As a temporary measure to maximize very limited practice space, TNYA has put in place additional penalties for late cancellations and no-shows at our three most crowded practices.

This FAQ sets out in more detail the policy we have adopted and the reasons we have adopted it. You can find the entire policy in our Participation Agreement.

What is TNYA’s No Show and Late Cancellation Policy?

You may not attend a TNYA practice unless you book on Mindbody or are checked in via Mindbody by a coach or gatekeeper at the practice. If you book a practice on Mindbody and cancel less than 2 hours before the practice, or just fail to show up to the practice, you will be charged as if you attended the practice.

In addition, if you book one of the three “overcrowded” swimming practices – Monday 7pm at John Jay, Wednesday 7pm at John Jay, or Saturday 11am at John Jay – and you are a no-show, you will be charged an additional $33 fee on top of paying for the practice as if you attended. 

If you cancel less than 2 hours before an “overcrowded” practice, you will be charged a lower penalty of $25 and also be charged as if you attended the practice.

Is there an easy way to cancel my reservation when I know I can’t make practice?

There is! You can do it directly on your phone or via our Mindbody store.

Does the extra $33/$25 fee apply to late cancels/no shows at water polo or synchro practices?

No. You’re just charged as if you attended the practice.

Does the extra $33/$25 fee apply to any practice other than Monday PM swimming at John Jay, Wednesday PM swimming at John Jay, and Saturday AM swimming at John Jay?

No. See above.

What makes someone a no-show?

The no-show deadline is 10 minutes after the start of practice. If you arrive more than 10 minutes late, you will be admitted only at the absolute discretion of the coach on deck and only if there is room for you (if we have a walk-up, they’ll get your space after the 10 minute mark). 

The problem with showing up late to a swim practice is that there’s not enough space in the pool for folks who come late to warm up, and folks warming up disrupt folks doing the main practice set. So it will often be the case that the coach cannot admit you without unduly disrupting the practice (especially if the practice is near capacity).

Whether or not the coach admits you, showing up after 10 minutes constitutes a no-show.

Why is the late cancellation deadline two hours out?

Because members voted for it and our available data suggests they made the right choice. Recent surveys of the membership reveal that 50% of our members cannot attend a practice if given less than two hours’ notice that they can attend practice. Conversely, more than 70% of members reported that they would be able to attend practice so long as they were given two hours warning or more. In that same poll, 59% of our members favored a 2-hour time limit; the next most popular option – 1 hour – has less than 20% support.

If I’m running late to the practice, what can I do?

If you do not think you will be able to get to the practice within 10 minutes of the start time, you should late cancel, which triggers a lower penalty. You can late cancel directly on your smartphone if you download the app.

If I am a late cancel or no-show to Mon/Wed/Sat JJC swim practice, are there exceptions to the extra fees?

Yes, there are two.

First, everybody gets one “free” no-show and one “free” late cancel per calendar year. So your first no-show or late cancel from a Mon/Wed/Sat practice will not carry a fine (although you will still be charged as if you attended the practice). 

Second, we will not charge any penalty (whether deducting a practice or adding a late/no-show fee) if your late cancel/no show happened under extenuating circumstances.

We understand that New York City is not the easiest city to get around and Mindbody is not the most supple booking system; if you miss a practice because of a subway SNAFU or don’t cancel on time because Mindbody spits the dummy, are added from the waitlist less than 2 hours before the practice, or have any other good reason, you can respond to your late cancel/no show email (or write directly to explaining the situation within one week of the charge and if we agree that it’s a good reason, we will waive the fee.

How are the late/no-show fees administered?

After one full week elapses from the date of your no-show or late cancel, we will review the attendance records from that previous week and apply a charge directly to your credit card on file with Mindbody. 

Where does the late/no-show fee revenue go?

100% of the late cancel/no show fee revenue we raise goes to the Paul Fortoul Fellowship Fund, which supports teammates who are unemployed and cannot otherwise afford to swim, scrimmage, dance, or dive with us. 

How many people will this policy affect? 

In 2023, where there were no penalties for late cancels and no shows beyond losing your practice payments, TNYA experienced 913 no-shows and 423 late cancels. 

Although this number is high, it was concentrated in a very small number of members. In 2023 TNYA had 350 members; 12% of all TNYA members (41 people) are responsible for 56% of all no-shows, while a mere 5% of all TNYA members (18 people) are responsible for 51% of all late cancels. 

Meanwhile 38% of late cancellers only did so once in 2023; ditto 42% of all no-shows. Under the “freebie” exception, none of these late cancels/no shows will be impacted by this policy.

All in all, we anticipate fewer than 15% of TNYA members will actually be charged a late/no-show rate, at most, in the coming year.

Why are you charging us an extra fee if we’re paying for the practice? Isn’t TNYA already recouping the economic cost of the no-show?

Many businesses are charging “late cancel” or “no-show” fees to recover the opportunity cost represented by the late canceller or no-show. Businesses charge no-show fees to recover opportunity cost only because a business is fundamentally indifferent to whether its services are being used – the important thing is that the resources expended to provide the services are recouped with an appropriate margin of profit. 

TNYA is different. We don’t make profit; our bylaws actually prevent us from running up large surpluses. Our purpose is to maximize the LGBTQ+-inclusive swimming opportunities for New Yorkers. So even if we are paid for a given swim slot, if a swim slot is going to waste (that is, there was someone who wanted to take that slot and was denied it), we are not fulfilling our mission.

We also have not fallen out of a coconut tree but exist in the context of all in which we live and what came before us. Finding space for swimming in New York is painfully difficult right now owing to a collapse in pool supply, itself a knock-on effect of the pandemic. We owe it to our members and our fellow New Yorkers to ensure that as many people as possible can swim with us, because there are so few alternatives left.

So how to maximize space utilization for the New Yorkers we serve? We have observed that simply requiring members to forfeit their payment for a practice is not providing sufficient disincentive for late cancels and no-shows: as noted above, over 1,000 practice opportunities were lost thanks to no-shows and late cancels last year. This may be because the three waitlisted practices are the only practices a subset of members are prepared to attend; losing your 1x per week practice you’ve subscribed to only stings if you have any interest in attending another practice that week. There is also the problem of our unlimited subscriptions, which of course inflict no marginal cost on no-showers.

One possible non-financial penalty the Board considered was simply to suspend the membership of perennial no-showers (which frees up practice space on its own). But we felt a campaign of mass suspensions would generate more anger and legal risk for the team than other alternatives, not least because it is very difficult to avoid drawing arbitrary lines about how many no-shows is too many. 

Instead, we settled on a fee as the best way to discourage no-shows and late cancels. A positive side-effect of the fine is that it generates revenue we can use to further increase access, but we would be delighted if it raised $0 and simply killed off late cancels and no-shows. Insofar as the fine discourages registration at the three waitlisted practices and drives attendance to the non-fine-eligible practices, that is another benefit that uses up currently underutilized practice space and, once again, expands access.

Setting aside TNYA’s charitable imperative to maximize utilization of scarce pool space, is there an economic rationale for the no-show/late fees?

There is, although it ultimately ends up also being based on our charitable mission and values. 

Unlike a restaurant or barbershop that charges people at the time the service is delivered, the vast bulk of TNYA’s revenue comes from subscriptions – that is, folks who pay for a month’s worth of practices in advance. When a subscriber cannot get into a practice, they either downgrade or cancel their subscriptions. So although the practice slot is paid for by charging the no-show the cost of attendance (or drawing on their subscription), the additional economic harm inflicted on the team by a subscriber being pushed to downgrade their subscription has not been covered.

Of course, the size of the waitlist outnumbers the number of no-shows, so even if everyone showed up we would still have downgrading pressure. But our aim right now is to minimize that downgrading pressure, and the best way to minimize that pressure is to maximize utilization of popular practice slots.

Gyms faced with overcrowding tend to respond by limiting membership sales and capping the overall number of members (either directly or indirectly by raising prices). But capping the overall number of members—or raising rates to capture more revenue from the remaining subscribers—are both acts in tension with TNYA’s charitable mission of making aquatics as accessible as possible to as many LGBTQ+ New Yorkers as possible. 

So a late/no-show fee (which statistically will affect fewer than 10% of members) is the most efficient way for us to minimize as much as possible the subscription downgrading pressure created by overcrowding without capping overall member numbers or raising rates.

Is this policy permanent?

No. We intend to eliminate no-show and late cancellation fees once waitlists go down (and reserve our right to implement them on other practices if other practices begin attracting long waitlists). 

We have some hope that we can rent more pool space in the coming months that will meet existing and future demand, such that there are no longer waitlists at any of our practices. When there are no longer perennial waitlists at any practice, we intend to stop charging late/no-show fees.

If you charge me this fee I will just dispute it with my bank or take you to court. What are you going to do about that?

We’d really rather you didn’t. Instead, we welcome a dialogue which you can initiate directly with to work out our disagreements amicably. 

If you insist, however, we will respond in several ways. 

First, whenever you dispute a credit card charge with your bank, TNYA is sent a notice of dispute and invited to file an opposition. We do this as a matter of course; if we don’t, we risk being charged a penalty by the credit card operator and have to pass the cost of those penalties on to our members. So your filing a dispute with your bank is unfortunately just the starting gun for a quasi-legal dispute with TNYA that will almost certainly cost all of us far more in emotional strain than $33.

Second, disputing a charge flags you in Mindbody and blocks us from billing you. Because we depend on everyone paying their fair share of our expenses, this will force us to suspend your account until the dispute is resolved. Since the median dispute resolution time is 6 months, by filing a dispute you essentially sign yourself up for self-imposed exile from TNYA for half a year over $33. 

Because this is America, it is probably worth adding that any lawsuit you chose to file over this issue (why? why?!) would need to comply with the pre-litigation dispute resolution provisions of our Participation Agreement. Needless to say, we adopted this policy after carefully considering its legal permissibility and after receiving legal advice, and are confident that the courts will agree with us that it is wholly within the team’s rights to impose.

I hate this policy. What can I do about it that doesn’t involve banks/lawyers?

Unlike for-profit gyms—or even other not-for-profit sports teams—TNYA is a direct democracy that gives its members the right of initiative and the right to override the Board of Directors. If you believe this policy is wrong for TNYA, you can file a petition with the Board (signed by 10% of the membership, which is usually between 30-40 paid members) to compel the calling of a special membership meeting where, if a majority of the members making up at least 10% of the membership agree with you, the Board’s imposition of the policy can be overridden.

We are also a representative democracy where at least 40% of the Board must go up for reelection every year. It is perfectly legitimate for you to vote for or withhold your vote for a given director candidate based on their stance on this policy – or run for the Board yourself.

The Board has adopted this policy because we believe it is in the best interests of the team. But the best judge of the team’s best interest is ultimately you, our members. We welcome your feedback or your participation in our democratic process, as you prefer.

I have more questions. Where can I direct them?

Please feel free to contact us at