Gulf Swimming

Welcome to the Aggie Swim Club!  We are so glad that you and your child have joined our program.



My child is interested in swimming competitively year-round. What are our first steps?

To determine the best group placement, your child will need to attend an in-water evaluation before you register for team. We have competitive team tryouts throughout the year at the College Station Middle School at 900 Rock Prairie Road in College Station.  These are held every night, Monday through Thursday, at either 5:15 or 6:15pm.  Just show up with your swimmer in his/her suit with goggles and our coaches will perform the in-water evaluation.

How much does it cost to become a member?

There is an annual family registration fee of $65 per swimmer and an annual USA Swimming registration fee of $92 per swimmer. Monthly fees depend on group placement, please click here to see group rates.

The $65 family registration fee is used for club operations.

The $92 USA Swimming registration fee is used to provide insurance for swimmers and allow swimmers to be members of USA Swimming so that they may swim in swim meets and practices.

What else is required of team members?

Service Hours: All families are required to complete service hours annually (per swim season). Please click here for examples of often available volunteer positions that are available for service hours.

Are parents allowed on deck?

Parents and siblings are not allowed on the pool deck at any time.  This is to insure the safety of our swimmers while they are in the pool. Parents are welcome to watch their swimmers from the bleachers or their assigned area.

Are parents allowed to watch practice?

Yes, parents are a big part of the each swimmer’s development. However, it is very important that you only observe your swimmer during practice. We want to limit parent interaction during practice, so that the coaching staff is able to keep full attention on the swimmers. We ask that all parents and siblings sit in a designated area provided by your coach.

What would be the best time for me to speak with my swimmers coach?

The best way to get in contact with your swimmer’s coach would be to send the coach an email. If you need to speak to the coach in person, please send the coach an email so you are able to set up a conference.

When should my swimmer arrive for practice?

It is a good idea to arrive at least 15 minutes before practice. This is to ensure your swimmer has plenty of time to get their equipment set up before practice begins. Posted practice times are dive in times, not arrival times. The coaching staff will be at the pool 15 minutes prior to each practice. Swimmers should not be dropped off any earlier without first talking to a coach.

What if I arrive late?

If you arrive late, please have your swimmer ready to swim as soon as possible. Once your swimmer is ready, send them to his or her coach for instructions.

What do I need to do if I have to leave early?

We highly encourage swimmers to stay for the entire practice; however, we understand that this is not always possible. If you leave practice early please, let the coach know before the start of practice. This way, we are able to account for every swimmer arriving and departing.

If I miss a practice, can I come to another group for a make up?

If a practice is missed for any reason have your swimmer come to their next scheduled practice. Swimmers are not allowed to attend a different group to make up missed practices.

What does my swimmer need to bring to practice?

Each group has an equipment list that can be viewed by clicking here. All swimmers are required to have all of their equipment at each practice.

Can I change practice times and/or locations?

As long as their is availability in a particular practice time, yes, you may change practice times and/or locations by emailing [email protected] .

Can I take pictures or record my swimmer during practice?

No, we do not allow videotaping or pictures of swimmers during practice.

Can I time my child during practice?

No, we ask that all timing during practice is done only by the swimmers coach.


About USA Meets:

Where are the meets held?

Most meets are in the north Houston area.  Occasionally, the club travels to an out of town meet in Texas or even other states. The best way to get an idea of exactly where meets are held during a typical season is to look over the schedules on the Meet Schedule page.

When are the meets held and how long do they last?

Meets are usually scheduled for Saturday and Sunday (9am-1pm).  These times are approximate.  Sometimes the meets are also on Friday nights.  The events scheduled for Friday night are usually longer distances for older kids. (500 Free, 400 IM, etc.) Although the start times are pretty consistent the finish times vary widely depending on the number of swimmers entered.  Timelines for meets are posted the Wednesday before the start of each meet and will tell you when your swimmer's events are and how long the meet will last.

How do I sign up for a meet?

Swimmers in the senior, junior and age group practice groups are automatically entered in all USA meets for every day of the meet.  Swimmers unavailable to attend certain days of a meet must communicate prior to the event deadline to [email protected] which days the swimmer is unavailable to swim. 

Swimmers in age group development and novice can e-mail [email protected] to enter a meet.

Do I have to attend every meet?

While we encourage all swimmers to attend swim meets, the number of meets recommended depends on the swimmer’s group. To see group descriptions, please click here.

Can I use my best summer league times when I enter a meet?

No, you can only use times from a sanctioned USA meet.  You are allowed to enter a meet without an entry time if you've never swum the event at a USA meet.  It's referred to as entering with a "no time" (NT).

How much does it cost to enter a meet?

Typical costs for a Gulf hosted meet is about $8.00 per individual event plus a $5.00 per swimmer meet surcharge if you enter ahead of time. If you wait until the day of the meet and "enter on deck" you will be charged double.  Fees are typically higher for championship meets (TAGS, Nationals, etc.)  Also, prices for heat sheets are usually about $5.  ($10 for championships and big invitationals)

Where do my seed times come from that are in the heat sheet?

The team keeps a database of all times swam by each swimmer.  When the events you've chosen for a meet are entered into the computer it selects your best time for that stroke and distance to use as your seed time.

What does it mean to "circle in".

At meets, the host team will post a list of all swimmers who have entered each event.  You must find your name on the list for each event that you intend to swim and circle the number next to it. This tells the host team that you are there and you still intend to swim the event.  If you do not want to swim a particular event then do NOT circle in for that event.  The list for each event will be taken to the scoring computer about 45 minutes prior to the expected start time.  If the number next to your name is not circled then you will be scratched from the event.  If you DO circle in and then do NOT show up when your heat is called to the blocks you will be penalized by being fined $5 by the Gulf Board.

How do I know if my swimmer is in a relay?

Swimmers should see their coach before the start of the meet.  No swimmer should leave a meet without checking with a coach about participating in a relay.
Does my swimmer have to attend warm ups? Yes, all swimmers must attend warm ups for every meet.

What is meant by "Short Course" and "Long Course"?

These terms generally refer to the length of a pool.  Short Course is a 25 yard (or meter) pool and Long Course is a 50 meter pool.  However, the names are also used for the two seasons in USA Swimming.  September to March is the Short Course season when meets are held in 25 yard pools.  April to August is the Long Course season as meets are held in 50 meter pools.  Most 50 meter pools can be configured as either long course or short course by running lane ropes length-wise or width-wise or by inserting a bulkhead in the middle of the pool.

I've heard people refer to "B & Under" and "A & Up" meets. What does that mean?

USA Swimming publishes time standards for boys and girls by age group that can be used as a scale to gauge a swimmer's level of achievement in each event.  They are, from slowest to fastest, B, BB, A, AA, AAA & AAAA.  Trying to reach the next level in a particular event can be motivational to swimmers.  Meets are often restricted to swimmers above or below a certain level to limit the number of entries.  For example, to enter an event at an A & Up meet you must have an A time or better in that event.  Other times age is used to limit entries to a manageable number. (11 & Up, 10 & Under)


Additional FAQ's:

What type of nutrition is good for a swimmer?

To access a nutrition tracker, log onto USA Swimming at http://www.usaswimming and create an account by clicking "sign in" at the top right of the screen.  Follow the directions, then go to the Parent Tab and go to click on "Parent Resources" on the left, then scroll down to "Nutrition".

At what age should swimmers start year-round swimming?  Can I join a club like AGS if I'm already swimming for my high school and/or neighborhood summer league team?

Many athletes starting with the AGS have been exposed to swimming with Northwest Aquatic League (NWAL).  This is a great way to begin competitive swimming.  Most of the faster swimmers involved in NWAL are also training with a United States Swimming (USA) team.  This greatly enhances their stroke technique and endurance.

But this type of regimen is not for every swimmer.  When an athlete’s interest is strong enough to warrant training with a USA Team like the AGS, we suggest that they begin in either our Novice or Age Group Development programs.  This introduction to competitive training will ease the transition between the two different platforms.

Year-round swimming should generally be attempted only by athletes seven (7) years old and older.  Swimming should be fun, not a chore (they have enough chores to do outside of the pool!)

The high school and summer league seasons are too short for those that love to swim.  Our Gold, Juniors and Elite programs always have high school swimmers who train with AGS as well as their school during the year.  We even have programs, Senior and HS Auxiliary, specifically for the High School swimmer who wants additional training time to increase their chances of high school success.  Also, the majority of high school swimmers that advance to regional and state meets and the summer league swimmers who go to the top Invitationals are "year-round" swimmers.  Coaches are well aware that many swimmers are swimming for both teams.  They will work together to make your season as successful as possible. 

Swimmers from our age group program frequently do both Summer League and AGS at the same time during the summer. Only swimmers in the Junior and Senior groups (our top training groups) are asked to refrain from summer league swimming due to their training requirements

If you have any questions about what is best for your swimmer, please ask your coach about what they suggest.

How often should my swimmer attend practice?

Each program has a maximum number of practices per week that your swimmer may attend.  Your coach will probably suggest that your swimmer attend the maximum number per week but might recommend that your athlete attend fewer practices depending on ability.  Younger and less experienced swimmers should probably not come to the maximum number of practices allowed each week so that they become acclimated to the regimen of the physical exercise.

The number of practices is established by the coaches to maximize the effectiveness of the program.  This also helps to maintain the level of development of each athlete.  By adhering to these guidelines, swimmers have a better chance of not only succeeding but continuing their interest in the sport of swimming.

If you have any questions about what is best for your swimmer, please ask your coach about what they suggest.

When will my swimmer be ready to move up to the next level in practices?

Your swimmer's coach will look for various things in practice to determine when your swimmer is ready to move up to the next level.  To move from novice to the age group level, coaches will look for proficiency in all four strokes, moderate endurance and proper technique.  To move from the age group to senior development level a coach will look at a swimmer's meet times and for the ability to maintain their endurance for a longer period of time.

Swimmer's who start out with the novice group should be ready to move up within 6-12 months, depending upon the number of practices attended and swimmer's ability.

It is important not to move a swimmer up from one level to the next too quickly.  The swimmer must build their confidence and knowledge and be ready for the next level.  However, it is also important not to hold a swimmer back when he/she is ready for the next level.

Feel free to talk to your swimmer's coach to find out when your swimmer might be ready for the next level.

Is my swimmer progressing normally?

As outlined above, every child has their own schedule of improvement.  It is dependant on not only physiological and psychological factors but also on outside influences. 

These outside conditions include most prominently their coach and their parents.  If all factors are positive then, yes, your child is progressing normally.  If some parts of their development is not being met, then no.  There are so many factors to consider that it is difficult to accurately give any parent (or swimmer for that matter) an absolute answer.

Coaches do their best to enrich the athletes in their program to the best of their ability.  Some programs prosper better than others because those coaches who understand that the more positives that can be included in a swimmer's agenda, then more positive results will ensue.

As parents, if you are the greatest supporter and comforter of your child, you are giving them the solid footing to stand on their own and become self-confident.  We all learn the most when we are open to change and feel confident in whatever we are doing.

What is USA Swimming?

USA Swimming is the National Governing Body for the sport of swimming.  They administer competitive swimming in accordance with the Amateur Sports Act and provide programs and services for our members, supporters, affiliates and the interested public.  They value these members of the swimming community, and the staff and volunteers who serve them.  They are committed to excellence and the improvement of our sport.  Additional information can be found on their website.

Why is stroke technique so important?

Stroke technique is the basis of efficient and productive strokes.  By continually updating and introducing new stroke drills, athletes are more apt to perform better strokes which will result in faster times at swim meets.

Another thing to consider is that most young adults are growing quickly and the brain sometimes has a problem with "updating" the knowledge that the body is bigger, the arms are longer, and the muscles are stronger.  By continually doing the drills and helping the child to adapt to their ever changing body, they are able to maintain speed and endurance needed for their races at meets.

Coaches also use the strategy of changing the drills as often as possible so that the athlete has to make a continuous effort to do the new stroke drill correctly.  This insures that they are actually thinking when doing the drills.   When the same drills are repeated over and over, the swimmer loses interest and does not perform the drill adequately even though it is a good drill that enhances the attributes for fast swimming.

What are realistic goals and how can my parents help me achieve these goals?

Goals are specific to each swimmer.  Goals for the season can be outlined at the beginning of the season with the expectation of altering those goals if the process either becomes more stagnant or more elevated.  Goals should be carefully thought out by the swimmer and coach.  Each swimmer (usually 11 years old and older) should write down these goals and discuss them with the coach to get their input.

These goals are usually planned for the end of the season swims but interim goals are also a consideration.  By planning steps to be achieved through the season, the athlete becomes more confident of their end-of-the-season goals.  And again, these can also be adjusted during the season to accommodate changes in training, physical conditioning, swimmer's mental intensity, etc.

Parents should support the swimmer in their acquisition of these projected accomplishments.   Athletes are more likely to achieve goals if they feel that their parents believe in what they are doing and that they can do what they set out to do.  Coaches have a lot of experience in helping to direct swimmers toward goals.  This is why it is important that the athlete and coach agree on goals and that the parents support those decisions.

If for some reason the parents do not agree with the goals, they should address these concerns with the coach without the swimmer being present.  This way, the coach can explain the reasoning behind the decisions and illuminate the parent as to their athlete's frame of mind while forging these goals.  The coach/swimmer relationship can therefore be maintained.

If you have any specific questions about goals and your swimmer, please contact your coach and set up a time to discuss your concerns.

How do I know what my potentials are as a swimmer?

Every child has their own potential.  The most amazing part is that children change so much over the years that it is almost impossible to predict what their potential will be.

A child's current potential has very little to do with their future potential.  The biggest influencing factor for a child is how much fun and enjoyment they get out of their activity.  If they are not happy with what they are doing, it doesn't matter how much "potential" they have if they quit the sport.

Youngsters come to swimming because they feel needed and wanted; they have a special bond with their teammates and coach; they enjoy swimming for the fun of it; and they are willing to give up their time to do this activity.

If these basic ingredients are achieved, the "potential" of a swimmer is greatly enhanced because they believe in themselves.  This attribute in itself is a very powerful motivator.  When a child is empowered to direct their own future, they become very self-confident and mature young adults.       

How can I stay focused on continuing to do well when I have had a disappointing season?

Every swimmer will endure a moment in their development where they will have a period of time where they don't seem to be improving.  There are many factors involved that can cause an athlete to have a "slump" in their performance.

When youngsters enter the swimming program, they are inundated with new information to help them swim faster.   This information is directly transferred to their times which drop dramatically over a period of time as they develop their stroke technique.

As a child grows older, they will notice that they do not do their best time every time that they swim an event.   The most experienced swimmers will only see drops in time once or twice a year when they are at their physical perfection and at a championship meet. 

Seasons that do not produce better times are usually ones where there have been a lot of changes.  These changes include: changes in training routine; changes in body composition (i.e. weight gain, weight loss, height increase, etc.); changes in stress levels (i.e. home life, school grades, etc.); or change in personal goals or evaluations.

Since many factors are involved in these disappointing seasons, it is usually difficult for a coach or parent to effectively speculate as to the "cause" of the season results.  Athletes who have been involved in a sport for longer periods of time will learn that these "slumps" are normal (undesirable, none the less) in their development.  If they are able to continue with the positive attitude that got them to the point at which they are now, then they will have a much better probability of continuing their success in future seasons.

Should I swim when I am sick?

Swimmers are faced with illness during the year.  Sometimes it is acceptable to come to practice when you are not feeling in the best of health.  Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Whenever you have a fever, don't come to practice.
  2. If you are only affected by a cold that does not involve either an elevated temperature or a cough, it is acceptable to come to practice.
  3. If you are ok to go to school you are ok to go to practice.

The general rule is that if it is neck up - it's OK to come to practice.  If it involves neck down, don't come to practice.

Warning signs of getting ill:

  1. Bad breath (yes, it's true)
  2. Headache
  3. Body aches

Here are some tips on how to prevent yourself from getting sick:

  1. Wash your hands regularly during the day (very important)
  2. Don't put your fingers in you eyes, mouth or nose
  3. Drink plenty of fluids
  4. Get enough sleep

How do I get noticed by colleges if I swim both high school and USA?

Times that are posted at major swim meets that include both high school state and USA competition (such as Sectionals) in both Swimming World Magazine and on internet sites such as United States Swimming homepage.  College coaches and their assistants constantly review these times and may sometimes contact the coach of a swimmer to find out about how the team trains and prepares.  They are not allowed to contact the swimmer or ask about certain swimmers because of NCAA (the governing body of college athletics) rules.

Sometimes coaches of swimmers will inform college coaches by calling or writing a letter to let them know of potential swimmer's abilities.  This is usually done when a swimmer is interested in a smaller college or university.  These colleges have fewer resources and rely on tips like these to recruit swimmers who may not be at the national level.

If an athlete is interested in finding out about what is available to them, the best thing to do is to start looking into many resources and gather as much information about colleges that they may be interested in attending.  After compiling this list, contact the coach at the college of their top choices and find out what is available.  Athletes who do not have national time standards may want to start at smaller colleges and find out what is available at those schools first.

It is a good idea to start looking when a swimmer is a junior in high school.  This will help them make better choices when they are a senior because they have more information and are prepared in their selection.