EPAP Practice Groups

Age Group Program

EPAP’s Developmental Groups serve as an introduction to the swimming world. Emphasis is placed on proper stroke technique, development, and refinement through drills and various teaching techniques. Swimmers are encouraged to have fun while developing all areas to be well-rounded athletes and students. Developmental swimmers are encouraged to swim while pursuing other activities and sports.

Before joining the team, swimmers are required to take an in-water assessment. A coach will place the swimmer in the most appropriate practice group based on experience, age, and in-water assessment. 

Once on the team, coaches will place the swimmer in the most appropriate practice group based on a detailed assessment. Swimmers do not “move up” a practice group on a schedule or solely based on age or swimming ability. The assessments are available in this packet. 

To attend any practice, USA Swimming Registration and Team Registration is required. Please see “Short Course Season Fees” chart in the Short Course Season Contract found here: 19-20 Short Course Contract 

Tadpoles (up to 2 practices/week): This is our pre-competitive group for the beginner swimmer and/or swimmers new to EPAP. Emphasis is on learning to work in a group, conditioning, learning proper body position, all 4 competitive strokes, and having fun!. Coaches may be in the water with the swimmers and may also offer dryland training Swimmers in this group do not have to compete in swim meets, but have the option to do so. The number of meets allowed is dependent upon the type of USA Swimming Membership (please see “2018 Short Course Contract” for more details). 

Minnows (up to 3 practices /week): This group is for the beginner swimmer, or swimmers new to EPAP who are familiar with two of the four competitive strokes. This group also serves as the next logical progression in a swimmer’s development if he/she begins in the Tadpole group. Emphasis is on developing proper stroke, turn, starts (USA Swimming Racing Start Certification), and finish techniques. Yardage will increase throughout the season to prepare swimmers for meets and to progress to the next group. Minnows must attend practice and participate in dryland. Meet participation requirements include: Del Norte series, EPAP’s winter meet, and Border Championships. Participation in other meets is encouraged, but not required. 

Blue (up to 4 practices/week): Swimmers in this group are more experienced and/or have been moved up from the Minnows group based on coach recommendation. Members of this group have knowledge of all four competitive strokes, starts, turns, and finishes. Swimmers will further refine their skills, learn to use and take care of additional swimming equipment, become USA Racing Start Certified (if they are not already), and participate in dryland. Swimmers must attend 80% of local meets including EPAP’s winter meet, and Border Championships. The Del Norte series is NOT open to this group. 

Blue Elite (up to 5 practices/week): Swimmers in this group are more experienced and have embraced competitive swimming. They have concrete knowledge of all four competitive stroke, are familiar with swimming terminology and equipment, and are USA Swimming Racing Start Certified. Blue Elite swimmers are expected to attend practice, including dryland, as well as 90% of local meets (except the Del Norte series), EPAP’s winter meet, and Border Champs. Swimmers in this group can also attend travel meets.  

Gold (up to 6 practices/week): This group is primarily for the experienced swimmer who has been swimming for at least one year and is willing to increase their commitment to training. Emphasis in this group is on stroke development in combination with conditioning work to increase speed and endurance. In this group, swimmers are encouraged to focus on achieving times needed to attend meets in Category 3 (see “Competitions” section on page 3). Members of this group are expected to participate in ALL local swim meets (except the Del Norte series) and some travel meets.

Gold Elite/Pre-Senior (up to 7 practices/week):
This group provides swimmers with the technical, physical, and emotional foundation necessary for a successful swimming career. Participants in this group are experienced swimmers who are willing to increase their time commitment to training in order to achieve personal goals. Members of this practice group are expected to compete in all local swim meets (except Del Norte) as well as some travel meets. 

Senior (up to 8 practices/week + 2 sessions of weight lifting)
The Senior group is designed for swimmers who have goals of reaching their highest potential as students and as swimmers. Swimmers are expected to swim both Short and Long Course seasons and attend weight lifting sessions. Specifically, the Senior group is for swimmers:

  • who have met the rigorous requirements to be in this group; 
  • who want to swim in college;
  • who remain excellent students while swimming;
  • striving to attend national level USA Swimming meets; 
  • who are willing to put the work in to accomplish these goals

The Senior group provides an atmosphere where excellence is the expectation and hard work is the norm.