Swim Groups

The Rockford Marlins Swim Club welcomes swimmers of all ages and ability levels. Whatever your goals in this great sport of swimming, The Marlins have dedicated coaches and training plans that can work for you. The Swim Group descriptions below serve as a high-level overview, and are not meant to be all-inclusive.  At each level, the goals and objectives are specific and directed toward meeting the needs of the swimmer.  The long term goal of excellence is always in mind.  As each swimmer is different, he/she will progress at his/her own rate.  The coaching staff recognizes this fact by making team assignments based on a swimmer's physical, mental, and emotional level of development.   Multiple levels of swimmer development exist within each of these groups. Coaches will assign the swimmer to the appropriate training group.


Junior Marlins Program:  The Junior Marlins Group is designed for children ages 5 and older, who are novices or relative novices to the sport of swimming.  Emphasis is placed on learning proper competitive stroke technique and skills, stroke development, competitive meet procedures, developing positive self-esteem, making new friends, and having fun!  Swimmers are taught the basics of the 4 competitive strokes and competition starts and turns while building some endurance.   Training sets are gradually introduced to challenge and increase the fitness of the athlete.  The main goal is to prepare swimmers for the Marlins Age Group Program.

  • Level 1 - Mainly 8 & under or coaches recommendation.  Must be able to swim at least one length of the pool freestyle with face in the water using rotary breathing, as well as one length of backstroke.  This group is mainly intended to bridge the gap between swim lessons and competitive swimming.  Emphasis is placed on learning basic swim skills, improving body awareness in the water, developing positive self-esteem, making friends, and having fun.  Practice recommendations are 2 days per week for 30 minutes.  Performance goal for this group is is 50 yards freestyle (breathing comfortably) and 50 yards backstroke and have a working knowledge of breaststroke and butterfly.
  • Level 2 - Mainly 7-14 year olds or coaches recommendation.  This group is intended to help prepare swimmers to transition to a competitive swim program.  In addition to teaching all four competitive strokes, we will focus on introducing concepts in streamlining, posture, body line position, balance, breathing, and general comfort in the water.  Practice recommendations are 2 days per week for 50 minutes.  Performance goal for this group is competing in all 4 strokes legally - 85% stroke instruction / 15% training

Age Group Marlins Program: The Age Group Marlins Program is for swimmers ages up to 14 years old.  Executing proper stroke technique within the four competitive strokes is still a primary focus in the Age Group Marlins Program, and more emphasis is placed on swimming sets. This group will also begin to focus on higher level aerobic training as well as other energy systems  The Age Group Marlins Program is a dual-track program designed for swimmers who are both newer or less committed, due to multi-sports and extra-curricular, to the sport and those who are already competitive swimmers determined to take their swimming to the next level.   There are specific requirements and practice schedules for each level.  Swimmers must follow the schedule for their assigned age group level.  

  • Age Group Marlins Level 1 – This group will continue to build technical stroke competence as well as promote a progressive training focus that will improve their stroke technique and proficiency in all four competitive strokes, while learning how to compete with effective race strategies.  The coaching goal of this group is to increase the athletes aerobic training while maintain good stroke form and continuing to build a base to improve overall swimming speed so that they may be able to qualify for Championship Meets if desired and advance to the Age Group 2 Program. Athletes in this group will be working towards BB times.  Meet participation is strongly encouraged.  Competing in meets helps athletes make a connection and understand that practice habits have a direct relationship on meet performance.  This group will practice for 1 hour, up to 4 times per week.  Performance goal of this group is 4 legal strokes working for BB times or above - 70% technique / 30% training.  Group placement is at coaches recommendation.
    • Technique and Competition Goals
      • 4 Legal Strokes
      • 200 IM
      • 500 Free
  • Age Group Marlins Level 2 – This group is made up of the top Age Group swimmers in the program.  These swimmers are typically more proficient in their stroke and turn techniques and tend to be more committed to the sport of swimming.  Many already have State and Zone qualifying times.  As such, these swimmers are capable of handling an increased work load that is needed to perform well at these Championship level swim meets.  Athletes will be selected for this group by the Coaching Staff on the following criteria:  Attendance, Attitude, Technical Ability and Training Ability.  Swimmers in this group should have Regional qualifying times and will work towards placing top 16 at the Age Group Championship level as well as pursuing State, Zone, and National Top 10 recognition.  The coaching goal of this group is to increase the athletes aerobic training and strength/power base to improve overall swimming speed so that they may be able to qualify for more elite level meets such as State, Zones, and even the National level meets.  This group will practice between 1 hour and 15 minutes and 1 hour and 30 minutes, 5 times per week during the short course season with potential to add additional practices during the Long Course season.  Performance goals of this group are A times working for AA+ times - 30%-50% technique / 50%-70% training.  Group placement is at coaches recommendation.
    • Technique and Competition Goals
      • 4 Legal Strokes
      • 200 IM / 400 IM
      • 500 Free
      • 200's of Strokes

Senior Marlins Program:  The Senior Marlins Program is for swimmers high school ages and older, or coaches recommendation, and College swimmers during the summer months.   This program is also a dual-track program designed for swimmers who are both newer to the sport in this age group or those whose schedule or other activities do not allow them to focus solely on swimming; as well as those swimmers who are already competitive swimmers determined to take their swimming to the next level. The objective of this group is to either stay in shape and/or work towards becoming an elite level High School swimmer, and to begin thinking about collegiate or national level USA Swimming goals.  The goal of the Senior Marlins Program is to ensure that every swimmer will have a love of the sport that will never leave them and to get every swimmer into a college program if that is their goal.

  • Senior Marlins Program Level 1 - This group is designed for swimmers, high school age and over,  or coaches discretion, who desire to train and swim competitively, or to stay in shape, but whose schedule or other activities do not allow them to meet the requirements of the Senior Marlins Level 2 Group. This group is also intended for swimmers who are newer to the sport in this age group, those who require additional stroke and skill instruction, or those who are seasonal swimmers or multi-sport athletes. Practice is offered 4 nights per week.  This group is also a stepping stone to the Senior Level 2 Program by giving the swimmer the necessary tools for stroke refinement, endurance, and speed with the goal of working towards Regional times and higher.  Meet participation is highly recommended.
  • Senior Marlins Program Level 2 - This swim group is for swimmers high school age and older, or coaches discretion, (College age swimmers in the summer), who are willing to work hard and be committed to each other and themselves for their goals. They are motivated and committed athletes, who are looking for a challenging, positive and supportive team environment. This group is also designed for the competitive swimmer, who is prepared for and seeking a highly structured and demanding program of training and competition. Eligibility for Senior Marlins Level 2 is based on a combination of attendance, practice set requirements, swim meet participation, and/or Head Coach’s discretion. The group is made up of mainly swimmers in High School who are ready to take their training to the next level.  Swimmers in the Senior Marlins Level 2 Group are expected to attend all training sessions that are offered in order to support their teammates in this group and to achieve their season end Championship Meet goals.  Additional practices may be made available throughout the seasons.  Senior Marlins Level 2 Group members should have current Regional times, or be on track to attain them, and will work to achieve more Regional times, Senior Championship times, Sectionals, Junior Nationals, Senior Nationals, and Olympic Trial Qualifying times. This group is also made up of swimmers who continue to excel in local, regional, and state level USA Swimming and High School competition.  Meet participation is required.
    • Technique and Competition Goals
      • 4 Legal Strokes
      • 400 IM
      • 1650 Free
      • 200's of Stroke