Illinois Swimming
Level 2
Excellence 200


What are swimming seasons?

The Elgin Cyclones, like most other teams, have two seasons: the Short Course Yard (SCY) season and Long Course Meter (LCM) season.  The short course season is usually from September until early March.  The Long Course season is from April until late July.  The season start date is dependent upon your child’s group (younger swimmers usually start later than the older swimmers) and time standards.

What are time standards?

Each year, USA Swimming establishes time standards, or "Cuts" for each of its major meets, from BB or age group meets through Olympic Trials, swimmers are always striving to make their next cut.  Time standards can be found on USA Swimming website.

Are meets required?

No, meets are not required.  However, most swimmers see swim meets as a measuring stick for the hard work they put in.  It provides a light at the end of the tunnel.

Why do I have two accounts?

You will need two accounts: one is for registration onto the team while the other one is specifically for the swim team i.e. meet fees, meet declarations, etc.  You will receive monthly invoices from the team website for meet fees while the registration fees must be paid to a credit card monthly, if not paid in full.

Is there a fee for meets?

Yes.  Each swimmer must pay an Illinois Swimming surcharge of $2 per swimmer per meet.  In addition, there is a $1 per swimmer per meet surcharge.  Lastly, each event has a cost associated with it along with each relay.  For instance, there may be a fee of $5 per event and $12 per relay ($3 per relay participant).  If your swimmer is entered in 3 events and two relays, the cost is $19 for the meet.  Some meets also have ancillary fees like a facility fee.

Is my child ready for swim meets?

Swimmers in Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Senior groups are ready for swim meets.  Swimmers in the Cyclone Swim Academy and Pre-Team groups will be invited to swim in meets at the Coaches discretion.  Those not ready to swim in meets will be disqualified if their strokes are not legal.  Although disqualifications happen to every swimmer, the novice swimmer usually has a fragile psyche that can be damaged if disqualified.  Our goal is to teach the swimmer proper technique then allow them to swim in meets.  If you are unsure if your swimmer is ready, email us at [email protected].

Are there any volunteer requirements?

Yes.  Swimming is much different than other traditional sports where one coach and one official can run an event.  Because each swimmer is being judged, based on time, each swimmer in each race needs to have at least two timers.  In addition, there are other volunteer jobs that need to get done to confirm official results.  Specific volunteer jobs can be found on the website under Event Information, when you can login.  We will be offering training sessions for all new parents or parents new to a particular job assignment.

Depending on the season, there may be volunteer requirements for the team.  In the fall, all parents are required to volunteer at our annual invitational, the Blizzard Blast.  For each swimmer, the family must volunteer for at least 3 sessions not to exceed 7 sessions for those families with over 3 swimmers.  If you have one swimmer, you will be required to volunteer for 3 sessions.  If you have two swimmers, you will be required to volunteer for 6 sessions.  If you have three or more swimmers, you will be required to volunteer for 7 sessions.  If you do not volunteer for your required sessions at Blizzard Blast, you will be charged $100 per missed session.  Families may “opt out” of their volunteer obligations for one season at a cost of $800. 

In addition, the team has a swim-a-thon once a year, usually in the fall.  The swim-a-thon is much like a walk-a-thon where one gets pledges on a flat rate basis or per lap. 

Does my child have to be a USA Swimming member?

Yes.  All swimmers must become USA Swimming members.  It shows a dedication to the sport, team, and coaches.  In addition, it is an insurance requirement of USA Swimming clubs.  Also, your swimmer is coached by a USA Swimming member.  Lastly, your swimmer must be a USA Swimming member in order to swim in meets.  All meets are sanction by USA Swimming and their Local Swim Committee, Illinois Swimming.

Your USA Swimming membership is good for one year.  We accept memberships at our fall registration day and send in all memberships together.  If you register after that date, you are responsible for sending in your membership and fee to Illinois Swimming.

What if my swimmer transfers from another team?

If your swimmer transfers from another team to the Elgin Cyclones Swim Team, they will need to fill out a USA Swimming Transfer Request Form which can be found on Illinois Swimming’s website.  According to USA Swimming rules, “For a swimmer to represent a USA Swimming club in a competitive event, one hundred twenty (120) consecutive days must have elapsed with the swimmer having represented any other USA Swimming club in USA Swimming competition.”

Do I need access to the Cyclone’s website?

Yes.  All of our swimmers get access to our website.  Access is essential for signing up for meets, getting communication, signing up for jobs, checking invoices, checking your swimmer’s times, and other functionality.  Unfortunately our system does not allow you to create your own account so please email [email protected] to get your account setup.  You will be required to provide the following information:

  • Parent/Guardian Name(s):
  • Parent/Guardian Mailing address:
  • Parent/Guardian email address (must be checked frequently):
  • Parent/Guardian contact phone number (1 required):
  • Swimmer(s) name (First, Middle & Last):
  • Swimmer(s) Date of Birth:
  • Swimmer(s) level / group:

Creating your account usually takes one business day so please be patient.

Is there a new parent meeting?

Yes.  We hold new parent meetings in March and September for the Long Course and Short Course seasons.  We usually review the website, an introduction to the sport, and other pertinent information along with a Q&A session at the end of the meeting.

Are there tryouts for the team?

At this time, the team does not have tryouts.  Instead, we have evaluations.  The purpose of our evaluations is to determine if your child is ready for a competitive swim team and if they are, to determine what group your child belongs on.

Is there a payment plan available?

Yes.  The Elgin Cyclones offer a payment plan.  For the Short Course season, $50 is due at the time of registration, usually August, and the remaining balance is equalized over 5 months, October, November, December, January and February.  For the Long Course season, $50 is due at the time of registration, usually March, and the remaining balance is equalized over 3 months, April, May, and June.

Does my swimmer get ribbons for meets?

Swim meets do offer ribbons and some offer medals and trophies for the top finishers.  In the meet packet, posted on the website under the event link, the host team has identified the finishers that will receive a ribbon.  For instance, at our Blizzard Blast meet the top 16 finishers receive rosettes and ribbons.  At other meets, it might be the top 8 finishers.  If your swimmer were to receive a ribbon, all ribbons are placed in a black file cabinet, just west of the pool desk, in the pool lobby in your child’s folder.

Besides a suit, does my child need anything else?

Each group has certain items that are necessary for training.  It is strongly encouraged that all swimmers bring a water bottle with them to each practice.  Having water is essential in training but also minimizes the amount of out-of-water time walking to the water fountain, instead of swimming.

  • Cyclones Swim Academy: Goggles, swim cap for those with longer hair, competitive swim suit, and fins.
  • Pre-Team: Goggles, swim cap for those with longer hair, competitive swim suit, and fins.
  • Bronze: Goggles, swim cap for those with longer hair, competitive swim suit, and fins.
  • Silver: Goggles, swim cap for those with longer hair, competitive swim suit, and fins.
  • Gold:
  • Platinum: Fins, pull buoy(Proportionate size to swimmer), Large Water Bottle (For Daily Practices) and hand paddles.
  • Senior: Goggles, swim cap for those with longer hair, fins, hand paddles, and water bottle.

Tips for a successful swim meet

Warm-ups: Arrive at the pool with enough time to find a parking space, a seating place, find the locker rooms, and ready to go 15 minutes before warm-ups for our team are to start. Please look at the meet information packets carefully to find out our warm-up times.

Post Warm-Ups: Your swimmer needs to know the event(s) they are swimming in. Many pools will have these assignments posted in various locations, and the team coaches will have copies as well. It is helpful for the swimmers to write their event numbers, heat assignment, and lane assignments down at this time. Many swimmers opt to write this information on their hands or arms.  Also during this break, your swimmer should use the restroom, and perhaps even a quick snack.

Meals: Your swimmer needs to eat a big meal before they come to the pool. They should have it finished about 30 to 60 minutes before warm-up. This meal will need to carry them through approximately 30 minutes of constant swimming during warm-ups (including laps and warm-downs). It needs to be big, but comfortable. Let them eat what they like within reason. Pack some nutritional snacks in their bags (bagels, bread, crackers, fruit or vegetables are great choices), and also some rehydration drinks (Gatorade, Propel, fruit juices, or plain water are good choices).

During the Meet: Your swimmer should be aware of what event is swimming, and when their next event is. Many pools will have an announcer calling the events to the deck and getting them in their correct lane assignments. Other pools will utilize the scoreboard to show which event is currently in the water swimming. For our younger swimmers (8 & Under), many pools will utilize a “bullpen”. This is an area located near the pool, where the swimmers are put into order for their lanes and are supervised by parent volunteers.  Many swimmers will read, or play games with other teammates. This is great, however please don’t get so distracted that you miss your event or cause your teammate to miss their event!  At the meets, please keep in mind that you are representing the Elgin Cyclones Swim Team—your behavior should be respectful to the host team, other spectators, and also toyour team.

After the Meet: After your last event, the swimmers are officially done. Please ensure that you clean up the area around where you were sitting before you start to pack up their gear and head to the showers (unless specifically told by the coaches to stay with the group), and subsequently join their families. Awards are distributed back at the Centre in our Cyclones mailboxes at the Centre Pool Desk.