Inner East Bay swim teams (Armada, Barracudas, etc)
Hi - my 7th grader joined a swim team while we were living abroad last year and is hooked! We are now back in north Oakland and looking for a youth swim team that has a healthy balance of training and camaraderie, similar to her last team. Previously she was swimming with Emeryville Aquatic Club but they were not quite serious enough...at the same time, she's 12, and we don't want to have our lives revolve around swimming (nor can we, with 2 working parents and another kid's life to manage). The other challenge is practice times - the closest teams have horrible practice times (6-7:30pm for Emeryville, Undercurrent, Oaklantis - what about dinner??) and the farther away teams have better times, but we can't get there on time from Claremont Middle School (3:45pm for Armada, 4pm for Barracudas - school ends at 3:20pm). Last year she was able to get to/from practice on her own via train & bike, but transit reliability isn't the same here, if there's a tight turnaround time in the afternoon - we'd love for her to continue being independent in this way if that were possible. So we're also checking out El Cerrito because they practice at 4:30pm and that might give her enough time to BART/bike on her own. I am sure I'm not the first parent to be tearing my hair out about this, so if you are a parent of a middle school swimmer I'd love to hear from you! Are there other options we haven't considered? What is your experience with any of these teams - intensity level, parent collaboration around carpooling, openness to absence because of family camping trips, etc? I am a swimmer and am delighted that she likes the sport, but my swim team was a school team and my parents didn't have to deal with this level of logistics. Thanks in advance!