FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


What league are the Aqua Bears affiliated with?
Our swim team is part of the Valley Swim League (VSL). We compete against teams from Pleasanton and Livermore and Dublin.

 


Where do the Aqua Bears swim?  
We currently swim at two different swim facilities:  Dougherty Valley Aquatic Center and San Ramon Olympic Pool.  May Practices and Summer Swim Meets are held at Dougherty Valley Aquatic Center (DVAC) and Summer practices are held at San Ramon Olympic Pool (SROP).  

 


How big is the team?  
We have around 200 swimmers ages 5-18 years old on the team.

 


When is registration?  

  • Registration for returning swimmers is JAN 15th- FEB 15TH.  The team registrar will email all families from the previous season with registration information.  If you do not register by the deadline, your spot will be opened up for general registration.
  • Siblings of a current swim team members  will register with returning swimmers.  
  • For new swimmers who will be 5-18 years old on June 1 of the swim season you want to join, there will be a first-come-first-served open registration after returning swimmers have registered. We expect any open spaces to fill very quickly. Registration be open for new members will begin on February 20, 2024.

 


When does the practice season start and end? 
We start practicing the first week of May.  In May, Practices are usually Saturday mornings with after-school practices 2 to 3 days a week.  When school is out, we have daily practices M-F, in the mornings, at Cal High. 

 


When are the swim meets?  
Usually on Saturday mornings from about 7am to 2pm except for the Invitational Meet held on a Wednesday evening.  Our first meet of the year is called “Time Trials,” (June 1st) where we do not swim against another team; the kids just swim every event to log a baseline time.  After that, we usually have five or six “dual meets” where we swim against other VSL teams.  The season culminates with an “Invitational Meet” on the season's last Wednesday evening (July 17th) and a “Championship Meet,” on the season's last Saturday morning (July 20th) where multiple VSL teams compete against each other.  Our home meets are held at the Dougherty Valley Aquatics Center.  Away meets are held at various locations in Livermore and Pleasanton and Dublin.


Does my child have to participate in the swim meets?  
Well, sure! That is part of being on a swim team.  We are not a means for simply working out or conditioning;  swim team is an organized competitive sport, and the meets are the “competition” part.  No worries…our meets are fun!!  We do have a team policy that swimmers aged 13 and below must attend at least half of the dual meets (3 out of 6, 4 out of 8, depending how many meets we have) for the season.  Failure to meet this minimum meet requirement for 2 years in a row will result in losing priority registration status of a returning swimmer.  We encourage older swimmers to participate in at least 3 meets during the season.


Does my child need to know how to swim, or swim well in order to join the team?  
Yes.  
Please note that our practices are NOT swim lessons. Please see additional info below.

Children ages 5-6, need to be able to swim 25 yards, the length of the pool, without stopping or holding onto the wall. Children ages 7 and older, however, must be able to swim freestyle with side breathing across the pool without stopping in order to join the team.  It is recommended that children ages 9 and above are able to swim at least two official swim strokes across the pool without stopping.  The coaches can take it from there – introducing all four strokes, as well as starts, turns, and relay racing.    Practices are in large groups of 24-40 swimmers with large group instruction and conditioning.  Swimmers who do not know all 4 swim strokes or who want more individualized instruction/attention are encouraged to seek additional swim lessons. If your child is not a strong swimmer, we recommend continuing lessons over the winter/spring before the swim season starts.


How much does it cost to join the swim team? 
The registration fee to the team is $250 per family and $250 for the first swimmer, $200 for additional swimmers in the same family.  We also require each family to perform Mandatory Team Service Hours (formally volunteer hours).  Failure to complete the service hours will result in a $500 fee.  

There is also the cost of purchasing the team suit, cap, and practice equipment.


In what age group will my swimmer participate?  
Swimmers are placed in the age group which corresponds to the swimmers age on June 1 of that swim year.  The swim groups are Cubs (5-6 year olds), 6Us (5-6 years old), 7/8s, 9/10s, 11/12s, 13/14s, and 15-18s.  There are 25-40 swimmers in each age group except for cubs and 6Us which are kept smaller for safety reasons.

 

Are there Volunteer requirements?

YES! This is a MANDATORY part of your family joining our swim team. When your swimmer swims for the San Ramon Aqua Bears, the entire family is involved.  It takes approximately 40 volunteers to run each meet. We require a signed agreement during the registration process.   It is mandatory, not optional, to volunteer.  We have many different types of jobs that fulfill the volunteer agreement.  Our families find it easy to fulfill their commitments.  If your volunteer hours are not fulfilled, there will be a $500 charge at the end of the season.


What if my child has a day camp to attend, or if my family has a scheduled vacation? Can we miss practice or a swim meet? 
Sure. Missing one week of practice, or one swim meet, is fine. Again, part of being on a swim team is participation, so it’s best to commit to the whole season. At the same time, we realize that it is summer and that families go on vacation, or the kids make it into a special scout camp that they want to attend. Swim Team does not generally work for kids in summer school.

 


Can a former or current SRVA or other “year round” swimmer swim and compete with the Aqua Bears summer recreational swim team? 
Yes. There are a few rules though. A swimmer can practice and compete in the fall for a year-round team after our season is over. A swimmer can continue to practice with their year-round team from January 1 until the start of our season as long as they do not compete in any swim meets from January 1 until the Aqua Bears season starts in June.


Can a teenager who swims for their high school team swim with the Aqua Bears?  
Yes! All high school swimmers are encouraged to join our team.  We have a fun team, and a special “Granny Bear Award” for graduating high school seniors who have been on the team at least 3 seasons. And the younger kids really love the older kids.


Are there any Aqua Bears social events?  
Yes!  We have potlucks, Chili Cook-off, Talent Show, Pancake Breakfast and more.  We also have many activities to promote team spirit and make it fun for the entire family to be a part of the Aqua Bears swim team.  Socials are a big part of our team culture and we encourage all our families to participate!  

 

 



What is the Aqua Cub Program?
Our Aqua Cub program is an intro to swim team program for siblings of current team members, ages 5-6 who are still learning to swim.  Sometimes, we will permit a 4 year old sibling to participate in the bears program, at the discretion of the team registrar.  Children ages 5 and 6 will be evaluated by our coaches and placed in either our “6U BEAR” age group or our “6 and under CUB” program.  There are many factors that go into this decision and our coaches have complete discretion regarding placement.

The Aqua Cub program is NOT a swim lesson.  The goals of the Aqua Cub program are to:  

  • Help the cubs be more comfortable and safe in the water
  • Further develop water and swim skills
  • Provide positive first swim meet experiences
  • Facilitate learning about team membership, including good sportsmanship and supporting others.

It is recommended that a Cub take swim lessons in addition to being a Cub member on the team.  This is not a replacement for swim lessons, rather an introduction to being a part of a swim team and attending practices, meets and socials. 

Please note: the goal for all 6-year-old Aqua Cubs is to have them swimming independently by the end of the swim season.  This is important, as there is no Aqua Cub program for children ages 7 years and above.

  • For cubs, how does daily swim practice work with so many Aqua Cubs that don’t know how to swim?  Teen swim team members will be in the water with the cubs helping them become more proficient swimmers, while the coaches oversee the practice.  The ratio will usually be 1:3. 
  • Do the cubs compete at the swim meets? Only in the kickboard race, and they have a “spotter” (usually a teenager) in the lane with them to encourage them along and to ensure they make it safely to the other end of the pool! As they are ready and willing, they can try to swim one lap of freestyle during the kickboard race.  Cubs only swim in the single kickboard race until they are promoted to an Aqua Bear.
  • Can a “cub” become a “bear” during the season?  When the coaches think they are ready, Aqua Cubs who are ages 5 or 6 can graduate to the “6 and under” age group and compete in any or all of the four stroke events at the swim meets.  Aqua Cubs who are four-years-old are not eligible to practice with the “6 and under” age group, but they can swim in some of the “6 and under” events at meets if the coaches approve.

**Please note that there are very few Aqua Cub spaces on our team.  Siblings of current team members have priority to the cub spaces.  If you are looking for your swimmer ages 5-6 to join our team, it is best for them to know how to swim.  

 



How do I join the team?

All swimmers who are new to the team will register on a first come-first serve beginning when registration opens for new swimmers.  Some age groups will be at capacity, therefore we encourage you to register as soon as registration opens.  

 

Please ensure that swimmers are able to swim across the pool, unassisted without stopping.  This is a swim team and practices and meets involve swimming laps.  For the safety of the swimmers, we may cancel registration for swimmers who are not able to demonstrate they can safely swim across the pool. All  swimmers will have a swim evaluation at their first practice in May.