Life Time Michigan 


Our team is a year-round competitive USA Swimming team offering high quality, professional coaching and technique instruction for all ages and abilities. The goal of our team is to promote a lifetime of wellness through the sport of swimming.

Life Time USA Swim Team has been structured on the premise that there are four basic phases of athlete development in our swimming program. At each level of the program, we continually try to evaluate and adapt to the multitude of factors, both scientific and sociological, that impact the growth and development of young athletes. Experience has taught us that the perfect developmental swimming program is a moving target that changes as the population we serve changes and as we learn more and more about the development of young people. Following is an outline description of the four phases of development and the basic premises that currently guide our thinking at each of these levels.  



Phase I: Early Development – Ages 6 to 10 – (45 minutes 2 days)

Swimmers in this group have a basic understanding of freestyle and backstroke and the components of breast stroke and butterfly.  These athletes will be introduced to butterfly, breast stroke, endurance training, drills, equipment, and turns.  They will learn what swim team is all about and begin to learn the discipline to become a bronze level swimmer.  Swimmers must be able to swim 50 yards of freestyle and backstroke.

  1. Swimmers in this group should be at least the Level 501 in the Life Time Swim Program i.e. swimmers should be able to swim one length of your lap pool/lane (25 yards/meters) of both freestyle and backstroke. Swimmers in this group have a basic understanding of freestyle and backstroke and have been introduced to the components of breaststroke and butterfly. This level is focused on basic techniques as swimmers work on the fundamentals of each stroke through kicking, stroke drills, and limited swimming.
  2. This group does not participate in the USA Swimming meets, instead an intra-squad meet or fun meet with other developmental groups are done.



Phase 2: Basic Skill Development – Ages 6 to 10 – (45-60 minutes 3 days)

Swimmers in this group have a basic understanding of swimming skills. Refinement and continued development of these skills are the main objective of this group. The basic points of emphasis are swimming satisfaction, fun, stroke technique and beginning competition. In order to begin in this level of our program, swimmers must be able to swim a minimum of 50 meters of freestyle and backstroke and 25 meters of breaststroke and butterfly.   The Breast stroke and Butterfly should be getting close to becoming a legal USA level stroke.


  1. The focus is almost entirely on teaching fundamentals and developing basic motor learning skills, balance and coordination in the water.
  2. It is vitally important to make swimming fun and enjoyable. We believe the most significant responsibility for coaches of novice swimmers is teaching young people to love the water and to love the sport.
  3. We believe that it is essential to teach, develop and promote all four strokes and all events. Age groupers should not be permitted to specialize in practice or in meets.
  4. We place a very heavy emphasis on kicking. Coaches make kicking a high percentage of the conditioning work done at the novice levels.
  5. At every level, but particularly the novice level, we take a long-term approach to swimmer development. Once swimmers begin in our program, we want to give them the preparation and tools they will need to make swimming a lifetime activity.



Phase III: Basic Training Development – Ages 10 to 14 – (1 hour 15 minutes 4 days)


At the age of 10-14, swimmers move into the second level of our program. Swimmers who move into these practice levels are able to swim all four strokes and maintain good technique on low intensity interval work. This phase is a transitional level where the emphasis begins to change from primarily teaching to a relatively equal balance of technique work and physiological development.

Swimmers in this group have a moderate level of competitive swimming experience. Dry land training, endurance, conditioning, stroke refinement, race strategy, competitive skills, goal setting and an understanding of time standards are emphasized.


  1. The focus of this group is still centered on teaching fundamentals and developing a strong foundation in all strokes.
  2. Swimmers are encouraged to attend 3 to 4 practices offered each week.
  3. Low intensity aerobic conditioning is emphasized and athletes begin to do more yardages on a weekly basis. It is important that the fundamental skills developed in Phase I not be compromised as swimmers begin to swim farther in practice.
  4. At this level, the training program focuses on preparation for the 200 IM and 200/500 freestyle events. Even if swimmers show promise in specific events, we do very little specialty work. We have developed a program to promote interest and participation in the IM and, eventually, the distance freestyle events.
  5. A high priority continues to be placed on kicking all four strokes.
  6. Beginning with this phase a high priority is also placed on maximizing the number of training weeks per year. Peak performance efforts are put off until the latest point possible in each season. Likewise, the importance of swimming through the year is emphasized. This training philosophy carries through to the higher levels of the program.



Phase IV: Advanced Training – Ages 13 to 18 – (3 days 1 hour 45 minutes, 2 days 2 hours)

Swimmers in this group have a high level of competitive swimming experience. This group is designed to transition swimmers from age group swimming to senior swimming through an increased volume and intensity of training. The focus is to improve cardiovascular fitness, refine stroke skills and gain competitive experience.

  1.  Swimmers are encouraged to attend five practices per week, depending on the age of the swimmer.  Regular practice attendance is crucial for both swimming improvement and injury prevention. 
  2. Swimmers in this group are the leaders of the team and are expected to represent the team in a positive manner at all times.  Gold swimmers should display the highest levels of commitment, work ethic, personal responsibility, and sportsmanship.
  3. In this phase, the yardage completed each week begins to be an important consideration. We want to take advantage of the 13 – 18 year old window of opportunity to more fully develop aerobic capacity. 
  4. Swimmers in this group build a solid foundation for continued improvement by emphasizing distance freestyle and IM training.  Swimmers will continue to work on all strokes and distances in both practices and meets. 
  5. Although aerobic conditioning is still the highest priority, athletes begin to do more anaerobic threshold work. As swimmers swim faster in practice a greater percentage of the time, it is critical that technique is not compromised.
  6. Dry land training at this level emphasizes stabilization, and strength training, as well as the development of core body conditioning. 



Phase V: Highest Training – Ages 13 to 18 – (6 days 2 hours)

Designed for the program's most competitive swimmers who have completed Gold (or has completed a tryout with one of our skilled coaches) and is looking to continue to refine their stroke technique and training for higher-level meets. USA Swim Meet participation is expected at this level. Participation in Championship meets will be mandatory.

  1. As the most advanced group, expectations for the Senior group are the highest on the team. Swimmers should plan to attend all practices per week, any missed practices must be excused by the site's Head Coach.  Regular practice attendance is crucial for both swimming improvement and development. 
  2. Swimmers should pursue State, Sectional, Future, and JR National Qualifying times/AA- AAAA Motivational Times.
  3. Swimmers should display exceptional program Culture, be prepared to Volunteer, an extraordinary Attitude, and continually display Leadership 100% of time. 
  4. Dry land training will emphasize strength and power training, as well as the reinforcement of stabilization and core development.