Swim Teams

Parent Q&A

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  • Help with diving for swim team

    (3 replies)

    My 11 year old son has been on swim team for a few years. He really loves it and it’s been great for him. He really struggles with his dive and now that he is in the 11-12 age group he is the only kid starting on the deck instead of blocks and belly flopping into the water. I wouldn’t  be worried except it’s bothering him and he is really worried he won’t get moved up to the next level on the team because of it. The coach gave us some form drills we can work on at home but it seems like it might be a good investment to get someone to come work with him a couple times. Maybe a Cal student who is on the swim team? We have a pool in our HOA …or we could do a public pool. 

    Is there any place to post that we are looking for a Cal student to help my son with his dive? Does cal have any online bulletin boards?  Or are there any other ideas? I do see some dive  schools around but none close to us and since he already does  formal swim practice all week I’d like to keep this casual and limited tj a couple times 

    Hi - I’m a swimmer, but terrible diver myself, ha.

    Have you asked the coach if he/she/they would be open to do some private lessons? Or, they know someone who would be open to doing so?

    It could even be one of the 15-18 year team members who is looking to getting some coaching experience & make some extra cash.

    The lifeguards at the Cal pools are all students who are trying to make some extra money. Pop by Strawberry Canyon, Hearst etc and ask one of them. 

    It isn’t hard to learn to dive. I am sure you could find some YouTube videos for him. I taught my son at the local pool in one day. First get your son to squat down low on the side of the pool and put his hands out front (one hand over the other in a triangle and put his head between his arms). Then slowly, gently have him go into the water hands first and let the rest of his body follow. Practice that a few times. Then stand up but lean over low and do the same thing focusing on having the hands go into the water first. Then when he is good at that have him focus on diving shallow not deep, with hands going into the water first and head between his arms. Then he can stand normally and try to stretch and dive further out into the water while holding form. Finally he can try diving off the blocks in the same way. 

  • 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!

    I would recommend checking out Piedmont Swim Team. My son swam with them for 5 years and it was a positive experience. Despite the name, there is currently no pool in Piedmont (a new pool is under construction) and all practices take place in the Oakland/Emeryville area, including ECCL. 

    We have had a great experience with the EC Gators Swim Club--my son belonged there during his middle school years (he now has decided on another sport to pursue). The coaches are very supportive and encouraging with great communication, there was no pressure to make it to all swim meets, and parents are involved in end of season parties, etc. but we usually just dropped off/picked up our kiddo at the pool. The EC pool is also a wonderful place for the community, but they give lap pool priority to the Gators during practice times.  An overall wonderful experience!

    My middle schooler has been swimming with Oaklantis for six years now - went through the swim school and is now on the competitive team - and we are huge fans of the program and the community. Oaklantis has two different team levels; Mavericks is the competitive side where swimmers are practice 3-6 days a week (depending on level) and compete in meets year round and Marauders is the rec side where swimmers practice fewer days and for less time and only do meets in the summer. In general, our experience with Oaklantis has been that it is an intense as the swimmer wants to make it. Kids at all levels definitely take breaks for vacations - and also sometimes for other sports seasons or just life.

    We absolutely love the Oaklantis community. We are a deliberately and intentionally inclusive and supportive group. At meets, swimmers and parents make a point to try and cheer for every Oaklantis swimmer in every race, not just our own kids or friends. Our coaches genuinely care about the kids as people as much as they care about their fastest times. As an organization we do everything we can to reduce financial barriers to being on the team by providing a lot of financial aid. But we are also very scrappy and things can feel disorganized and we are still recovering and rebuilding from being completely shut down for a long time during COVID. Communication is not always great (including our website is very out of date) and there has been a lot of change in the last 6 months (practice locations, coaches, swimmers, etc.). There is a relatively newly formed group of parent volunteers working really hard to help our head coach and team leadership get better systems and supports in place so we are a better run organization. And through it all our swimmers keep doing well in the pool.

    Being the parent of a competitive swimmer is a big time commitment - and requires a ton of flexibility. Pool time is very hard to come by, especially in the inner East Bay, and most teams are scrambling for pool space - and taking the time slots they can get. (I've heard that Armada has better access to pool space - but it's a relatively small pool so they compensate by limiting the # of kids on the team.) Practice times and locations tend to change every few months - and with very little notice - because our coaches are getting new schedules from the pools we use (often with little notice). Some months that means racing to get from school to a 4:00 practice - and some months it means eating a very late dinner after a practice that ends at 7:30. And that doesn't even include the weekend meets with 6:30am start dates that are two hours away! I work from home for an organization that gives me a lot of flexibility so I am able to accommodate the random and ever changing practice times, but I do that by working on my laptop from my car or the pool deck several days a week while my kid is in the water.  There's some carpooling to practices; we are definitely a community that is supportive in that way, but our swimmers come from all over Oakland and beyond to practice so honestly it is going to be hit or miss.

    If you can figure out the logistics for your family, Oaklantis is a fabulous team and community - and we always welcome new swimmers.

    I am the parent of a 9th grader who swims with Undercurrents and has been with them for a few years. When our practice times switched to 6 pm, at first I had the same reaction as you... what about dinner?? But then I grew to love it. It was/is great for my daughter to get some down time after school before heading out to swim practice, and we just eat dinner a bit later than we used to. 6 pm practice time led to her swimming many more days a week than she did back when Undercurrents practices were earlier. And she wound up healthier and happier because of it, which paid dividends for the whole family. (Swimming = my pubescent child's mood stabilizer, so we are all better off when she gets in the pool more often!)

    We love the team. Coach Rolandas is absolutely terrific. It's a program that accommodates a really wide variety of levels/intensities. I don't understand how he does it, frankly. But it has been a total highlight for our family. Highly recommend it.

  • Hi, I am looking for a swimming team in Berkeley (we travel mainly by bike) for my daughter, who is 11, to train with for the duration of our stay (four months). My daughter swims at a competitive level in our home country (Switzerland) and wants to be able to train here at a similar pace (4-5 times a week) as in Switzerland so that she does not lose her technique and her racing skills. Do you know a local swimming team with which she could train? Thank in advance.

    You could try the Albany Armadas. They have had a waitlist in the past but I'm not sure if they do now. Good luck!

  • Swim team recommendation for teen

    (3 replies)

    Looking for a local swim team for my 15 year old son. Any recommendation for a good program? Thank you!!

    I highly recommend the Hills Hurricane swim team. My son, who is now 18 and college bound, has benefited greatly from this team and the community.

    My girls swam for Orinda Park Pool (OPP) for many years (13 and 10 years respectively). We live in North Berkeley and loved that it was 10+ degrees warmer there. Foggy in Berkeley but sunny there! The pool membership and swim team is geographically diverse (Orinda, Berkeley, Oakland...). It’s a Spring and Summer program. For a year-round program, consider Orinda Aquatics. 

    Where are you located?  There are lots of local club teams in the east bay are:)

  • I'm looking for a swim coach for our son who is currently a strong intermediate level swimmer. He is interested in swimming regularly for exercise, so we're looking for some support to design a program for him, which could include a couple of coaching sessions a week. We are a homeschooling family, so our timing is flexible.

    It seems like, other than the Berkeley Baraccudas (which is full), there are no other coached swim programs available in the Berkeley area. Are we missing something?

    Any thoughts very much appreciated!

    If you're willing to drive to the Oakland hills I can highly recommend our swim school, Ohana Swimming. It's up near Merritt College. They have a non-competitive swim team that meets 3x per week (MWF 4-5). Your child can swim 2 days, 3 days, or you can also pay 1/2 price to have them do only one day per week. The price is right and so is the instruction. The coaches are fantastic! The kids have a blast while honing their skills. Contact me if you have any more questions. 


  • My 10 year old is looking for a swim team in the Berkeley/Oakland area that is not super competitive. Our goals are to refine strokes and to stay physically active. I came across the Berkeley Barracudas and it sounds like a good fit. Some old BPN reviews expressed concern with the coaches' behavior. Can anyone provide feedback on their child's experience within the last couple of years? Much appreciated!

    I would highly recommend Oaklantis Swimming. http://oaklantis.squarespace.com/ 

    Coaches are great with kids and very supportive. 

    If your son isn't actually interested in competing, but rather in just training and improving his skills, I strongly recommend Coach Ian's classes at Berkeley Tennis Club.  He leads hour-long intermediate and advanced swim sessions (three times a week for intermediate, I think more often for advanced) for up to 12 students.  He's an excellent coach and his classes often have wait lists, but at the moment there are spaces at both levels.  My daughter has been in his intermediate class for a year and has enjoyed them and improved a lot.  The intermediate class requires students to have some grasp of all four competitive strokes.  You do not need to be a member of the club to enroll in the classes and most students don't seem to be.

  • Swim team at King Middle School?

    (1 reply)

    Hi there, we have a kid going to King in the Fall. We're wondering about the swim team and their site doesn't seem to have any info.

    Here are my questions: 

    - How often does it meet? Must my kid go more than 2 times per week?

    - What is the cost? 

    - What's the vibe like? She would prefer something supportive and not intense about competition

    - Anything else I should know about? 

    - Are there meets or competitions? When (weekday or weekends)?

    I'd like for her to try it out, so I need to build a case about how great it is. You know how that goes!

    Thank you!

    King Middle School doesn't have a swim team, but there is a City of Berkeley swim team, the Berkeley Barracudas, that practices every day at the King pool right next to the school. Assuming that's what you mean..... my daughter participated in the Barracudas program for a couple of years. It is the least competitive and least organized team in the area.... they rarely have meets (maybe once a year). Some of the coaches are good, some just OK. Practices are held every day, but your kid can go as many times per week as they like. Last I remember, it was very affordable at $75 per month. The vibe just depends on the group of kids who are doing it at the time. My daughter stopped going and said part of the reason was that a lot of the kids and some coaches were "mean," but I'm sure by now it's a whole new group....

  • Recommended swim teams for 7 year-old?

    (0 replies)

    The archives don't contain a lot of recent posts on swim teams so I am hoping people won't mind advising which ones to consider.  We live in North Oakland and are hoping to find a club within a reasonable drive with practices at reasonable times (not too early in the morning or too late in the evening), nice coaches and a good community, since we're new to the area and still trying to make friends.  My daughter has an at-least basic grasp of all four competitive strokes, at the moment is not super-interested in competing but loves to swim and wants to improve.  (And also gets cold easily, so a club that swims at a pool with reasonably warm water would also be a plus.)  

    No responses received.

Parent Reviews

I suggest you sign him up for a summer swim team. If you find one that is low key enough, the kids don’t even have to do meets, they can just go to practice, although our family found the meets to be fun because all our kids were in one place.

Practicing everyday all summer turns kids into strong swimmers and I think it’s cheaper than lessons when you average it out. I don’t know what is happening with covid, but Oakland Rec runs some swim teams that are fun and won’t break the bank. Or you can go through the tunnel to OPP or something.

Join the city swim team this summer (I was unclear what city you live in). In Oakland, several city pools have swim teams. It takes some time - there's daily practices in late afternoon and weekend meets. They're pretty flexible about how many practices your kid attends and a minimal number of meets. I was never a big fan of the meets - you sit for hours waiting for a race that lasts less than a minute. But kids learn to swim because they just swim laps together, practicing different strokes. I think the requirement to join is usually just that they can swim the length of the pool, any stroke. A couple of years ago it was $40/summer.

Archived Q&A and Reviews



Swim Team in Oakland

April 2013

My 8 year old son would like to join a swim team this summer. He has been in a swim team prep class for the past 6 months and can swim lots of laps all of the strokes. His current swim school does not offer a competitive team. I live in Oakland and do not want to spent my whole summer driving him long distances, so I am hoping for a team in this area. I am considering The Hills swim team (we are not members) or the Oakland Undercurrents. I would love some feedback on both of these teams. Or is there another team worth looking at? Thanks! Mom of a Swimmer

(Editor Note: As of August 2014, the Hills swim team no longer accepts non-member swimmers.)

We are newish to the East Bay, and had looked for a swim team for our 8yo daughter. Just joined the Oakland Undercurrents, and love it so far. Each of the coaches have been very inclusive and welcoming, as well as positive in their instruction. It seems to be a friendly group of kids. It is also diverse, which is a huge plus in my book. Laney College is easy to get to and from. We will know more in another month or two, but we are very happy so far. Please feel free to contact me. rebecca

My son joined the Hills swim team when he was 8 and will be leaving this summer as he goes to college. He got good enough to swim on a college team. THe Hills swim team, called the Hills Hurricanes, has been a major part of his life. It is a beautiful pool in which to swim and the team is small enough so that the coach can give attention to each swimmer. There aren't very many older swimmers but there are a lot of younger swimmers. The team attends about two swim meets a month although at age 8, he wouldn't have to go to all of them, unless he wanted to. I would suggest you ask if you can observe the swim team practice which is from :15 to 6. They have to be able to swim 50 yards freestyle, one length of back stroke, tread water for 30 secs and go under water from the wall for 5 yards in order to join the team. Karen

Both the Hills and Undercurrents teams are good--both provide solid age-appropriate coaching for young swimmers getting into competitive swimming, and offer a social outlet for the swimmer as well. I would suggest talking to the coaches and visiting both teams to see which one is a better match for your family and your swimmer. Also, if your son has friends who are already on one of the teams, that's a plus in keeping your son motivated and having fun. Your final decision may come down to logistics driving to either pool.

Disclosure--My son swims for the Hills team, but he also knows kids who swim for the Undercurrents. We like the Hills team. It's a small team; many of the senior swimmers have grown up on the team since joining at age 6, 7 or 8, and it feels like family. swim mom

I recommend the Montclair Swim team. The team practices at Roberts Park in the Spring and Lion's Pool in Dimond Park in the Fall. The summers can be challenging as the practice moves to the Soda Center, Campolindo High School in Moraga. But, there are carpools from this side of the Hill. Coach Bill Aden is phenomenal. He is known both, for his stroke technique and for his gentleness in teaching. The swim team families are very friendly, cohesive and loyal to the team. Tryouts are in late March and late August. If you son loves to swim and wants to compete, it is a fabulous experience. Bill's number is (510) 540-8867. Parent of two Montclair Swim team swimmers

Swim teams in Orinda or Lafayette

Feb 2013

We were considering having our kids join a swim team in Orinda or Lafayette and was wondering if anyone knew the pros/cons/culture of any of the clubs? We are specifically thinking about Miramonte Swim Club, Orinda Park Pool, Campolindo, and Moraga Valley. Fishy Mama

We have been members of OPP for 7 years, and my kids (now ages 9 and 11) have been on the team for 3. We love, love, love OPP. It is very time intensive, but it is a team that truly welcomes swimmers of all abilities. It is competitive for the minority of kids who really want to excel, but it is mostly a team for kids who like to swim and run around outside all summer. The many, many coaches are great with kids. The families are down-to-earth. Lots of families from Berkeley and Oakland. The other pools you are considering are also ''low key'' (as opposed to the country club swim teams in this area), but I can't really comment on their cultures specifically. The other thing we love about OPP is the garden-like setting. Lots of grass and trees, and a large pool that is super kid friendly (lots of shallow water for playing). We live in Berkeley but have made many close friends through the pool and I can't wait for the season to start! Liz O.

The clubs you listed have some fairly significant differences from one another. Unless you live in the Campolindo area, you would need to be sponsored to join the Campolindo Cabana Club (CCC). As a sponsored member, you would only have access to the facilities during the time that you have practice - no other social activities or just hanging out at the pool.

Miramonte would be similar but no one has extra privileges there. It's a high school pool. The Miramonte practice times are very working parent friendly - as opposed to all the others that you listed.

Moraga Valley Pool (MVP) is a great pool and also offers tennis. The membership itself isn't too costly and the annual dues were just raised to $1800. Memberships are sold by the individual members to interested buyers on an open-market system rather than through a wait list. MVP is trying to accumulate funds to make repairs and eventually renovate. A vote just failed to assess the members for this work (thus, the dues increase instead) but the thought is that could happen sometime in the future. So there is a bit of uncertainty there but it is a great place. It draws most of its membership from Del Rey and Los Perales families.

Orinda Park Pool (OPP) is beautiful. Probably the most expensive of the ones you mentioned - memberships are sold based on a waiting list and are substantially more expensive than at MVP. Last I checked it was about the cost of a year of dues for the membership itself. I know several families there and they love it - a very tight knit club. Some people like to join the pool that is closest to their elementary school and others think its better to mix it up. I know I have written a novel here, but feel free to get my e-mail address from the moderator if you have more questions. Swim fast!

As you check out the swim teams you are interested in, I suggest that you ask specific questions about number of swimmers/coach, availability of individual lessons, how much pool time is available/swimmer, number of swimmers/lane during workouts, etc. I swim at one of the pools you mentioned. Our team has become very large over the past few years and there have been complaints from swim team families about ineffective coaching due to the large team size and limited pool time available. The lanes seem to be very crowded during swim team clinics and work outs. Also, pre-season clinics will start in April for some teams. not a swim team parent

Swim Teams in the Berkeley/Bay Area

Sept 2012

My 13 year old son wants to join a swim team. I am looking for recommendations for a team in the Berkeley area and information on how these teams teach kids to swim competitively. What have your experiences been at the swim meets? Thanks in advance.

My daughter, 13, and son, 11, both swim on the Albany Armada Aquatics swim team. The team is new to the Albany swimming pool, but all three coaches are very experienced. My children have worked with these coaches for more than 2 years when they were the coaching staff at Piedmont Swim Team. Both children have been swimming competitively since they were 7 years old. Helen, Jesus, and Rick have guided them to Junior Olympic time standards, and other swimmers who worked with them have reached even more competitive time standards. At the same time, there is room on the team for less experienced swimmers and swimmers who want to swim at a fitness level. We usually go to meets twice a month. The AAA pool is accessible from downtown Berkeley by BART and bus. AAA is currently holding try outs. You can contact the head coach, Helen Garcia


There's a new team in Albany: Albany Armada Aquatics. Nice pool, great coaches. It's a competitive team, so the swimmers are expected to attend swim meets regularly. David

Swim Team for 15-year old

Sept 2012

We have just moved to Berkeley and my 15-year old daughter wants to join a swim team. Any recommendations? Anita

Check out our new swim team, Albany Armada Aquatics. We swim at the newly renovated Albany Aquatic Center. Beautiful 10 lane outdoor pool! We offer 6 different ability groups and are competitively focused. For more info visit our website: www.albanyarmada.com or contact me directly I am the Head Coach. Helen Garcia

Does your daughter attend Berkeley High School? They have a swim team, water polo, etc. Local Mom

Swim Clubs in Lamorinda

Aug 2012

We might be moving to Lafayette-Orinda-Moraga with our 5 year old girl. I would appreciate any info anyone can send about swim clubs in the area. Are they just in the phone book and people just pick one? Thanks for any advice you can give. anon

Most people in Lamorinda choose their swim clubs by going to the one closest to their houses. We never joined one, but if we did, it would be the one a few blocks from here. You'll have the advantage of your kid being in the same club as many of her classmates. Also, it is a good way to get to know other parents in you neighborhood. The exceptions are when people belong to a local country club (MCC or OCC), then their kids will usually swim there.

Swimming Club for El Cerrito 7-yr old?

May 2011

I have a 7-yr old son who loves and is great at swimming. He is in the highest level in his swimming class. I'd like for him to continue swimming but he does not want to do competitive swimming. We live in El Cerrito and I am looking for a swim club or something similar where he can continue to develop his swimming skills but also have fun at it too. Any recommendations?

I highly recommend BEAR swimming for all kids who are interested in being on a swim team. They swim at the Contra Costa College pool, which is not nearly as out-of- the way as it might sound. The coaches are wonderful, kind, and attentive, and the team is a very nice group of kids. They are all very supportive of each other, and they all have fun swimming. The team is relatively small right now, so it is a comfortable fit for younger kids. You can even try it out for a couple of weeks for free! Their web address is bearswimming.org. Lauren

Check out the Richmond Sailfish swim team in the newly- renovated Plunge in Pt Richmond. My 8-year old son loves to swim but is not interested in competing and it's a great fit for him. Coach John works with kids at all levels and makes the workouts fun. It's also quite inexpensive and flexible. www.richmondswims.org/richmond- sailfish Susan

Swim team for daughters 6 and 8

July 2008

We live equal distance between the King Pool in Berkeley and the El Cerrito Pool. I'm looking into the swim-team at both locations for my daughters ages 6 and 8. Have you (your children) had experience with either of these teams? Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Swimming for Kids

The Barracudas swim team is a great program, especially if the focus is on the child gaining swim stroke skill, strength, and stamina. We like that my 9 y.o. daughter can attend (and pay) as, and only when, she is available. She attended Wednesdays at King during the Spring and until school ended. She started reluctantly and gathered enthusiasm as the season progressed. It is not known which coach will be present any given Wednesday for her level, (middle). Some coaches were really good, none were lousy, although one came close to it. karen gilligan

May I also suggest the Albany Pool swim team? My child is not a member, but I went by the pool a couple of months ago and spoke with the coach, who seemed like a really nice guy and answered all my questions. He indicated that the team was non-competitive, so if that is what you are looking for, it might be a good fit. Kim

Swim team near Albany for 7-year-old

March 2008

My 7 year old is a strong swimmer and is interested in joining a swim team. There was a recent reommendation for the Oakland Barracudas but since we live in Albany this is not logistically feasible. I am interested in finding out more about the Albany Blue Dolphins but the most recent BPN info is 4 years old. Would appreciate any recent info on the Blue Dolphins or other options in Berkeley/Albany/EC. Albany Pool website is somewhat limited and has no Blue Dolphins contact info. mom of a swimmer

The El Cerrito Swim Center is home to the EC Gators a swim team for ages 5-18. We have practices 5 days per week year-round. Our goal is to offer a positive and fun environment where kids can increase their skill and learn to enjoy competitive swimming. There are groups for all skill levels from beginners to very advanced and one of our swimmers just qualified for Olympic Trials. Tryouts are on Mondays at 4pm. For more info check out our website http://www.el-cerrito.org/recreation/gators.html or contact Coach Jerry at jabee[at]ci.el-cerrito.ca.us Thanks! Miriam

Introductory swim team for 7-year-old

Feb 2008

Hello, My 7-year old daughter will be graduating from a swimming program very soon and would like to continue to swim. She eventually wants to compete, but prefers to take things very slowly, hone her craft and enjoy the sport without any pressure. Are there any swim teams out there that can serve as an introduction to competitive swimming? I found programs through the YMCA in Oakland (on Broadway) and through the City of Oakland, Parks and Rec. Has anyone had any experience with them? If you can recommend other places and/or programs, please let me know. Thank you. Cheranne

Try the Albany pool. They have a swim team (not sure if they take kids as young as yours) that is not competitive. I spoke with the coach a few months ago and he seemed really nice and stressed that it is not a hard core, competitive program. Kim

Talk to Adrienne at Aquatech swim school at Mariner Square Athletic club in Alameda. My kids take lessons at Aquatech and they are affordable and really awesome at teaching kids to swim proper strokes in a fun, safe and mostly--very professional-- manner. They have teams, too--for down the road. Call the director and ask about your daughter, and what you are looking for. She will try really hard to meet you needs. So happy to have found Aquatech mama!

The Oakland Barracuas Swim Team sounds like a good fit for your daughter. My son began swimming with the Cudas when he turned 7 (he's currently in his third year with the team) and it has been a very positive experience for him, and for me as a parent too. The team swims at Live Oak Pool next to Oakland High on MacArthur Blvd. To visit a practice or for more information, check out the Cuda website, www.oaklandbarracudas.com. Ask Coach John about the Junior Swim League, which is a great way for your daughter to swim with the team for an eight-week period and allows her to decide if she likes it without the pressure of having to make a huge commitment up front. And even if she decides to continue, the time commitment is very manageable for young swimmers, just one-hour practices, twice a week, participation in monthly meets encouraged but not required. Clarisse

Try checking out AquaTech Swim School in Alameda. They are an indoor, year round program with a non-competitive team. I like it because of the positive coaching staff and fun, low pressure environment. You can join anytime and stop anytime, no set schedule. Check 'em out! www.aquatechswimschool.com Swim Mom

Swim team for 4-year-old?

Oct 2005

My son is nearly 4 years old, and a good little swimmer. As he is a true water lover, we are starting to think about swim teams. What area swim teams (we prefer Oakland, but are willing to travel for the right fit) take younger kids? When browsing the website, it seemed that the Oakland Barracudas start at age 7, but I know a lot of swim teams take kids starting at 5 or younger (we're thinking about for age 5, but if the right team took 4 year olds, we'd be interested, too). We're really hoping for an easy-intro kind of group, with practices 2-3 days a week for the young kids, and a focus on learning skills and being a part of a team. Thanks! Heather

Not sure of what you might find in Berkeley or Oakland, but I do know that you could join one of the many swim clubs in the Lamorinda area for summer swim team. I live in Orinda and we belong to the Moraga Valley Pool (MVP) which has a great swim team (The Marlins). I do know of families in Berkeley who belong to pools on this side of the tunnel b/c it's warmer and sunnier. The pools here take kids at 4 years old and usually divide the groups by skill and age. The younger kids who cannot swim the full length of the pool are the ''mini-marlins'' at MVP. The downside is that you would have to buy into a membership (ranges between $1800-2800 depending upon the pool club) and pay the season fee (ranges from $400-700). Maya

My 6 year daughter joined the Miramonte swim team this summer as we were very anxious that she become water safe as we have a pool at home. I spent a good part of my summer with this team, so I feel I can give a fairly accurate picture of this team. It is in Orinda, and the only public swim club(PSC) in the Lamorinda area. As it is a public PSC, the members are very nice and unassuming, and have none of the country club attitute you see at the meets with the more elite, powerhouse swim clubs. Even though it is a swim club,they emphasise enjoyment of water over competition with the younger set.

The first time my kid competed she ended up winning her heat.She was so ecstatic that we were concerned that she might expect this to happen everytime.Therefore we were relieved to see her coaches congratulating her on finishing her race and never mentioned the winning aspect.

This summer they had a 3 year old kid competing. She got a bit nervous with the big crowd and noise and lanes etc so her coach got into the water and swam backward creating a sort of vacuum for her to swim. There are many young kids who swim all summer and never actully compete and there is no pressure to do so until they are ready. I am sure it is more competitive for the older swimmers as the head Coach is an Olympian who won gold about 20 years ago.

It is a lovely club, all the junior coaches joined there as toddlers themselves. The only danger is once you try them one summer you may not want to leave. I live 20 minutes away, and driving 40 minutes a day several times a week was a serious pain, however I liked it so much I know I will return next summer even though my kid is water safe and I dont feel the pressure to teach her swimming any more. It has been a fabulous confidence building activity and has resulted in my daughter being open to try many things she previously might have not. Good luck! They do have a web site, do check it out. PS: Cost is very nominal, about $400 for 3 months of swimming daily M-F. At the younger level, the commitment is not intense, so they have no problem if you go on vacation in the middle of the summer. anon

Afterschool swim team for 5th grade girls?

Jan 2004

Does anyone know of a good after-school indoor swim program or team for 5th grade girls? We're looking in the Oakland/Piedmont/Berkeley area. Thanks!


  • Albany Blue Dolphins

    Daughter would like to join a swim team

    Feb. 2002

    My daughter loves to swim. She was on a swim team for a while and then the schedule became such that she could not go to the practices. She has not swam for a year and would like to join a swim team in the Fall. She would also like to use the Spring and Summer months to get back in shape and work on her strokes. Please let us know where your child swims, practices and of swimming and strokes instructors. Thank you. Nathalie


  • Oakland Barracudas

    Swim team for 14-yer-old son

    July 2001

    I have a 14 year old son who will be starting high school in the Fall at Arrowsmith Academy in Berkeley. He is a swimmer and very interested in participating on a swim team or even water polo. Unfortunately, Arrowsmith is a very small school and does not have a pool nor any water teams. Are there resources in the Berkeley area that I can help fill this gap? I am very interested in hearing if there are solutions out there. Thank you. Dave


  • Berkeley Bears (2)

    Swim team for daughter in Berkeley/El Cerrito

    July 1999 My daughter has expressed an interest in being on a swim team. We live in Berkeley. Starting in September, she will go to school in El Cerrito. Do any of you know of a swim team she can join in and around Berkeley and/or El Cerrito? Trisha


  • Berkeley Bears (2)
  • Berkeley YMCA

    Albany Blue Dolphins

    Re: Afterschool swim team for 5th grade girls? (Jan 2004)
    Albany Blue Dolphins is a recreational swim team that meets every weekday 4.30-5.30pm at Albany's indoor 30 yard pool on Portland and Key Route, just behind Albany High School. My son, a 4th grader, really enjoys swimming with them, and I've seen a huge improvement in his stroke techniques as a result of the individual attention given by the friendly coaches. Ariella

    Berkeley Bears (no longer in operation)

    Re: Winter swim lessons for 5-year-old (Oct 2004)
    Winter swim lessons and more can be found at Berkeleybears.com, the web page of the Berkeley Bears swim team. In addition to the team they offer the best swim lessons in town and our family of three girls, then 5, 7 and 11 learned more in a few short weeks than we did anywhere else and loved every minute of it. I have watched them teach all ages from toddler to adult and they are magnificent. The good part is if your child takes to swimming they can then join a team and continue swimming year round with in a kind encouraging environment. I can't recommend the Berkeley Bears enough. Jolie jolie
    Re: Swim team for 14-yer-old son (July 2001)
    My 16-year-old BHS son swims with the Berkeley Bears and enjoys it a lot. They swim mostly at West Campus pool in Berkeley - workouts five days a week. You can get serious and competitive or just get to be a better swimmer. Good coach, lots of fun. My son also swims on the team at Berkeley High, but this team is year round and good for sustained improvement. Sara
    Re: Swim team for 14-yer-old son (July 2001)
    I highly recommend Berkeley Bears Swimming. They are a local USA Swimming club with age group work outs at King Pool and at West Campus Pool. Daryn Glasgow is the head coach and can be reached at (925) 299-9411 or call the team's administrative manager Janice Price at (510) 527-9233.

    My daughter's (ages 11 and 14) have been swimming with this team for several years and my husband, Rick Arnason, is also a volunteer coach for the younger kids. The team is open to all abilities - really! The high school group is a great bunch. They come from Berkeley High, St. Mary's, etc. and some of the kids are home schooled. The head coach, Daryn, is a remarkable young women. She is very serious about swimming and also about encouraging healthy habits.

    My kids swim up to six days a week and sometimes twice a day. They attend a lot of swim meets. However, many kids on the team only workout a few days a week and only compete periodically. Either way works. The kids really encourage each other no matter what their level. The focus is on improving your skills and not on beating each other. The team is offering swim clinics (one or two week programs I think) this summer, which might be a good way for your son to try it out. Swimmers are a pretty wholesome lot. The high school kids seem to do very well in school because they have learned to organize and balance their time. Nancy

    Re: Swim team for daughter in Berkeley/El Cerrito (July 1999)
    The Bear Swim Team works out at King Pool and has different levels from grade school to high school. There are no try outs. It's set up for kids who like to swim and compete if they like. It's every weekday, but swimmers can go as often as they want. Participating in competitions is optional. The team is a private group that works out at King. I don't have the phone number for them but if you inquire at King Pool, they should be able to give you a contact number. My daughter was in it for several years and it was great as an afterschool activity as well as for exercise. Lisa
    Re: Swim team for daughter in Berkeley/El Cerrito (July 1999)
    Re: a Berkeley swim team. Both my kids were on the Berkeley Bears swim team and loved it. I think it's a wonderful activity---in addition to all its other benefits, swimming builds a comfort with your body that is lacking is other less revealing sports. For more info., call Brian Nabeta, h. 243-1625 He usually returns calls about the Bears swim team between 7 and 9PM at night so be sure to leave a number where he can reach you then. Sally
    Sept-Oct 1999

    the Berkeley Bears have several levels--it sounds as though your daughter would be at the Gold level which practices every afternoon at the pool at West Campus (off University Ave). YOu can get the Bears coaches' number from King Pool 644-8518 -- Albany also has some kind of swim team. So does El Cerrito. Kathy

    I highly recommend the Berkeley Bears USS swim team. My 15 yr, daughter, Sallie Oto has been with them for 5 years. I think they are the only USS team on this side of the hill. Albany Blue Dolphins has just joined the Bears. There are several USS teams in Contra Costa. Mary
    The Berkeley Bears Swimming is a USS swim team. The workout at King is for the younger kids. The high-school kids swim at West Campus every day after school (from 4 to 6:45 pm) - as well as some early morning workouts. We think the team is great. You can get more info from the head coach, Daryn Glasgow, 925-299-9411, or the office manager Janice Price, 510-724-0529. There is a website (which is partially under construction) http://www.isbest.com/bears

    Oakland Undercurrents

    Re: Racially mixed swim club around Oakland (Sept 2004)
    Both the Baracudas and Undercurrents swim teams are a lot more racially diverse and more affordable than the private clubs. I would recommend checking out both and deciding which is more convenient and feels more welcoming. We ended up with Undercurrents because my daughter has friends from the summer swim teams that operate at the Oakland public pools. (They're the best deal in town: $20 for daily practice all summer long!) Undercurrents practice during the school year at Laney College's pool and can be reached at 594-4309 or undercurrentswimming AT yahoo.com.

    Richmond Silver Dolphins

    Oct 2003

    The richmond swim center has a swim team for kids- the Richmond Silver Dolphins. The contact # is 510-525-1221 I've been taking our 10 month old for swim lessons and am very impressed with the facility and staff. Joe

    July 2002

    Interested in being on a competitive swim team? The Richmond Silver Dolphins, a USA swimming team, practices Monday through Saturday in a new, Olympic-sized indoor pool at the Richmond Swim Center at 45th and Cutting Blvd. in Richmond. Training for beginning to advanced, ages 5-18; learn stroke technique, build endurance and speed; USA swim meets, splash days, water polo & more. Monthly dues from $65 to $83. For information call 510-528-8227, 503-830-1667, or 503-703-2400, or visit the Richmond Swim Center, 4:00-7:00 Mon. thru Fri. Beginning swimmers must be able to swim one lap of freestyle with side breathing.