New Family FAQs

On behalf of the Swim Team Parent Board, welcome to the Brookdale Buccaneers! We are pleased to have you and your swimmer(s) as a part of Brookdale's summer swim team.

Being a part of the Buccaneers typically takes the involvement and commitment of the entire family. During the course of the nine-week season, there are almost 600 jobs that need to be filled by volunteers in order for the swim meets to run smoothly. There is so much more to do than just drop your children off for swim practices and watch them swim during a meet. Yet even with all this work, the BUCS have over 100 active families: an endorsement of just how much fun the swim season can be!

To help orient you to membership on the swim team, we have prepared this Information Sheet to answer some of the most frequently asked questions by new families. If you can't find an answer to your question below, please contact the Parent Board New Family Liaison. For 2017, the Parent Board New Family Liaison is Jerry Gondek.

What do our swim team registration fees go toward?

Your fees help to cover expenses such as coaches' salaries, insurance, equipment, and dues to the Naperville Swim Conference. However, these fees do not cover all of the swim team's expenses. The BUCS make a good portion of our budget through sponsors, concessions and various other small fundraisers. Please plan to visit our concession stand during meets. Not only is the food delicious, it helps to keep fees down.

When do children practice, and can I choose my child's practice times?

The practice times for each age group can be found under the Age Groups tab above. These practice times are set by the coaching staff and swimmers are required to practice during the time set for them. There are rare exceptions when the coaching staff and Parent Board determine that an advanced swimmer will progress more if they are practicing with older swimmers. However, this is strictly a Parent Board decision considered at the recommendation of the Head Coach.

Do we need to attend every practice?

No swimmer can progress without regular practice, so we strongly encourage swimmers to attend practice every day. However daily practice is not “required.”We understand that there are other things families need to attend to in the summer. The general expectation, however, is that if you are in town, available, and not ill, your swimmer should be at practice.

Will practices be canceled for bad weather?

Practices are rarely canceled. Practices will only be canceled for lightning or heavy rain. Practices will not be canceled due to light rain or cold temperatures.However, if the temperature is less than 65 degrees, the head coach will decide at practice whether it will be held in the water or on land. If it is raining or too cold, swimmers may do “land practice" – practicing strokes out of the water, doing conditioning exercises, or being taught a feature of swimming that will improve their performance. If you believe there could be a last-minute weather-related change to the schedule, check your email first. The coaches and parent board will try to send notices via email. Ultimately, the decision on whether you should send your child to a practice is yours.

How many meets are there, and do we need to attend every meet?

In 2019, the BUCS are scheduled to compete in 10 regular-season meets and one invitational for girls over 8, one invitational for boys over 8 and one invitational for incoming high school students. The season culminates with two championship meets: the Classic meet on July 21 and the City meet on July 27-28.  Swimmers must make qualifying times in order to be eligible for the City meet. City qualifying times can be found in the Swimmer Time Tracking Sheets under the Documents tab, in the Records tab or on the app.

How do I know what events my swimmer will be in?

The day before a meet, the events list will be posted at the pool, online under the meet, and on the app. Look for your swimmer's name and you will see his or her events. Swimmers are limited to three individual events and two relays in a regular-season meet, so they won't swim every event every meet. But throughout the season, every effort will be made to see that each swimmer has chances to swim each event. PLEASE NOTE: events can be changed at the last minute (particularly relays) if the coaches learn at the last minute that a swimmer will not be attending the meet. Be sure to double-check your events when you sign in to the meet.

How long does a meet last, and do I need to stay for the entire meet?

A meet typically lasts 3 ½ - 4 hours, but some are shorter and some are longer.Variables that affect the length of a meet include the size of the teams, the number of lanes at the pool and level of organization at the pool. If there is bad weather -- but a belief it will pass over quickly -- a meet could be stopped for a bit and then restarted. If you are not working a job or if your job is complete, you are free to leave after your child swims his or her last event. Events are always held in the same order. The BUCS webpage (under the Information tab - How a Meet Works) lists the order of events.

What does my swimmer need to do at the start of a meet?

Swimmers should arrive at least 45 minutes before the start of the meet. If it is an evening meet, arrival time/check-in is 4:45 p.m. (meets start at 5:30 p.m.). If it is a morning meet, arrival time/check-in is 7:45 a.m. (meets start at 8:30 a.m.). Upon arrival at the meet, swimmers sign in by highlighting their name on the lineup sheets hung on clip boards by the Clerk of Course in the bullpen. If swimmers do not check in within 50 minutes of the meet's start, they will be scratched (or removed from the meet).

Each age group warms up in the pool for a few laps before the meet. Warmups start 45 minutes prior to the meet. If you miss your warmup time, there will be no other opportunity to get in the pool until your child swims his or her first event.

What do I need to do at the start of a meet?

Parents who are working the meet must check in no later than 30 minutes before the start of the meet and get their name tags. Look for a table with our BUCS personnel chairs. Listen for instructions for meetings for timers, officials, and general pool. Please be sure you attend EVERY meeting, even if you believe you already know what to do. Instructions can vary slightly from pool to pool, and the individuals running the meet need to know every job is fully staffed before the meet can begin.

What should I bring to a meet?

Most families bring at least two towels per swimmer, a few pairs of goggles, and clothing for your swimmer to wear between events. Meets are long, so you should plan on eating. Swimming is hard work and your child will need to fuel up! You can bring your own food, or use the concession stands at each meet.Menus vary from pool to pool, but you can usually plan on bagels, muffins, juice and coffee being available for breakfast, and pizza and various grilled items for lunch and dinner. The BUCS often get the grills going for breakfast as well -- the pancakes and sausages are fabulous. You should also either bring or purchase beverages. Bring your food in a cooler with your name on it. There are a few pools that host visiting teams on their tennis courts and they do not allow food on the courts. In those cases, there is a cooler area where food is “parked” until you are ready to eat. Many families also bring folding chairs to sit on (as pool seating is limited), blankets, and often some form of shade from the sun. Tents and oversized umbrellas are popular. Remember to bring sunscreen for yourself and your swimmer, and keep some insect repellant in your bag in case there are mosquitoes. You should also bring a Sharpie marker or two. Many swimmers (parents too) write their event numbers along the inside of their arm.

How do I know where away meets are located?

Addresses and maps to each pool can be found under the Pool Locations tab above.  Availability of parking varies from pool to pool. Until you know the setup at each pool, it is helpful to give yourself an extra 15 minutes to find parking and carry your things into the pool area.

How do I know if a meet will be canceled for bad weather, and what constitutes “bad weather”?

All cancelations and weather-related announcements will be made via email and posted on the BUCS website ( and also posted on Facebook (Brookdale Swim Team). If you are in doubt, please check your email immediately before heading out to a meet. Meets ARE held in the rain if there is no lightning. Bring ponchos or something to cover your chairs if you can. The swim schedule is full and meets can be difficult to reschedule, so if the weather is “iffy” you should expect to head to the pool. Event #40 signifies the halfway mark of a meet, and an official score can be registered after that event. Every effort is made to get through Event #40 if at all possible.

How are points awarded at a meet to determine a winner?

In order to accommodate the different sizes of each team, only the fastest heat of each event is scored. In individual events, points are awarded as follows: First place (5 pts); second place (3 pts); third place (2 pts); fourth place (1 pt).  Only the top two swimmers per team score.  Relays are scored a little differently.  First place is awarded 8 points and second place is awarded 4 points. However, if one team takes first and second place, they cannot receive all 12 points. In that case, the first-place team receives 8 points and the second-place relay receives 0.

How are swimmers recognized for their individual accomplishments?

Swimmers in 12-and-under categories compete for ribbons (usually first through sixth place). Ribbons are placed in each swimmer's folder at the pool a day or two after the meet. The event and time will be on a label on the back of the ribbon. In addition, swimmers receive recognition from the BUCS each time they have a recorded time drop on an event. Swimmers 12-and-under receive a "star" and notice of the drop. Swimmers 13-and-up receive a “BUCS buck” for each time drop. BUCS bucks can be redeemed in the concession stand at home meets for .$25.

How do parents get signed up for the jobs they need to do?

Job sign up will be conducted through the BUCS website. This year we are requiring each family to sign up and work five regular jobs and one general pool job. “General Pool” is a backup position. You will check in with the Personnel Chairs at the beginning of a meet to learn whether you are needed to fill an open job responsibility. Please assume YOU WILL BE WORKING if you have a General Pool assignment. Family members 15+ years of age are eligible to help fulfill job commitments.

It is crucial that every family fulfill their job commitments. It would be impossible to run a meet without the support of our parents. We do understand that emergency situations arise, but it is your responsibility to find a replacement.Through the website you will be able to see who is signed up to work for each meet. This is a good place to begin if you need to look for someone to switch job responsibilities. To ensure our meets are fully staffed, each family will be required to submit a $50 check as part of the swim team registration process.The check will be cashed only when a parent or family member does not fulfill a job they have signed up for. In the event you miss a job, your child will not be able to attend practice or swim in a meet until you have put another $50 check on deposit.

In addition to the jobs above, all families must supply a worker if their child swims in the Classic Meet and/or the City Meet. Working at these meets does not count toward the five jobs listed above.

Descriptions of the jobs and the estimated time to complete them can be found when you are signing up for a job at a particular meet. Parent Chairs receive full job credits for the Parent Chair position.

What does the Parent Board do?

The BUCS Parent Board is a sub-committee of the Brookdale Racquet Club Board, which is responsible for the Brookdale pool and tennis complex. Board members are elected to a two-year term in an election held at the end-of-the-year swim banquet. The Parent Board meets monthly during the entire year. Responsibilities include (but are not limited to): interviewing, hiring and evaluating the coaching staff; establishing the budget; locating parent chairs to head up each committee and assigning a board member to oversee each committee; making necessary purchases; and providing representation to the Naperville Swim Conference. In addition, the Board troubleshoots and responds to the many issues that arise during the course of the season. For their service, each board member is given a free swimmer.  We are here to make the swim season as enjoyable as possible for all swimmers and their families. Please feel free to ask a question or identify a concern at any time.