Welcome To GPAC (Greater Philadelphia Aquatic Club)

Team Website: www.swimgpac.org(BOOKMARK THIS SITE NOW!!!)

Welcome to the team!  We are so glad you decided to join the premier year-round swimming programs in the area.  We have a very proud tradition started under the name GCIT Swimming in 1994.  Over the summer the school administration at the Gloucester County Institute of Technology decided it was in their best interest to get out of the business of operating a USA Swimming program.  GPAC was formed as a private company (full legal name is Greater Philadelphia Aquatic Enterprises, LLC) that pays the school pool rent for exclusive use of the facility.  We are and will be the only USA Swimming program that operates out of the GCIT Aquatics Center.

There is a lot of time, effort and information that goes into running a USA Swimming program.  Please do not be discouraged if you are confused about anything at any time.  It will certainly take you some time to get up to speed on how our club operates as well as the operation of USA Swimming as a whole.  This document is intended to give you some information necessary for you to hit the ground running at this point in the season.

Coaching Staff and Important Contacts:
Head Coach and CEO (National and Pre-National Group Head Coach): Matt Sprang ([email protected])

Parent Booster Club President: Pam Walz & Diana Washart

Gold 2 Head Coach: Matt Beckwith ([email protected])

Gold 1 Head Coach:

Senior 1 Head Coach: Mark Yankovich ([email protected])

Bronze Head Coach: David Wakeley ([email protected])

Mini Head Coach:

Fall Warm-up Head Coach: Shannon Clancy

Lines of Communication:
This is a brief listing of who you should contact with different questions:

1)       Matt Sprang – Registration; billing; General Team information; National Group; Pre-National Group; questions about your child’s group you prefer not to ask that group’s coaches; general practice schedule; website; overall meet schedule; future team plans and goals

2)       Diana Washart or Pam Walz – Meet volunteering; Team activities outside of the pool.  Please understand that the Parent’s Association and the team are completely separate entities.  GPACPA has nothing to do with the operation of the team, the staff, the meets we attend, the team philosophy, etc.  Please do not go to anyone associated with the Parent’s Association with any questions or concerns regarding the operation of the program.

3)       Your Swimmer(s)’ group coaching staff – Specific questions regarding that group; specific questions regarding your swimmer; meets for your child; meet entries for your child; practice time missed by your child

If there are ever any questions you cannot or do not feel comfortable asking anyone please direct them toward Matt Sprang.  It is very important that you ask questions if you are not sure about something…that’s the only way you will learn!  You will certainly have a lot of questions for a long time (at least a year).  Don’t be shy; we are here to help you as much as help your children.

How to Communicate:

This is as important as whom to communicate with.  Please follow these steps in communicating with coaches:

1)       Email the coach.  They will get back to you as soon as possible. 

2)       If necessary, set up a meeting time with the coach.  It doesn’t matter how small your question is, it just might be better to talk about it face to face after practice.

3)       Under no circumstances should you walk onto the pool deck to talk to the coach at anytime unless it is an absolute must be taken care of at that time emergency!  You are not covered under any insurance to be on the pool deck at any time unless you are volunteering for a specific job at a meet.  Parents can observe practices from the balcony at all times.

Team Financial Information:

You can choose to pay your bill in full up front (full season’s dues for all swimmers on your account as well as the team administrative fee) by the 15th of the month you join the team.  If you do not pay in full you will automatically be placed on the deferred payment plan.  All accounts must be registered for our online payment system.  Invoices are generated on the 1st of each month.  Cards are also run on the 1st of each month.  Please be sure that there is enough money/credit to your personal account for the monthly charges to clear.  Those that pay in full will not go on the monthly payment plan but still need to register for online payment to cover meet entry fees and other fees.  Those on the monthly payment plan will also have a $10 per month charge to cover the costs of billing.  Those that pay in full will not have this fee associated with their account.  All charges for the team will appear on your invoice here.  Some of the charges you will notice are as follows:

1)       Team Dues – Depending on what group your swimmer(s) is in your monthly team dues will be different.  The second swimmer from each family receives as 10% discount; the third swimmer a 20% discount; the fourth swimmer a 30% discount; the fifth swimmer or more is free of charge.  The swimmer in your family at the highest level is always charged as the first swimmer and so on down the line.  There is no discount for the Fall or Spring Warm-up group as they are $300 each regardless of how many swimmers you have on the team.  Any questions regarding team dues should be directed to Matt Sprang.

2)       USA Swimming Registration Fee – This $60 charge is necessary for all team members, coaches, officials and some select volunteers for insurance purposes.  You need to pay this fee once per year to not only enter meets but to also receive insurance coverage under USA Swimming’s umbrella policy.  Having an unregistered swimmer in a practice group negates the insurance coverage for all swimmers and coaches in that group.  This fee is automatically charged per swimmer (no discount is available for more than one swimmer) when you join the team and must be paid in full with the first month’s invoice.

3)       Meet Entry Fees – When we enter meets as a team we can only provide one check for all team entries.  Therefore each account is billed the per event amount for meet entries and the team pays for everyone with one check.  Per event fees for meets are as follows:

A)      Short Course A/BB/C Meets are $4

B)       Mini Meets (8 and under swimmers) are $4

C)       Championship Meets are $5

D)       Long Course Meets are $5

Two other quick bits of information on meet entries.  The fees above reflect those for meets held within our local region.  If we attend a meet outside of that region (for instance in Northern New Jersey or Maryland) the charge could be different.  Also, you never pay for relay entries.  If we enter a meet that has relay events the coaching staff will decide if we enter relays, what swimmers will go on those relays and the team picks up the cost for those events.  NEVER enter your swimmer in a relay event as the team takes care of this.

More information on meet entries can be found in the section titled “How to Enter Meets” under “Events” on the main menu bar of the website.

4)       Team Administrative Fee – This fee is charged to all team accounts at the beginning of the season (or when you join the team) and goes toward the various administrative costs of running the team. This fee is linked with the Meet Worker Policy.  Please review that policy for more information on the total cost of the Team Administrative Fee.

5)       Deferred Payment Fee – If you do not pay the full amount for all team dues associated with your account by the 15th of the month you join the team you will be charged a fee of $10 per billing month (bills are run October through May).  This goes toward covering the costs of billing each month.

6)       Late Payment Fee – Any account not zeroed out by the 21st of each month will be assessed a $15 late fee and swimmers will not be able to participate in any team activities until the account is brought completely up to date. 

Team Website:
Our team website (www.swimgpac.org) is the center of communication for our team.  Please be sure to bookmark the site and check it at least daily.  Pay special attention to two separate sections on a regular basis:

1)       News – The news section will be updated with announcements regarding meet registration, news about the team, and special announcements.  Check this section daily.

2)       Calendar – The team calendar is up to date with all meet entry deadlines, practice changes or cancelations, and meet dates.

It is especially important to check the website in the winter months.  If GCIT closes school due to weather we will not have practice that day.  We do not have a phone chain (they do not work with 180 different families) so we will send out an email and post a message on the website.  GCIT is always very cautious when it comes to bad weather and road conditions.  It is of the utmost importance that you make sure you make checking the website the last thing you do before heading out to practice on days when the weather is bad and even when there is the threat of bad weather. 

Finally, be sure to go through the team website as soon as possible to learn more information about the team.  You want to check out these sections:

1)       Team Philosophy

2)       Vision and Mission Statements

3)       Meet Schedule

4)       How to Enter Meets

5)       Time Standards

6)       Team Documents

As we are still considered a new team and will be changing a lot from how we operated under GCIT, we will be updating the website constantly with new team information and documents.

Swim Meets:
Swim meets in USA Swimming are vastly different from summer league meets.  Most meets we attend are held at GCIT and are “A/BB/C Meets” which are open to all swimmers ages 9 and over regardless of their times or ability level.  We also attend several “Mini Meets” throughout the year which are strictly for swimmers ages 8 and under.  There are also a number of meets we attend that have qualifying standards: some a minimum time you must have achieved in order to swim an event and some a maximum time you cannot have exceeded to swim that event.  Take the time to look at the meet schedule and the section showing what swimmers can or should sign up for events at that meet.

The coaching staff will always tell swimmers what events they should swim at certain meets.  Sometimes we will be general and say things like “Swim your best events” or “Only sign up for events on Saturday and take Sunday off”.  Other times we will be a bit more specific and say something like “Everyone must sign up for the 200 IM at this meet”.  WE LOVE IT WHEN swimmers come up to us with events for a meet on a sheet of paper asking us to look them over!

Entering Swim Meets:
All of our meet entries are done online through our website.  You can get the information on how to do this by going to “Events” on the main menu and clicking on “How To Enter Meets” from there.  This gives you step-by-step instructions on how to enter meets.

Unfortunately there are entry deadlines for each meet.  This is necessary for the meet host to be properly prepared on meet day.  You will notice that there will be two separate meet entry deadlines: one in the meet information and a different, must sooner one for our team.  All meet entry deadlines should be viewed as “soft” deadlines.  This is because USA Swimming has a rule that states no meet session can run longer than 4 hours.  This is so the swimmers are not sitting around all day between events.  Once a meet session has reached 4 hours in estimated length, the meet director will close that session to future entries.  It does not matter when the entry deadline is, once that session reaches 4 hours the meet is closed.  This is why our entry deadline is so far in advance of the meet. 

Entries are accepted at any time online.  Again, read over “How To Enter Meets” under “Events” on the website to see how to do this.  If you have any further questions please direct them to your group’s coaching staff or Matt Sprang.

Family Folders:

We maintain a folder for each family on the team for distribution of meet awards as well as other handouts.   It is okay for you to go out onto the pool deck to check the folder (it would only need to be done once in a while or a week or so after a swim meet to get the ribbons) but please do not stay there longer than is necessary and do not engage any of the coaches in conversation while you are there.  If you need to speak to a coach and it is not an immediate emergency please email them to set up an appointment. The family folders are located around the entrance to the pool, either on the tables to the right or in front of the pool office windows.

The Season:

Our Season always begins the Monday after Labor Day and lasts through the Friday before Memorial Day.   There is a separate charge for that season and information on it is usually out during the month of March. We also have a summer season for long course swimming that picks up on the Tuesday after Memorial Day and ends in the beginning of August.

Registering for Next Year:
Our team has grown from 113 swimmers in 2004 to its current size near 300 swimmers.  During the past two years we have had to close out practice groups to further enrollment because they reached their limit.  We will always attract interest from new swimmers during the summer months, which is why it is recommended that you reserve your spot on the team for next season with a deposit in the beginning of July.  Returning swimmers have exclusive rights to a spot on the team until the end of July.  Once the stated deadline is passed we will enroll new swimmers onto the team until it has reached capacity.  Once we have reached that level we cannot let any new swimmers onto the team regardless of how long they have been swimming with us.