ROCKDALE RIPTIDES AGE GUIDELINES
It is VERY important that current swimmers/parents and also those that are considering joining our team understand that we are very strict regarding the amount of time that young children will train in our program. You will not find a single study that has determined that a 10&U child that swims every day will become a great older competition swimmer, BUT you will find MANY studies that conclude that swimmers that over-swim when they are younger have a big chance of burn out in their teenage years. We want life long swimmers and our program is set up to promote that.
Here are the basic guidelines that we have for each age of swimmer in determining which practice group they will swim in:
Just to EMPHASIZE, these are BASIC guidelines. The Head Coach can make exceptions for many reasons, including but not limited to the length of time a swimmer has been on our or another USA team, their National Motivational Times, their attitude/commitment level and very importantly, their ability to be able to complete the workouts of a certain group.
All Ages: We require a tryout for EVERY new swimmer that joins our team. If you are transferring from another USA team, we will check your current times to help us determine which swim group you should be in, but MORE IMPORTANTLY, we accept swimmers that are coachable, have a great attitude and are committed to the swim group and training schedule that they qualify for. Our team has been full and had to turn away swimmers for many years. Unfortunately, we don't have the pool space available to be able to accept every child. We hope to find a way to change that in future years.
5 & 6 year olds: As a general rule, we will only accept 5 and 6 year olds if they have completed at least one Summer League season. They need to have a feel for what competition swimming is all about and Summer League is the perfect place for young, new swimmers to start out. If they don't LOVE Summer League then year round swimming may not be for them. The coaches will determine by looking at their Summer League times and through a tryout whether the child is ready to join the team. (Summer League Swimming is offered in the month of June through the Rockdale Swim League. Info can be obtained on their website, www.RockdaleSwimLeague.com. If the child is just learning to swim, lessons are offered through Johnson Park.) As a basic rule, at tryouts, the swimmer should be able to swim a 25 yard Freestyle and 25 yard Backstroke (which is one length of the pool) without stopping and grabbing the lane lines. They should also already know how to basically do the Breastroke and Butterfly for about half of the pool. 5 and 6 year olds will be placed in our BRONZE (5&6) GROUP and will swim 1 day per week. They should also attend 2-3 meets during the season.
7 & 8 year olds: EVERYTHING above regarding 5 and 6 year olds also applies to 7 and 8 year olds except that 7 and 8 year olds will most likely be placed in our BRONZE (7&8) GROUP and swim 2 days per week. They should also attend 3++ meets during the season. Occasionally a more advanced 7 or 8 year old may be placed in our BRONZE PLUS GROUP.
9 & 10 year olds: New 9 and 10 year olds, that are not transferring from another USA team, should ideally have swam a season or more of Summer League and acceptance to the team will be determined by those times and their tryout. (If the child is brand new to swimming, see 5 & 6 year olds above for information on Summer League and Lessons). As a basic rule, at tryouts, the swimmer should be able to swim a 50 yard Freestyle and 50 yard Backstroke (which is the length of the pool down and back) without stopping and grabbing the lane lines. They should also already know how to basically do the Breastroke and Butterfly for the length of the pool. Returning 9 and 10 year olds will be placed based on times from last season and the previous Summer season, along with attitude and commitment level. 9 and 10 year olds will qualify for either the BRONZE PLUS GROUP which trains 3 days per week or the SILVER (9&10) GROUP which trains 4 days per week. All 9 and 10 year olds should attend a minimum of 5 meets during the season.
11 & 12 year olds: EVERYTHING above for 9 & 10 year olds applies to new 11 and 12 year olds. Returning 11 and 12 year olds will be placed based on times, attitude, commitment and workout ability. 11 and 12 year olds will qualify for 1 of the following 4 levels:
BRONZE PLUS GROUP which trains 3 days per week and attends a minimum of 5 meets during the season.
SILVER PLUS GROUP which trains 4 days per week and attends a minimum of 5 meets during the season.
GOLD GROUP which trains 5 days per week and attends 6+ meets during the season.
PLATINUM GROUP (12 year olds only with Head Coach exception) which trains 5 days per week (with longer and much harder practices) and attends 7+ meets during the season.
13 & Older: EVERYTHING above regarding 11 and 12 year olds applies to our 13 and older swimmers, except there is an additional group - - RIPTIDES ELITE GROUP which is our top level that will train 6 days per week with the possible addition of 2+ weekday morning practices at certain times during the season. Swimmers in this level will be 15 and older. RIPTIDES ELITE swimmers should attend all regular team meets and should qualify for the Georgia Senior State Meet.
Note regarding Meets: Not including QT (Qualifying Time) meets such as State and above, our team normally attends around 7 meets from September/October to March. And for those swimming the Long Course season, we attend around 3 meets from April/May to July.