Competitive Swim Groups
The club will be generally divided into three main groups. These three groups will be; Senior Team (Bronze Senior (BS), Silver Senior (SS) & Gold Senior (GS)), Age Group (Bronze Age Group (BA), Silver Age Group (SA) & Gold Age Group (GA)), and Developmental Age Group (Silver Novice (SN) & Gold Novice (GN)). These groups may be further subdivided according to the number of participants and pool time. Group level descriptions can be found below.
Rocket Aquatics uses a “Holistic approach” skill attainment program designed to develop the child physically, mentally and emotionally in a systematic fashion. A well-defined, long-term approach of gradually increasing degrees of commitment is essential to reach peak performance levels during a swimmer’s physiological prime. The emphasis in the early stages of participation must be placed on developing technical skills and a love for the sport. In the later years, a more demanding physical and psychological challenge must be introduced to the training program. In this respect, “too much too soon” is more often the cause of failure to achieve maximum potential in senior swimming than in the reverse situation.
In addition to emphasizing long-term rather than short-term results, it is also important that we establish training groups of swimmers who are compatible in respect to abilities, commitment levels, and goals and age. Unfortunately, this is not always the most convenient approach to take, but it is always the most productive. At each level, the goals and objectives are specific and directed toward meeting the needs of the swimmer. The long-term goal of total excellence is always in mind. As each child is different, he/she will progress at his/her own rate. The coaching staff recognizes this fact by making team assignments based on a swimmer’s physical, mental, and emotional level of development. Group move-ups are generally done twice a season, a guideline for advancement to the next level can be found HERE
Silver Novice – SN (Introduction to Competitive Swimming):
This is a novice group with a major emphasis on basic stroke technique. Swimmers in this group must be able to swim 25 yards of each of the 4 competitive strokes (Freestyle, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and Butterfly). Silver Novice swimmers usually attend two to three practices per week for one hour (up to five practice opportunities are offered each week). Basic goals include an introduction to drills, learning correct body balance positions, correct breathing techniques, streamlining, proper shoulder/hip roll, kick development, shallow diving, flip turns, and workout habits. Educational goals include the drill names, basic swim and safety rules, proper lane etiquette, ready position, meet procedures and warm-up, team rules regarding respect for others, equipment, and facilities, know the team name and colors, and the names of teammates and coaches. The Dryland program is limited to out of water stroke simulations, in and out of water games, and basic stretching. Sports Psychology elements are introduced relating to concentration, demonstrating between tense and relaxed muscles, listening ability, working in a group, sequential learning, confidence and respect of coach, positive attitude about meets and other “new” experiences. Swim meet opportunities include RA Home Meets held throughout the year and other low-level age group meets.
Gold Novice – GN (Skill Development):
The majority of time is spent working on refining stroke mechanics. These swimmers have started to exhibit good swimming skills and will be introduced to some training skills and processes. This group is encouraged to participate in at least 3 meets per season, including RA Home Meets and other age group competitions. Gold Novice swimmers usually attend three to four practices a week for one hour (up to five practices are offered each week). Aside from the review of the skills learned in Silver Novice, other important basic goals include beginning aerobic development, drill progressions, continued communication with the coach, basic race plan, and a positive attitude about “distance training”. Educational goals include stretching, team rules, basic nutrition, meet preparation, reading the clock and an introduction to time standards. Dryland includes stretching, out of water swim stroke simulation, running games, and other large motor muscle activities. Sports Psychology elements include give your best (effort over outcome), mind/body connection (introduction to mental rehearsal), pre-race routines, the concept of positive attitude, team pride, and sportsmanship.
Bronze Age Group – BA (Age Group Development):
Bronze Age Group continues to work closely on the components outlined in Gold Novice. They spend their time equally between stroke technique and expanded aerobic development components. This group will begin to expand their competition exposure and is encouraged to participate in at least 5 meets per season. Bronze Age Group usually swims three to four days a week for one hour (up to five practices are offered each week). There is a continued emphasis on drill progressions, communication with the coach, basic race plan, and a positive attitude about “distance training”. Educational goals continue, namely, stretching, team rules, basic nutrition, meet preparation and an introduction to time standards. Dryland includes stretching, out of water swim stroke simulation, running games, and other large motor muscle activities. Sports Psychology elements include give your best (effort over outcome), mind/body connection (introduction to mental rehearsal), pre-race routines, the concept of positive attitude, team pride, and sportsmanship.
Silver Age Group – SA (Age Group Expanded):
Silver Age Group swimmers have started to exhibit good swimming skills. They spend their time divided between stroke technique, aerobic expansion and a basic introduction to higher level energy systems training. Silver Age Group usually swims four to five days a week for one hour and fifteen minutes (five to six practices are offered each week). Basic goals include refinement of previous skills plus training in all four competitive swim strokes, refinement of race tactics, introduction to stroke tempo, and an increase in aerobic conditioning. Educational goals include an introduction to energy system training, heart rate monitoring, goal setting, time budgeting, understand growth and maturation concept. Dryland skills include stretching, dryland circuit training, running, and introduction to cords. Sports Psychology elements include respect for staff, teammates and officials, long range and short range goals, dealing with setbacks, training ethic and attitude, introduction to visualization/mental imagery, and use of positive self talk. Swimmers in Silver Age Group are encouraged to participate in at least 5 meets per season.
Gold Age Group – GA (Age Group Elite):
Gold Age Group swimmers are state level swimmers who have mastered the basic components of age group development. Swimmers have attained Wisconsin State Championship standards in the 12&U or 10&U age groups. Gold Age Group swimmers spend the majority of their time expanding on energy system training while maintaining their skill base through drill progression reinforcement. Swimmers in this group swim five to six days a week for one and half hours (up to six practices are offered each week; double practices in the summer). Basic goals include aerobic base expansion and an emphasis on developing a platform of training ethic which will carry them into the senior program of the club. Dryland skills include stretching, expanded dryland circuit training, running, exercise balls and cords. Sports Psychology elements include respect for staff, teammates and officials, long range and short range goals, dealing with setbacks, training ethic and attitude, introduction to visualization/mental imagery, and use of positive self talk. Swimmers in Gold Age Group will participate in at least 5 meets per season including high-level competition meets with qualifying standards.
Bronze Senior - BS (Senior Development):
Bronze Senior swimmers include any swimmers who are thirteen years or older and who have not progressed to the Silver Senior Group. They spend their time on progressive stroke techniques, endurance training, and racing skills. Bronze Senior usually swims five days a week for one and a half hours per day. Basic goals include skill development through drill progression, taking control of swim career, developing stroke length, muscular endurance, understanding written workouts, introduction to travel rules, and introduction to lactate/threshold training. Educational goals include exercise physiology related to race distances, overload/adaptation theory, taper (how it works), log books, and introduction to collegiate swimming. Dryland includes stretching, circuit training, plyometric training, exercise balls and running. Sports Psychology elements include advanced pre/post race routines, visualization/rehearsal program, understanding the coach/swimmer relationship, self as a role model for younger athletes, peak performance attributes, supportive attitudes of teammates, plateaus (how to handle), and peer pressure (drugs and alcohol awareness, etc.).
Silver Senior – SS (Senior Training Group):
Silver Senior swimmers are well versed in technique and strategy. They are also a full-fledged training group. Generally, they have a skill level commensurate with Wisconsin State Championship time standards. Workouts for Silver Senior are offered five to six days a week and last two hours per day (double practices in the summer). An attendance requirement of 75%, on average, is required to be maintained over the duration of either the short or long course seasons. Basic goals include controlling technique, and taking an increased responsibility for training (self-motivation). Educational goals include keeping log books (charting progress and improvement), understanding the recovery process (rest/nutrition/hydration), strive for academic excellence, and understanding that relaxation is the key to success in swimming. Dryland at this level includes stretching, circuit training, plyometrics/medicine ball training, exercise balls, running, and weight training. Sports Psychology includes all previous knowledge plus community involvement, positive attitude/work ethic, ability to quickly rebound from mistakes, understanding of how to minimize distractions, and the use of goals to maintain intensity in training.
Gold Senior – GS (Elite Senior Training Group):
Gold Senior consists of swimmers that exhibit commitment to swimming and a high level of workout ability. Generally, they have a skill level commensurate with USA Speedo Series Championship time standards. These swimmers are expected to be mature, dedicated, responsible, and dependable. As our more advanced swimmers increase their commitment to swimming, we insist that they maintain good academic standing. Workouts for Gold Senior are five to six days a week, 2 hours per practice (double practices in the summer); these swimmers are required to attend 90%, on average, of practices over the duration of the short or long course seasons, including dryland exercises, and weight workouts. Gold Senior applies all previous knowledge and strives to balance all physical, mental, and emotional aspects of training in their continued journey to become the “Holistic Swimmer”. Athletes at this level are seriously looking at collegiate swimming.
National Team - N:
The national team consists of those competitors who have demonstrated a skill level commensurate with that required for qualification to compete at the United States Senior National and Junior National Championships. These swimmers are close to mastering the elements of the “Holistic Swimmer” and are looking forward to competing in college and at the next level of national champion competition.