Group Descriptions

Practice Group Descriptions (2018 – 2019 revised)

GATO / Los Gatos Polar Bears offers a progressive age-group program designed to help develop your child both physically and mentally. In the beginning levels, technique is the priority and as the swimmer matures, more emphasis is placed on maintaining sound technique while under more physical stress. 

GATO Senior Team
The Senior Team is the highest training group(s) with GATO.  Swimmers in these groups represent our team locally, regionally, and nationally. Senior Team swimmers have a higher level of commitment to swimming and are interested in maximum performance.

Senior II: The Senior II group is made of those swimmers in 13 and older that are striving to achieve National Time Standards and State Championship High School Swim Meet. Swimmers are expected to make all training sessions assigned by the coach. This includes all dry land and water training as well as any other team functions, which the Senior Team participates in or supports through attendance.  All swimmers must attend competitions designated by coaching staff.  To be in this group, each swimmer must have a strong work ethic and excellent practice attendance that is exemplary in goal-oriented senior and national-level swimmers. The Head Coach selects swimmers in this group. Swimmers must have a very special commitment aimed at success at Nationals and college swimming. Swimmers must commit to the demanding schedule. Swimmers in this group must have proven practice attendance and the ability to do twice-a-day workouts. Team spirit, a positive attitude, and leadership qualities are a must. This group requires a very strong work ethic. Practices are 150-180 minutes nine times per week.

Senior:  This group is made up of High School Aged Swimmers.  Training more intense and specifically designed for competition within the swimmers age group as well as C.C.S. and National levels. Advance stroke technique and games are part of the everyday agenda. Goal setting, teamwork, discipline, nutrition, and team spirit are valued in the group. Swimmers must demonstrate leadership skills, have a strong work ethic, and have sound technique to enter the group. Practices are 120-150 minutes nine times per week.

Varsity:  For high school aged swimmers. All swimmers must attend competitions designated by the coaching staff. The emphasis of the group is stroke refinement and conditioning. Attendance at all practice sessions is strongly encouraged. Practices are 60 - 90 minutes five times per week.


Our groups are divided by skill level and age. We use the swimmer's skill level, age, and mental readiness as factors in determining the most appropriate group. The coach determines in which group each swimmer is placed.

Please call us at 408-833-2566 to schedule an evaluation and tryout, or email for more information.


Junior Plus: The Junior Plus Group is designed for swimmers ages 11-14 years old.  The emphasis is on developing more advanced technique, endurance, and race strategies.  An introduction to dry land, such as the importance of stretching, is continued at this level.  Running is introduced. One of the major goals of the group is to swim a technically sound 400 IM and 1000 Free. Training games are used at practice. Competition and evaluating swim meet performance is an essential element of the group. Practices are 120 minutes six times per week.

Junior: The Junior Group is for swimmers 11 and older.  Swimmers in this group are provided with the necessary drills and training to help enhance their strokes. One of the major goals of the group is to swim a technically sound 200 IM (Individual Medley) and 500 Free.  Other points of emphasis are teamwork, technique, beginning competition, and fun.  Competition becomes a way to evaluate progress.  Frequent attendance is encouraged. Practices are 90 minutes six times per week.

Blue Group:  The Blue Group is designed for swimmers nine and ten. Swimmers in the group may have less than one year of swimming experience. The emphasis of the group is on refining and developing proper stroke technique, endurance, and conditioning.  An introduction to dry land, such as the importance of stretching, is continued at this level. Swimmers are provided the opportunity to enhance their competitive strokes through various drills and games. Instruction is also provided for "starts" and "turns." Swimmers in this group experience the fun of competition in developmental swim meets. Swimmers may choose to adopt a more flexible schedule. Practices are 75 minutes five times per week.


Orange Group:  The Orange Group is designed for swimmers 8 and under to develop basic swimming skills as well as introduce swimmers to the four competitive strokes. Emphasis is placed on learning the four competitive and developing positive self-esteem, making friends, and having fun. Practices are 45-60 minutes.