Heartland Team Philosophy

The results of competitive swimming go beyond learning swimming skills. Success is not only measured in how fast a swimmer swims, but in personal growth and development. Each team member achieves success. The reward of swimming includes pride, self-esteem, commitment, and leadership.

In a positive, supportive environment, coaches and swimmers work together so that each swimmer has the opportunity to reach their highest potential. By setting, obtaining and reviewing goals, individuals can achieve at any level. Winning occurs when a swimmer enjoys the process of their training and competitions as well as when they bring home a ribbon.

Whether just beginning to swim competitively, staying active and fit for the game of life, or prospecting for Olympic Gold, Heartland Swim has a place for you.


Where do we begin? If you are looking to join our year-round team, please send us an email to [email protected] We will probably suggest you begin in the Junior Gold or Senior Development group, based on your age, and that you come to a practice for a swim test and a trial practice. If you are transferring to Heartland from another team, please contact us at [email protected] with information on your child's swim background to assist us in placing you with the correct group. After your trial practice you can complete the online registration.

How to register your swimmer for the Heartland Swim year-round team: Please do not register until you have communicated with our office via email. Heartland Swim Association has enabled a streamlined process for swimmer registration.  All of our swim team registrations are done online through our website at www.heartlandswim.org In the center of the Home Page- above the pictures- click on the “Start Year-Round Registration” box and follow the steps required to register your swimmer. All of your swimmer’s medical information and any required releases will be input through the registration process. This information is very secure and will ONLY be available to your swimmer’s coach through the website.  However, in addition to this, you may wish to personally notify your swimmer’s coach of any medical conditions. This swimmer registration process will create an individual account to be used for many facets of our swimming team. After completing the Heartland registration, you will be given a link to register for a USA Swimming membership.

Our Year-Round Groups:

Senior Team: Coach Pat Tope - Advanced High School Age Swimmers - Strong emphasis placed on competition, conditioning, and technique. Practices may be held at Montgomery Middle School, El Cajon Valley High School, Granite Hills High School, or Grossmont High School. 2 afternoon and 3-5 morning practices are offered each week and swimmers in this group attend most practices. Some morning practices are on weekends.

Senior Development Team: Coaches Colin Culkin- Intermediate High School Age Swimmers - Emphasis on stroke development, conditioning, and technique. Senior Development is a great starting point for the 13 and over swimmer. It is also a fantastic transition team to our Senior team. Roughly half of the current Senior team began or passed through the Senior Development Team. Practices at Montgomery Middle School. Practices are offered 4 afternoons a week. Swimmers in this group typically attend 2-4 times per week.

Gold Team: Coach Kevin Eslinger- Intermediate and Advanced Swimmers ages 11 - 14 - Technique, conditioning, race strategy, and competition. Practices at El Cajon Valley High School. Typically, 5 afternoon and 1 morning practices are held each week and swimmers in this group attend most practices.

Junior Gold Team: Coaches Carli Willis, Ben Berk, Jeni McDaniel and Sara Willis- Beginning and Intermediate Swimmers Ages 6 - 12. The Junior Gold team practices 4 afternoons a week. Swimmers in this group typically attend 3-4 practices a week.

The primary goals in Junior Gold are developing proper stroke technique and establishing good swimming habits for the future. We focus on learning and refining all four strokes, as well as starts and turns. In addition, we incorporate conditioning sets to build swimmers’ aerobic fitness and endurance. Practices at El Cajon Valley High School.

Junior Gold swimmers include:

  • Beginners who can confidently swim at least 25 yards freestyle wiht side breathing and 25 yards backstroke and have strong familiarity with breaststroke and butterfly. They should also be capable of following directions given by the coaches from the swim deck. 
  • Intermediate swimmers between the ages of 6 and 12.
  • Advanced 10 & under swimmers who qualify for Age Group Championships, Far Westerns, Zones, and other more competitive meets.

Summer League: An excellent introduction to competitive swimming. Instruction on all four strokes. For more information click on the Summer League tab at the top of the webpage.

Heartland is a competitive swim team, not an organization that offers swim lessons. For swim lessons we highly recommend the La Mesa Municipal Pool- their phone number is 619.667.1494.   http://www.cityoflamesa.com/index.aspx?NID=915


HSA Fees Effective January 1, 2020

Monthly Dues:

Senior Team - $162

Senior Development - $132

Gold Team - $152

Junior Gold Team - $114

​Additional Swimmer Discount is $25. Family maximum is $375. A $15 per month, per swimmer, active-duty military and first responder discount is available by request.

Basic dues are billed monthly and are due by the 15th of the month. There is a $15 late fee which will be charged for any account whose statement balance is not paid in full by the 15th. 

Each family is expected to support the team with a $50.00 Annual Membership Fee, which is billed in December when you complete the annual registration for the upcoming year (or the month you join the team after that), team volunteerism and one Team Fundraiser annually, the Aquafest, held in the fall each year. The expectation of the Aquafest is that each family will raise at least $150 or “buy- out” with a $150 donation per family.

In addition, as approved at the 2016 March Board Meeting, each family will be billed $15 for each Heartland Hosted Swim Meet as a snack bar underwriting fee. These meets generally occur in January, March, August, September and October.

The Meet Entry Fee Deposit is a requirement for all year-round swimmers. This deposit requires parents to front the team $50 in advance meet entry fees as the team is required to submit payment for entry fees when the meet is entered but the family is not billed until the end of the billing cycle. This deposit covers the team during that period. The deposit can be refunded when you leave the team or we will gladly accept it as a tax-deductible donation!


Heartland Swim FAQ’s

I see that practices are offered at least 4 times a week- my child can’t attend all those practices! And we do not expect them to- most swimmers on our Junior Gold and Senior Development teams only come to 2-3 practices a week. We offer more in order to give you the maximum flexibility in working practices into your schedule.

What skills does my swimmer need to have to join the year-round team? Swimmers on the year-round team to know all four swim strokes- freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. They should also be capable of following directions given by the coaches from the swim deck.

Do you offer swim lessons? No, we are a competitive swim team and are not a learn-to-swim program. We recommend the La Mesa Municipal Pool for swim lessons- 619.667.1494 or http://www.cityoflamesa.com/index.aspx?NID=915  

Are swim meets required? Do they cost extra? Swim meets are optional but we do highly recommend you attend at least one a month as they are one of the best methods of tracking improvement and are great for building friendships on the team! Entry fees are not included in your dues- most local meets charge a $5 meet entry surcharge and $4 per event entered. Your account will be billed for those fees.

This sounds great but our family is in a tough financial situation- is there any way to get a scholarship? We don’t have scholarships but by emailing our finance committee with a brief overview of your circumstances they may be able to offer you reduced fees or dues. Information is also available on a discounted USA Swim membership for eligible families- for example, those who receive free school lunches. To be considered please send your email to [email protected] and make sure you tell the committee if you are eligible for the discounted USA membership.

Can I, as a parent, swim at the same time as my swimmer? Unfortunately, we are not able to have parents swim during our group practices.