The key to starting to swim, learning to swim, and excelling at swimming is to enjoy swimming. With the right attitude and a good understanding of what is involved, everyone can have fun.
The Berlin Barracuda Swim Club, founded in 1982 in Berlin, Wisconsin, is a year-round program. We offer a guided age-group youth program for children ages 5 and up, from the beginning swimmer to the most competitive and skilled swimmer. The Club is sanctioned by United States Swimming (USS), which is America’s largest program of guided fitness activity for children. Age group swimming builds a strong foundation for a lifetime of good health by teaching healthy fitness habits.
When a young person becomes a member of the Berlin Barracuda Swim Club, he/she learns the values of sportsmanship and team work. Swimming, through the Club, provides phyiscal, emotional and intellectual skills that will last a lifetime.
The mission of the Berlin Barracuda Swim Club is:
To develop the
character traits, technical skills, and intense desire
necessary for maximum realization
of each individual’s potential.
United States Swimming (USS)
USS is the national governing body for amateur competitive swimming the United States. USS was conceived in 1978 with the passage of the Amateur Sports Act which specified that all Olympic sports would be administered independently. Prior to this act, USS was the Competitive Swimming Committee of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) located in Indianapolis, Indiana. USS Headquarters office was established in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 1981 and is located at the Olympic Training Center.
As the National Governing Body for the sport, USS is responsible for the conduct and administration of swimming in the United States. In this capacity, USS formulates the rules, implements policies and procedures, conducts the national championships, disseminates safety and sports medicine information and selects the athletes to represent the United States in international competition.
Year-round athletes pay an annual registeration fee of $28.00. Athletes receive a membership card (held by the CSC registration person) and have both liability and secondary medical insurance coverage.
The four competitive strokes are (1) freestyle, (2) backstroke, (3) breaststroke, and (4) butterfly. Events are held in all of the competitive strokes at varying distances depending on the age-group of the swimmer. In addition, there is a combination of the strokes swum by one swimmer called the individual medley. Other swimming events include relays, which are a group of four swimmers who either all swim freestyle (freestyle relay) or each swim one of the competitive strokes in the order of backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle (medley relay).
The swim year is divided into two seasons. The winter, or “short course,” season runs from mid-August to mid-March. The summer, or “long course,” season runs from early April to mid-July. Berlin Barracuda Swim Club members will get a break period at the end of each season.
Levels of Achievement
There are seven different age group classifications recognized by USS: 8-Under, 10-Under, 11-12, 13-14, 15-16, 17-18, and Senior. The Senior classification includes any age registered swimmer who has achieved the prescribed qualifying times for the event. Not all age group classifications are offered at every swim meet. The swimmer’s age on the first day of the meet will govern the swimmer’s age for the entire meet.
Within each age-group there are different nationally recognized levels of achievement based on times. All swimmers begin as “C” swimmers. As they improve, they advance from “C” to “BB,” “B,” “A,” “AA,” “AAA,” and ultimately “AAAA.” The times required for each ability level are published each year by USS. This permits fair, yet challenging, competition on all levels.
In some cases, a swimmer may be in a different class in each stroke. An example: a “C” breaststroke time, a “B” freestyle time, and a “AA” backstroke time.
Some swim meets set certain qualification standards. In order to swim in a certain classification, a swimmer must have achieved the qualifying time for that particular classification.
Types of Swim Meets
- Dual Meets Occasionally, the Berlin Barracuda Swim Club will compete with one other team in a dual meet. These meets help promote team unity, but usually limit the number of events a swimmer may enter.
- Home Meets These meets are a vital source of income for the Berlin Barracuda Swim Club. Each family is asked to participate wherever needed (timing, kitchen, clean-up, awards, etc.). Without parent participation, home swim meets may not be possible.
- Qualification Meets/State Championship These meets have some type of qualification time standards) that a swimmer must meet in order to enter the meet. At the end of each short course (winter) and long course (summer) season, a State Championship meet is sanctioned by Wisconsin Swimming, the governing body of swimming in the state. Wisconsin Swimming sets the qualifying time standards for these championship meets. Generally, the standards fall between the national “A” and “AA” time standards. There are two championships held each season: The Age Group Championship for swimmers 14-Under and the Senior Championship open to any swimmer in the state who has met the qualifying standards regardless of age.
- Zone Championships After the state championships are held in the summer, a swimmer may qualify to participate in the Central Zone Championships by swimming a national “AAA” time. This is an all-star meet where swimmers compete as a member of the Wisconsin Zone Team, competing against other states from the Midwest.
- Speedo/USS Junior National Championships One of the highest levels of achievement swimmers strive for is the participation in the Junior National Championships. USS sponsors an eastern-United States Junior National meet and a western-United States Junior National meet each season. Swimmers meeting qualifying time standards for this meet travel to different locations throughout the eastern half of the U.S. to compete against the best 18-Under swimmers in the nation.
- Phillips 66/USS National Championships Other than the Olympic Trials and the World Championship Trials, each of which is held every four years, the highest level of competition for our senior members is the USS National Championships. As with the Junior Nationals, swimmers meeting the national qualifying time standards travel to various cities throughout the U.S. to compete against America’s best swimmers. Swimmers can qualify for national teams that represent the U.S. in international competition by their performance at Senior Nationals.