Practice Groups

All new swimmers to Club Wolverine must be evaluated for group placement. Please send an email to to set up a time for an evaluation. 

CLUB WOLVERINE Training Program Description

In this document you will find and explanation of the CW training program. Those swimmers who trained the past season should consider if their training program and group was, and is still, appropriate. The best way to do this is to ask your coach. One must consider the required commitment for each program. This includes the training regimen, the coaches, your friends, and your family’s ability to support the requirements of each program. Coaches, swimmers and parents all play a role in determining which program and group is most appropriate for each child. An important first step for determining the best training program is for swimmers and parents to consider the athlete’s individual objectives, and how those objectives align with the programs described below. As you’ll see, CW has a place for any skill level and commitment desire.

Training Programs Overview

Program Goal: Provide an environment that helps each child reach his or her potential in the sport of swimming.

Planning a long-term training program: The marathon view of swimming is not as much concerned with today as it is with the long-term progress of each swimmer.
The CW age group training program is designed to cover a period of about 8 to 10 years and is divided into 4 stages.

1. Basic swimming and sports instruction
2. Basic training
3. Progressive (build-up) training
4. Elite training

Despite this process, any level swimmer can ‘plug-in’ to the training program at any point in his or her swimming career.

The following is the general process for group placement. Group selection depends on the following three factors:

1, Age: Chronologic age is important for group placement. But also one must consider if a child is emotionally, physically and psychologically prepared to swim and train in a particular group. Even if a swimmer is fast he/she may not be prepared for the workload of a particular group. Social considerations must also take place so that a child does not feel out of place or has difficult making friends.

2. Background: It also must be considered if a child has the proper swimming/athletic background in order to swim in a particular group even if a child has fast times in certain events. This may be difficult for them to swim in a group where the volume (i.e., yardage) is more than they’ve ever experienced. This may increase the risk of injury.

3. Skill: Having the proper swimming skills is necessary to swim within a given group. If a child has not mastered the general skills necessary to move up into the next group it is more difficult to progress through the next set of skills. These include general technique, drills, pacing, race strategy, etc. Also, these skills should be mastered before moving up so that the next coach does not have to spend time teaching the skills over again and taking time away from the rest of the training group.

Selecting the proper training program and group for new parents:
• Coaches must evaluate each child for group placement.
• Initial group placement is age based. It is also important to consider the childs swimming background and skill level. In some cases a swimmers background and skill level might supersede an age-based group placement
• Parents and swimmers should determine what their short and long term goals are and with the coaches’ assistance determine if the coaches group placement fits the swimmers goals
• Based on the selected training program and group, parents must be committed to assist their swimmer to meet group-specific goals as listed above

Decisions on moving a swimmer from one group to the next:
• Coaches will evaluate each athlete’s training progression after each season ( Nov. March, and August) using criteria based upon age, skill and background (see previous explanation)
• Coaches will offer their opinion when appropriate regarding group and program changes
• Athletes and parents must discuss potential group and program changes with coaches
• Parents cannot move their child to another group without a coach’s consent. If a child moves into a group and does not possess the skills necessary for that group the child will have a difficult time developing those skills

The CW Training Groups

The CW training groups are designed to focus primarily on a swimmer’s competitive objectives, beginning first with Cubs Developmental Program, and then moving through a progression including the various levels of Junior, Intermediate and Senior Level Competitive Programs. This progression is outlined briefly as follows. It is important to remember that anything introduced in a previous group will be carried forward and expanded upon at the next level.

CW Training Group Within Group Divisions

Blue vs. White: In our Cubs, Junior, Intermediate, &Senior groups there are two divisions; Blue and White. These categories are designed to place a child in a group with others who have a similar skill level. This will make for a better overall training environment. Swimmers who have been in CW for a while are familiar with the drills, are competitive, and can handle the training intervals of the group are generally placed in the blue group. Swimmers who cannot handle the training intervals of the blue group, are new to the program, who need to learn the drills of the program, or who need development and/or play other sports will train in the white group. Note, even though the white division is developmental, there will still be training and skill development occurring. 

The C-Dub Cubs Developmental Program (8 & Under)

There are two phases to Cubs program; blue & white. This is the beginner level for those getting started in the sport, or who enjoy the sport but are unsure about competing in 2 or 3 day-long meets. This program would also be appropriate for swimmers who would like to learn more about swimming in meets and gain a better understanding of the competitive side of swimming. Much of the focus in these groups will be on learning proper technique and developing a basic level of endurance upon which to build in the future. This program will incorporate intra-squad, very fun and low key competitions during practice time (aka, ‘Fun Meet’), with the goal of providing both swimmers and their parents an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the USA Swimming system, and how to measure their child’s success/progress.

The following are the general aspects of focus for the Cubs groups.

Mental development: Swimmers will learn to enjoy the water and respect for teammates and coaches. A third of their athletic development should take place out of the water. Other activities such as gymnastics and other athletic exercises with catching and reaction games, and simple ball games. The other 2/3 should be in the water learning the swimming strokes.

Commitment: In this group swimmers may start off with 2 sessions per week and then advance to three as they progress.

Skill Development: All swimmers will learn each of the four competitive strokes, underwater swimming skills, diving, grab and track starts, flip turns, general endurance, flexibility, and agility. Swimming technique will be expanded as swimmers progress from white to blue.

Training Criteria: Freestyle, 10 x 50 @ 1:10-20; Kick, 10 x 25 @ 0:40-45 seconds

Skill Goals: 100 free with flip turns; 100 Back with flip turns; 100 breast with pull outs; 100 fly/fly drill with legal turns; 100 IM with legal turns. Competition race start, correct finishes.

Dryland: Balance, both in and out of the water; games with partners and groups; and tempo practice are introduced. This is designed to develop overall athletic skills.

Junior Group (Ages 9 and 10)

This group covers basic swimming endurance, swimming speed change, and tempo over a 2 year period. Swimming technique is expanded. These swimmers are expected to have learned all four racing strokes and now aimed at increasing both technical work and training.

Mental development: Behavior in relation to the team and readiness to perform in a group setting. Discipline related to the sport of swimming. Knowledge of warm-up and warm-down and pre-race behavior at a swim meet. Responsibility and respect towards teammates and coaches by demonstrating great character.

Commitment: As the swimmers progress they should be in the water consistently 4 to 5 times per week based upon the group division.

Skill Development: Relay pickups and exchanges, ball games, relay races, team races, and implementation of endurance training.

Training Criteria: 6 x 100 free @ 1:40-2:00 with turns; 6 x 100 IM @ 2:00-2:20 with legal turns based upon group divisions.

The weekly training cycle for this group is backstroke on Monday, Breaststroke on Tuesday, Distance free on Wednesday, IM on Thursday, and coaches choice on Friday and the weekend practices.

Skill Goals: Correct relay pickups, correct competition starts, finishes, how to read a pace clock, rules of sport, goal setting and race pace training. The primary focus for kids at this age is the 200 IM which will develop overall swimming ability.

Dryland: Dynamic and static stretching; planks, push-ups, sit ups, core strength.

Intermediate Group (Ages 11 to 13)

In the intermediate training group swimmers are preparing to race at the state, zone or sectionals level meets. This is the group where the training commitment becomes greatly expanded. The overall workload and expectations increased substantially. Swimmers are exposed to more practice hours, distance swimming, and higher levels of competition.

Mental development: Knowledge of technique for all four strokes. Knowledge of planning and training and competition schedule. Self-monitoring and keeping record (i.e., log books, weight, heart rate, sleep, and training performance. Willingness to perform as an individual and for the team demonstrating great character and being responsible for all actions.

Commitment: Swimmers will be required to attend the age appropriate amount of practices per week. The 11 year olds in the group should attend 5 practices most of the year and over the summer they may add a double practice 1 to 2 times per week, but not more than 7 practices a week. 12 year olds should attend 6 practices over the fall and winter and spring, over the summer can go to as high as nine practices per week. The 13 year olds can also go to as many as 9 or 10 practices per week over the summer.

Skill Development: Stroke drill progressions are expanded as the coach can add new drills from the drill book for his kids.

Training Criteria: 10 x 100 Free @ 1:30 with correct turns; 10 x 100 IM @ 1:50. Able to swim 200 IM in competition. The weekly training cycle for this group is backstroke on Monday, Breast on Tuesday, Distance free on Wednesday, IM on Thursday, and coaches choice on Friday and Saturday. Also included are sprints, paddles, snorkels, resistance work, aerobic work, and anaerobic threshold training. Also high performance endurance training will be progressively introduced in this group. Speed work, negative split, build and descending work, and pyramid sets will also be introduced at this level.

Skill Goals: Some of these swimmers will begin to focus on best events. However, the main focus will be the 400 IM which again works to develop overall swimming ability.

Dryland: Core bodywork, stretching, stretching, med balls and circuit training

Senior Group (Ages 14 and up)

As swimmers enter this group, training will become increasingly specialized focusing on Sectional, Junior National and National levels. They will begin to train in their primary strokes several times a week. They will be tested to develop paces for their specific level of training. This will allow grouping with others who share the same paces to provide a competitive training atmosphere. In general, there will be a distance group, a middle distance group, and lanes designated to specific strokes.

Mental development: Knowledge of special training methods, behavior before races.
self-monitoring, college recruiting exposure, character identity and team building

Commitment: If participating in a national meet 100 % practice attendance is required. Fall/Winter 6 times a week. 8 to 10 times per week for double practices during breaks and summer

Skill Development: swimming with endurance, maximum strength, muscular endurance specific to race, varies paces, basic swimming endurance, hypoxic breathing, distance specialization

Training Criteria: 20 x 100 Free @ 1:15; 15 x 100 Back on 1:30; 12 x 100 Breast @ 1:45; 15 x 100 fly @ 1:30. Females add 10 seconds to each interval.

Skill Goals: Legal in all four strokes and turns. Must know all IM turns. Must know relay pickups. Aerobic training; Anaerobic training; High performance endurance training; Speed work; Negative split work; Resistance work (i.e. chutes); Hypoxic training, basic swimming speed, specific muscular endurance, basic swimming endurance, beginning of specialization; varied paces over longer distances.

Dryland: 3 times per week. Circuit training, medicine ball, core body. Introduction to weight training when available.

The Elite Team:

Available only for elite level athletes. This program is by invitation only from the elite team coaches and is only for college or post-graduate swimmers.