Bearsharktopus Aquatic Swim Club

BASC History

The owner of this program grew up swimming for both local swim programs in Springfield. He and his family have been involved in local swimming for over five decades, and have covered the entire spectrum of aquatics, including taking and instructing swim lessons, lifeguarding, officiating, and competitive swimming, as well as participating in USA Swimming administration & government. After having personal experiences in these programs, it became a personal goal of the owner to develop better all-inclusive programs in the area. In recent years, his involvement has progressed from running high school and summer recreation team programs to starting a competitive club team. 

Originally, Bearsharktopus Aquatics Swim Club (BASC) was a stroke school. The program was developed to take interested swimmers to a higher level of competition and/or to prepare swimmers for competitive or high school teams. The program helped all swimmers no matter location, program, or school. Interest in the program grew so quickly that after one year the club had to reassess their goals and expand. The program had received many athletes that wanted to swim competitively and had been pushed off of other programs due to high volume or bad experience. After athletes and parents approached the coach about their desire to compete, Bearsharktopus Swim School was developed into a competitive team (BASC) with the support of the local Fit Club facility.

The club began their first season as a competitive team in 2016-17, limiting their roster to 28 swimmers. During this first year, the program quickly developed independence and direction unlike any other Illinois swim program. With this growth, it became the goal of the club to offer training and education to all athletes, build synergy across all programs, and set forth a fiscally sound program that would last for years to come. BASC only accepted swimmers that were new to swimming or athletes that had previously quit swimming for various reasons for the first year, and the season concluded with several successes.

From a business standpoint, the team completed their first year with no debt and was able to have a long course season (outdoor), despite being a new team. The team would also receive USA Swimming Level 1 status. The maximum status level a club can achieve is level 4, which is earned by completing checklists that include business development, parent & volunteer development, coach education & training, and athletic performance & standings. Levels get increasingly more difficult to earn as you grow from 1 to 4. BASC athletes would also complete this year with many personal improvements. Some athletes went on to represent the team at Regional Championships, Age Group State Championships, Senior State Championships, & Speedo Sectional Championships.


Year two, 2017-18, would lead the program to forming new goals and reaching unexpected heights. BASC would take on its first satellite location at Fusion Aquatics Center, serving swimmers from Litchfield & Hillsboro as well as surrounding communities. This would be the team's first attempt at supporting development in rural communities by providing higher quality aquatic programs and absorbing the financial overhead of struggling programs. In the water, athletes would excel, adding new championship level meets to the season schedule including NCSA Nationals, Zone Championships, & Futures Championships. BASC would also take a step into the open water venue, competing at both Open Water Zones & State. This was a huge accomplishment for the program given that, at its start, the club had no championship level athletes. The year would be rounded out with swimmers placing at the regional, state & national levels, swimmers achieving Illinois Top Ten Times, USA Swimming Top 25 & 100 times in the nation, as well as national & open water champion swimmers and a level 2 USA Swimming status. The team would also place its first three graduating swimmers on collegiate teams.

The 2018 -19 season brought BASC’s third year as a team. This was the first year BASC opened its doors to swimmers from other programs. Up until this point, we had only accepted swimmers from lessons and summer programs. This season would bring focus on building a program for providing officials, with the team holding its first Officials Training Clinic. This clinic allowed the team to begin providing more volunteer support at away meets and gave us the ability to start hosting home meets. The main focus of the club for this season was to raise more swimmers to a championship level, which was achieved with eighty percent of athletes over the age of ten earning championship time standards. 

Currently, BASC finds itself coming to the end of their fourth year. This year's focus has been to build the direction of the team as well as to solidify a training direction. We have begun developing dryland programs, swimmer education directives, and swimmer community involvement programs. Clinics for parents & swimmers in classroom settings have also been developed and added to this year's curriculum. In response to COVID-19, BASC revitalized its social media accounts as a way for swimmers to keep in touch with each other during the pressing time, noticing the amount of unity it brings amongst the swimmers. We have since continued our practices with social distancing in mind, and our athletes are extremely happy to have a chance to get back in the water. BASC has also been including swimmers from other teams & programs during the pandemic, expanding practice schedules to accommodate more swimmers and help of fellow athletes without options for training.