Goal Setting - Action Required

Carlos Mejia

The only way to improve is with a great guide, a plan, and consistent practices. We need to equip our swimmers with the right tools so they are focused, but most importantly, they can see and trust the process.

Goals setting should be S.M.A.R.T. This means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. 

For this article, we want to guide you and your swimmers through a SUCCESSFUL Goal Setting Sheet. We have also added some FAQs for you to look at it (bottom of this note). If you have questions that are not answered here, please do not hesitate and email me at [email protected]


The links below will help you get the info that you need so you can help fill out the goal sheet successfully. This is not to add stress or anxiety to anyone, but to help the swimmer stay motivated during the season. 


  1. Print out the goal sheet.
  2. Look at the Samples and definitions.
  3. Compare the swimmer’s best times to the motivational times(MT).
  4. Pick the MT that is closer to the swimmer’s times. For example, if the Motivational Time (MT) is 40 seconds and the swimmer’s time is 55 seconds, you should write 50 seconds in the goal sheet.
  5. Fill out the rest of the sheet. Look at the definitions for guidance.
  6. Take a picture or make a copy and give it to Coach Carlos



We have created some personalized screensavers for swimmers that have phones. This screensaver can help as a daily reminder of what they are working towards to. Check them out at the bottom of this note. 



Questions Answers
How many events should we do? You can set goals for 2 to 7 events. The most important goal is to write an event to help motivate the swimmer.
What are the Motivational Times? Each swimmer improves at a different rate. USA Swimming put some standard times that can serve as a guide for your swimmer. It starts with B times and goes all the way to AAAA times. 
What kind of Milestones should my swimmer write? A motivational time (MT) is a great milestone for new swimmers. For more experienced swimmers (2+ years), they can write down FLAGS cuts, Senior Champs cuts, Sectionals, Futures, and other national-level meets. 
How do I pick the right Motivational Time for my swimmer?

Pick the MT that is closer to the swimmer’s times. Remember to keep the times realistic. If the MT is more than 10 apart from the swimmer’s time, modify the time to 5 seconds better. For example, if the Motivational Time (MT) is 40 seconds and the swimmer’s time is 55 seconds, you should write 50 seconds in the goal sheet.

My swimmer is new to swimming and does not have any time. What should I do?

In this case, milestones and times are combined into one. For example,

  • Competing in my first meet
  • Swimming 100 yards without stopping
  • Have a better dive
  • Swim butterfly correctly
  • Do flip turns correctly
What other milestones can my swimmer write that are not TIME-related?

Swimming is much more than times. Sometimes the swimmer needs to conquer a set, a race, or complete an event that is difficult. Some examples,

  • Swim a 200, 500, 1000, or the Mile
  • Improve my kick
  • Swim for the first time 100 butterfly
  • Swim for the first time 200 butterfly
  • Have a better dive, flip turns, or open turns
What happens if my swimmer achieves his/her goals sooner than expected? That is GREAT news! If that happens, your swimmer is improving and we HAVE to create/update our goal sheet. 
What happens if my swimmer is not getting closer to his/her goals?

Mmm... There can be a couple of things to consider:

  1. Let’s look at the goals - they might not be realistic
  2. Let’s look at the attendance
  3. Let’s chat about the swimmer’s performance in practice 

We cannot wait until the last day to ask for assistance with this so open communication is key to avoiding frustrations.