JUNIOR TEAM FAQs

What is the Junior Team?

The Junior Team (also known as the Fall Clinic during the months of September/October) is the beginning level of St. Petersburg Aquatics swim team program.  Within the Junior Team there are 4-5 workout groups with a coach for each group on deck to guide swimmers through a training workout for each level of ability, ages 5-14 years.

Is my child a candidate for this program?

If you can answer YES to all the following questions, consider signing your child up for our Junior Team:

  • Can he/she swim 1-length of the pool (25 yards) using both arms and legs for propulsion without stopping?
  • Has he/she graduated from a water safety program, such as Red Cross swim lessons or our SPA Swim School?
  • Can he/she float on both their front and back without assistance?

What can my child expect each day at swim practice?

The Junior Team program takes a progressive approach to teaching and honing the skills necessary for competitive swimming.  Each coach works with swimmers on the many facets of competitive swimming, including but not limited to: diving or “starts”, the four strokes, understanding interval training, race strategies (age & ability taken into consideration), turns, proper technique, and participating in a swim competition.

What equipment do I need to make sure my swimmer has for practice?

Each swimmer should purchase a swim suit, cap, goggles and fins to have for practice each day.  Please refer to our Equipment & Team Gear page for info on the Team Suit and recommended goggles for your swimmer. There are many practice swim suit options that are appropriate for daily use in the chlorine.  For girls, please send your swimmer in a one-piece training suit that fits snug in all areas.  For boys, please send your swimmer in either a brief or jammer training suit that fits snug.  

We highly recommend purchasing the SPA team suit and this is available from our team supplier, Total Team Wares 1-800-888-8843. 

We also ask that you send your child with sunscreen, a towel, and water bottle or sports drink.

Is my child required to come to practice each day?

No, but we do encourage you to have your child attend as often as possible.  This helps them to see positive results with advancing their stroke technique, gaining cardiovascular endurance, and going faster in their races.

What are the costs involved?

All swimmers must be USA Swimming members and the required amount is charged when you join or at the beginning of the new season (September).  An annual family membership fee ($60.00) is charged in November and the monthly coaching fee for the competitive program is $61.00. If you choose the non-competitive option it is $90.00 per month. Complete information is available under the Fees tab.

What is the protocol for bad weather days at practices and swim meets?

Our program runs a bad weather protocol that is in accordance with the City of St. Petersburg.  There is an app you can download that shows pool closures citywide.  If there is lightning within a certain range, the pool is closed for at least 30 minutes and many times, can reopen for some or all of a practice session.  Practices and meets are typically never canceled in advance of the start time except in cases of extreme weather such as hurricanes and tropical storms.  Please make sure that you sign up for text messaging on your Team Unify account as we use this platform for weather information as well.

Does my child have to participate in the swim meets?

Yes, we HIGHLY encourage and recommend that you have your child participate in the competitions!  This is a big part of what they are coming to practice for each day and really the only way to assess progress in the sport.

Are parents/guardians required to volunteer?

Yes.  As a member of St. Petersburg Aquatics you are required to volunteer at any swim meet that your child is participating in. Please visit the Parent Handbook tab and acquaint yourself with the Parent Handbook document which includes the parent volunteer requirement.  Please remember that you don’t need any prior swimming knowledge or experience, as we train all volunteers before the meets.  It is also a great way to get the best view of the competitions and to meet some great people!

JUNIOR TEAM EXIT COMPETENCIES

Level 1 – Green Group

  1. From a push maintain a prone streamlined body position, defined as one hand on top of the other, ears between upper arms, lower body stretched long, and toes pointed.

  2. Hold streamline position for at least one and one-half body lengths, and be able to vary depth of the underwater push-off.

  3. Execute a breakout from a push by holding the streamlined position; then initiate a kicking action and progress to the surface of the water with a pull to the surface.

  4. Maintain a vertical, stationary position with little or no leg movement in deep water, using a sculling motion.

  5. Complete legal freestyle and backstroke technique for one length of the pool

  6. Perform an open turn and a flip turn.

  7. Complete the Racing Start Progression.

  8. Can complete a 1 hour practice session

  9. Swimmer is ready to start practice on time with appropriate equipment (suit, goggles, etc.)

  10. Swimmer picks up and puts away equipment used in practice.

  11. Swimmer shows respect for facilities and equipment

  12. Consistently practices 2-3 days per week.

  13. Has participated in at least one swim meet.

 

Level 2 – Yellow Group

  1. Swimmer can count strokes of freestyle and backstroke

  2. Swimmer can repeat key words as prescribed by the coach to explain/describe movements appropriate to that level.

  3. The swimmer gives the coach his or her undivided attention while the coach is talking.  The swimmer should focus his or her eyes on the coach and remain quiet when the coach is talking.  The swimmer will also follow directions set forth by the coach in practice.

  4. a. The athlete is capable of swimming a 300 yard “set” of freestyle and backstroke as well as kicking on the following interval bases (all are per 50):

   Free @ 1:30, Back @ 1:30, Kick @1:30

b. The athlete is capable of swimming a 150 yard “set” of legal breaststroke and butterfly (all are per 25):

   Breast @ 1:00, Fly @ 1:00

  1. Swimmer understands racing in practice and relays

  2. Understands how to use the pace clock

  3. Executes a start from the blocks, hold the streamlined position for one and one-half body lengths, initiate a kicking action for one body length and progress to the surface of the water with a pull.

  4. Execute a legal freestyle, backstroke, butterfly and breaststroke turn.

  5. Complete stroke progression for butterfly and breaststroke.

  6. Consistently practices 3 days per week and attends meets.

 

Level 3 – Orange Group

  1. Athlete can perform a continuous swim for five minutes

  2. Swims the entire set (e.g. does not walk on bottom, counts accurately)

  3. For Butterfly – swimmer demonstrates an undulating motion during the stroke, has correct timing of the pull, kick and breath and can complete one length of the pool with legal form

  4. For Breaststroke – swimmer demonstrates correct timing of the pull, kick and breath during the stroke and can complete on length of the pool with legal form

  5. Performs 100 yards of individual medley with legal technique and turns.

  6. Performs relay exchanges

  7. Performs underwater dolphin kick for freestyle, backstroke and butterfly starts and turns

  8. Breathes within the rhythm of stroke in all four strokes.

  9. Athlete is capable of swimming a 12-15 minute or 600 yard “set” of the four competitive strokes as well as kicking on the following interval (all are per 50):

    Free @ 1:00, Back @ 1:10, Breast & Fly @ 1:30, Kick @ 1:30, IM @ 2:30 (per 100)

  1. Can follow pace clock send offs without constant reminder

  2. Consistently practices 3 times per week

  3. Consistently participates in swim meets

  4. Swimmer demonstrates ability to perform increasingly complex tasks

  5. Swimmer is willing to learn new things

  6. Swimmer is comfortable with the pool/swimming environment and culture and fully understands safety rules

 

Level 4 – Red Group

  1. During practice the swimmer will leave on time during sets, start and finish at the wall, and swim the sets in the prescribed manner

  2. Can perform a legal 100 of each stroke

  3. Athlete is able to swim the 200 & 500 Free and 200 IM with good technique

  4. Performs a legal breaststroke pullout with a dolphin kick

  5. Performs effective finishes

  6. Consistently practices 3-4 times per week

  7. Swimmer learns and understands basic race tactics

  8. Understands Motivational Times and starts to set goals

  9. Accepts criticism from the coach and understands it is a critique of skill not of the individual

  10. Athlete is capable of swimming 20-30 minutes on the following base intervals (all are per 100):

    Free @ 1:50, Back @ 2:00, Breast & Fly @ 2:30, Kick @ 2:30, IM @ 2:15

 

Level 5 – Blue Group

  1. Increases number of underwater dolphin kicks with increased speed and efficiency for free, back and butterfly

  2. Breathes within the rhythm of stroke under race conditions in all four strokes.

  3. Complete one length of all four strokes holding the same time or faster but using fewer strokes/cycles

  4. Swims prescribed technique during practice and meets

  5. Swims prescribed breathing patterns during practice and meets

  6. Short sprints of all strokes at maximum velocity working on racing skills, coordination, starts  and finishes

  7. Swimmer attends the recommended meets and understands the importance of being on time for meet warm-ups

  8. Consistently practices 4-5 times per week

  9. Swimmer challenges him or herself to perform to the utmost of his or her ability in practice.

  10. Understands the value of setting process and outcome goals for both practice and meets

  11. Swimmer knows best times for practice and meets.

  12. Athlete is capable of swimming sets of 20-30 minutes on the following base intervals (all are per 100):

              Free @ 1:40, Back @1:50, Fly & Breast @ 2:00, Kick @ 2:00, IM @ 1:50