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Training Groups

Training Group Standards and Move-Ups

Gator Swim Club's training group structure is designed to allow progression over time from novice to highly experienced and skilled swimmer. The lists below show the basic expectations for each group. Due to the structure of our program, moves from group to group are not carried out to accommodate more convenient practice times or other member-family preferences but are coaching decisions based on the group standards. The integrity and fairness of the structure is key to the success of our swimmers at all levels.

Group move-ups happen a maximum of three times per year:

  • Late August into early September (between the end of the summer long-course season and the start of the fall short-course season)
  • Mid-December and early January (midway through the short-course season)
  • Late March into early April (after GSC's spring break week, before the start of the long-course season).

The exact dates of the move-ups will be decided by the head coach and the group coaches. Even if a swimmer achieves the standards in mid-season, he or she will not be moved up to the next group until one of the above points in the year. Move-ups cannot skip a group level.

Group standards are broken into three categories: achievement, skill level, and attendance. Requirements within the three categories are outlined below for each training group. Note that attendance requirements become more strict at upper and elite levels, because attendance at practice is critical to improvement and is the best predictor of future performance.

 

Pre-Competition

This level is intended as a transition from lessons to the team environment. Swimmers can join this group if they are 7 years old and have received a certificate upon completion of SwimAmerica lessons, or if pre-registration evaluation deems this group appropriate based on skill level. If younger than 7, membership can be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

 

White Caimans

  1. Achievement: Swimmer must be
    1. At least 7 years old.
    2. Able to legally swim at least 25 yards in freestyle and backstroke and know the basic movements and swim 25 yards of breaststroke and butterfly.
    3. Deemed capable of keeping up with the demands of the group by pre-registration evaluation (new member) or Pre-Competition group coach (continuing member).
  2. Skill Level: As described above.
  3. Attendance: Not applicable at this level.

 

Green Caimans

  1. Achievement: Swimmer must fulfill at least one of the following:
    1. Achieved a time of 50 seconds or less for 50-yard freestyle in a meet.
    2. Achieved times in practice that warrant a move-up from White Caimans (similar to time required in (a) and decided by coaches).
    3. Competed and successfully completed distances of 100 yards/meters or above in a meet.
  2. Skill Level: Swimmer must be:
    1. Able to execute competitive starts from the blocks, legal open turns for breaststroke and butterfly, and flip turns for freestyle and backstroke.
    2. Deemed capable of keeping up with the demands of the group by pre-registration evaluation (new member) or White Caimans coach (continuing member).
  3. Attendance: Not applicable at this level.

 

Blue Caimans

  1. Achievement: Swimmer must fulfill at least one of the following:
  1. Achieved a time of 45 seconds or less for 50-yard freestyle (or 1:35 for 100 yards, 3:20 for 200 yards) in a meet.
  2. Achieved times in practice that warrant a move-up from Green Caimans (similar to time required in (a) and decided by coaches).
  1. Skill Level: Swimmer must fulfill at least two of the following:
  1. Be at least 9 years old. 
  2. Know how to practice using the pace clock as guide for swim sets, listening and understanding more complex swimming sets as described by coach.
  3. Be deemed capable of keeping up with the demands of the group by pre-registration evaluation (new member) or Green Caimans coach (continuing member).
  1. Attendance: Recommend above 60% attendance during the bulk of the training season (September 15 to December 5, January 3 to February 15, and April 20 to July 20).

 

Orange Caimans

  1. Achievement: Swimmer must fulfill at least one of the following:
    1. Achieved a time of 40 seconds or less for 50-yard freestyle (or 1:25 for 100 yards, 3:00 for 200 yards) in a meet.
    2. Achieved times in practice that warrant a move-up from Blue Caimans (similar to time required in (a) and decided by coaches).
    3. Competed and successfully completed distances of 500 yards/400 meters in a meet, achieving a time of 6:00 or faster.
  2. Skill Level: Swimmer must fulfill at least two of the following:
  1. Be at least 10 years old.
  2. Know how to practice using the pace clock as guide for swim sets, listening and understanding complex swimming sets as described by coach.
  3. Be deemed capable of keeping up with the demands of the group by pre-registration evaluation (new member) or Blue Caimans coach (returning member).
  1. Attendance: Recommend above 60% attendance during the bulk of the training season (September 15 to December 5, January 3 to February 15, and April 20 to July 20).

 

Silver Crocodiles

  1. Achievement: Swimmer must fulfill at least one of the following:
    1. Achieved a time of 35 seconds or less for 50-yard freestyle (or 1:15 for 100 yards, 2:40 for 200 yards) in a meet.
    2. Achieved times in practice that warrant a move-up from Orange Caimans (similar to time required in (a) and decided by coaches).
    3. Competed and successfully completed distances of 200 yards/meters and above in a meet.
  2. Skill Level: Swimmer must fulfill at least two of the following:
  1. Be at least 11 years old.
  2. Know how to practice using the pace clock as guide for swim sets, listening and understanding complex swimming sets as described by coach.
  3. Be deemed capable of keeping up with the demands of the group by pre-registration evaluation (new member) or Orange Caimans coach (continuing member).
  1. Attendance: Recommend above 60% attendance during the bulk of the training season (September 15 to December 5, January 3 to February 15, and April 20 to July 20). For Silver group athletes working to move up to the Senior or Gold group, attendance must be 80% or above during the date span in the season preceding the move (e.g., if you want to move up in January, your attendance September 15 to December 5 should be at 80% or higher).

 

Senior Crocodiles

  1. Achievement: Swimmer must fulfill at least one of the following:
    1. Be approved for move-up beyond the Orange Caimans level and be in high school.
    2. Achieved times in practice that warrant a move-up from Orange Caimans or Silver Crocodiles (decided by coaches).
  2. Skill Level: Swimmer must be deemed capable of keeping up with the demands of the group by pre-registration evaluation (new member) or Orange Caimans or Silver Crocodiles coach (continuing member).
  3. Attendance: Recommend above 60% attendance during the bulk of the training season (September 15 to December 5, January 3 to February 15, and April 20 to July 20). For Senior group athletes working to move up to the Sectional group, attendance must be 80% or above during the date span in the season preceding the move (e.g., if you want to move up in January, your attendance September 15 to December 5 should be at 80% or higher).

To move up to the Sectional Gators, swimmers in the Senior group must achieve a current 15–16 Florida Senior Champs time standard in an event of 100 yards/meters or above. If the swimmer is 17 years old or older, he or she must achieve the senior standard in an event in order to be considered for a move-up. All Senior group swimmers wanting to move up to the Sectional group level must first meet with the Sectional or National group coach and commit to attendance and competition as required by those groups. Moving up to an elite group is always optional and will not reflect negatively on the swimmer who wishes to delay the move up or remain in the Senior group.

 

Elite Groups

There are currently four elite groups within the structure of Gator Swim Club:

  • Gold Crocodiles
  • Sectional Gators
  • National Gators
  • International/Post-Grad group

Move-ups to elite groups are always voluntary and swimmers will not be penalized or looked down upon if they choose to delay joining the elite groups or to stay in the Senior Crocodile group. The elite groups are designed for GSC members who are highly motivated and skilled and the move-ups are determined by the coaches of those groups. Membership in the elite groups is conditional and the standards, especially attendance, are up for frequent review. Swimmers may be moved to more appropriate groups if attendance and other standards are not met.

 

Gold Crocodiles

A meeting with the coach is mandatory prior to moving up into this group.

  1. Achievement: This group's standards are designed for 11–12-year-olds who achieve an “A” time (see motivational times on USA Swimming's website) in an event that is 200 yards/meters or longer. Some 10-year-olds who show maturity and ability to train with older swimmers may be allowed into the Gold group (with head coach approval) if they achieve an “AAA” time in an event 200 yards/meters or longer, along with 13–14-year-olds who show motivation and determination to be in this group and achieve a “BB” time in an event 200 yards/meters or longer.
  2. Attendance: To maintain Gold group status, swimmers are expected to attend 6 practices per week or a minimum attendance of 85% during the bulk of the training season (September 15 to December 5, January 3 to February 15, and April 20 to July 20). Attendance will be tracked on Team Unify. Members of this group must plan to attend FLAGs (Florida Age Group Championships) and other championship meets for which they have qualified, as determined by family and coach.

 

Sectional Gators

A meeting with the group coach or head coach is mandatory prior to moving up into this group.

  1. Achievement: This group's standards are designed for swimmers 13-years-old or older who achieve a current Florida Senior Champs cut for their respective age group (15–16 or Senior) in an event that is 100 yards/meters or longer.
  2. Attendance: To maintain Sectional group status, swimmers are expected to attend 8 practices per week or a minimum attendance of 85% during the bulk of the training season (September 15 to December 5, January 3 to February 15, and April 20 to July 20). Attendance will be tracked on Team Unify. Members of this group must plan to attend Florida Senior Champs and other championship meets for which they have qualified, as determined by family and coach.

 

National Gators

A meeting with the head coach is mandatory prior to moving up into this group.

  1. Achievement: This group's standards are designed for swimmers 13-years-old or older who achieve one or more NCSA Champs cuts in any event.
  2. Attendance: To maintain National group status, swimmers are expected to attend 9 practices per week or a minimum attendance of 90% during the bulk of the training season (September 15 to December 5, January 3 to February 15, and April 20 to July 20) or execute plan as agreed upon with head coach. Attendance will be tracked on Team Unify. Members of this group must plan to attend Florida Senior Champs and other championship meets for which they have qualified, as determined by family and coach.

 

International/Post-Grad Group

This is a closed group. Membership must be approved by the head coach and high-performance coaches of this group.