Practice Groups

Swimming Practice Groups

Our team practices in groups based on age and ability level.  Our coaches will assess each swimmer at the beginning of each season to ensure that he or she is in the appropriate group. Each group is assigned specific practice sessions based on their training needs and pool availability.  All swimmers are encouraged to swim all the practice sessions that are scheduled for their group.  Swimmers should in each group should attend at least the minimum number of practices listed.  The purpose in requiring a minimum number of practices even for the younger groups is twofold:

It ensures that the groups stay together in their development of skills.   

It helps establish a progression of commitment as the swimmers grow and move up through the groups.  The minimum number of practices for each group is specifically chosen by the coaching staff base on what they think is appropriate for that the age and ability level. If a swimmer cannot make the minimum number of practices, please consult your head coach.

Practice Group



The National group represents the highest level of training within PAAC.  Swimmers in this group are expected to attend all training sessions, which are typically held 6 days per week.  Regular participation in meets is required for the National group.

Training in the National group is intended to prepare swimmers to compete at the State, National, and International levels.  Training will be very rigorous and detail-oriented.  Swimmers are expected to be conscientious in all aspects of their preparation including stroke technique, nutrition, sleep, and competitive performance.

Minimum performance standard to be invited to the National Group: Sectional cuts and a strong record of practice attendance in the previous season. Swimmers not making a strong commitment to attending practice will be removed from this group.


This is the competitive level within PAAC that offers high school aged kids intense seasonal training geared towards their respective championship meet in each season. This group focuses on advanced training and technical development. Senior swimmers must attend practice; participate in dryland training and are expected to compete in meets.  Swimmers must be in the spring of their 8th grade year to be eligible to enter this group.


The Gold group is the most intensive training group within our Age Group Program. This group is focused on developing swimmers' technique, aerobic fitness, and race speed to compete at Junior Olympics, Zones, Sectionals and beyond. The Gold Group’s  training will be focusing on the 100 and 200 of each stroke and each swimmer will be given the opportunity to swim the distance events as well(400 IM, 500, 1000, & 1650 Fr). Each swimmer must be prepared to swim for 1 hour and 45 minutes and participate in a 30 minute dryland session each practice. We think it is very important that the swimmers come as often as they can on a consistent basis. Swimmers in this group are expected to attend five (5) practices per week. To move up to the Gold group a swimmer must have the approval of the Assitant Head Coach and must demonstrate a commitment to regular training and competition.  Swimmers must also show the ability to retain instruction and take ownership of their performance in training and competition.


The Silver group is generally for swimmers between 10 and 14 years of age. This group will still be working on stroke technique with an equal emphasis on endurance training. This group will refine the strokes and will be working on meet preparation and proper race strategies. These swimmers must be ready to swim for 90 minute practices and be able to participate in 30 minutes of dryland sessions for each practice. They must be able to swim up to a 100 of each individual stroke and have some knowledge of pace clock training. We think it is very important that the swimmers come as often as they can on a consistent basis. Swimmers in this group are expected to attend four (4) practices per week. To move into the Silver group a swimmer must have the approval of the Silver Group Coach. Swimmers must also show the ability to retain instruction and behave responsibly in a group setting.


The Bronze group represents the first true competitive group on our team.  Typically swimmers in this group are 9-12 years old, but skill trumps age for placement in this group.  Swimmers will practice for 60 minutes in the water and 15 minutes of dryland each day.  Practices will be primarily focused on refining technique with an introduction to aerobic training.  Meet participation is strongly encouraged for this group.  Practice attendance 3 or more days per week is also encouraged for maximum benefit.


STARS is an acronym for Starts, Turns, And Racing Strokes.  Our focus in this group is on teaching these specific aspects of swimming technique.  Though there will be meets available to this group, competition is not mandatory.  The aim is to prepare swimmers for meets by developing the necessary skills for competition.


The Instructional Group focuses on developing the four main strokes.  The primary goal of the group is for the swimmers to be able to swim all four strokes legally, and to develop a foundation for starts and turns.  Participation in this group encourages swimmers to have a love for the water, for swimming, and hopefully peeks an interest in participating in meets.  This is all done while enforcing the underlying principle that swimming is FUN!