Training Groups

Stroke School (Developmental Level I)

Our entry level training group meets twice per week for forty-five minutes. To be considered for the Stroke School on the YMCA Swim Team, children must pass our Youth III swim lessons group or an equivalent level in another program. Swimmers may test out of the Youth III swim lessons group by demonstrating 50 meters of Freestyle, 50 meters of Backstroke, 25 meters of Breaststroke, 25 meters of Butterfly, and basic knowledge of flip turns and open turns. 

Competition is not required for athletes in this training group, but athletes are encouraged to give it a shot once they feel ready. Swimmers MUST compete in a meet in order to be considered to move up to Novice I.

In the Stroke School training group, swimmers learn swimming drills to help them improve their technique in the four competitive swimming strokes. They learn the rules of competitive swimming as far as breakouts, turns, and finishes. They learn proper lane etiquette and the basics of being a good swimming teammate. Our goal in the Stroke School Group is to improve confidence and comfort for each swimmer.


Novice I Group (Developmental Level II)

Novice I is the second of our developmental training groups and we meet twice per week for one hour. To be considered for Novice I, athletes must compete in their first swim meet and they must have four legal competitive swimming strokes.

Competition is required in order to move up to this training group and it is encouraged for all swimmers who participate in Novice I training sessions.

In this training group, swimmers continue to work on the swimming drills that will help improve their strokes. They spend additional time working on push offs, streamlines, turns, and breakouts to help establish good habits for fast racing later on. They also begin to work towards building a level of aerobic stamina that will help sustain them in longer practices should they choose to move up to the competitive levels. 


Novice II Group (Developmental Level III)

Novice III is our last developmental training group. To be considered for Novice II, athletes must qualify for a local championship meet such as Central Area Championships held in December each year at Bartlett Pool.

Participation at swim meets is strongly encouraged at this level. Regular participation in meets develops the confidence, courage, and racing skills required to be successful in our competitive training groups. At this point in the game, attending swim practice in the Novice II group but not attending swim meets would be the equivalent of attending soccer practices but always skipping out on soccer games. Once your athlete reaches this point, regular attendance at swim meets should become the norm. 

In this training group swimmers see their first introduction to training intervals and basic energy systems. They are told of the importance of regular attendance at swim practice for themselves and their teammates as well as the importance of proper nutrition and hydration in order to keep them energized for school and practice each day. At this point we encourage the swimmers to start considering whether or not they will dedicate their time to competitive swimming.


Age Group (Competitive Level I)

Age Group is the first of three comeptitive training groups within our program. We meet five times per week for an hour and a half and we request that each athlete attend at least three practices per week. To be eligible for Age Group an athlete must qualify for a regional championship meet in the state of Alaska such as Age Group Championships or our regional YMCA championship meet. Swimmers must also exhibit a desire to move up to the competitive level of the program. We will only allow athletes to make the move once they decide they are ready to devote more time and energy to their swim team. They must see themselves involved with this sport in a long term capacity. Let us know if you think your athlete might be ready to move to Age Group!

Participation in swim meets is mandatory at this level of training. We understand when athletes have to miss one for a school function or a family trip. But attendance at swim meets should be a high priority at this point.

In this training group swimmers become familiar with more advanced workouts and interval training as well as a greater immersion with the energy systems. They will continue to polish their strokes with particular emphasis on creating a well-rounded swimmer and an injury-free swimmer. We will also begin to condition them and help them plan for races of longer distances where the simple "dive in and swim fast" is an oversimplification. Last, we will spend a great deal of time talking of the importance of turns and breakouts in fast swimming as races are often won and lost at the walls.


Juniors (Competitive Level II)

Juniors is the second of our competitive training groups. We practice four times per week for two hours and one time per week for an hour and a half for a total of five practices per week. Juniors are also eligible to participate in the weekday morning training sessions which include three swims and two strength & conditioning practices. We request that Juniors plan to attend a minimum of four swimming practices per week. Athletes are eligible to join the Junior group once they have shown a superior level of dedication at the Age Group level and they have qualified for a statewide meet such as Junior Olympics or Alaska Senior Championships. Again, athletes must want to make the move up to the next level as it requires an even greater demand on their dedication and their time.

Participation in swim meets is mandatory at this level of training. We understand when athletes have to miss one for a school function or a family trip. But attendance at swim meets should be a high priority at this point.

In this training group we spend a great deal of time working the various energy systems a swimmer must have in order to compete well in this sport including the oxidative, glycolitic, and phosphagen energy systems. We spend a great deal of time working with high intensity aerobic training, ladder sets, and interval workouts to give our swimmers the best chance at success. We begin to help athletes check out the various meets they can qualify for and we help them come up with a basic plan for setting and meeting their goals. Swimmers at this level spend an even greater amount of time on push offs, streamlines, turns, and finishes, and they are introduced to more advanced technique goals in an effort to make their swimming more efficient, faster, and more powerful. We love to see swimmers at this level "drive the car", which means we like to hear what they want and we help them see those plans through to the finish.


Seniors (Competitive Level III)

While the rest of our training groups are ability based, the Senior group is the only one that is governed by the age of the athlete. Once your swimmer hits the summer before they enter high school, it is time for them to move up and join the Senior group. Involvement with that same-age peer group becomes very important at this point. Often times the decision to stay with swimming or walk away forever is dependent on the social atmosphere of the team. We are trying to build as much of a positive place for the athletes to swim and socialize as we possibly can. We know that is important! Seniors swim M-F 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM, Saturday 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM, and MWF 5:30 AM to 6:30 AM. They also have the option of T/TH Strength Training from 5:30 AM to 6:30 AM. We ask that the Senior athletes commit to a total of five swims per week. 

Participation in swim meets is mandatory at this level of training. We understand when athletes have to miss one for a school function or a family trip. But attendance at swim meets should be a high priority at this point.

In this training group the coaching staff becomes a supporting player in the grand vision of the Senior swimmer. We guide them towards the options that are available to them as comeptitive swimmers and we help them achieve the goals they set for themselves in every way we can. We support Senior swimmers through their high school swimming & diving experience, we guide them through the regular season and all the various local, regional, and national meets they qualify for, and we help them plan for swimming beyond high school graduation with participation in college athletics. In ten years we hope to see kids graduating from our program and going on to college swimming every single year. It is a big job to be a competitive swimmer in high school, and we help them in any way they require to make their swimming dreams come true.




Youth Swim Lessons at the Anchorage Community YMCA

We are very fortunate to be able to provide youth swim lessons to prospective swim team members. If your child aspires to join the swim but is not quite there yet, please consider our swim lessons program as the first step towards achieving their goals. Contact our aquatics director and head coach Lauren Langford at [email protected] to get more information and to get your child signed up for learn to swim classes!

Youth Level I Swim Lessons

For beginners 3-6 years of age. In this level your child will learn to blow bubbles, put their face in the water, float on their back and their belly, and many other basic water comfort and safety skills. It is our goal that by the end of Youth I swim lessons your child will be very confident in the water.

Youth Level II Swim Lessons

For children who have passed Youth Level I lessons, or for beginners 7-12 years of age. To be successful in this level, kids should already be comfortable in the water and should be able to float and move safely on their own. Children in Youth II lessons will learn the basics of freestyle and backstroke as well as the fundemental kicking technique for breaststroke and butterfly. They will learn valuable lifesaving skills such as treading water, and they will be encouraged to continue growing in confidence and comfort in the water.

Youth Level III Swim Lessons

For children who have passed Youth Level II lessons. To be successful in this level, kids should have basic backstroke and freestyle, they should be able to swim a length of the pool on their own without assistance, and they should be able to perform breaststroke and dolphin kick. In this level children will learn more advanced techniques and skills for backstroke and freestyle, they will learn the full strokes for breaststroke and butterfly, they will learn flip turns and open turns for all the strokes, and they will begin to establish some stamina that will be needed if they are considering swim team as an option. By the time athletes graudate from Youth III lessons, they are ready for our swim team program and you can be sure they are as water safe as we can make them! 


If you are interested in swim lessons, please get in touch with head coach and aquatics director Lauren Langford at [email protected] to get more information!