Evaluations - A child needs to be unafraid of the water, including entry into the deep water from a jump or dive, able to put the head underwater to swim, and lift or turn the head to breathe. Ideally we look for rhythmic breathing (blowing bubbles underwater, NOT holding the breath). The child should be able to swim from one length of our pool and back, at their own pace, but without stopping to hang onto wall, lane line, nor standing on the bottom. The child does not need stroke proficiency, but needs to be able to take direction from a coach on deck, and follow instructions in regard to safety and workout activity.
GUIDELINES FOR GROUP PLACEMENT
Novice - This is where you start to gain the basics. Note that these swimmers are eligible (and expected) to compete in ALL Catholic meets in the free and/or backstroke. As they gain some knowledge in other strokes, they may be allowed to swim them at other meets, pending coach approval. When ready to move on, Novice swimmers will have: fair to good skills in freestyle and backstroke, know how to start and finish a race, understand what an underwater streamline is, and have some skill in and/or knowledge of the two other competitive strokes: butterfly and breaststroke.
Silver Group - Swimmers in this group focus on becoming legal in all four competitive strokes, while perfecting their technique in freestyle and backstroke. They are expected to enter all meets in freestyle and backstroke, and all other events for which they may be eligible, depending on age, and coach approval. They will begin to swim longer distances, learn starts and be introduced to flip turns, and the pace clock. When ready to move on, Silver swimmers will have: good proficiency in both freestyle and backstroke, fair skills in both breast stroke and butterfly. They will show consistent effort in practice, on their own during warm-up, as well as under the coaches' direction in drills and sets.
Gold Group - Swimmers in this in group are competent in all Silver group skills, and are focused on bringing all strokes, starts and turns to good proficiency. They are expected to enter every meet, and the maximum number of events at each meet. The gold athlete is exposed to intervals and to racing techniques, and shows consistent motivation to improve in all aspects of competitive swimming on their own and under the coaches' direction. When ready to move on, Gold swimmers will have: good to excellent proficiency in both freestyle and backstroke, fair to good skills in both breast stroke and butterfly, fair consistency in flip turns and underwater streamlines.
Senior Group - Athletes in this in group are competent in all Gold group skills, and focused on bringing all strokes, starts and turns to excellent proficiency. They are poised to join the Elite group, but need a little more experience and training time. They are EXPECTED to enter every meet, and expected to enter the maximum number of events at each meet. The Senior swimmer shows motivation to improve in all aspects of competitive swimming. When ready to move on, Senior swimmers, will have: good to excellent proficiency in all four competitive strokes, good consistency in turns and underwater streamlines, consistent effort in warm up, drills and sets.
Elite Group - Athletes in the Elite group should be at least 10 years old and have good to excellent proficiency in all four competitive strokes, starts, turns, streamlines. They show consistent effort in all warm-up activity, drills and sets and are able to stay on the pace of the work out. In most cases, placement into the elite group requires that the athlete has been involved in swim training during the months prior to the beginning of the SJE-SFVCSL season. Elite swimmers are REQUIRED to enter the maximum number of events they are eligible for at each meet.