Life Time Titans 

Minnesota Swim Team

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.

Team and Coaching Philosophy

            The mission of the LTMN program is “Promoting A Lifetime of Wellness Through Competitive Swimming.” The official birth of the Life Time Minnesota Swim Team was the fall of 2011. Life Time is a “healthy way of life” company whose goal is to help each member adopt a plan that will promote healthy living and then develop strategies to achieve that goal. One part of Life Time is the Aquatics Program, and within that program is the LTMN Swim Team. The purpose of the swim team is to give each team member a training protocol that will help that swimmer realize their personal goals in competitive swimming. For some, that goal may be to become strong enough to safely swim in one of Minnesota’s 19,000 lakes. For others, that goal may be improving overall cardiovascular fitness. For a few, that goal might be improving the swimming portion of a triathlon or pentathlon. However, the majority of members of the team are in the program to compete at swim meets and reach their highest personal potential. Thus the philosophy of the LTMN program will be focused on competitive swimming at USA Swimming sanctioned competitions. This philosophy serves as the foundation for the development of team policies which serve as the framework for how best practices are implemented in every aspect of the program.

            The philosophy of LTMN is to grow young adults in the sport of swimming, have them realize personal excellence through their progression in age, stroke mastery, and race distances, and see them love the sport so much at the end of their high school years that they want to continue swimming at the collegiate level and beyond. Each parent must fully understand the value of a long range vision. The very best years of swimming are during the college years, when swimmers are part of a team whose members are committed to team success, enjoy the experience of travel meets and winter training trips, and benefit from entering the first year of college with a solid group of team mates who are also friends. With this is mind, the progress of the swimmers is gradual over the years in the Life Time program. Those who start competitive swimming at age seven need coaches and parents who recognize that there are eleven years before college. Pushing any swimmer under the age of twelve to do too much swimming will likely result in that swimmer dropping from the program in the mid-teen years. Moving a talented or super-fast ten year-old into the top group of the program just because their meet times are fast presents a problem. What does that athlete have to gain from being in the top group for the next eight years? Therefore, the coaching staff will do their best to keep long range vision in mind with every decision that is made, and therefore ensure that the positive physical and mental health of the swimmers will result in still finding joy in training and racing in their late teens and early twenties.

            Goals are important, but the purpose is greater than the goal. The purpose of competitive swimming is for each athlete to achieve their very highest level of personal excellence. Personal excellence is relative since talent, height, and body type are not equal across a team. While the previously mentioned attributes differ, things like desire, discipline, work ethic, perseverance, resiliency, and attention to details can be part of every swimmer. It is hoped that these life characteristics can be developed through competitive swimming at LTMN in such a way that they help that individual out of the water in school, work, and relationships. The purpose is to help raise the next generation of adults who are equipped to handle what life throws at them because they have strong character. This purpose can be realized for each swimmer through competitive swimming and the goals that are set. When a swimmer establishes goals that are meaningful, specific, measurable, realistic, and flexible, then the coaches can use those goals to help the swimmer maximize their effort in practices and competitions. We do not expect our swimmers to get best times in every race, but we do expect them to apply themselves to their maximum. It is expected that the swimmer returns to the coach after the race to face these questions:

  • Did you give it everything you had?
  • Did you execute a great start and excellent turns?
  • Did you use the right strategy?

If the answer is “yes” to these questions, that swimmer can truly say that he/she has done his/her best, whether the result was a win or a loss, a best time, or a slower time. Using the goal of racing other swimmers helps each swimmer to strive for the prize of winning and in so striving, they realize their personal level of excellence. THEN, that swimmer returns to the practice pool feeling good about the effort and motivated to apply him/herself to commitment to make each practice an opportunity to improve so that the next race goes better. That swimmer might even consider the benefits of better hydration, nutrition, time-management, which all may add to success and increased self-confidence. THIS is the process that helps build personal character in desire, discipline, work ethic, perseverance, resiliency, and attention to details. Goals for a career, season, and swim meet are used to realize the purpose of achieving the highest level of personal excellence and finding deep satisfaction with oneself. This is what we hope to accomplish at LTMN. The philosophy of long-range vision, establishing goals that help realize the purpose, and developing character guides everything else that exists in this manual.

Training and Technique

On the Life Time Swim Team, there is always a balance between stroke technique and workouts. Doing a high yardage workout with lousy technique will only reinforce bad habits. Doing an excessive amount of stroke work without meaningful training yards will only result in lack of race endurance. There is a balance between sufficient training yards as well as stroke technique emphasis that shifts during a season and also during a career. Generally, the beginning of each season and career is a time for laying down a foundation of proper technique in the four strokes. Later in the season, yards will increase and so too the difficulty of swimming sets so that the swimmer can compete successfully in various races and at various distances. When the season is drawing to a close with the major championship meet arriving, we return to stroke technique as a matter of review.

The level of training intensity and duration increases as swimmers age up or move up to higher training groups. Swimmers spend more time in the water during, but continue to have stroke technique and race strategy taught regularly. Sometimes, there are training nights designed to develop a mental edge or to promote a stronger inner spirit. Sometimes, there are training nights designed to work on a specific race or distance or stroke. Practices vary, but the foundation is always good mechanics. With this in mind, there is a progression as a swimmer gets older and moves to different and more challenging training groups on the team.