Pacific Swimming

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Junior Marlins

Practice Group Set-up: This group practices over 2 lanes. Swimmers go up lane 1 and come back in lane 2. This allows us to keep a nice flow to swim practice while making passing safe and easy. Warm-up is always the same (4 laps of kicking) giving us an opportunity to get the kids going as soon as they are ready while we help the swimmers requiring more assistance. The primary stroke focus is freestyle, then backstroke and last is butterfly. Breastroke is rarely addressed with this group.

Things to keep in mind: We coach up to 12 kids in this group, the biggest distraction is tardiness and goggle issues. I will assume you are doing your best to get to the pool on time, but please take time to tune your kid's goggle so that they do not become a big distraction during practice. As much as we try to make swimming fun, it is a lot of work. Remind your kids that it is normal to get tired. We have a big incentive to get the kids strong enough so that they take short breaks on the wall. This will help keep them warm in the water.

Most kids do better in their tryouts than they will do in swim practice. Incidentally, we will witness a drop in stroke quality before it improves again.

During the first half of the session, we tend to switch drills every couple of laps which helps the kids from getting bored. It also helps with their perceived fatigue as each drill with trigger slightly different group of muscles.

Our Expectations: Our primary goal is high quality, steady freestyle kick. Good air management and a physical fitness that will allow swimmers to move into G1. We want our swimmers to understand how to share space and work with each other in order to keep things moving.

Although we welcome any help from our young families, we understand that there will be a lot to take in at first. For this reason, Junior Marlins parents are not expected to help with team jobs. Their primary focus should be the support of their children as they discover the sport.

Equipment Options: There 4 different goggle options we recommend for this group, the Sporti Cabo Jr have a good fit for most kids and the strap is almost unbreakable with a price that makes it a little less painful when your kids lose their goggles. The Speedo Hydroflex Jr are a good fit and are a little bigger than the Sporti, but the strap can be hard to tune. The TYR Swimple is a nice pair for smaller faces, easy to tune-up but the strap locking system can and will break at some point. The Speedo Jr Victory offers a great goggle for smaller faces, no braking parts and really good fit. Each swimmer receives a free team cap and our team suit is optional.

Competition: Swim meets are optional for this group, but we highly encourage the swimmer’s participation in our home meets. At least, you should consider taking your child to a home meet and watch a few races.

Progression: Although many swimmers and their parents see our Junior Marlins group as swimming lessons, most of the kids will move on to group 1 to take their skills to the next level.

 

Group 1

Practice Group Set-up: This group practices over 4 lanes and is divided into 2 sub groups. Inevitably, there is always a lot of confusion about how we make up these 2 sub-groups. We try to even out the practice lanes while grouping the kids with similar abilities as much as possible. This is a very “organic” process that takes 2 to 3 weeks at the beginning of each session. Swimmers circle swim counter clock wise in each of their lane. We like the kids to attend and average of 3 practices per week for optimum results, but the reality of multiple activities make this goal very hard to achieve for our younger swimmers.

Things to keep in mind: Group 1 can get pretty busy. At certain time of the year we get 8 to 10 swimmers per lane and getting the kids to share the small amount of space and understand the basic rules of training can takes up to 4 weeks depending on how many new swimmers have joined the group. Training wise, G1 is a continuation of our Junior Marlins group with more repetitions and volume. While continuing improving their free and back, swimmer spend more time learning butterfly and breastroke. Missing too many practices will disconnect your child with the rest of the squad making practice harder and less fun.

Our Expectations: By the time a swimmer is ready to join group2, we want them to perform a legal breastroke, have a good understanding about free and back and all the related drills and perform a basic version of butterfly. In addition, swimmers should know how to work with the pace clock. We do not focus on racing per say, but rather build a certain pride in swimming beautifully. It is all about technique and this is not always easy on our boys who tend to respond better to racing rather than looking good in the water.

Equipment Options: For the younger swimmers in that group, most of the goggles recommended for our Junior Marlins group will work fine, but since the ages of the swimmers in the group varies between 7 and 14, there are a few more goggles that would be better suited for the older swimmers like the Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 or the cheaper but similar Sporti JR S2. In addition, swimmers will need to get a pair of fins (called floating fins … because they do), this link is one option. As long as the fins blade are flexible, the fins will work.

Each swimmer receives a free team cap and our team suit is optional unless swimmers attend USA Swimming away meet.

Competition: Swim meets are recommended for this group. There are very few cases when competing in our home meet would not be advisable. We want the swimmers to look at our home meet as swim practices. The more advanced group 1 swimmers should plan on attending away meets.

Progression: Group1 is really the last group that combines kids who are in it to learn to be better swimmers and kids who are discovering the sport of swimming. It is a nice blend of motivations that keeps this level welcoming yet introduce a level of challenge that will prepare the kids who want to compete and eventually move to group 2.

 

Group 2

Practice Group Set-up: This group practices over 4 lanes. Unlike Group 1, the two subgroups are more defined and address different ability levels (technical and physical). We like the kids to attend a minimum of 3 practices per week for optimum results.

Things to keep in mind: The transition to Group3 can take a long time for some swimmers which is why we have a broad range of ages in that group (9 to 16). At this level, although technique is still important, swimmers start to train using more complex and challenging sets. They get introduced to fins and snorkels and are now held to a higher level of physical output. Missing too many swim practice will not only have a negative social effect, but will put the swimmer at risk of falling behind.

Our Expectations: Swimmers should continue improving their strokes, turns and dives. They should progressively be looking at swimming with racing in mind developing race plans and practicing them. Although the younger swimmers in this group may still be trying to figure out the level of dedication they want to apply to the sport, the older swimmers should be clear on why they are in the pool.

Equipment Options: By then, swimmers have been swimming for long enough that they will know which pair of goggle will work and which will not. I still recommend models like the Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 or the cheaper but similar Sporti JR S2. In addition, swimmer will need to get a pair of fins (called floating fins … because they do) as well as a snorkel to start getting used to.

Competition: Group 2 swimmers should be competing at home and away meets, practicing and developing race plans.

Progression: The jump to Group 3 is never an easy one. For this reason it is important we get the swimmers in good enough shape to make the transition as smooth as possible as the training volume will likely double.

 

Group 3

Practice Group Set-up: This group practices over 4 lanes. 90 minutes training sessions up to 6 days a week.

Things to keep in mind: Swim practice can be hard and there are always one or two (or more) good reasons to skip a practice. Help your kids stick to their commitment. By not attending enough practices swimmers run a higher chance to hurt themselves. At this level, they need to be in shape to train!

Our Expectations: Commitment and dedication to becoming a better swimmer. Give back to the team.

Equipment Options: Swimmer will need to get a pair of fins as well as a snorkel. A pair of paddles is required in small for most swimmers. One Tempo Trainer.

Competition: Group 3 swimmers should be competing at home and away meets, practicing and developing race plans.

Progression: Group 3 swimmers will be ready to get the most out of their experience in high school swimming.