a list of useful swimming apps and contact information for our coaches, board members and volunteers.  We are also on Facebook, so be sure to Like Blackhawk School District Swim Team.  

 

 

Registration – Registration is completed electronically on our website.  This allows you to set up your account to access your billing statements, account history, swimmer’s times, sign up for meets and volunteering.

 

Multi Swimmer Discount – Families having more than one swimmer in the program will receive a 10% discount.

 

Billing & Payments - All billing and account information can be found by logging into your account on our website.  Dues are billed the first of each month, including meet fees and balances. Payments can be made by credit card online and will be set up to automatically bill the first of the month.  We also offer ACH (auto bank withdrawal) which can be set up for auto draft the first of each month.   There is a processing fee for credit card and ACH payments. Questions regarding billing can be emailed to Christie Murphy, bcatbanker@gmail.com

 

 

Parent Volunteers & Fundraising Requirements– As a non- profit we try very hard to keep your fees down with our very successful fundraisers.  Parent volunteers are the key to our fundraisers being successful.  All families are asked to assist in various fundraisers and positions in the club.  Team fundraising is necessary to keep the rates low.  The fees and budget are based on everyone meeting their team fundraising goals.  Each family is expected to meet the requirements as defined in our Fundraising Agreement.  If you have any questions please see a board member.  

 

Scholarships – BCAT offers scholarships and the application is on our website under the Parent Info tab, Forms & Documents.  

 

Equipment 

  • Swimmers receive a team shirt with their registration fee which is distributed prior to team pictures.
  • Swim cap – each swimmer will receive a BCAT cap. If you want your name on your cap, orders are taken in September; you need to purchase them in quantities of 2
  • Practice suit – a basic one piece for girls and a jammer for boys is recommended.
  • Team Suit –are required and can be purchased from our swim vendor.  Team suits are worn at meets ONLY. 
  • Goggles – goggles run $10-$30.  Speedo Vanquishers or Jr Vanquishers are a popular brand and are generally $15-$18.
  • See the chart below for additional equipment needed as your swimmer progresses.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Group

Kickboard

Pull

Buoy

Paddles

 

 

 Long Fins

 Front Facing

Snorkel

Senior/HS

(Highly Suggested)

X

X

X

 

X

X

required

Juniors

(Highly Suggested)

X

X

X

 

X

X

required

Cougars

(recommended)

X

X

X

 

X

X

 

Lions

(optional)

X

X

 

 

X

 

Wildcats/Cub

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Registration – Registering for a meet is very simple and takes place on our website.  You will need your username & password to enter the site.  Once you are logged on, you can follow these instructions:

  • Meets are listed on the Home page of the team website
  • You will see an Attend/Decline button next to each meet that is listed, push the Attend/Decline button.
  • If you choose to Attend, you can choose which or all days that you would like to attend.  If you do not pick certain days, the coaches will assume that your swimmer will be present for all sessions that are age appropriate for your swimmer.  
  • Some meets will allow you to select your swimmer’s events.  Please be careful to select events only on the days you want to attend.  
  • Some meets have fees associated with them (AMS) so if you are unsure which meets to pick please ask.
  • There is a memo box that can be used to leave a note for the coaches.  For example, days you can’t attend or specific events your swimmer would like to swim.
  • Some meets (AMS) are usually divided into 2 sessions each day by boys, girls and age groups.

 

  • If something changes with your schedule once you have already registered for a meet, please let Coach Steph know.  If entries have already been sent, you will be responsible for the fees for the events in which your swimmer has been entered. 
  • Meets do have a registration deadline and can sometimes be weeks before the actual meet.  Make sure you sign up by the deadline. Once deadlines have passed it is difficult to add swimmers or make changes and can usually not be done.
  • Relay teams are selected by Coach Steph.  You can check your meet signup prior to the meet to see if your swimmer has been assigned to a relay team.  

If you have questions regarding the event schedule for a meet, meet info is posted on our website.  Please click the name of the meet (on the home page), meet information can be clicked on.  In this information, you will be able to see start times and the order of events.  Please read through the meet info carefully.  You will find information about venue, warm up times, events, heat sheet and admission prices and meet schedule.

POINTS TO KEEP IN MIND: 

  • Swimmers develop at different rates.  Being FAST isn’t most important when first starting out.  
  • Practices may be confusing at first.  Coaches will have some swimmers doing the same thing while others might be working on a different skill.  Drills are key to proper technique.  
  • The process is the most valuable part of competitive swimming. The friendships, lessons, skills, and memories gained from participating in the sport and the team last forever. They help create a healthy, happy, and a strong person. 
  • Parents, swimmers, and coaches may not always agree but honest and open communication maintains mutual respect and a positive relationship.  
  • Let the coaches coach, let the swimmers swim and let the parents support and encourage.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q:  What is the benefit of a USA Swimming Membership?

A: The greatest benefit is that it allows your child to swim at more swim meets and have more opportunities to improve especially in the summer. It also provides catastrophic insurance at practices and sanctioned USA Swimming meets. Swimmers receive newsletters and other information from USA Swimming including a subscription to Splash Magazine.

Q:  Who do I contact with a concern?

A:  If it relates to practice, meets or coaching then please contact a coach.  Billing questions can be directed to our treasurer at bcatbanker@gmail.com.  Any other concerns or questions, please contact a board member. Their contact information is on our website.

Q. How often are swimmers expected to be at practice?

A. Practice makes improvement. We encourage swimmers to attend as many practices as possible. Each training group has a certain commitment level for the number of practices to attend. These levels reflect what we believe to be the minimal number of practices to obtain the most benefit from that training group. More than that is better, less often and it will be difficult to show stroke and conditioning improvement. 

Q: When are practices? 

A: Practice schedules for each location can be found under the Swimmer Info tab located on the home page of the team website. They can also be found by clicking on the calendar on the right hand side of the team website.  Practice schedules can change due to sharing pool time with the high school.  Check regularly!  Swimmers need to attend the practice times for the group they have been assigned to.  Practices are designed for each individual group.

Q:  How is practice group placement determined? How do the practice groups differ? 

A: The team is divided into several training groups, done with the consideration of the swimmers’ development of technical skills, training abilities, commitment level, maturity, competitive levels, meet participation and group availability. The progressive structure of these groups provides a setting in which swimmers are continually challenged yet are able to experience individual and team successes. All group placement decisions are made by the coaching staff and done so in the best interest of the swimmers and their long term development. Each practice group has a different practice schedule and level of commitment. For group descriptions go to the Swimmer Info tab on the home page and select Group Descriptions from the drop down.  Any questions you might still have should be directed to the head coach.

Q. How are relay teams chosen? 

A. The coaches determine who swims on the relays. Sometimes, depending on what type of meet and who is available, a coach may swim the fastest swimmers possible or they may spread kids amongst different relays for more points or more experience. This is solely the coach’s decision

Q: How can I best support my swimmer and the team?

A: Here are four key things you can do to be a great swim team parent 

  • Be on time - Get your swimmer to practice and to swim meets. This is your A#1 responsibility.
  • Stay informed.  Read team emails & visit the team website regularly.  We have a special Parent Info tab. Check it out!  
  • Volunteer! It takes many people and many volunteer hours to make the swim team and fundraisers run smoothly and successfully. It is also a great way to meet other parents. 
  • Be your swimmer's biggest fan. In other words, always encourage and be positive. Let the coaches tell your swimmer what they could have done better.  One of the best things you can say to your swimmer following a meet is “I loved watching you swim!”  and you will!!

Q.  What is the fee to pay by credit card or ACH (direct bank withdrawal)?

A.  Team Unify charges 2.95% of the payment amount plus $0.30 per credit card transaction.  The ACH processing fee is a flat $1.25 per transaction.  ACH can only be used for monthly autopay, not registration.

Q.  How do I know my payment information is secure?

A.  Everything is done under HTTPS secured connection and data is 128 bit encrypted.

Q: How do I view my bill?

A: To view your invoice at any point please use the following steps:

  • Log-in to your Team Unify account

My Account

 

$My Invoice/Payment

  • Select the tab on the left hand column.  This will open further buttons
  • Select the  button.  
  • You are now viewing your current invoice.  Select the Past Invoices tab to see your previous invoices.  Each invoice only shows 1 month of billing.