DESCRIPTIONS OF TRAINING GROUPS
The MCDA Swim Team is divided into several practice groups according to both age and ability level. Each practice group has distinct objectives and goals, which help the swimmer develop their skills to their full potential and move from one practice group to another with ease. Group changes are made by coaches on an as-needed basis, when changes are deemed beneficial for the swimmer. For each group, a typical practice involves a combination of stroke technique and physical conditioning, with the emphasis on stroke instruction for the younger more developmental swimmers and conditioning becoming more important for more experienced swimmers. Specific groups will also participate in dry-land training.
PATHWAYS: (Minimum age: 5)
Participants must be able to swim 25 yards unassisted. Swimmers will improve their strength in the water, improve confidence and learn the four competitive strokes (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly). Recommended 2 practices/week.
BRONZE I & II: (Minimum age: 6)
This developmental training group emphasizes on the fundamentals of the four competitive strokes. We focus on making swimming a fun experience while improving swimming technique with the use of drills and introducing interval training and swimming competition. Recommended 3 practices/week.
SILVER: (Minimum age: 8)
Participants must be able to complete 50 yards of each of the four competitive swim strokes and a 100 IM continuously. This is a more structured practice routine which not only emphasizes technique, interval training and introduces endurance based training sets. The focus is on competition preparedness geared towards long-term success. Recommended 3-4 practices/week.
GOLD: (Minimum age: 8)
This training group is for the advanced age group swimmer. Training in this group is for committed and motivated young swimmers and emphasizes serious training in preparation for higher levels of swimming. The group will focus on stroke refinement, aerobic training and strength building. Gold level swimmers have or are striving for Junior Olympics (JO's) qualification times. Recommended 4-5 practices/week.
SENIOR DEVELOPMENT: (Minimum age: 11)
The more advanced age group squad, Senior Development’s purpose is to train swimmers with higher long-term goals in the sport of swimming. More emphasis is placed on training adaptations and following a season plan designed for higher achievement. Swimmers in Senior Development will be held to a higher standard of consistency, effort and attitude. Recommended 5-6 practices/week.
SENIOR ELITE: (Minimum age: 12)
This squad is for the most advanced swimmers who have shown commitment, dedication and readiness to train consistently. This training group is designed for high school swimmers who are experienced and proficient, qualify for FHSAA regional & state level meets, USA Senior Championships, Speedo Sectionals and and are working towards achieving national level time standards as well as have a desire to swim at the college. The practice and competition schedule reflect the aspiration to reach the highest levels of achievement in the sport.
WHEN CAN AN ATHLETE MOVE UP?
Moving to the next level in the MCDA program involves several factors. A child's technical competence, physical stamina, mental preparedness, swim meet attendance and performance, as well as many other subjective factors, all play a role. Your coach is the individual best able to assess a swimmers readiness to make this next step.
An athlete might get a trial period in the group above, but official group move ups for Pathways - Senior Development groups occur four times a year (December, March, June, and September). The progress of athletes swimming at these levels can be large in both technical efficiency and speed. Group adjustments are made accordingly.
At the most advanced level in MCDA's age group program the Senior Elite level, move ups occur only two times each year (after the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships in March, and at the beginning of the year in September).
Talk to your coach about your goals on a regular basis. He/she is the person who can help you make that jump to the next level!!
All adjustments to the groups must go through the Head Coach. The Head Coach has the final word on all movements on the team.