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Practice Groups

  

  The Michigan Lakeshore Growth Track

              Group Descriptions & Prerequisites

 

14&Unders |  White Discovery - White Futures - Jr Red - Jr Blue - Jr Black

White Level 1 - Discovery

Age: Typically ages 6-10, there will be exceptions.  

This is our entry level of the MLA competitive program.  There is no pressure for practice attendance or meet performance whatsoever.  The curriculum is designed to allow young swimmers to progress into White-1 directly from swim lessons, creating an easy transition into learning about competitive swimming!  The White-1 level is focused on drilling strokes, racing fundamentals, and having fun every practice as they discovery the sport of swimming.  

For placement into White Discovery, swimmers should be able to:

  • swim 25 yards of the pool Backstroke, with alternate arms and a kick.
  • swim one length Freestyle, with a breathing pattern.

White-Discovery will be offered three or four days-a-week, Monday through Thursdays.  There is no practice attendance expectancy for this group, however, keep in mind that the speed of development of your swimmer increases with the frequency of practice of your swimmer.

If you are new to the MLA program, the first step is to arrange an evaluation with Coach Alex Wilkins. Contact Alex by email: awilkins@mlaswim.org, and feel free to ask any program questions you might have.​  A second resource for information for our families is to email our Parent Volunteer at mlacommunications@mlaswim.org.  

Do we want your White Discovery swimmer to compete in meets?  Of course!  Meets are not required, but they are fun and a great way for your coaches to measure improvements along the way.  All WMSL Meets and several USA meets are open to the Discovery Group.  

White Group Discovery Cost:  HCAC Members Cost: $60, Resident: $60, Non-Resident: $70 per month, in addition to an annual club registration of $130 in the fall or $50 in the summer session.


 

14&Unders |  White Discovery - White Futures - Jr Red - Jr Blue - Jr Black

White Level 2 - Futures

Age: Typical ages of 8-12 years.  Exceptions are at the discretion of the MLA coaching staff.

Description: MLA's swimmers looking to build technique and endurance and compete at local and regional meets.  This is the first, true introduction to competitive swimming with MLA.  Practices in this group will focus around continued stroke building and learning the benifits of teamwork, rather than a training emphasis.  This group is for 10&Unders with Swim Team experience.  

Prerequisites: For advancement/placement into White-Futures:

  • 10&Under swimmers need to have multiple, "B," Time Standards on the National Age Group Time Standards (NAGTS) list (click here).
  • Most entry level 11-12 swimmers will begin their competitive swimming journey here!

​​Goals: The goals for this group include completion of IMReady (IMR) and IMXtreme (IMX) events 

promoting well-rounded development of your swimmer.  Swimmers in this group have ambitions of competing in a Championship meet at the completion of each swim season. 

Practices: White-Futures practices are offered four days a week and are one hour and 15 minutes long.  As with White-Discovery, practices are encouraged, not required!  Keep in mind, the speed of development of your swimmer increases with the frequency of practice of your swimmer.

How do you get started? First time swimmers who have not participated in our HCAC lessons program will need to arrange an evaluation. Contact Coach Alex Wilkins by email or by phone at (616) 393-7595 ext.118 for setting up an evaluation or for any program questions.​

When is White-Futures Group's first practice? Spring/Summer practices will begin on the third Monday of April, Fall/Winter practices begin near the first Tuesday of September each year.  You may register for MLA at anytime throughout the year as we are a year-round program with open enrollment.

Does my White-Futures swimmer compete in meets? Absolutely! This group is about teaching our young athletes what being a competitive swimmer is all about.  Meets are not only fun for your swimmer, but they act as progress reports for their MLA coaches who monitor their development daily.  All WMSL Meets and several USA meets are available for White-2 each year.  

How much? HCAC Members Cost: $75, Resident: $75, Non-Resident: $85 per month, in addition to an annual club registration of $100 in the fall or $50 in the summer session.


 

14&Unders |  White Discovery - White Futures - Jr Red - Jr Blue - Jr Black

Junior Red Group 

Age: Typical ages of 11-14 years old.  Exceptions are at the discretion of the MLA coaching staff.

Description: MLA's swimmers looking to make their initial practice commitment to their swim careers and compete at the Michigan Swimming District, Junior Olympic (JO), and State Championship level.   

Prerequisites: For advancement/placement into Red:

  • Must be able to swim a legal 200 IM.
  • Swim freestyle in a variety of distances at 1:30 or faster.
  • Be able to kick 100 freestyle under 1:50 on repeats.
  • Compete in all IMX events regularly during the season.

Placement into Red will require ALL of the above list, including their respective age group requirement listed below:

  • 11 year old swimmers will need to maintain multiple "A" Time Standards.
  • 12 year old swimmers will need to maintain "A" Time Standards.
  • 13-14 swimmers will need to maintain "BB" Time Standards for placement into this group. 

​​Goals: Goals of this group are to develop an aerobic conditioning base and great stroke technique. Swimmers will begin to learn race strategies and how to be an active team member.  Competition goals include completion of IMXtreme (IMX) events as well as completion of seasonal goal sheets. 

Practices: Red practices are offered five to six days a week.  Practices at this level may require an increased commitment, however, practices remain encouraged, not required!  At this age, swimmers are encouraged to be involved in as many extracurricular activities as possible.  During practices, swimmers will have access to above and below-water video analysis of their strokes at every workout.  

Does my Red-1 swimmer compete in meets?  MLA Red Groups are competitive training groups.  Roughly, monthly meet attendance is expected or close to it.  Meets at this level are progress reports for their MLA coaches who monitor their development daily.  All WMSL Meets and all USA meets are available for Red-1 swimmers, each season.  Swimmers are expected to attend any achieved Championship meets.   

How much? Members Cost: $85, Resident: $85, Non-Resident: $95 per month, in addition to an annual club registration of $100 in the fall or $50 in the summer session.


 

14&Unders |  White Discovery - White Futures - Jr Red - Jr Blue - Jr Black

Junior Blue Group

Age: Typical ages of 11-14 years old.  Exceptions are at the discretion of the MLA coaching staff.

Description: Swimmers in this group are already making a significant commitment to their swim careers and compete at the Michigan Swimming District, Junior Olympic (JO), and State Championship level.   

Prerequisites: For advancement/placement into Blue:

  • Must have completed a season in 14&Under Red Group or equivilent.  
  • Swim freestyle in a variety of distances at 1:20 or faster.
  • Be able to kick 100 freestyle under 1:40 on repeats.
  • Compete in all IMX events regularly during the season.
  • Already have multiple Junior Olympic (JO) or equivalent times.

Placement into Blue will require ALL of the above list, including their respective age group requirement listed below:

  • 11 year old swimmers will need to maintain multiple "AA" Time Standards.
  • 12 year old swimmers will need to maintain "AA" Time Standards.
  • 13-14 swimmers will need to maintain "A" Time Standards for placement into this group. 

​​Goals: Goals of this group are to develop an aerobic conditioning base and great stroke technique. Swimmers will begin to learn race strategies and how to be an active team member.  Competition goals include completion of IMXtreme (IMX) events as well as completion of seasonal goal sheets. 

Practices: Blue practices are offered six days a week.  Practices at this level may require an increased commitment, however, practices remain encouraged, not required!  At this age, swimmers are encouraged to be involved in as many extracurricular activities as possible.  During practices, swimmers will have access to above and below-water video analysis of their strokes at every workout.  

Does my Blue swimmer compete in meets?  Absolutely!  The MLA Blue Group is a competitive training groups.  Roughly, monthly meet attendance is expected or close to it.  Meets at this level are progress reports for their MLA coaches who monitor their development daily.  All WMSL Meets and all USA meets are available for Red-1 swimmers, each season.  Swimmers are expected to attend any achieved Championship meets.   

How much? Members Cost: $85, Resident: $85, Non-Resident: $95 per month, in addition to an annual club registration of $100 in the fall or $50 in the summer session.


 

14&Unders |  White Discovery - White Futures - Jr Red - Jr Blue - Jr Black

Junior Black Group

Age: Typically 12-14 years old.  Exceptions are at the discretion of the MLA coaching staff.

Description: The Black Group is our first level of the High Performance growth track.  Swimmers in this group are progressing toward making the commitment of National-Level Senior swimming as they get older.  Technique, 400 IM, and 500 FR are general conditioning focuses of the group.

Prerequisites: For advancement/placement into Black: (Advancements could come from either Red Group, Blue Group, or equivalent)

  • Must already have and maintain (AAA) time standards in their respective age. 
  • Must be able to maintain a freestyle practice pace of 1:20 or faster.
  • Be able to kick 100 freestyle under 1:40 on practice repeats
  • Compete in all IMX events regularly during the season. 

​​Goals: Swimmers in this group focus on preparing for State Finals, Sectionals, and beyond!  This group is being preparation for their advancement into the High Performance Black group.  

Practices: Black practices six days a week and are a challenge!  Practice at this level will require an increased commitment and an increased workload.  Communication with Blue athletes will include quadrennial planning, goal-setting, nutrition, injury prevention, and the impact on development of poor vs. good practice habits.  During practices, swimmers will have access to above and below-water video analysis of their strokes at every workout.

When is Black Group's first practice? Spring/Summer practices will begin on the third Monday of April, Fall/Winter practices begin near the first Tuesday of September each year.  You may register for MLA at anytime throughout the year as we are a year-round program with open enrollment.

Does my Black Group swimmer compete in meets? MLA High Performance Groups are expected at monthly meets or close to it.  Meets at this level are progress reports for their MLA coaches who monitor their development daily.  All WMSL Meets and all USA meets are available for Blue each year.  Swimmers are expected to attend any achieved Championship meets.   

How much? Members Cost: $100, Resident: $100, Non-Resident: $110 per month, in addition to an annual club registration of $100 in the fall or $50 in the summer session.






 

15&Overs |  Red - Blue - Black

Senior Red Group 

 Age: Ages of 15-18 years old.  Exceptions are at the discretion of the MLA coaching staff.

Description:  This group is designed around High School-age swimmers investigating the sport of swimming further to find out if swimming at the Collegiate level is for them.  This group is perfect for those gearing up for their High School seasons, those that may be getting into USA Swimming for the first time, and also for swimmers with difficult job and scholastic schedules to navigate during the season.  

Prerequisites: 

  • Must be 15 years old or older.
  • Must be able to swim a legal 200 IM.
  • Swim freestyle in a variety of distances at 1:30 or faster.
  • Be able to kick 100 freestyle under 1:50 on repeats. 

​​Goals: Goals of this group are to prepare for JO, State, and MHSAA State level competition.  Swimmers' achievements will include completion of IMXtreme (IMX) events as well as completion of seasonal goal sheets. 

Practices: Red Group practices six days a week.  Practice at this level may require an increased commitment, however, practices are not required.  Communication with Red athletes will include goal-setting, nutrition, injury prevention, and the impact on development of poor vs. good practice attendance.  During practices, swimmers will have access to above and below-water video analysis of their strokes at every workout.

How do you get started?  First time visitors to MLA will need to contact Head Coach Jim Whitehead by email or by phone at (616) 393-7595 ext.118 for setting up an evaluation or for any program questions.

When is Red Group's first practice?  Spring/Summer practices will begin on the third Monday of April, Fall/Winter practices begin near the first Tuesday of September each year.  You may register for MLA at anytime throughout the year as we are a year-round program with open enrollment.

Does my Red Group swimmer compete in meets? MLA Red Groups are competitive training groups.  Roughly, monthly meet attendance is expected or close to it.  Meets at this level are progress reports for their MLA coaches who monitor their development daily.  All WMSL Meets and all USA meets are available for Red-2 each season.  Swimmers are expected to attend any achieved Championship meets.   

How much? Members Cost: $120, Resident: $120, Non-Resident: $130 per month, in addition to an annual club registration of $100 in the fall or $50 in the summer session. 


 

15&Overs |  Red - Blue - Black

Blue Group 

Age: Ages of 15-18 years old.  Exceptions are at the discretion of the MLA coaching staff.

Description:  New to MLA this 2019 Long Course season, this group is designed around swimmers with State finalist and/or Sectional meet ambitions.  This is the first level of specialization in their careers with practices geared around their main events.  During this level, swimmers will be taught how to take more ownership of the trajectory of their swim careers. 

Prerequisites: 

  • Same qualifications as Red Group including the following:
  • Must have current Speedo Sectionals qualifying times. 
  • Schedule two (2) Goal-Set meetings with coaching staff each season. 
  • Keep a journal of workouts and personal feedback

 

​​Goals: Goals of this group are to prepare for USA and MHSAA State Finals and attendace at either Speedo Sectionals or Futures with their sights on competing at the Jr National level in the coming seasons.  

How much? Members Cost: $130, Resident: $130, Non-Resident: $140 per month, in addition to an annual club registration of $100 in the fall or $50 in the summer session.


 

15&Overs |  Red - Blue - Black

Senior Black Group 

Age: Ages of 15-18 years old.  Exceptions are at the discretion of the MLA coaching staff.

Description:  The Senior Black Group is our National gorup at MLA.  Swimmers in this group are committed to reaching their top potential of National-Level senior swimming and have ambitions of collegiate and/or USA National swimming.  

Prerequisites: Entrance intp MLA's Black (National) group will be determined by swimming history, training speeds, competition results, and referral from the Head Coach.  High School swimmers will be required to join training immediately following their high school season.

  • Annual commitment to the MLA USA swim program.
  • 6-8 practices per week; time management skills are necessary.
  • Swimmers are required to maintain IMX Rankings.
  • Swimmers must currently have and maintain:
    • ​AAAA times in both LCM and SCY as a 15 or older swimmer.
  • Commitment to all Championship meets qualified for.

​​Goals: Training will be focused on competing at the championship level including State Championships, Senior Sectionals, USA Swimming Jr. Nationals and Nationals.  

Practices: Practices will be offered 6 - 10 times per week and 95% attendance required.  During practices, swimmers will have access to above and below-water video analysis of their strokes at every workout.  

How much? Members Cost: $140, Resident: $140, Non-Resident: $150 per month, in addition to an annual club registration of $100 in the fall or $50 in the summer session.

 

 
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