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Group Progressions

Group Progressions- What does my swimmer need to do to move up?

 

Coaches receive this question regularly, which is understandable.  It can be difficult to explain to a parent the nuance of swim groups without the whole process appearing highly subjective and arbitrary.   

 

There are a lot variables that go into organizing swimmers into workable groups.  In order for swimmers to work together as a team, they need to be able to swim in a predictable and organized fashion.  The higher the group, the greater the need for organization, leadership, detail, and drive.  The key variables, leadership and drive, are the coaches go-to, when looking at promoting swimmers in the pool.  Additionally, swimmers are progressed through our groupings based on other factors such as age, physical and cognitive development and emotional maturity.

 

Additionally, a swimmer’s physical and cognitive development are paramount in the design of groupings, guidelines and day to day practices. Our approach to swimming is for the long term development of our athletes.

 

SMAC swimmers are eligible for group placement, and “moving up” at any point in the season when both current and advancing coach feel the swimmer is ready.

 

What does that look like for the SMAC team?

 

All swimmers are expected to come to practice on time with designated equipment, choice of suit, goggles and SMAC team cap.

 

Please note that ages given serve simply as an outline and reference to compliment our grouping philosophy.

 

Junior Bronze - This is our introductory group for 10 & unders.

They are learning:

  • Stroke technique in all 4 strokes- This is extremely important as both our teaching and coaching philosophy is centered in IM training.

  • Basics in touch turns and flip turns

  • How to dive

  • How to race

  • How to practice (read the clock, leave on time, circle swim, pass)

 

What we look for in order to advance to Junior Silver:  

  • Is the swimmer a leader in the lane? (they know when to leave, what the set is, what the focus is, and they help their fellow teammates)

  • Are they eager to master a task ? (Diligently trying to work on skills - swimming mindfully)

  • Is the swimmer coachable? (Practices with a good attitude and follows instructions to the best of their ability)

  • Is the swimmer consistently swimming 100's without stopping? (proper turns at the wall, no feet on the floor, no pulling of lane lines)

  • Attending maximum practices offered in their current group as much as possible

 

Junior Silver  - This is our group for 9-13 year old swimmers who are legal in all four strokes, have mastered basic turns and starts, and are able to swim repeat 100s with good technique. This group is working hard to:

 

  • Demonstrate proper technique

  • Build endurance, swimming longer distances on intervals

  • Manage more complicated sets

  • Build proper training habits

 

What we look for in order to advance to Junior Gold:  

  • Recommended by Silver coach.

  • Consistently demonstrate proper technique in all 4 strokes, starts, turns, underwaters.

  • Is the swimmer swimming 400's without stopping? (proper turns at the wall, no feet on the floor, no pulling of lane lines)?

  • Is the swimmer consistently pushing themselves to swim on a timed interval (ex. 10x100 Freestyle on 1:40)

  • Is the swimmer able to consistently complete 3500 yards in a practice?

  • Is the swimmer coming to at least 4 practices per week and arriving on time?

  • Is the swimmer leading the lane, paying attention and able to apply corrections?

  • Does the swimmer demonstrate a positive attitude towards coaches and fellow swimmers?

  • Is the swimmer physically and mentally prepared for the demands of the Gold training program?

 

GOLD - This is our first level of pre-senior training. Swimmers in this group must be 11-14 years old with strong swimming and racing skills. Advanced 10 year olds training for Age Group Champs will be considered. **Coach's recommendation required**

In this group swimmers are:

  • Expected to meet minimum practice requirement of 4 practices per week

  • Training for increased endurance

  • Learning to practice good race strategy, nutrition, self care and time management

  • Demonstrating leadership qualities, good attitude, and dedication

  • Beginning a regular , age appropriate dry land training schedule

  • Focused on achieving A times and qualifying times for Age Group Championships

  • Attends all championship meets qualified for

 

What we look for in order to advance to Junior Elite:

  • Efficiently race 200s in every stroke, 400 free, 400 IM.

  • Is the swimmer swimming repeat 400's in practice? (proper turns at the wall, no feet on the floor, no pulling of lane lines, proper breathing technique and patterns, consistently streamlines past the flags on sets)?

  • Is the swimmer able to complete 4000+ yds. in a practice?

  • Is the swimmer coming to at least 5 practices per week?

  • Does the swimmer attend dryland and put forth an honest effort?

  • Is the swimmer physically and emotionally prepared for the demands of Junior Elite?

 

Junior Elite -  Advanced swimmers 10 & up

 

  • Demonstrates strong leadership qualities on a daily basis in and out of the pool

  • Efficient time management

  • Swimmers in this group are working towards swimming longer training sets with faster intervals.

  • Should be able to manage complicated sets and intervals

  • Focused on qualifying and finaling at Age Group champs

  • Consistent meet and practice attendance (minimum of 5 practices per week)

  • Attends all championship meets for which they are qualified

 

    What we look for in order to advance to Senior:

  • Displays commitment to practice and meet schedule.

  • Eagerness to compete with teammates in practice.

  • Goal oriented and self motivated.

 

Senior Silver - Intermediate and Advanced 13 & older swimmers

 

  • Same skills as AG3

  • Swimmers are expected to maintain 90% practice attendance and attend all dryland sessions.

  • Advanced stroke mechanics and race strategy.

  • Is a believer in SMAC mental and training philosophy.

  • Focused on achieving Age Group Champs, Senior Champs and YMCA National qualifying times.

  • Allows for minimum interference from high school and summer league meets and practices.

  • Participates in YMCA and community service projects as designated by the Head Coach.

 

    What we look for in order to advance to Senior Gold:

  • What is the swimmer’s practice attendance?  Has your athlete met practice attendance requirements? * Athletes not meeting practice attendance requirements will be moved to Age Group 3.

  • Takes initiative in goal setting.

  • Displays themselves as a valuable team leader.

  • Is committed to competing at the next level (YMCA Nationals, Jr Nationals, USA Nationals, Olympic Trials).

 

Senior Gold- SMAC’s most advanced and elite athletes,13 and over.

  • Same requirements and skills as Senior Silver

  • Dedicated and committed to training and competing at the highest level possible.

  • Focused on competing at high level meets (YMCA Nationals, Jr Nationals, USA Nationals, Olympic Trials)

  • The ultimate leaders of the team. Live SMAC’s team and training philosophy out in their daily lives, in and out of the water.

  • Dedicated to helping the team achieve the ultimate goal of winning a YMCA National team championship.

  • Allows for minimum interference from high school and summer league meets and practices.

  • Participates in YMCA and community service projects as designated by the Head Coach.

  • Balances academics and practice schedules effectively and efficiently.

  • Committed and eager to swim at the college level.

  • Must maintain 90% practice attendance and attend all strength and conditioning sessions. Athletes failing to maintain practice requirements will be moved to Senior Silver.

    


 

Having groups run seamlessly is always the goal.  It is incredibly frustrating to both coach and swimmer when a lane/group is not in sync.  Swimmers should always be striving to lead in a lane and master the task at hand.  That internal drive is what helps a swimmer succeed in the sport and life.  A swimmer will be asked to leave practice if they are being disruptive to group cohesion and flow.

 

If a swimmer wants to move forward to the next group, please refer to this list, and then talk with your swimmer's coach to see which areas may need a little more work.   

 

 
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