Prince George Barracuda Swim Club


What you will find in the PGBSC Handbook are..

  • General Information,

  • Coaching Staff,

  • PGBSC Development Program,

  • Information about swimming competitively,

  • Meet Selection,

  • Officiating at Meets,

  • Team Travel,

  • Parent, Swimmer, Coaches, and Club expectations,

  • Swimmers’ Code of Conduct,

  • Harassment Policy, and

  • Club Structure.

Table of Contents






5.1 Prince George Barracuda Age Limit Policy

5.2 Developmental Program

5.3 Competitive Program

5.4 Group Structure

5.4.1 Youth / National

5.4.2 Elite

5.4.3 Development I

5.4.4 Development II

5.4.5 Development III

5.4.6 Fitness Program

5.4.7 Development Program

5.5 Practice Times

5.6 Attendance

5.7 Swim School Program

5.8 Summer Swim Camp Program

5.9 Master Swim Program

5.10 Equipment

5.11 Social Events


6.1 PGBSC Registration Package

6.1.1 Overview of the Barracuda Program

6.1.2 Registration Nights

6.1.3 How To Register


7.1 Individual Times

7.2 Time Standards

7.3 Swim Meet Levels

7.4 Types of Swim Meets

7.4.1 Time Trials

7.4.2 All Level Meets

7.4.3 Invitational Meet

7.4.4 Provincial Championships (AA’s)

7.4.5 Provincial Championships (AAA’s)

7.4.6 Canadian Age Group Championships

7.4.7 Western and Eastern Canadian Championships

7.4.8 National Meets

7.4.9 International Meets

7.5 Swim Meets

What is a Swim Meet?

What Happens at a Meet?

What do the Barracudas Do?

7.5.1 Selection for a Meet

7.5.2 At the Meet

7.6 Club Uniform/Team Gear

7.7 Meet Calendar/Schedule

7.8 Course, Meets, Competitive Swimming Strokes and other Definitions

7.8.1 The Racing Course

7.8.2 The Meet

7.8.3 Freestyle Events

7.8.4 Backstroke Events

7.8.5 Breaststroke Events

7.8.6 Butterfly Events

7.8.7 Individual Medley

7.8.8 Medley Relay

7.8.9 Starts and Turns

7.9 Strategies

7.10 Heats, Finals and Seeding

7.11 Officiating at Meets

7.11.1 General Guidelines for Officials


8.1 Travel & Meet Director

8.2 Travel Information 

8.3 Clothing and Gear for Out-of-Town Trips

8.4 Spending Money

8.5 Cost of Transportation

8.6 Travel Guidelines

8.6.1 Hotel Accommodations for Meets

8.6.2 Behavior and Expectations for Hotel Meets


9.1 Club Responsibilities

9.1.1 Training

9.1.2 Coaching

9.1.3 Swim Meets

9.1.4 Travel 

9.1.5 Administration

9.2 Swimmers’ Responsibilities

9.2.1 Team and Individual Goals Team Goals Guidelines for Establishing Individual Goals

9.3 Swimmers’ Code of Conduct

9.4 Prince George Barracuda Swimmer’s Conduct Policy

9.5 Parents Responsibilities

9.6 Club Operations

9.7 Fundraising

9.8 Fundraising Levy

9.9 Prince George Barracuda Meet Funding Policy

9.10 Billeting

9.11 Prince George Barracuda Billeting Policy

9.12 Guidelines for Billeting During Swim Meets

9.13 Officiating at Swim Meets

9.14 Financial Support

9.15 Meetings

9.16 Suggestions for Parents

9.17 Coach’s Responsibilities



11.1 Budget

11.2 Fees

11.3 Training Fees

11.4 Swim BC Registration

11.5 Meet Fees

11.6 Travel Fees

11.7 Coaching Fees

11.8 Fundraising Levy

11.9 Fundraising Events

11.9.1 Raffles

11.9.2 Chocolate Bars

11.9.3 Corporate Challenge

11.9.4 Swim-a-thon

11.9.5 Other Projects


12.1 Barracuda Organization

12.2 Meetings

12.3 Constitution and By-Laws

12.4 Membership

12.5 Obligations of Members

12.6 General and Special Meetings

12.7 Votes of Members

12.8 Executive

12.9 Financing

12.10 Amendments

12.11 Audit of Account

12.13 Common Seal

12.14 Books and Records


13.1 Purpose

13.2 Membership

13.3 General Disciplinary Procedures

13.4 Conduct of Hearings

13.5 Records

13.6 Conflict of Interest

13.7 Appeals


14.1 Selecting Foods for Performance and Health

14.2 Watch what is eaten between meals

14.3 Eating on the day of the meet



15.1 Supporting Sponsors

15.2 Meet Sponsors



The Prince George Barracuda Swim Club is a competitive racing club. This section is intended to assist new parents and swimmers to understand the various types of meets and competitions that will be encountered.

7.1 Individual Times

In many ways, swimming is an individual sport. The only way to advance is to improve your own times. Training is centered on the individual swimmer. Swimmers learn many details of the “pacing of racing”, focusing on their own times and improving those times. At practice, swimmers learn to gauge precisely their strokes and laps. Pacing is also used to build aerobic and anaerobic endurance, to strengthen specific strokes and to warm up and warm down.

When a swimmer is entered in a race, his or her own time for a specific event must be known since many meets have minimum qualifying times. Entry times are also used to place swimmers in appropriate heats (see Heats, Finals and Seeding).

For swimmers, times are based on certain standards, which are determined by SNC and Swim BC. These standards are discussed briefly below. The “time” of the swimmer is for each event; one swimmer may have an “AA” time in one event and still have an “A” time in another event. As swimmers train and develop, their times for each event become faster and they qualify for a higher time standard. For example, a swimmer might be entered in the 100m Freestyle with an “AA” time, but might swim a faster “AAA” time in the actual race. This new “AAA” time becomes his or her official time and is used for entering subsequent meets.

Times for events are also age related. There are separate time standards for “10 and under”, 11 and 12 years of age”, 13 and 14”, 15 and 16” and 17 and over”. When swimmers change age groups, their official times are applied to the new age group standard.

The third division for time is by sex. Girls’ times are often faster than boys in the lower age groups, and then reverse in the older age groups.

7.2 Time Standards

The time standards are shown below. Every fall, actual time standards for each event in each age group will be published. In the event that these time standards should change throughout the year, updates will be posted at the pool. The head Coach will have up to date records of your child’s times.

“A” Times: enables a swimmer to enter any All Level Meet.

“AA” Times: are faster than “A” times. These times enable a swimmer to enter any All Level Meet, Regional Qualifying Meets and Provincial AA Championships.

“AAA” Times: are also known as “Provincial Championship Times”. Swimmers aim for these times, which then qualify them for the Provincial Championships and some Invitational Meets

Junior National Times: The Youth/National group will aim not only for their “AAA” times, but also for a Junior National time. These are faster than “AAA” times and are required for the Junior National Championships (19 & under).

National Times: are achieved by only a few swimmers. These times enable the swimmer to compete at the Canadian Nationals; held twice a year.

Trials: are specific times set for special meet trials such as the Olympic Trials, Commonwealth Trials, World Championships, etc. These times are usually faster than National time standards.

7.4 Types of Meets

Swimmers compete in two different lengths of swimming pool: 25m and 50m. Short course meets (SC) are swam in a 25 meter pool. The short course season runs from September until the end of March. Long course (LC) meets are held in 50 meter pools only. The long course season is from April through August.

Not only distance but also time differences occur between SC and LC events. Long course times are slower than short course times. For the same event, the SC time is roughly 98% of LC, or, conversely, LC is about 102% of SC, although there is some variation among events and distances. The reason for this is that the push-off from a turn is faster than the swimmer could swim in the same distance. SC times are, therefore, faster because they have more turns.

The following is a brief description of the types of meets you are likely to encounter through competitive swimming.

7.4.1 Time Trials

Regularly throughout the year we will host time trials. These events usually take 2-3 hours and are basically a mini-meet where 1 or 2 events only will be swam. The Time Trials are usually scheduled to take place on Saturday morning. The time trial is sanctioned by Swim BC, so the times achieved will be “official” and be used in qualifying meets.

The set-up at the pool is very similar to a regular meet so our swimmers get a feel for a meet without traveling out of town. These time trials are also great opportunities for our officials to practice their skills.

7.4.2 All Level Meets

These are official SNC meets held throughout Canada. These meets have no qualifying times and are open to all swimmers. Prince George Barracudas attend meets of this level in both BC and Alberta. Any competitive swimmer wishing to attend any such meet must indicate so on the “sign up” sheet. This is a list posted on the bulletin board at the pool prior to any upcoming meet. However, all entries are subject to both parental and coaches’ approval. We assume that all swimmers registered in Development II and up will at a minimum compete at our local swim meets. Please inform your coach beforehand if this is not your wish.

7.4.3 Invitational Meet

A club who “invites” others to compete hosts these meets. They vary somewhat although many require “AA” times. An example of this type of meet is the Hyack Invitational.

7.4.4 Provincial Championships (AA’s)

Provincial Championships are Age Group Champs are held twice yearly in March and July. The short course meet is for swimmers 17 and under while the long course meet accommodates swimmers up to senior (17+) level. Competitors must have achieved an AA standard.

7.4.5 Provincial Championships (AAA’s)

Provincial Championships are Age Group Champs are held twice yearly in March and July. The short course meet is for swimmers 17 and under while the long course meet accommodates swimmers up to senior (17+) level. Competitors must have achieved an AAA standard.

7.4.6 Canadian Age Group Championships

Canadian Age Group Championships happen once a year in the summer during the long course season. The major change in the meet format is the different time standard for the different age categories. Previously the time standards were the same across the board.

7.4.7 Western and Eastern Canadian Championships

The Western and Eastern Canadian Championships are held in the spring every year. All provinces west of Ontario compete at the Western Championships. All provinces east of Manitoba compete at the Eastern Championships. The championships are short course

7.4.8 National Meets

Winter short course Nationals are held in January or February while long course Nationals are usually in July or August. Entry requires proven national level times in specific events.

7.4.9 International Meets

International meets include the various Games listed below:

Pan American Games

  • Countries from North and South America
  • Held every 4 years

Pan Pacific Games

  • Countries from the Pacific Rim
  • Held every 2 years

Commonwealth Games

  • Countries from the British Commonwealth
  • Held every 4 years

Olympic Games

  • Countries recognized by the IOC
  • Held every 4 years

World Championships

  • Countries recognized by FINA
  • Held every 4 years

There are also World Cup races every season around the world. These races are a circuit that Canada’s National Team will participate in. There are money prizes for top swimmers.

7.5 Swim Meets

What is a Swim Meet?

Swim meets are organized competitions between two or more teams or swim clubs. They allow the swimmer to demonstrate swimming skills under the pressure of competition. During the course of every swim year, a competitive swimmer will have the opportunity to participate in several meets with swimmers of a comparable level of ability.


What Happens at a Meet

The meet procedure is fairly well established. When the doors open (usually between 6:30 – 7:30AM), coaches have their swimmers warming up, while the Meet Manager may hold a scratch meeting (where she/he finds which swimmers have been scratched and adjusts heats if necessary). Approximately 15 minutes before the meet begins, the Referee calls an officials meeting to inform Timers, Place Judges and Stroke and Turns Judges of their responsibilities.

Approximately five (5) minutes before the meet starting time, the Referee clears all swimmers from the pool. The Chief Timers with the assistance of the Starter performs a stopwatch accuracy test.

As the meet gets underway, the first heat of swimmers have found their way to the starting blocks and are ready to race. The Starter will call them to the blocks and begin the race. Meanwhile, the next heat of swimmers moves into place and so the process continues.

What do the Barracudas Do?

The Club hosts 2-3 swim meets annually. Generally, the third week of November and the end of April are designated as our own Invitationals. In the past the Barracudas have hosted the BC Provincial Championships, which have been very successful.

In order to run these meets, our club has a responsibility to provide competent officiating. It requires as many as seventy-five officials at all times to run each session of a meet. It is important that club parents give their full support to these meets, both by taking officials clinics to train themselves and by assisting on the deck.

7.5.1 Selection for a Meet

Coaches will normally select swimmers for attendance, taking into account the swimmer’s need for an official time, readiness for a competitive situation and the opportunity to swim new events. However, there are many All Level meets that require swimmers to “sign-up”. These sign-up sheets are posted on the bulletin board at the pool and coaches will advise the swimmers when to look for these. Encourage your child to discuss his or her intentions with you BEFORE they sign-up for the meet. It is important that they keep you posted because once they have signed up, there can very well be financial responsibilities that you will be held accountable for, even should you wish to cancel out of the meet. Please refer to the section on Travel.

The head coach maintains club swim records. These records are updated after each meet and contain the best current times for each swimmer in each event. It is these times that are used as entry times on the swimmers meet entry cards.

Entry fees, other that for own meets, must be sent to the host club two weeks in advance and are not refundable. In addition, travel arrangements must be made for all out-of-town meets and are dependent upon the number of swimmers attending. While emergencies do occur, once a meet commitment has been made, it should be honoured.

The Travel Director makes travel arrangements for out-of-town meets. Please refer to the section on Travel for this type of information.


7.5.2 At the Meet

Be punctual, warm-ups are mandatory. There will normally be a one-hour warm-up period before the meet starts. Swimmers need to arrive at the pool early enough to change and be on deck for the start of stretches. These begin 20 minutes prior to the start of warm-ups. Before and after every swim the swimmer should go and talk to their coach. This will ensure that any last minute instructions and preparation are dealt with.

7.6 Club Uniform/Team Gear

Barracuda swimmers are expected to wear Team Gear at all swim meets. Barracuda

T-shirts are mandatory. The Club has made a good effort to provide quality at an affordable cost. This will enable us to project a more “professional” image when in public.

In the event that heats and finals take place, it is expected that team gear is to be worn by all swimmers, including those that did not qualify for the finals.

Swimmers should remember that they represent their club and should always dress and act in a manner, which reflects their pride in the Barracuda Swim Club.

7.7 Meet Calendar/Schedule

The head coach in consultation with the Executive Committee determines the Club’s meet schedule. It may vary from year to year depending upon many factors. Details are published regularly in the Club newsletter. Not all swimmers attend all of the scheduled meets. The coaches in consultation with parents make the decision. Factors influencing the decision include the following: qualifying times for a meet, the attitude of the swimmer, and the importance of the particular meet in the specific training schedule of the individual swimmer. The meet calendar is therefore intended only as a guideline in planning your activities over the year. Please check with your coach and the bulletin board to clarify each swim meet.

7.8 Course, Meets, Competitive Swimming Strokes and other Definitions

7.8.1 The Racing Course

The length of a long course racing pool is 50 meters and a short course is 25 meters. The pool has eight lanes and each lane is 2.5 meters wide. The water temperature must be kept at 26 degrees Celsius.

7.8.2 The Meet

There are normally 13 individual events and three relays for men and women in a swim meet.

7.8.3 Freestyle Events

In the freestyle, the competitor may swim any stroke he or she wishes. The usual stroke used is the front crawl. The alternate overhand motion of the arms characterizes this stroke. The freestyle is swam over 50, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1500 meters distances.

7.8.4 Backstroke Events

In the backstroke, the swimmer must stay on his or her back at all times. The stroke is an alternating motion of the arms. At each turn a swimmer must touch the wall with some part of the body. Swimmers must surface within 15 meters after the start and each turn. Backstroke race distances are 50, 100 and 200 meters.

7.8.5 Breaststroke Events

Perhaps one of the most difficult strokes to master, the breaststroke requires simultaneous movements of the arms on the same horizontal plane. The hands are pushed forward from the breast on or under the surface of the water and brought backward in the propulsive stage of the stroke simultaneously.

The kick is a simultaneous thrust of the legs called a frog or whip kick. At each turn a swimmer must touch with both hands at the same time. Breaststroke races are distances of 50, 100 and 200 meters.

7.8.6 Butterfly Events

The most physically demanding stroke, the butterfly features the simultaneous overhead stroke of the arms combined with the butterfly kick. The dolphin kick features both legs moving up and down together. No flutter of whip kicking is allowed.

The butterfly was born in the early 1950’s due to a loophole in the breaststroke rules and became an Olympic event in Melbourne, Australia in 1965. Butterfly races are swam in 50, 100 and 200-meter distances.

7.8.7 Individual Medley

The individual medley, commonly referred to as the IM, features all four competitive strokes. In the I.M., a swimmer begins with the butterfly, changes to the backstroke after one-fourth of the race, then the breaststroke for another quarter and finally finishes with the freestyle. The IM is swum in 200 and 400-meter distances.

7.8.8 Medley Relay

In the medley relay all four strokes are swam by four different swimmers. No swimmer may swim more than one leg of the relay, which is swum in backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle order. The medley relay is 200 or 400 meters distances.

7.8.9 Starts and Turns

Many races are won or lost in starts and turns. The swimmer is called to the starting position by the starter, who usually checks that all swimmers are motionless. Then, once the starter is satisfied, the race is started by either a gun or electronic tone.

Quick turns are essential to a good race. In all events the swimmer must touch the wall, but in the freestyle and backstroke the swimmer may somersault as he or she reaches the wall, touching only with the feet. In the other two competitive strokes, the swimmer must touch the wall with both hands before executing the turn.

7.9 Strategies

The sprint races (50 and 100 meters) are an all-out burst of speed from start to finish. The slightest mistake can cost precious hundredths of seconds - and the race.

The 200-meter events require the swimmer to have a sense of pace as well as the ability to swim in a controlled speed.

The 400, 800 and 1500m meter freestyle require the swimmer to constantly be aware of were they are in the water and how tired they are becoming. Swimming the first portion of the race at too fast of a pace can sap a swimmer’s strength and cause a poor finish. Swimming the first portion of the race too slowly can separate the swimmer from the pack and make catching up impossible.

There are two ways to swim a distance race. Swimmers may elect to swim the race evenly (holding the same pace throughout the race) or they may negative split the race. A negative split occurs when the swimmer covers the second half of the race faster than the first half.

7.10 Heats, Finals and Seeding

Swim meets are generally run with both preliminary heats and finals or with timed finals. In the first, there are a number of heats swam earlier in the day and only the faster swimmers are entered in the finals. In the latter, all swimmers swim only once for each event. In both cases, it is usual for swimmers to be seeded.

Seeding is the process where swimmers are ranked according to their entry times for each event and placed in specific lanes and heats.

The reason for seeding a meet is so that no swimmer is more than one half the pool width away from the likely heat winner. Seeding involves both the lane of the pool as well as which heat a swimmer is in.

In an eight-lane pool, like the Aquatic Centre, the swimmer with the fastest qualifying time for a heat is seeded in lane 4. The second fastest swimmer is placed in lane 5, the next fastest is in lane 3, the next fastest in lane 6, the next fastest in lane 2, the next fastest in lane 7, the next fastest in lane 1 and the slowest in lane 8. In time final meets, the heats are usually swam slowest to fastest according to the submitted times.

On the other hand, meets, which use a heats and finals format, are seeded differently. The fastest three heats, which are swam last, are circle seeded whereas all the earlier heats are seeded as described above.

Circle seeding of the top 3 heats involves grouping the times of the swimmers into set of 3. For example, the fastest set of 3 times swim in lane 4 (in an eight lane pool) but in separate heats. The next fastest 3 (swimmers 4, 5, and 6) swim in lane 5 in separate heats, swimmers 7, 8, and 9-use lane 3 etc. according to the seeding pattern discussed before. Swimmers who are entered in an event, but without an official time are ranked by draw and seeded slowest at the start of the preliminaries.

Most of the all-level meets are swum as time finals due to the large number of swimmers in many events. All provincial level meets and many qualifying meets are swum with the preliminaries and finals.

7.11 Officiating at Meets

The Director of Officials will post a sign –up sheet on the Bulletin Board 2-3 weeks prior to a meet in order to establish a working roster of officials. As mentioned previously it takes many officials to run a swim meet. Please make sure you sign up to work at the meet.

Officials’ clinics will be conducted on a regular basis, commencing with Level 1. Please watch the Newsletter and Bulletin board for dates, times and location of clinics. If you have a particular interest in any area or require further information, contact the Director of Officials.

  • The following list outlines the requirement for certification under the SNC guidelines for the various levels. These notes are an unofficial summary of the requirements for obtaining each level of certification. Certification for any position requires successfully completing the exam for that position plus working a minimum of two meets as an apprentice. The Director of Officials can provide additional details.

Level 1 Official (red pin)

  • Lane Timer
  • Place Judge
  • Marshall

Level 2 Official (white pin)

  • Level 1 plus certified for two (2) of the following seven (7) positions:
  • Recorder/Scorer
  • Clerk of the Course
  • Stroke/Turn Judge/Head Lane Timer > Starter
  • Chief Timer
  • Chief Place Judge
  • Chief Judge Electronic
  • Meet Manager

Level 3 Official (orange pin)

  • Certified as Level 2, written all seven of the above exams, be certified in six (6) positions (one of which is Stroke/Turn Judge/Head Lane Timer), plus conduct at least one Level 1 clinic.

Level 4 Official green pin (Senior Official)

  • Certified as Level 3, as Referee (and evaluated by a Master Official), minimum of 1 year’s active service as a certified Level 3 Official, organize and conduct a minimum of two (2) Level 2 and above official’s clinics.

Level 5 Official blue pin (Master Official)

  • 1 year’s active service as a certified Level 4 Official with a wide variety of experiences, organize and conduct a minimum of two (2) additional Level 2 and above clinics, certified as working at National or International class meets, and recommended by the Provincial level organization.

It takes a minimum of three to four years of active work to become a Master Official. The Club recognizes that not every parent will have the time or the interest in achieving this level. It is important, however, for every family to support the Club by working as an official.

7.11.1 General Guidelines for Officials

  1. Be on deck of the swimming pool at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the meet or before the time scheduled for your shift.
  2. Dress in light weight comfortable “whites” – shorts are acceptable – in order to present a uniform image of professionalism. Clean gym or deck shoes are best or bare feet, remembering you are working on a wet, hard surface. Please wear your pin.
  3. When you arrive on deck, check your name off the list of officials and identify yourself to the person in charge. Pick up any required materials (stop watch, clipboard, etc).
  4. After your shift, get the Referee to sign your apprenticeship certificate, if required.
  5. The host club provides light snacks to officials while working a session. Breaks must usually be arranged between co-workers.
  6. Always be consistent and fair as well as knowledgeable regarding current swim rules. A rulebook can be obtained form the Director of Officials. Any updates or changes can also be read on the Swim BC