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About Barracuda Aquatics Club

Over 50 years of developing young leaders in and out of the swim pool!

The Barracuda Aquatics Club offers a year-round competitive swim program, split into 4 seasons, open to swimmers age 6 and up. BAC is a member of USA Swimming and Minnesota Swimming Inc. BAC is a member of USA Swimming and Minnesota Swimming, Inc. and operates in the communities of Bloomington and Shakopee, Minnesota.  We are a non-profit coach run & directed program striving to offer the best possible conditions for beginning competitive swimmers to national qualifiers.


When a young person becomes a member of the Barracuda Aquatics Club he/she learns the value of sportsmanship and team work. We believe in responsibility and a positive attitude, both in competition and throughout all aspects of training and preparation. We emphasize the values of true sportsmanship and the importance of team spirit & team pride.



To provide swimmers of all ages, through training and guidance, the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to formulate and attain their goals.



Our Team Philosophy is "EXCELLENCE IN SWIMMING & LIFE".  We strive to achieve this philosophy by creating the best possible environment for LEARNING & FUN


Barracuda Aquatics Club was founded in 1960. At that time, and up until 1993, it was known as Bloomington Aquatic Club. The club was formed by a small group of parents, six swimmers & Cliff Gonyer, the Bloomington Lincoln High School swimming coach. In 1993, the club was dissolved and a new charter was applied for to create the Barracuda Aquatics Club. This was in a large part due to the growth of the club in the city of Shakopee. In 1997, BAC joined Richfield Swim Club & WEST Express Swim Team to form Minnesota Federated Swimming for swim meets. In 2003, Dolphin Aquatic Team joined the MFS which resulted in MFS changing it’s name to Blackline Aquatics.  Only our 13 & Older swimmers are attached to Blackline Aquatics, the rest of our swimmers are attached to Barracuda Aquatics Club.


BAC has a long standing reputation for providing a quality competitive swim program. We have consistently qualified swimmers for the State, Sectional & National Championships.




Blackline Aquatics is a coach-operated partnership between two teams, Barracuda Aquatics Club (BAC) and Dolphin Aquatic Team (DAT).  The partnership involves our swimmers when they participate in a swim meet only.  Both clubs (BAC & DAT), operate their day to day operations seperately.  This partnership only effects BAC swimmers that are 13 years old or older.  Our 12 & Under swimmers are attached to BAC and our 13 & Older swimmers are attached to BLA at swim meets.  Learn more about the Blackline Aquatice Club Cooperative on the Links page.




The Barracuda Aquatics Club is organized differently from most other swimming clubs.  Instead of focusing just on the ability level, we also try to keep swimmers together by peer groups.  While it is more challenging to run practices in this fashion because of the wide variety of abilities, we believe it is essential because it allows us to develop team unity among our swimmers at all levels and abilities.  Swimmers remain in peers groups that grow and develop together!


We use a long-term individual approach to development.  As swimmers gradually increase their degree of commitment, they will approach individual peak performance levels.  The emphasis in the early stages of participation must be on developing technical skills and a love for the sport.  In the later years, a more demanding physical and psychological challenge must be introduced to the development program.  In this respect, “too much, too soon” is more likely to cause a senior swimmer’s failure to achieve maximum potential, than the reverse.


In addition to emphasizing long-term rather than short-term results, we have established specific development groups for our Senior Team.  These development groups will allow swimmers and coaches to work together to develop a more individualized program that meets the commitment and ability level of each swimmer.  The goals and objectives of each team or group are specific and directed toward meeting the needs of the swimmer.  The long-term goal of total excellence is always in mind.  As each swimmer is different, he/she will progress at his/her own rate. 


The swim levels defined in the links below are general guidelines.  Exceptions to these guidelines may be made at the coaches’ discretion, based on the optimum placement for the swimmer.  


Swimmers will be graduated from one team to the next based on age, ability and coaches recommendations.  Developmental swimmers that are ready to move to a new level will be placed into our Age Group team and then, based on the swimmer’s needs, will be placed into either our Junior or Senior teams.  The coaching staff will make the final decisions concerning placement of all swimmers.


Some exceptions to a group's age range may be made by the coaching staff in order to ensure each swimmer is in the most appropriate group for their skill and development level. Newer swimmers may need to start in a younger or less advanced group in order to gain fundamental stroke technique. Our goal is always to get each swimmer into an age-appropriate group with their peers as soon as they have mastered the necessary skills.


Swimmers that are new to swimming or are working toward stroke proficiency. The Developmental Team meets 3 times a week for 11/4 hour long scheduled practices. The emphasis at the Developmental Team level is an introduction to the sport of competitive swimming. The ultimate GOAL is for swimmers to learn the four competitive strokes and the basics in competitive swimming (streamlining, turns, starts, circle swimming).


Attendance Policy: Swimmers are encouraged to make two to three practices each week in their first season.  Returning Developmental swimmers are encouraged to attend three practices each week

Age Group

Swimmers age 8 and over, who have graduated from the Developmental Team or are proficient in all four competitive strokes. Age Group meets 4-8 times a week for 11/2-2 hour long scheduled practices, see the coaches for number of practices recommended. The emphasis at the Age Group level is on stroke technique lessons, skill development and the introduction to specific training methods. The ultimate GOAL is to have FUN while learning and developing in the sport of swimming.


Attendance Policy: For ages under 11, swimmers are encouraged to make 80% per month and at least three practices each week.  For age 11 and older, swimmers are encouraged to make 90% per month and three to four practices each week.


This group is ideal for younger swimmers (11-12 years of age) who have extensive competitive swimming experience but are not yet ready for the intensity of the senior team or for the swimmer who started swimming competitively at an older age (13-14 years of age) and are more advanced than the age group swimmers but not yet ready for the senior team. The junior team is designed for swimmers ages 11-14, however, ability not age will be the primary factor when placing swimmers in the appropriate group and who are proficient in all four competitive strokes, butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle as well as legal execution of all competitive turns. Swimmers in this group should be able to swim a legal 50 butterfly, 100 backstroke, 50 breaststroke, 100 freestyle, and 100 IM. Swimmers in this group will begin their season working alongside the Age Group Team swimmers focusing on technique and skill development, as the season progresses this group will transition to more introductory training sets working alongside the Senior Team for a small portion of their workout. This approach will help these swimmers, mentally and physically, make their future transition to the Senior Team more efficient.


Attendance Policy: Swimmers are encouraged to make 80%-90% per month and four to five practices each week.

Senior I

Age Range: 12* and Over

Practices per week: 5-6

Practice Duration: 2.0 hours main practices

Training Groups: Swimmers in this group will be all placed into one training group – Middle Distance.

Requirements: Swimmers in this group should be trying to achieve specific, identifiable goals.

Meet Expectations: Swimmers are encouraged, but not required, to compete in at least two in-season swim meets and in their highest qualified championship meet

Limitations: No two-a-day practices offered & no between season dryland practices offered

Description: The Senior I group is like a normal school class. Swimmers in this group have outside interests and commitments after family and school. This group is for highly motivated individuals trying to achieve specific, identifiable goals within and/or outside the BAC structure as well as basic mastery of the four competitive strokes and basic training concepts. For example, trying to get significantly better for high school swimming, improving specific techniques, improving race strategies, achieving a higher time standard, etc. This group has no attendance requirement. Attendance is still tabulated every 3 weeks and will be posted at the pool. All Junior members will spend at least 1 practice per week in the Senior 1 group to determine their fitness and readiness to either stay in the Junior group or move to one of the Senior groups for the next season.


Attendance Policy: Swimmers are encouraged to make 80%-90% per month and four to five practices each week.

Senior II

Age Range: 13* and Over

Practices per week: 5-9. Between season dryland practices may be offered based upon coach availability.

Practice Duration: 2.5 hour main practice plus 1 hour morning weekday practices offered during the school year & 1.5 hour afternoon weekday practices offered during the summer

Training Groups: Swimmers will be placed into training groups based upon their development and best events.  Training groups offered will be: Sprint, Middle Distance, Distance.

Requirements: Swimmers in this group should be trying to achieve specific, identifiable goals. 85% main practice attendance is required from the start of the swimmers’ season. Also, swimmers in this group must start their season with at least 75% of the season left or more than 50% left if they were participating in another sport prior to starting their BAC season.

Meet Expectations: Swimmers are required to compete in at least two in-season swim meets & in a championship swim meet. They will be encouraged to swim in their highest qualified championship swim meet. Swimmers in this group will be directed towards certain meets that will be critical to their individual goals.

Limitations: None

Description: The Senior II group is like an Honors Class. This group is for highly motivated individuals who are trying to achieve specific, identifiable goals within the BAC structure (for example State cuts, Speedo Sectionals, NCSA Junior National cuts, etc.). Attendance is tabulated every 3 weeks and will be posted at the pool.


Attendance Policy: This group has an 85% attendance requirement.  After 3 weeks, if a swimmer is not in compliance with the 85% attendance requirement they will be given 3 weeks to get to 85% on a fresh cycle. If at the end of those 3 weeks a swimmer does not hit 85% within those weeks, they will be moved into the Senior I group with no refund of the fee difference.  The only absences that do not count against the 85% attendance requirement will be any school related activity that the coaching staff knows about in advance of the practice or practices missed.


High School Maintenance

High School swimmers (approximately 13-18), ALL abilities and levels. High School Maintenance Team meets 3-4 times a week for 1 hour long scheduled practices. This team is available during both the spring/summer and fall/winter seasons. The emphasis is on (maintaining/developing) conditioning for high school swimming (both in and out of the water) and teaching proper stroke techniques and skills. The ultimate GOALS are for the swimmer to go to their high school team in good shape with the skills necessary to contribute to their success and to join our senior team in future seasons. Swimmers on the High School Maintenance team may only participate in “SAC Practice Meets.” The High School Maintenance team is offered at a flat fee rate per season (in addition to U.S.A Swimming fees), and will not be pro-rated by start time of the swimmer.


No swimmer who starts the season on the High School Maintenance Team or the Senior Team can transfer between the two teams after the season begins. One exception to this rule is that a swimmer who is “NEW” to the Barracuda Aquatics Club program may transfer between the two teams within the first two weeks, with the coach’s approval.


Attendance Policy: Swimmers are encouraged to attend 3-4 practices each week


Adult swimmers age 19 and over, all abilities, who want to train and learn competitive swimming techniques for competition or for physical fitness. This group meets 3 times a week for one hour long practices. The Masters swimmers may or may not choose to compete in Masters level swim meets.

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Our policy at BAC about high school swimming for 12-14 year olds is based upon the individual swimmers’ experience and maturity with the sport, but also based upon what we believe is important to that individuals’ future in the sport.


In general, we do believe that 12-14 year olds do not belong on high school teams. But, we also believe that nothing in this sport is that black and white. Please do not take that wrong, we do think high school swimming has a very important role in the swimmers’ future. We support the high school programs that are in our area and try to work with the high school coaches as much as possible to ensure success in all of our swimmers. We just believe there is a right time for each swimmer to start their high school career and it usually is different for each swimmer.


Our program at BAC is built on the philosophy of development of each swimmer that involves both physical and mental development. We are about long-term success and setting up our swimmers to have their potential realized at ages 17 and older. What these swimmers do at the ages of 12-14 will have an effect on when that potential will be realized. In general, the dominating high school swimming philosophy is about the now. What can you do for me right now? It’s less about development and more about how each swimmer will help the team during the 13-week season.  As a result, the potential exists for each swimmer to be used in a way that benefits the team not the individual for a 12-14 year old that can be detrimental to their development in crucial areas. What is lost is technique, exposure to various events, aerobic development and the learning of mental side of this sport. These things can be lost because of the fast and furious way of high school swimming. The focus becomes winning and racing as opposed to technique and development.


There is no question that high school swimming has its’ place and we think it is very valuable for our older swimmers and brings them pride in swimming for their school and the great atmosphere at meets that cannot be duplicated. It has a lot of huge positives once swimmers understand the sport and develop themselves technically and mentally. Every single coach on the staff at BAC has swam in high school and our head coach has coached high school swimming at three different high schools over an 11-year span. And, one of our Age Group/Junior coaches is currently coaching high school. We believe it is a great format for swimmers, but we also believe the swimmers need certain development before really benefiting from the experience.


Our concern is with our swimmers’ future. We have had to deal with many 12-14 year olds that have swam high school. And, the predominant result is their development as a swimmer goes backwards in technique and in understanding the sport. The sport of swimming is complex and the ups and downs these swimmers experience can be difficult and the swimmers need to take the time to learn how to deal with these ups and downs before they are put into a situation where speed is the only expectation. We want our swimmers at BAC to thrive in this sport and find their maximum potential at ages 17 and older. The decisions they make now will affect that potential. We want the right decision for all of our swimmers. If that means they wait a year and develop or if it means swim high school now, we want to make sure our swimmers are weighing all the pros and cons before deciding. Because of these issues above we are planning as a coaching staff to sit down with our 12-14 year olds in the next week or so and discuss with them the pros and cons of high school swimming. We are also planning on talking to each swimmer individually to let them know what our recommendation will be for them this fall and winter.


If you have any questions on this subject that are directly related to your swimmers’ decision please do not hesitate to ask our coaches on deck or e-mail them. We will sit down with you and discuss the decision if you wish.

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