What is the Bedford Barracudas Swim Team?
The Bedford Barracudas Swim Team is a non-profit, recreational summer-only swim team. BST competes as a member of the Granite State Swimming Association (GSSA) but is not a member of USA Swimming. It operates as a program of the Bedford Parks & Recreation department, but is managed by its own volunteer Board of Directors. The team is not “instructional” in that it does not provide “swim lessons”; rather instruction is given to improve competitiveness in the fundamental age-group skills given below.
Where does the Bedford Swim Team practice?
The team practices at the Bedford Memorial Town Pool (20 County Road, Bedford, NH), part of the recreation complex with tennis courts and the DiNicola Playground.
The Bedford Memorial Town Pool is an outdoor, un-heated 25-yard-length, 6-lane pool with diving well; starting blocks and lane-lines are installed for team practices and competitions. The pool house contains changing rooms and showers; the facility and pool deck are handicapped-accessible.
Who can register for the team?
The team is open to any swimmer who can meet the requirements below. The age range for the team is 4 to 19 years (a swimmer can no longer compete in the GSSA as of their 20th birthday), provided they are able to perform the following:
Required Swim Skills:
- Age 8 & Under: Able to swim one 25-yard length of freestyle (crawl or similar stroke), unaided, and comfortable on their own (without a parent’s assistance) on the pool deck.
- Age 9 & 10: Able to dive and swim 2 pool lengths (50 yards) each of both freestyle and backstroke.
- Age 11 & 12: Able to dive and swim 2 pool lengths (50 yards) each of freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke.
- Age 13 & Up: Able to dive and swim 4 pool lengths (100 yards) each of freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke.
All swimmers should be comfortable on their own in the water and with the coaching staff, without a parent’s assistance. All swimmers must demonstrate the ability to focus on the task/instruction of the coaches for the duration of the evaluation process, the practices, and the swim meets. If for any reason, the coaching staff determines that your child is not a good fit, you will receive a 100% refund of your registration fee.
Are there try-outs for the team?
While there are no try-outs for the team, there are new swimmer evaluations to ensure all swimmers meet the minimum swim skills and demonstrate the ability to focus in a team swim setting. See question above. Parents, with their child, should make the decision to register based on best judgment of the swimmer’s ability. Mandatory new-swimmer evaluations (only for those swimmers NEW to the team) occur the day before the regular season starts (date and time to be announced), so that swimmers can demonstrate their skills to the coaches.
How long is the Bedford Barracudas Swim Team season?
The team is a summer-only team, and the first day of practice is generally in June following the last day of school for Bedford and the opening of the town pool. The final day of the season is the last day of the weekend-long GSSA Championship meet in early August.
When does the team practice?
The team practices every weekday morning Monday-Friday, in 45-75 minute sessions based on age group size and ability. The practice schedule from the prior summer is shown below.
- 7:00-8:15am: Mix of dryland and swimming for all 13-14 and 15-19 swimmers.
- 8:15-9:15am: Regular practice for all 11-12 swimmers PLUS 9-10 boys only
- 9:15-10:00am: Regular practice for all 8 & Under swimmers PLUS 9-10 girls only
Do I need to stay at the pool for my child’s practice?
Are practices or meets ever cancelled?
Practices are cancelled only if there is visible lightning and/or audible thunder within 30 minutes prior to practice (we still swim in heavy rain or very hot weather). Swimmers cannot re-enter the water for 30 minutes after lightning and thunder have cleared the area.
It is very unusual to cancel practice or a meet, but if weather is continually severe (as opposed to a passing storm) or hazardous (high winds, unseasonable cold) we will do our best to post a cancellation alert to the team’s website as soon as a decision is made on practice/meet status, so be sure to check the team’s website if in doubt! If there is no notice, plan to attend.
How many meets are there, and when and where are they held?
The team participates in 5-6 local meets (1-2 away, 4-5 home) during the season, culminating with the three-day GSSA Championship away meet in August. Home meets take place at the Bedford Memorial Town Pool, usually from 7am-12pm on weekdays (Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays). Away meets (local GSSA teams within 30 minutes of Bedford) are generally at the same time and days of the week.
The three-day Champs meet location is TBD. Past locations have included: Manchester, Milford and Dover, NH. The meet takes place on a weekend, starting Friday afternoon, and for full days on Saturday and Sunday.
Does my child have to attend every meet and practice?
We understand that many families have summer vacation and camp plans which will conflict with team activities. Please use your best judgment when considering registering for the team – if your child will be absent for the majority of the season, consider registering them in the future when they will able to participate more fully. Missing a few days here or there, or one or two full weeks for vacation or camp is fine. There are no refunds or pro-rated fees for swimmers able to attend only a partial season.
IMPORTANT: Every swimmer must participate in a minimum of TWO regular season meets in order to be eligible to compete in the GSSA State Championship meet.
What is the “Family Support Contract”?
Each family is required to earn at least eight (8) volunteer credits during the season. There are numerous volunteer jobs available at each home meet and the Championship meet. At registration, each family must include a separate check for $250 as a deposit towards your volunteer commitment. These checks will not be cashed immediately. The check will be returned to you or shredded as soon as you meet your volunteer commitment or at the end of the season. Checks for those who don't meet their commitment will be cashed at the end of the season.
How do I register my swimmer for the team?
Online registration is available at bedfordwimteam.org. Complete all forms (“Swimmer Information Form”, swimmer “Code of Conduct”, and "Family Support Contract") are available on the website online for each swimmer.
Payment in full is required at the time of registration. A separate check will be held for each family until the volunteer commitment has been satisfied. The check will only be cashed at the end of the season IF the volunteer commitment credits have not been earned.
You will need the following in order to complete registration.
- A completed Registration form for each swimmer.
- A completed Code of Conduct form for each swimmer.
- A completed Family Support Contract form for each family.
- Payment for registration fees – to include all swimmers from one family
- A separate check for volunteer commitment deposit - 1 check per family.
What is the registration fee?
The fee for the current season is posted on the registration forms. The fee includes a team logo latex cap, t-shirt and GSSA Champs entry fees for each swimmer. Other optional apparel (swimsuits, etc.) can be ordered separately at registration.
If our child’s summer plans change, what is the team’s refund policy?
We understand that swimmers may need to withdraw from the team due to illness or injury, change in summer plans or if, after giving it a try, they decide that the swim team experience is not a good fit for them, However the team begins incurring non-refundable expenses based on the team roster count following registration.
The refund policy is as follows.
- Withdrawal requested from date of swimmer’s registration through the third day of practice: 50% refund of the registration fee (to be distributed after the first week of practice).
- Withdrawal requested after the third day of practice: no refund.
Please note that there are no exceptions to the refund policy.
If my swimmer withdraws, what about the swimsuit and apparel that I pre-ordered?
The team cannot refund the cost of swimsuits or other apparel that was ordered prior to your swimmer’s withdrawal. We will notify you when the apparel arrives so you may pick it up.
How do I order other apparel, and learn more about team requirements such as Parent Meet Jobs and Fundraising opportunities?
You can learn more during the preseason registration, on the website, and during the parent meetings.
As new swimmers, are my children guaranteed a spot on the team?
The team is limited to approximately 150 swimmers and available spaces are filled in accordance with the team by-laws which state the following priority:
- Returning swimmers (having swum on the team within the last two seasons)
- New siblings of returning swimmers
- New swimmers who are Bedford residents
- New swimmers from towns other than Bedford.
How do new swimmers get a space on the team?
Registration opens first to returning swimmers and their families. Following that period, registration will then open for new swimmers. This is done on a first-come, first serve basis. HOWEVER, if the team exceeds its capacity (based on pool size or coaching/staff/swimmer ratios), preference will be given to Bedford swimmers.
Why is there a limit on the team’s size?
Swimmer safety is our primary concern. There is a finite amount of space in the pool, and a limited number of swimmers that the coaches can observe safely and train effectively. We make every effort to accept as many swimmers as possible, but due to a large increase in the number of applicants over the past several years, we have had to turn some swimmers away, based on available space in some age groups. We will maintain wait-lists and will notify those on the list as soon as possible when and if a space becomes available.
So, not knowing if my swimmer will get a spot, should we register?
Absolutely! Few families are denied space on the team (the 10 & Under age groups usually receive the most new swimmers), and most get on to the team the following year.
When will I hear if my wait-listed swimmer has a spot?
As withdrawals and other adjustments to age groups having a wait-list become known, the team will contact waitlisted swimmers as soon as possible in order of their placement on the wait-list. There is no way to know in advance if spots will open up, but we work as quickly as possible to try to get waitlisted swimmers on the team. Some swimmers withdraw during the first few days of practice, so it is possible for wait-listed swimmers to be placed as late as the first week of the season.
Will I have a chance to order a team swimsuit or other apparel if my child is accepted late to the team?
Swimmers accepted late to the team can order a team suit directly from the swimsuit vendor (info will be available at the team’s website). Other apparel may be available on a per item basis, you can find out from the team’s Purchasing Coordinator once your child has been accepted to the team.
Why is there no multi-child discount?
The board has worked hard to keep registration costs to a minimum. Additionally, we felt that we needed a different approach to helping those families who have difficulty affording the cost of having their children participate in this great summer program. We want to make sure that we get help to those who need it most. In these times, we realize that it is more than just the number of children that can place a financial burden on a family. The multi-child discount assumed that every family with more than two children needed financial help and, moreover, that no family with one or two children needed any help at all. So, the board has decided to be proactive. We are taking the money that could be earmarked for the multi-child discount and making it available to any family that feels they need help paying for membership in the Bedford Swim Team.
I can’t afford the registration fees this year, how can I get some help?
Please contact the board with your specific needs. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to honor all requests, but we believe we’ve allocated a sufficient amount in our budget in order to consider requests. The deadline for submitting a request to the board will be May 15. All requests will be reviewed by the board at the May board meeting and we will notify all those requesting aid shortly after the meeting. For new members, a request for financial assistance will have no affect on your placement on the team. If you think you will be requesting aid, you may leave that amount off the payment you make at registration. If your request is later granted by the board, you will be covered partially or in full for registration. Should the board not be able to honor all or part of your request, you will be able to get a full refund of payment made if you decide you cannot join us this year.
If I stay, where can I be to watch the practices?
Parents cannot be on the deck or anywhere inside the chain-link fence during practice due to team and town insurance regulations. The pool house entry-way and outside the chain-link is OK. Feel free to bring a chair or blanket and sit outside the pool fencing.