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At SPA we have our swimmers divided into five groups – Bronze (5-9), Silver (9-12), Gold (11-14), Senior I & Senior II (13 and Older). In addition we have 3 Developmental Groups. One for 9-unders, a second for 9-11's and an 11-over group. These groups are based on various factors from age, to physical development, to emotional maturity and individual goals. Within each of these groups there may be a wide range of ability and the primary focus of each coach is to make sure we are providing opportunities for the swimmers in each group to improve.. Our philosophy is to provide swimmers with the skills they need to ensure the best chance of long term success in swimming. During this process, we believe that our swimmers will learn life skills that will help them succeed in all areas of their life. We have structured our groups to best help your swimmer develop the best long term skills for swimming success.

In our long term planning and development our main focus early in on establishing a strong foundation of technique to build on. Once this foundation is down it makes it easier for them to continue to build off it for long term success not only in swimming but in life. We will build on that foundation by adding endurance training as they progress from group to group. Another part of this foundation is our staff will help to develop the athlete's mental training as well. We will do this by giving them opportunities to establish and work for goals, learn to deal with adversity, challenge them in practice to become more mentally tough and help them learn life skills through the sport of swimming.

Moving from one group into the next group is a process that happens naturally. The swimmers will have 2 times a year where they will be able to move up. Those 2 times are March and August. We have a great group of professional coaches at SPA Swimming who have a great deal of experience in meeting swimmers' needs with regards to training intensity and length of time in the water. While swimmers may have goals to "move up" into the next group, this should not be an area that parents are overly concerned about. When a swimmer has met the expectations for the next group, the coaches will invite the swimmer to the next group. SPA Swimming coaches have had success for many years and hopefully you will trust the coaches to do the job that they have been hired to do - coaching your swimmer. This includes placing your swimmer in the appropriate group.

Try to remember that every child is different. Do not compare your swimmer to other swimmers. Your swimmer is unique and their progress depends upon their readiness, not anyone else's. Trust that your child's coach is looking out for the best interest of your swimmer. Why would they not? Don't attempt to coach your swimmer. Be a parent. Love them. Give them support. If their best friend gets moved up before they do, encourage them by letting them know that they too will get to move up in time if that is their goal. Don't let YOUR expectations overshadow the needs of your child. Your response is often the largest determining factor in your child's own response to disappointment and success, and your response can have a great effect upon your swimmer's desires and efforts. Try to keep your child's swim "career" in perspective. If they seem troubled about something at the pool, encourage them to talk to their coach. If you are uncertain about something, please call your swimmer's coach and set up a time to speak to them.

Swimming needs to be fun first and kids need to be allowed to be kids. Not everyone can win an Olympic gold medal, but with the right attitude and spirit of cooperation among swimmers, coaches, and parents, your child can have an enjoyable and successful involvement with SPA Swimming and learn many valuable lessons that will stay with them the rest of their lives.