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Practice Groups

COOL COMPETITIVE TRAINING GROUPS

At COOL, we group our swimmers by ability for practice sessions. To find out what groups your new swimmer will be in, you’ll need to have them tested as they join the team. The descriptions below are a summary of what you’ll find outlined in our practice group document. This can be used as a reference point as you seek to know where your swimmer might fit.
 


WHITE GROUP

To enter the White group, a swimmer must:
1.    Swim all four competitive strokes for 25 yard with a working knowledge of each stroke
2.    Dive head-first off pool edge
3.    Pass these test sets, administered by a coach:

  • Swim one 25 yard fly (1x25y) without stopping
  • Swim one 25 yard backstroke (1x25y) without stopping
  • Swim one 25 yard breaststroke (1x25y) without stopping
  • Swim 4 x 50 yard freestyle on a 2 minute send off

Overview: The program focus of the White group is stroke development and teaching all four competitive strokes, Individual Medley (IM), and starts and turns through positive reinforcement and immediate feedback. An important objective for this group is to develop a love for swimming through fun games and activities in the water. Swimmers are expected to continue developing self-discipline, respect for coaches and teammates, as well as age-appropriate social skills in a team environment.

Attendance: We encourage attending two to three times a week if it fits your family schedule.

Swim Meets: We encourage participation in intra-squad swim meets.


ORANGE GROUP
To enter the Orange group, a swimmer must:
1.    Swim all four competitive strokes legally and have endurance to swim 50 yards in
       freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke, and swim 25 yards in butterfly
2.    Demonstrate legal starts, turns and Individual Medley (IM) transitions
3.    Start off the block with a head-first dive
4.    Demonstrate a basic use of the pace clock
5.    Pass these test sets, administered by a coach:

  • Swim 8 x 50 yard freestyle with a 1:15 send off.
  • Swim 4 x 50 yard kick with a 1:20 send off.
  • Swim one 100 Individual Medley (IM) with legal start, transitions and finish without stopping

Overview: The program focus of the Orange group builds on skill development, stroke construction, and refinement. Swimmers are introduced to interval sets, effort, and pace management. General education on learning how to train, manage hydration and nutrition levels before, during, and after practice begins at this level. Coaching staff directs swimmers in developing strong work ethics. Basic racing concepts are introduced with stroke rate/stroke count, effective air exchange techniques during starts and turns, as well as event-specific breathing patterns.

Attendance: We encourage attending three times a week if it fits your family schedule.

Swim Meets: We encourage participation at intra-squad swim meets. We expect all COOL swimmers at this level to also participate in our two team-hosted meets per year. Additional meets are encouraged, but not required.


BLUE GROUP
To enter the Blue group, a swimmer must:
1.    Perform all four competitive strokes and have endurance to swim 100 yards in freestyle,
       breaststroke and backstroke, and swim 50 yards in butterfly
2.    Demonstrate legal starts, turns, transitions and finishes in all four strokes and IM

3.    Have participated in dryland at all attended practices if moving up from another group
4.    Pass these test sets, administered by a coach:

  • Swim 8 x 100 yard freestyle with a 1:45 send off
  • Swim 5 x 100 yard kick with a 2:30 send off
  • Swim two 200 IMs with a 4:00 send off with legal starts, transitions and finishes

Overview: The program focus of the Blue group devotes great attention to all 4 strokes and Individual Medley (IM) refinement. Starts, turns, transitions and finishes receive significant attention in the pre-race and race seasons, including reaction time, flight, entry and underwater work. Short-course racing demands an emphasis on underwater work. The increased proficiency will benefit the swimmer during the long course season as well.

Attendance: We encourage attending three to four times a week if it fits your family schedule.

Swim Meets: Blue group swimmers are expected to participate in two team-hosted meets per year. Participation in other USA-sanctioned swim meets is recommended.


LIGHTNING GROUP
To enter the Lightning group, a swimmer must:
1.    Hold National Age-Group Standard “A” times in at least three (3) events and at least two
       (2) different strokes. One event must be a distance of 200y/m or better
2.    Have a USA swimming time in 400m/500y freestyle
3.    Perform all four competitive strokes with proficiency for 400y/m in freestyle, 200 y/m
       breaststroke and backstroke, and 100y/m in butterfly, including legal starts, turns and
       finishes
4.    Demonstrate legal starts, turns, transitions, and finishes in Individual Medley (IM)
5.    Have participated in dryland at all attended practices if moving up from another group
6.    Pass these test sets, administered by a coach:

  • Swim 8 x 100 yard freestyle with a 1:30 send off
  • Swim 4 x 100 yard of each stroke with a 1:45 send off with legal starts, turns, and finishes
  • Swim 3 x 200 yard IMs with a 3:30 send off with legal starts, transitions, and finishes
  • Swim 4 x 100 yard kicks with a 2:10 send off

Overview: The program focus of the Lightning group is on swimming biomechanics with attention to every detail in stroke refinement and racing techniques. The backbone of the structure is Individual Medley (IM) training. COOL believes the age group swimming focus should be to develop all-around swimmers.  IM training addresses that effectively.  Swimmers are assessed individually and attention goes into building around the strengths while, at the same time, diligently working on improving swimmers’ weaknesses.

Attendance: We encourage attending four or more times a week if it fits your family schedule.

Swim Meets: Lightning group swimmers are expected to participate in the two team-hosted meets per year as well as other USA-sanctioned swim meets. Participation at meets will be individually determined between coaches and parents, respecting each child’s own readiness and motivation.


HIGH SCHOOL GROUP
To enter the High School group, a swimmer must:
1.    Be eligible for high school admission
2.    Demonstrate age-appropriate social skills and respect coaches and teammates
3.    Demonstrate age-appropriate listening skills and maintain focus for the duration of
       practice
4.    Be proficient in all four competitive swim strokes
5.    Demonstrate legal starts, turns, transitions and finishes

Overview: The High School group is designed for swimmers who are eligible to enter high school and who have not yet achieved the standards to enter the High School Advanced group. The program focus is on all four strokes and Individual Medley (IM) refinement. Instruction will be given in starts, turns, transitions and finishes with attention to detail on all elements, including reaction time, flight, entry, and underwater work. The importance of underwater work is emphasized to match the demands of short course racing. The program is closely aligned to match the needs of High School season rigors.

Attendance: We encourage attending four to five times a week if your schedule allows. Dryland is a critical part of swimmer development, necessary for swimmers to achieve the entry standards for the High School Advanced group.

Swim Meets: While they are swimming with COOL, High School group swimmers are expected to participate in the two team-hosted meets (October and January) as well as other USA-sanctioned swim meets. Participation at meets will be individually determined between coaches and parents, respecting each swimmer’s own readiness and motivation.  


HIGH SCHOOL ADVANCED GROUP
To enter the High School Advanced group, a swimmer must:
1.   
Be eligible for high school admission
2.   Hold National Age-Group Standard “AA” times in at least three (3) events and at least
       
two (2) different strokes. One event must be a distance of 200y/m or longer in a non-free
       stroke, or a freestyle event with a distance of 500y-1650y short course or 400m-1500m
       long-course
2.    Have participated in dryland at all attended practices if moving up from another group
3.    Pass these test sets, administered by a coach:

  • Swim 10 x 100 yard freestyle with a 1:15 send off
  • Swim 4 x 100 yards of each stroke with a 1:30 send off with legal starts, turns and finishes
  • Swim 4 x 200 yard IMs with a 3:05 send off with legal starts, transitions and finishes
  • Swim 5 x 100 yard kicks with a 1:40 send off
  • Swim a 400 IM legally

Overview: The High School Advanced group consists of year-round swimmers of high school age, who are very motivated and goal-driven. Swimmers entering this program have significant swimming career achievements. At the core of the program is a cyclical annual training plan crafted to peak the swimmers two to three times per year in accordance with the meet schedule. 400 IM and 400-1650 freestyle events become benchmark for training and testing. All energy systems are emphasized, including lactate tolerance training. There is a daily focus stroke refinement, starts, turns and transitions.

Attendance: We encourage attending five to six times per week if your schedule allows, increasing to eight times per week during long-course season (three days a week of twice per day plus two days of once per day).

Swim Meets: High School Advanced group swimmers are expected to participate in the two team-hosted meets per year as well as multiple other USA-sanctioned swim meets. Participation in meets will be individually determined between coaches and parents, respecting each swimmer’s own readiness and motivation.  


HIGH SCHOOL ELITE GROUP
To enter the High School Elite group, a swimmer must:
1.    Hold National Age-Group Standard “AAA” times in at least three (3) events and at least
       two (2) different strokes. One event must be a distance of 200y/m or longer in a non-free
       stroke, or a freestyle event with a distance of 500y-1650y short course or 400m-1500m
       long-course, or 400 IM
2.    Have participated in dryland at all attended practices if moving up from another group
3.    Pass these test sets, administered by a coach:

  • Swim 10 x 100 yard freestyle with a 1:10 send off
  • Swim 4 x 100 yards of each stroke with a 1:30 send off with legal starts, turns and finishes
  • Swim 4 x 200 yard IMs with a 2:45 send off with legal starts, transitions and finishes
  • Swim 5 x 100 yard kicks with a 1:40 send off
  • Swim a 400 IM legally under 6:00

Overview: The program focus of the High School Elite group is to further build fitness and skill range to help the swimmer increase the level of swimming accomplishments which will help them achieve entry into our highest level, the Elite group. Our coaches work collaboratively to identify, nurture, and develop swimmers that have the potential to reach the top in USA and World swimming.

Swimmers at this level commit to being year-round swimmers. They exhibit complete ownership of the sport and an unwavering commitment and motivation evidenced by their significant swim career achievements. A desire for continued self-improvement is a must and is at the foundation of success.

At the core of the program is a cyclical annual training plan crafted to peak the swimmers two to three times per year in accordance with the meet schedule. 400 IM and 400y-1650y freestyle events become benchmark for training and testing. All energy systems are emphasized, including lactate tolerance training. There is a daily focus on stroke refinement, starts, turns, and transitions.

Attendance: We highly recommend six times per week, increasing to eight times per week during long-course season (three days a week of twice per day plus two days of once per day).

Swim Meets: A meet participation schedule is carefully developed between swimmers, parents and coaches to serve the ultimate goal in peaking at the proper times in the season. Swimmers are expected to also participate in our two team hosted meets each year.