SPA uses a “progressive” age group program designed to develop children physically, mentally and emotionally in a systematic fashion. A well-defined long-term approach of gradually increasing degrees of commitment is essential to reach peak performance levels during a swimmer’s physiological prime. The emphasis in the early stages of participation must be placed on developing technical skills and love for the sport. In later years, a more demanding physical and psychological challenge must be introduced to the training program. In this respect, “too much too soon” is more often the cause of failure to achieve maximum potential in senior swimming than in the reverse situation.

In addition to emphasizing long-term rather than short-term results, it is also important that we establish training groups of swimmers who are compatible in respect to abilities, commitment levels and goals. At each level, the goals and objectives are specific and directed toward meeting the needs of the swimmer. The long-term goal of total excellence is always in mind. As each child is different, he/she, will progress at his/her own rate. The coaching staff recognizes this fact by making team assignments based on a swimmer’s physical, mental, and emotional development.  Please note that meets are required for all training groups.


Senior I Team:  The Senior I team consists of high school and college swimmers and some middle school age swimmers that exhibit a high level of swimming and workout ability.  These swimmers are expected to be mature, responsible, dependable, and have a year-round commitment to the club.  This group has a practice attendance requirement as well as insisting they maintain good academic standing.  Workouts are five 2-hour afternoons, three mornings and scheduled dryland training each week.

Senior II Team:  The Senior II team consists of swimmers that are well versed in technique and strategy and usually have the skill level commensurate with Florida Age Group Championship time standards.  Most of the swimmers in this training group are between 10-17 years old.  Workouts are offered six days per week and last two hours per day.  There is a transitional group that trains for 1 ½ hours per day, 6 days per week.

High School Conditioning Group:  This group is geared toward the high school swimmer and private middle school swimmer who has completed one season on a high school team and wants to train in the off-season.  This training group is perfect for the more novice swimmer and swimmers with limited time commitment who want to concentrate on refining strokes and staying in shape.  Workouts are offered five days per week for 70 minutes per day.  Please note there is no training time available for this group at North Shore during the summer.  Check out our summer program offerings under the Summer Swim League tab. 

Junior Team:  The Junior Team consists of the most novice swimmers.  These swimmers exhibit good swimming skills and will be introduced to stroke technique refinement and additional skills and processes.  This training groups is divided into five subgroups, each with its own coach, with progression based on completing each level of the SPA Junior Team Exit Competencies.  Workouts are offered five days per week for one hour per day.  This group is broken up into two phases, with the Fall Clinic in September & October and the Winter/Spring Session running from November through May. Please note there is no training time available for this group at North Shore during June & July.  Check out our summer program offerings under the Summer Swim League tab.  Here are some frequently asked questions:


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 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 and we have a recommended list below.  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 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!


Pre-Swim Team:  This is our first level of the Junior Team for Ages 5-6 and includes swimmers that have graduated from a general swim lesson program and have basic water survival skills.  Before being a full-fledged Junior Team swimmer, pre-swim team members will learn more advanced competitive swimming skills that will allow them to complete a full junior team practice.  We work on building up endurance in order to swim farther in the pool, while also emphasizing proper swimming techniques & strokes.  In this group, we continue teaching freestyle & backstroke technique, while introducing basic breaststroke and butterfly skills.  Competition is not required at this level.


Blue Team:  Blue team swimmers are well versed in technique and strategy and are a full-fledged year-round training group.  Most of the swimmers in the Blue group are between the ages of 12-17 years old. Workouts for this group are offered Monday through Friday and last one and a half hours a day.

Red Team:  The swimmers in this group spend the majority of the time working on refining stroke mechanics. These swimmers have begun to exhibit quality swimming skills and will be introduced to some training strategies and processes. Red Team swimmers practice Monday through Friday for one hour each day during fall, winter and spring sessions.

White Team:  Members of this group are making the transition from swim lessons to competitive swimming.  The emphasis is on stroke mechanics and basic competitive swimming skills such as circle swimming, drills and diving.  The White Team swims Monday through Friday for 45 minutes each day.


August Clinic: This group consists of swimmers who have just finished their Summer Swim League season or have graduated from a swim lesson program and meet the same qualifications needed to participate in the summer league (see Summer Swim League FAQ's).  Practices are held at North Shore pool for 1 hour Monday through Friday during the 4-week clinic.