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Swim Groups
"Happy swimmers are fast swimmers."
- Allison Schmitt
Rio 2016
The Sarasota YMCA Sharks offers training and practice groups for swimmers of all ages and abilities. The goal of the Sarasota YMCA Sharks to offer age specific training for all of our athletes geared towards challenging each individual and developing them to reach their full potential.

Developmental Groups

The developmental groups are for swimmers who are new to competitive swimming.  Swimmers are placed in a specific group depending on their age and ability level to set them up for success.

White II

Pre-Team is a Pre-Competition  group generally for 8 years and under. Pre-Team swimmers should be doing other activities outside of swimming.  The goal is to learn all 4 strokes legally and to have LOTS OF FUN! 

Black II

Novice Group swimmer is generally 8-11 years old that are new and did not come through the program or an organized team.  The goal is to move them into the white or black groups if they desire and to have LOTS OF FUN! 

Gold II

A Gold 2 swimmer is between the ages of 11-12 years old and is an athlete that has just come to the sport or has not been in an organized swim team.  The goal is to move these athletes into Junior Groups where swimming FAST is FUN! 

Junior II

A Junior 2 Swimmer is between the ages of 13-14 and years old and is an athlete relatively new to the sport or has not been in an organized swim team.  The goal is to develop good conditioning and move these athletes into Junior and Senior Groups! 


Competitive Groups

The competitive teams are for swimmers who can swim all 4 competitive strokes legally (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle).  In addition to the technique development these swimmers will do, they will also be introduced to training.

White I

White swimmers are mostly 8 and under and this is when they begin true technique work of strokes and learn competitive skills i.e. Starts, turns, finishes.  Meets are encouraged to measure progress.  Dry-land is introduced creating a full athlete. Other activities outside of swimming are encouraged. 

Black I

Black Age group is generally 9 and 10 year old swimmers that continue the refinement of stroke and competitive skills making meet attendance is important so they can begin to build bonds with teammates and developing swim friends is important ·     Dry-land is essential to creating a full athlete!

Gold I

Gold Group swimmers typically range from 11 to 13 years old and focus on advanced refinement of stokes and skills.  At this point swimming is becoming one of your main activities and meet attendance is essential.  Being with teammates and friends is important. Dry-land has become an important part of being a healthy athlete.


The Junior Group is for swimmers in middle school (7th/8th grade) and/or are 13-14 years old.   Swimmers in the Juniors receive more advanced training and technique work. This group is truly an introduction to the competitive swimming landscape. The goal is to ready them for their high school years and to prepare for high level competition.

Senior III: High School- State Level

The Senior III group is for high school swimmers that want to stay in shape year around.. Technique is primary and an increase in volume and intensity will be introduced. This group will not require morning workouts, but if interested athletes are encouraged to attend Senior II morning practices. The focus will be on competition at the area and state level with no meet requirement.. Athletes are encouraged to attend all practices but there there is no practice requirement. 

Senior II: State-National Level “National Development” 

The Senior II Group is for high school swimmers at Senior State level achievement or striving for it . This is a stepping stone to the Senior I group. Great for a later growing athlete. This group prepares athletes for the state and regional levels of competition. Morning practices will be offered twice a week and the group will be run very closely with the Senior I group. Technique, intensity and an increase in volume should be expected in this group. Athletes in this group are expected to attend practice and swim meets consistently. Pushing yourself and being uncomfortable is FUN! 

Senior I: “National”  

The Senior I Group is for high school swimmers generally  at the YMCA National level. This is a high achieving, training group that where swimming as a mainstay in their life. Vacations are taken within the confines of the meet schedule  Attending meets and practice  is crucial, expected and monitored.  The goal is to prepare athletes for national and international levels of competition. Admittance to this group will be based on, but not limited to attendance, ability, and willingness to change. Morning practices are offered three times a week. This group focuses on each athletes needs to excel in the sport. Dry-land is a integral part of the program to help the athlete reach their potential.  Pushing yourself and being uncomfortable is FUN! 

Sharks Group Progression 

There are many ways to progress through the sport of swimming. Because there are many factors that go into growth, development, and maturation, we must accommodate these various levels of athletes with different groups. Groups become more specific throughout the program. Correct group and size are essential to ensuring quality coaching for the individual, group, and team. At some point each level will be introduced to the next in some way. As in any organization, there has to be some order and structure. These groups are designed to be a guideline.  Coaches at times will make moves outside these definitions due to situations at the swimmer, group and team levels. Becoming a great swimmer is a marathon, be patient!  

Things to remember

1.) Move ups are a coaching decision.

2.) The staff has nothing to gain by your athlete’s lack of progression

3.) Group placement is not a statement on the long term success of your child.


Some Factors Associated with Group Movement
Actual Age Attendance
Physical Age Work Ethic
Mental Age (maturity) Training Ability


For more info about groups and group progression please direct inquiries to your swimmers current group coach.