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Group Structure


In order to provide the appropriate training environment for each athlete, our team is divided into practice groups.  Our club structure is based on the premise that swimmers will grow, adapt, and progress at highly individual rates. We aim to provide a structure that is flexible yet firm and fair to allow each swimmer the best opportunity to reach his ultimate long-term potential. Practice groups have been set up to allow for progression from one to the next as a swimmer’s skill level progresses. Swimmers in all groups must be members of USA Swimming in order to participate.

The groups are organized as follows:

Swim School
This is the introductory group for NCAC. Swimmers in this group should have previously completed formal swimming lessons and/or be comfortable in the water. They should be able to swim the length of the pool (25 yards) unassisted. Practice emphasis is on skill acquisition, technical instruction, and fundamental skill rehearsal. Limited practice time will be devoted to dry land training and flexibility. Swim school practice runs 45 minutes per session and may register for Monday-Wednesday-Friday or Tuesday-Thursday-Friday sessions.

Swimmers in Swim School will have occasional opportunities to compete but this will not be heavily emphasized. Once a swimmer has acquired the necessary skills and received the endorsement of the Swim School instructor, he or she may progress to the Bronze group. See Coaches and Practice Schedule.

Bronze
This group is the beginning level of competitive swimming within NCAC. Swimmers in this group should have completed formal swimming lessons and/or have a fundamental skill level of each of freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke. Bronze-level swimmers will have the opportunity to participate in periodic developmental meets as well as appropriate-level USA Swimming-sanctioned meets held in Chapel Hill or out-of-town. Swimmers will practice one hour per session on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The majority of practice time in this group will be devoted to teaching and refining proper stroke technique, aerobic development, and teaching critical swimming skills such as clock reading, counting strokes, etc. Some practice time may be devoted to dry land training. Once a swimmer has acquired the necessary skills, demonstrated a minimum level of commitment to attending practice, and received the Bronze coach’s endorsement, he or she may progress to the Silver group. This will typically happen at three times during the year (mid-December, end of short course season in early April, end of long course season in August). 
See Coaches and Practice Schedule.

 Silver
This group represents the intermediate level of competitive swimming in GSC. It is comprised of swimmers who are committed to training for competitive success. Swimmers in this group should have completed the learning progressions covered in the Bronze group. Swimmers are expected to compete in regular USA Swimming-sanctioned meets that NCAC participates in as a team. Practice will be held for 75 minutes per session five days per week. Practice time will be devoted to advanced skill acquisition, technical refinement, and aerobic training. Significant practice time will also be devoted to dryland and/or flexibility training. Once a swimmer has acquired the necessary skills, demonstrated a minimum level of commitment to attending practice, and received the Silver coach’s endorsement, he or she may progress to the Gold group. This will typically happen at three times during the year (mid-December, end of short course season in early April, end of long course season in August).  See Coaches and Practice Schedule.

Gold
This group represents the peak of age group swimming within our club. Swimmers in this group undergo demanding physical training to achieve competitive success at the state level. To be in the Gold group, a swimmer should have completed the technical and competitive skills covered in the Silver group and commit to sustained regular training that will be expected of him. Swimmers are expected to compete in regular USA Swimming-sanctioned meets that NCAC participates in as a team. Practices for Gold swimmers are 1 hour and 45 minutes in duration Monday through Friday and two hours on Saturdays. Attendance at all practices is expected. Practice will be devoted to technical refinement, challenging aerobic training, speed development, extensive dryland/flexibility training, and race strategy. Once a swimmer has acquired the necessary skills, demonstrated a minimum level of commitment to attending practice, and received the Gold coach’s endorsement, he or she may progress to the Senior II group. This will typically happen at three times during the year (mid-December, end of short course season in early April, end of long course season in August). 
See Coaches and Practice Schedule.

Varsity
The Varsity group represents the introductory level of Senior swimming within NCAC.  It is ideally suitable for swimmers 13 & over wishing to train and compete year-round or to prepare for high school swimming.   Practices for the Varsity group are 90 minutes per day, four days per week.  The Varsity group is intended to offer a slightly lower-intensity lesser time commitment option for swimmers at the Senior level.  Practice will be devoted to technical refinement, aerobic and sprint training, dryland and/or flexibility training.  Once a swimmer has demonstrated a high level of performance, shown a steady commitment to attending all practices, and received the Varsity coach’s endorsement, he or she may progress to the Senior II group.  This will typically happen at three times during the year (mid-December, end of short course season in early April, end of long course season in August).

Senior II
The Senior II group prepares swimmers in transition from age group to senior level training. It is comprised of swimmers at least 13 years of age who have committed to undergo comprehensive, demanding physical training to achieve personal and competitive success at the state and regional levels. Practices for Senior II are three hours per day Monday, Wednesday and Friday, two hours per session Tuesday and Thursday, and 2 ½ hours Saturday mornings. Senior II swimmers also have the option to attend morning practices during the week with Senior I swimmers. Attendance at all practices is expected. Practice will be devoted to technical refinement, challenging aerobic and sprint training, extensive dryland/flexibility training, race strategy, and psychological preparation. Once a swimmer has demonstrated a high level of performance, shown a steady commitment to attending all practices, and received the Senior II coach’s endorsement, he or she may progress to the Senior I group. This will typically happen at two times during the year (end of short course season in early April, end of long course season in August).
See Coaches and Practice Schedule. 

Senior I
This group is comprised of swimmers at the most elite level of competitive swimming within NCAC. Swimmers in the Senior I group are committed to training for high performance at the State, Regional, National, and International levels. To be in the Senior I group, a swimmer should have completed the requirements of the Senior II group and commit to training to achieve at the highest level of his ability. Senior I swimmers perform a comprehensive and rigorous training regimen including technical refinement, challenging aerobic and sprint training, extensive dryland and flexibility training, race strategy, and psychological preparation. Practice runs 2 to 3 hours and is held 6 or 7 days per week with morning workouts approximately two hours in length three days per week.  Attendance at all practices is expected. 
See Coaches and Practice Schedule.

Masters
Our Masters group is comprised of adult swimmers from wide-ranging backgrounds who swim for a variety of reasons. Currently, this group includes tri-athletes, fitness swimmers, lap swimmers, former Olympians, and even those who have just recently learned to swim! Many parents of our competitive youth swimmers swim regularly with our Masters team. Practice is structured and coached in a way that allows each individual to have a workout custom-tailored to meet his or her needs. We offer 9 practices per week. Meets are available for those swimmers who have competitive ambitions. Members of this group must be at least 18 years old and be a member of United States Masters Swimming. For more information and practice schedule, please see our
Masters page.