Descriptions of our Competitive and Non-Competitive Swim Team Training Groups
All of our training groups are based on a progressive system of competitive swimming development. The primary considerations for placing a swimmer in a group are their abilities, commitment and experience. A secondary consideration is the swimmer’s age.
Training Squad Information
Buccaneer I represent the transition from Pre-Team onto the competitive swim team. Swimmers in this group primarily range in ages of 6 to 10 years old, although there isn’t an age restriction. This group practices 3 days per week for an hour at each practice. The primary goal for this group is to teach swimmers about the sport of competitive swimming. Stroke technique is the primary emphasis. The competition focus is on YMCA dual meets, USA 8 & Under meets, possibly general USA meets, the USA 8 & Under Championship, the Connecticut YMCA State Championships and the USA CT Regional Championships (for 8 & over swimmers). There are no practice attendance requirements but it is suggested that swimmers attend at least 2 out of the 3 practices offered each week. Swimmers must be able to complete a legal 100 Individual Medley to participate in Buccaneers I.
Swimmers in Buccaneer II have some competitive experience and are looking towards building upon a solid base of stroke technique. Swimmers will be introduced to basic dryland exercises with the focus on proper technique rather than strength training. Swimmers in this group range in age from 8-12 years old, although there isn’t an age restriction. The group practice four days per week for a 1 hour 15 minutes for each practice. The competition focus is on YMCA dual meets, USA 8 & Under Championships and the USA CT Regional Championships (for 8 & over swimmers). There are no practice requirements but it is suggested that swimmers attend 2-3 of the practices offered each week. Swimmers must be able to complete a legal 100 Individual Medley & show a proficiency in basic competitive swimming skills to participate in Buccaneers II.
Age Group I
Age Group I practices 4-5 times each week for between 1 hour & 15 minutes and 2 hours. The primary age of the swimmers is from 9-12 years old. As is the case with all our training groups, the major focus is still centered on having fun and learning the sport. Solid practice habits are reinforced and training sets are introduced, along with stroke technique/development and the continuation of dryland work. Competition is still centered on YMCA Dual Meets and USA Meets. Swimmers will have the opportunity to attend one “travel” meet per year. Swimmers in Age Group I should be focused on achieving the 9-10 Age Group Championship Time Standards. Although there aren’t any practice requirements for the members of this group, it is recommended that the swimmers attend at least 3 of the 4/5 practices each week. Swimmers in Age Group I will be within 3% of the 9-10 Age Group Championship qualifying times or at Coaches discretion.
Age Group II
Age Group II practices 4 to 5 times each week for 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours. The primary ages of the swimmers are 11-13 yrs old. Proper stroke technique is still an emphasis along with reinforcement of proper practice habits and the continuation of dryland work.. An increase in emphasis on conditioning occurs after the beginning portion of the season. Although there aren’t any practice requirements for this group, it is recommended that the swimmers attend at least 3 of the 4-5 practices each week. Swimmers in Age Group II will have the opportunity to attend one “travel” meet per year. The competition focus shifts to achieving 11-12 Age Group Championships Time Standards and possibly Zones qualifying standards. Swimmers in Age Group II will have multiple 11-12 “B” times or at Coaches discretion.
Age Group III
Age Group III practices 4 to 5 times each week for 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours. The primary ages of the swimmers are 11-13 yrs old. Proper stroke technique is still an emphasis along with the addition of preparation for longer events (200’s odd stroke/1000, 1650 free/400 IM) and reinforcement of proper practice habits. Although there aren’t any practice requirements for this group, it is recommended that the swimmers attend at least 3-4 of the 4-5 practices each week. Swimmers in Age Group III will have the opportunity to attend one “travel” meet per year. The competition focus shifts to achieving 11-12 Age Group Championships Time Standard and possibly Zones and CT Senior Championship qualifying standards. Swimmers in Age Group III will be within 3% of the 11-12 Age Group Championship qualifying times or at Coaches discretion.
Senior Training Groups
As part of the team’s gradual progression from group to group, the senior training groups represent the highest levels of training and commitment. Swimmers are expected to increase overall commitment to the sport of competitive swimming through their progression.
Coaches’ discretion based on competition time standards achieved, age and overall commitment dictates movement into these groups.
Additionally, each group has practice/competition requirements. Failure to meet those requirements may involve being moved to the next training group down in the progression temporarily or permanently. Swimmers in these groups are expected to compete at the highest level he/she has qualified for.
This group is set up as a transition between Age Group swimming and Senior swimming through increased volume and intensity in training. As with the Age Group programs, stroke refinement, endurance and conditioning are continued to be built upon. Now that the exercises have been learned, dryland training is intensified. In addition, an emphasis is placed on race strategy, goal setting, and understanding of time standards. Swimmers in the Junior Group are expected to attend 75% of the practices offered.
Championship Meet Focus: YMCA- State Champs; USA- Age Group Champs, CT Senior Champs, YMCA National Championships, Zones
The focus for Senior I is on cardiovascular fitness, refining stroke mechanics and gaining competitive experience. This group incorporates high volume training, energy cycles, sprint work stroke refinement, stroke cycles, heart rate training, and goal setting. Dryland is now 45 minutes and an integral part of the training. Dryland incorporates running, core training, calisthenics, tubing, isometrics, mental training, and videos. Swimmers in Seniors are expected to attend 85% of all workouts.
Championship Meet Focus: YMCA- States, YMCA Nationals; USA- CT Seniors, Sectionals, Jr. Nationals
Swimmers in this group are at the highest level of training and competition. This group is intended to transition swimmers from beginning national level athletes to an elite level national and international athlete. Athletes in this group train at a relatively high volume and doubles are introduced. Dryland remains an integral part of the training. Swimmers are expected to attend at least 90% of all practices.
Championship Meet Focus: YMCA: Nationals; USA: CT Seniors, Junior Nationals, US Open, Senior Nationals, Olympic Trials and the Olympics
YMCA National Team Requirements/Elite Travel Meet Guidelines
· Swimmers from any group can attend the YMCA National Swimming and Diving Championships or an elite travel meet, provided they have achieved the following:
· The swimmer must be at least 12 years old(Y-National Requirement) and demonstrated he/she is mature enough for the trip.
· The swimmer must demonstrate a legitimate commitment toward improving in both meets and practices.
· The swimmer must not have missed practice for any extended period of time, vacation or otherwise. Specifically in February and or June/July.
· Minimum of 80% practice attendance.
· Coaches’ approval is necessary for a swimmer to attend any of the travel meets and takes precedence over any of these guidelines (exception: Y-national age restriction). If the coach feels the swimmer would be better served attending a different meet, the swimmer is obligated to attend the meet of the coach’s choice.