Harlan Swim Club was started in 2017. The team consists of youth swimmers in age groups from 8 and under to high school. The team season generally runs from late October to late February, but can extend into March and April for swimmers qualifying for the state and regional meets. The Harlan Swim Club is a winter swim team and a separate entity than the Harlan Swim Team that participates in the summer. However, we hope to work closely with the summer team to advance swimming in the Harlan area and offer more opportunities for participation. See the information below for answers to frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Harlan Swim Club participate in a league?

Yes, Harlan Swim Club is a member of the Greater Iowa Swim League, or GISL. This is a competitive league composed of teams from:

  • Boone

  • Brooklyn

  • Carroll

  • Clarinda

  • Denison

  • Emmetsburg

  • Estherville

  • Grinnell

  • Harlan

  • Knoxville

  • Manning

  • Newton

  • Ottumwa

  • Pella

  • Perry

  • Spencer

  • Spirit Lake

What age groups can participate in the Harlan Swim Club?

The team consists of youth swimmers in age groups from 8 and under (no younger than five) through high school (no older than 18 on December 1st). For safety reasons, all swimmers MUST be able to swim across the pool unassisted to be part of the team. The club is not intended to teach swimmers that do not know how to swim and should not be viewed as swim lessons. However, swimmers that are able to swim across the pool will learn and receive coaching on freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly.

When and where are practices?

The Harlan swim team generally practices twice a week throughout the season at the Petersen Family Wellness Center / Lewis Family Aquatic Center in the late afternoon and early evening. Additional practices or clinics may be held at the coaches discretion. Team members are encouraged to make all practices, but are expected to attend at least one practice a week. See the schedule link for more details.

How much will I have to swim?

In a meet, ages 8 & under will swim one width of the pool (25 yards or meters) in each race at a minimum. Ages 9 & up swim 2 lengths or 50 yards. In order to be on the swim team, a swimmer must be able to make it across the pool unassisted before sign up - NO EXCEPTIONS! During a typical practice, swimmers will swim across the pool dozens of times.

Do I have to participate in meets?

Swimmers can choose what meets they wish to participate in. In order to qualify for the state meet, swimmers must swim in at least 3 meets. The meets schedule can be found here.

If you are a member of a high school team or another swim team, you must participate in 3 total meets during the season and at least one of those meets must be a GISL meet.

There is no additional cost for regular season meets. Meets typically start at 10 AM on Saturdays.

Who are the coaches?

The current coaches of the Harlan Swim Club can be found under the coaches link.

How do I register?

You can find all resources to register under the registration link.

What equipment does my swimmer need?

  • Swimsuit

    • Boys - Jammer style or competition suit is recommended. Here is a link to some options. Baggy or super loose fitting suits will be difficult for kids to practice and compete in and are not recommended.

    • Girls - One Piece competition style swimwear is recommended. Here are some ideas.

    • For the best life and usefulness of your suit, rinse them out after swimming to remove the chlorine and hang to dry.

    • Swimmers can wear any style of suit they feel comfortable swimming in, but we do recommend the styles above for your swimmer to have the best experience possible. We do not mandate swimmers wear a certain color of suit!

  • Goggles

    • Goggles are a necessity in the water. They help swimmers know where they are in the pool and keep chlorine and water treatment chemicals out of their eyes. Please help your swimmer in developing good habits of keeping their goggles on and adjusting the fit to be snug on their head while swimming.

    • Having an additional pair of goggles is useful for instances when a strap breaks or you misplace them. Sporti makes some decent sub $10 goggles that would be good options for a backup pair.

    • Prescription goggles are available for swimmers that need glasses outside of the pool and may help with their vision while swimming. In general, the cost is the same or a few dollars more. Just make sure you know your swimmer's prescription.

  • Swim Cap

    • Swim Caps are recommended, but not required. However, we especially recommend them for girls or boys with longer hair.

    • At a bare minimum, longer hair should be put into a tight braid or ponytail prior to competition.

  • Towel

    • Should be brought to each practice and meet. It is sometimes useful to have 2 towels at meets.

  • Additional clothing

    • Sweatshirts, pants, jackets are all useful at meets to wear in between events. Team camp areas are sometimes in cool gyms at meet sites and swimmers need to stay warm and dry in between events.

  • Optional items

    • Depending on your swimmer's needs, you may need to purchase and bring things to practices or meets especially suited to their needs (ear plugs, nose plugs, inhalers, etc.). Coaches need to be informed of swimmers needing these items and swimmers should be helped by parents in the use and install of these items prior to the season. Coaches are responsible for a large number of swimmers and are not able to always help with maintaining these items. Swimmers should know use these items on their own!

  • Swim Bag

    • Having a small swim bag is helpful in keeping your towel, goggles, and other items in one place.

  • What brands are best? Where do I get this stuff?

    • We recommend the following brands when purchasing swimwear and goggles:

      • Speedo

      • Sporti

      • TYR

    • Obviously, there are more brands that you can choose from, but we've had the best experience with the ones listed above.

    • We don't expect swimmers to be equipped in gear that costs hundreds of dollars, but please don't buy toy goggles from the dollar store thinking that will provide the protection and usefulness your swimmer needs. Typically, you can find a good quality suit for $15-$40 and a good pair of goggles for $10-$30 in the brands mentioned above.

    • We typically purchase items from Swimoutlet.com and Amazon.com. Our practice facility, the Petersen Family Wellness Center in Harlan, also has some goggles and swim accessories available for purchase.

    • The team typically has team apparel orders (shirts, towels, pants, etc.) available at the beginning of each season.

Swimming is challenging, but even more so when swimmers don't have the right equipment. Please come to practices and meets prepared to help them succeed!

Examples of proper swimwear

Additional Information

  • Registration will be capped at approximately 60 swimmers due to pool size and availability. Registrations will be on a first come, first serve basis. Your swimmer is not registered until information has been received and fees have been paid.

  • Tentative practice schedule will be Tuesday and Thursdays, late October or early November through February/early March. There may be 2 sessions, depending on the number of club members. One will run 4-5 PM, the other will follow (if necessary). We ask that swimmers make at least one practice each week.

  • Practice will be at the Lewis Family Aquatic Complex in the Petersen Family Wellness Center in Harlan.

  • Harlan Swim Club is a member of the Greater Iowa Swim League (or GISL). This is not affiliated with YMCA or the USA Swimming organization. Harlan Swim Club is a separate entity from the Harlan summer Swim Team. Members of the GISL are: Brooklyn, Carroll, Clarinda, Denison, Emmetsburg, Estherville, Grinnell, Knoxville, Manning, Newton, Ottumwa, Pella, Perry, Spencer and Harlan.

  • Swimmers may choose which meets they attend, but must attend a minimum of 3 meets to be eligible for the state meet.

  • Transportation to and from swim meets is the responsibility of parents.

  • Practices will cease for swimmers at the end of the regular season meet schedule, unless the swimmer advances on to the state or regional meet, or has coach approval to continue practicing.

  • Please be certain to provide current and accurate contact information at registration so we can communicate well and to the right people.

  • The Petersen Family Wellness Center and Lewis Family Aquatic Complex has offered to be our host for practices. You do not have to be a member of the Petersen Family Wellness Center to participate in the practices for the Harlan Swim Club. Usage of the facility will only be allowed during practice times for non-members. However, we highly recommend becoming a member of the Petersen Family Wellness Center and taking advantage of a tremendous service in the Harlan area. This gives you the ability to practice outside of scheduled times and utilize the entire facility.