"Happy swimmers are fast swimmers."
- Allison Schmitt
Rio 2016
The Sarasota Sharks offers training and practice groups for swimmers of all ages and abilities. The goal of the Sarasota Sharks to offer age specific training for all of our athletes geared towards challenging each individual and developing them to reach their full potential.

Developmental Groups

The developmental groups are for swimmers who are new to competitive swimming.  Swimmers are placed in a specific group depending on their age and ability level to set them up for success.

Junior Sharks

The Junior Sharks group is a session-based group for athletes that are new to the sport and/or are working toawrd learning how to legally swim all 4 competitive strokes.  Our suggested age is 6-10 years old, but we will work with families on an individual basis as needed.  In the Junior Sharks group we will provide a more intensive, curriculum-based teaching of the skills needed to be sucessful in competitive swimming. 


The SwimFit group is for middle school aged children (5th-8th grade) who are looking for a recreational or part time swimming option. SwimFit provides a positive and fun swimming experience for those looking to develop their strokes and skills, while also improving their physical fitness with a less stringent commitment level than the competitive team. All of the SwimFit practice groups allow for progress in the water for those balancing several sports and activities, as well as for those looking for a way to maintain good physical fitness. Swimming is beneficial to both a child’s physical health and wellness, but it is also a vehicle by which the child learns valuable life lessons and skills that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.


Competitive Groups

The competitive teams are for swimmers who can swim all 4 competitive strokes legally (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle).  In addition to the technique development these swimmers will do, they will also be introduced to training.


White swimmers are generally 8 and under and this is when they begin true technique work of strokes and learn competitive skills i.e. Starts, turns, finishes.  Meets are encouraged to measure progress.  Dry-land is introduced creating a full athlete. Other activities outside of swimming are encouraged. 


Black group swimmers are generally 8-10 year old swimmers that continue the refinement of stroke and competitive skills making meet attendance is important so they can begin to build bonds with teammates and developing swim friends is important. Dry-land is essential to creating a full athlete!


Gold Group swimmers are generally 10 to 13 years old and focus on advanced refinement of stokes and skills.  At this point swimming is becoming one of your main activities and meet attendance is essential.  Being with teammates and friends is important. Dry-land has become an important part of being a healthy athlete.

Middle School Speed

The Middle School Speed group is for 6th-8th grade swimmers. Technique is primary and an increase in volume and intensity will be introduced. This group will not require morning workouts, but if interested athletes are encouraged to talk to the Lead Senior Prep Coach about attending Senior Prep morning and Saturday practices. The focus will be on competition at the area and state level. Athletes are required to compete in swim meets consistently. Athletes are encouraged to attend all practices but there there is no practice requirement.

Senior Prep

Senior Prep group swimmers are generally middle school (7th/8th grade) and/or are 12-14 years old.  Swimmers in the Senior Prep group receive more advanced training and technique work. This group is truly an introduction to the competitive swimming landscape. The goal is to ready them for their high school years and to prepare for high level competition.



Senior Speed: High School- State Level

The Senior Speed group is for high school swimmers that want to stay in shape year around. Technique is primary and an increase in volume and intensity will be introduced. This group will not require morning workouts, but if interested athletes are encouraged to talk to the Lead Senior Coach about attending Senior morning practices. The focus will be on competition at the area and state level with no meet requirement. Athletes are encouraged to attend all practices but there there is no practice requirement. 

Senior: State-National Level “National Development” 

The Senior Group is for high school swimmers at Senior State level achievement or striving for it . This is a stepping stone to the Senior I group. Great for a later growing athlete. This group prepares athletes for the state and regional levels of competition. Morning practices will be offered twice a week and the group will be run very closely with the Senior I group. Technique, intensity and an increase in volume should be expected in this group. Athletes in this group are expected to attend practice and swim meets consistently. Pushing yourself and being uncomfortable is FUN! 

National: “National”  

The National Group is for high school swimmers generally at the Summer Sectional level or higher. This is a high achieving, training group that where swimming as a mainstay in their life. Vacations are taken within the confines of the meet schedule  Attending meets and practice  is crucial, expected and monitored.  The goal is to prepare athletes for national and international levels of competition. Admittance to this group will be based on, but not limited to attendance, ability, and willingness to change. Morning practices are offered three times a week. This group focuses on each athletes needs to excel in the sport. Dry-land is a integral part of the program to help the athlete reach their potential. pushing yourself and being uncomfortable is FUN! 

Sharks Group Progression 

There are many ways to progress through the sport of swimming. Because there are many factors that go into growth, development, and maturation, we must accommodate these various levels of athletes with different groups. Groups become more specific throughout the program. Correct group and size are essential to ensuring quality coaching for the individual, group, and team. At some point each level will be introduced to the next in some way. As in any organization, there has to be some order and structure. These groups are designed to be a guideline.  Coaches at times will make moves outside these definitions due to situations at the swimmer, group and team levels. Becoming a great swimmer is a marathon, be patient!  

Things to remember

Move ups are a coaching decision.

The staff has nothing to gain by your athlete’s lack of progression

Group placement is not a statement on the long term success of your child.


Some Factors Associated with Group Movement
Chronological Age Achievement
Physical Age Attendance
Mental Age (Maturity) Work Ethic
School Age (Grade) Training Ability


For more info about groups and group progression please direct inquiries to your swimmers current group coach.