It is expected that before a swimmer joins the swim team, they already know how to swim and can breath properly while swimming. If a swimmer is younger (5 to 12 years old) and have never taken formal swim lessons, it is highly encouraged they do so prior to joining a swim team. Swimmers join the swim team with varying abilities and skills and this is why you will see different groups associated with a swim team. The YMCA swim team is no different and is why we have three different swim groups for the team. Please see below for what abilities and skills each group is expected to have. This will help you and your swimmer understand what it takes to advance into different groups.
BRONZE GROUP - Beginners: This group is for swimmers that are still learning the foundation of each of the four strokes (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly). They are honing their skills on being able to learn the proper techinique for each stroke. They are also learning how to swim each stroke legally and build good habits along with muscle memory to prepare them to swim more yardage with each stroke. They also develop their skills with performing race starts, turns and finishes. In order to advance to the Silver Group, they need to show proficiency (not perfection) in all of these areas and show they are able to listen and follow instruction from the coaching staff. Swimmers in this group will swim 1,000 to 1,500 yards per practice.
Advancement Requirements to Silver Group:
- Listens to and follows direction of coaching staff
- Ability to swim all four strokes legally and proficiently for at least 50 yards to include proper breathing and body alignment.
- Ability to perform basic starts, turns and finishes for all four strokes.
SILVER GROUP - Intermediate: This group is for swimmers who can swim all four strokes legally and are capable of swimming more yards per practice. Here they will begin to understand what a full workout consists of and how interval timing works. They will start learning more advance skills related to breakouts, turns and finishes. The goal for this group is build stamina with longer distances and continue perfecting their skills. In order to advance to the Gold Group, they need to show the ability to swim longer yards with few breaks and can swim the required intervals given at each practice on a consistent basis. They also need to be able to swim flags in back out without breathing in Freestyle and have the ability to have breakouts from starts and turns that go past the flags. Swimmers in this group will swim 2,500 to 3,000 yards per practice.
Advancement Requirements to Gold Group:
- Ability to complete each workout meeting the time intervals for each set.
- Ability to swim from the flags in and back out in the freestyle stroke without breathing.
- Ability to perform more advanced starts, turns and finishes for each stroke.
- Ability to perform proper breakouts for each stroke during the start and turns that go past the flags consistently.
GOLD GROUP - Advanced: This group is for swimmers who are extremely proficient in all of the strokes and understand advance level practices with longer yards and combined with sprinting and advanced breathing techniques. These swimmers need very little instruction and/or reminder in the basic and intermediate skill sets. Swimmers in this group will swim 3,500 to 4,000 yards per practice.