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Team Levels and Advancement

 

No matter what your age or ability, there's a swimming group that's perfect for you. LAMVAC coaches will choose the correct level during tryouts.

 

Pre-competitive Level
Tadpoles


Competitive Levels
Piranhas
Tiger Sharks

Juniors
Seniors
Masters


Special Three-Month Programs
High School Program
Summer Program


Advancement
General Advancement
Tadpole-to-Piranha Transition

Pre-competitive Level:

Tadpoles

 

The pre-competitive program is designed for beginner-level swimmers ages 5 and older. The focus is on developing a strong foundation for competition in all four competitive strokes: freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly kick.

Prerequisites: Swimmer must be able to enter the water independently, float on back and do basic freestyle with big arms partially or fully across a 25-yard pool. Some Advanced Tadpoles may participate in swim meets at the coach’s discretion.

Class: Tadpole lessons last for 45 minutes. Classes are typically divided into beginning and advanced groups. Although it is not required, swimmers are encouraged to attend all classes in a session because frequent attendance results in faster progress. Classes are limited to 15 swimmers per instructor. Tadpole classes are offered all year round. The class schedule is posted on the LAMVAC website.

Equipment

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Competitive Levels

 

 

Piranhas

 

The Piranha group is for the 8-and-under age group, novice 9-to-11 year olds and older swimmers who need a stronger foundation in all four competitive swimming strokes, turns and starts/dives. A swimmer must be able to execute all competitive strokes legally before entering the Tiger Shark group.

Prerequisites: Swimmers must be able to complete 25 yards of freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke in good form and have a working knowledge of butterfly kick. Piranhas may attend swim meets as soon as their coaches recommend doing so. Fins are required for swimming at this level (see below).

Practice/Meets: Piranhas practice Monday through Friday for 45 minutes, and the club recommends a minimum of three practices per week. Practice is at both Foothill College and Eagle Park pools. Coaches encourage Piranhas to participate in swim meets at least once a month.

Equipment:

 

Tiger Sharks

 

 

The Tiger Shark group is for swimmers aged 9  to 14. This group emphasizes execution of all competitive strokes for longer duration and different intensities, which is a requirement for progressing into the Junior team level.

Prerequisites: Swimmers must use the proper stroke technique for all four competitive strokes to qualify and legal execution of turns and starts/dives to qualify for this level.

Practice/Meets: Tiger Sharks practice Monday through Friday for about two hours each time. Practice duration is 1½ hours in the water with dry-land exercises prior to getting into the water. Practice is at both Foothill College and Eagle Park pools. Overall practice duration is about two hours each day, depending on coach recommendation. LAMVAC recommends at least four practices per week. Coaches encourage Tiger Sharks to participate in swim meets.

Equipment

 

Juniors

 

This is the first phase of the senior development program.

Prerequisites: Swimmers must be at least 12 years old and proficient in all strokes, starts and turns at higher intensities and longer duration to qualify for this group.

Practice/Meets: Junior practices are available Monday through Saturday for two hours. Practice is at  Foothill College pool. LAMVAC coaches recommend a minimum of five practices per week. Coaches encourage Juniors to participate in swim meets.

Equipment

 

Seniors

This group is for swimmers who are ready for elite training and may compete on a regional or national level.

Practice/Meets: Senior practices are available Monday through Saturday for 2 hours, plus additional 90 minutes early morning practices on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Practice is at Foothill College pool. Seniors are expected to attend all workout sessions offered. It is also required that Seniors sign up for the strength training program at Foothill College. Swimmers are required to attend all scheduled competitions.

Equipment

 

Masters

 

This group is for all swimmers older than 18, regardless of skill level.

Prerequisite: You must be able to swim 50 meters safely.

Practice: LAMVAC offers a monthly, quarterly or drop-in option. The swimmer decides the amount of practice based on his or her goals, with advice from the coach. There is no set requirement.

Equipment

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Special Three-Month Programs

 

High School Training Program

 

The high school program offers swimmers three consecutive months of workouts per swim year (September-August) for high school students, who will enjoy improving their skills at the 50-meter pool at Foothill College in the club's year-round competitive program run by experienced and friendly coaches.

Prerequisite: You must be a high school student who is an advanced swimmer at the LAMVAC Junior team swimmer level (above)

Practice: Swim in the 50-meter pool at Foothill College near the intersection of El Monte and Highway 280 in Los Altos Hills. The pool is at the north end of campus. Practice is with the Junior group. Coaches encourage high school swimmers to compete in meets.

To determine if this high school program is for you, come to the Foothill College pool on a weekday between 4 and 6 p.m. and speak with the coaching staff. LAMVAC offers a three-consecutive-month package, which includes all registration fees. There's no set start date; start when it is convenient for you. There is no volunteer-hours requirement.

Equipment

 

Summer Program

 

The LAMVAC Summer Program is for swimmers new to LAMVAC in June. It is a chance to try out competitive swimming with LAMVAC. It is also an opportunity for those who wish to swim in the summer months only. The price includes USA Swimming seasonal registration and dues for the entire months of June, July and August.

(LAMVAC also offers pre-competitive Tadpole lessons throughout the summer for those not quite ready for higher team levels.)

Prerequisite: Swimmers must be at Piranha level or higher. They practice with the group they qualify to join: Piranhas, Tiger Sharks, Juniors or Seniors.

Practice and Equipment: Same as for regular team schedules above.

Advancement

 

 General Advancement

The coaches will notify your swimmer (and for younger swimmers, parents) when they believe your swimmer is ready to proceed to the next level of the team, based on skill, strength, stamina, age and emotional readiness. Please read descriptions of each team level for prerequisites. You may contact the coaches directly to find out more about your swimmer’s progress.

Sometimes coaches will recommend that swimmers start to attend some but not all sessions of a higher level for a week or two to confirm readiness. Sometimes, they will recommend an immediate change.

The club will begin billing for the higher team level at the start of the next calendar month. See Team Fees for full details. LAMVAC requires 10 family volunteer service hours per swim year (September through August) for Advanced Tadpoles and 20 family volunteer service hours per swim year for higher team levels.

At each team level from Piranhas to Seniors, LAMVAC also charges the team's annual fee. 

Both volunteer hours and the annual fee are prorated, if swimmers move after February.

 

 

Tadpole-to-Piranha Transition

 

When your child is ready to make the jump from Tadpole lessons to Piranha practice and potentially start competing, the Tadpole coach will speak to you and then automatically move your child to the correct new practice.

At this time, you need to register to pay the annual team fee and indicate the correct size for your child’s T-shirt. Don’t worry, the system will auto-populate most blanks with information you filled in the first time you registered, so the process should be quick!

When you get to the checkout page, you do not have to choose the $73 US Swim registration fee; you have already paid this fee for your Tadpole.

Do note that starting at the Piranha level, families must perform 20 service hours per swim year (to be completed by August). The club prorates to 10 hours, if your transition is taking place after February. LAMVAC does not require any hours if the transition takes place during the summer months.

The club will provide your child with a team T-shirt and swim cap, so please make sure to verify the T-shirt size in your LAMVAC online account. These are usually distributed at practice time at the pool. Please email MembershipFoothill@lamvac.org or MembershipEagle@lamvac.org, if you haven’t received them within a few months of each season or by the first meet. Sometimes parent volunteers get busy with regular life and are slow to distribute!

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