As our swimmers progress and improve, WST recognizes the need to support them by placing them in the proper swim groups. These groups are not based on age or skill level alone. Coaches will use a combination of age, skill, willingness to compete in meets, sportsmanship, and personal conduct to place swimmers in the group that they see fit. A swimmer must show competency in all of these areas and be at least the minimum age before being considered for advancement and the decision is ultimately that of the coaching staff.
Blue Gills- The introductory group at WST. All first time swimmers, regardless of age, will start as a Blue Gill and then be moved along as the coaches see fit. To become a Blue Gill, a swimmer must demonstrate the ability to complete a 25 of freestyle and backstroke with little or no breaks. The goal of the Blue Gill group is to build a solid foundation of all four competitive strokes and turns so that swimmers will be able to compete at USA Swimming sanctioned meets. Coaches will work mainly on stroke technique, focusing on breathing and kick. Blue gills will have 1 hour practices 4 days a week. To move on to the Sea Turtles the swimmer must be able to complete 4- 50 freestyles (with legal flip turns) @ 1:30. The swimmer must also be able to complete a legal 100 IM (untimed).
Sea Turtles- The Sea Turtles group is for swimmers that have demonstrated a strong competency of all four strokes. Sea Turtle swimmers are encouraged to swim in meets, although this is not required, and will work towards improving times and technique. Swimmers in the Sea Turtles will work on starts and turns and focus on body positioning. Sea Turtles will have 1 hour practices 4 days a week. To move on to the Waverunner group a swimmer must be at least 8 years old and be able to complete 6- 50 frees @ 1:15 (with legal flip turns) a legal 200 IM (untimed) with legal turns and pullouts, and 4- 50 kick @ 1:40. They must also be able to fluently read a time clock and have a good understanding of how to use it.
Waverunners- The Waverunner group is the middle level of swimmers for WST. Waverunners are strongly encouraged to compete in meets, although not required, and move to 1-1/2 hour practices 4 days a week and 2 hours on Saturday. Waverunners swimmers will experience an increase in yardage and conditioning while still maintaining a focus on stroke work and drills. The option to participate in an organized dryland workout will be offered when a swimmer moves up to the Waverunner group. To move up to the next group, the Pre-Seniors, the swimmer must be at least 11 years old and be able to complete 8- 50 frees @ 1:00, 4- 100 IM’s @ 2:15, and 10- 50 kick @ 1:15.
Pre-Seniors- The Pre-Senior group will practice 4 days during the week for 1-1/2 hours as well as 2 hours on Saturday. Swimmers in the Pre-Senior group will have an increased focus on conditioning and strength training. While proper stroke technique and drill work are still an integral aspect of the training regimen, practices will also be geared towards increased endurance and goal-setting strategies. Pre-Senior swimmers should be striving to attain a high level of commitment to swimming, and looking to achieve a higher level of competition. Coaches will focus on building strong team leaders in the Pre-Senior group. WST expects swimmers in the Pre-Senior group to begin fostering younger swimmers and building a positive team culture. To move on to the Senior group a swimmer must be at least 13 years old and do 8- 100 frees @ 1:45, 6- 100 IM’s @ 2:00 and complete a legal 400IM or 500 free event at a USA Swimming sanctioned meet.
Seniors- The Senior group is WST’s top level group and practices 5 days a week (4 weekdays and Saturday) for 2 hours. Senior group swimmers will focus strongly on strength training, conditioning, and injury prevention. In addition to pool workouts, Senior’s will have dryland practices where they will run, do core exercises, and use some weight implements. Senior swimmers are the leaders of the team and should be ready to encourage and foster younger swimmers by leading cheers and occasionally working with them on technique. Seniors will be trained to compete at the state and regional level and be prepared to move on to swimming at the collegiate level should they so choose.