“In the Swim” the first of info emails for SCSC

Topic:  Update on the Fall Practice Schedule

Let’s talk about this fall. One of the very first things we hope everyone will note is that, though South Carolina Swim Club is a new and different team, surprisingly little is changing about our existing swimmers’ schedules and locations. Rest assured, we have a great group of coaches that have been around not only “the block,” but this block in particular.  We are listening to your questions and concerns, and our coaches and staff are sensitive to your wants and needs!

That being said, as a new and different team, South Carolina Swim Club has some new goals! And in order to reach those goals, SCSC is implementing a Long-Term Development Swimming Program Model
Here’s the idea behind it: Ultimately, we want to recognize the needs of young athletes. In doing so, we want to make sure they all stay active and healthy. Specifically, we want our swimmers to learn competitive swimming skills that will promote lifelong enjoyment and provide a pathway to excellence in the sport of swimming.  Notice we are “promoting enjoyment” and “providing a pathway.” We want to shape your young athletes into healthy, excellent young adults who are also excellent swimmers… maybe even some of the best swimmers one day.
Some of the really great teams in this country started out just like we are right now. They used similar setups to the one we will be adopting and have been around for decades. This is a proven model.

Here are the specifics on this model: We provide a foundational level (level 3), a construction level (level 2), and an achievement level (level 1) throughout the five divisions (age groups). The 8 & Under group, or Bronze division, is an exception, as it only has level 1 and level 2.

How do SCSC coaches assign practice groups?

Group placements and transitions are based on many factors, including a fair bit of coaching instinct. But SCSC coaches are guided by a team-wide philosophy that drives our decisions, and we hope that communicating these ideas will allow for a better understanding of group placement decision-making. SCSC coaches will work together toward a common goal: continuity through developmental progression. They will make sure our swimmers are challenged, but not over-challenged.

Each season, coaches will evaluate swimmers for the best placement within the divisions and levels, and will reassign them to different groups as they age and/or progress. Swimmers may move to a different level within their division (i.e. from Bronze 2 to Bronze 1) or transition to another division (i.e. Silver 2 to Gold 3), which is generally driven by age. Divisional advancements often require a change in level as well, since those swimmers will be among the youngest and least experienced in their new division. As an example, a Bronze 1 swimmer who just turned 9 may very well be moved to Silver 3 the following season. In order to foster healthy, excellent bodies and attitudes, this progression must be gradual and age-appropriate.  Team wide evaluations for group moves to happen the end of summer for September. There are what we call “soft” moves in December and April.  Coaches consider who is aging out of the division and those who demonstrate tremendous improvement in those short windows of time. 

Some of the most important factors driving group placement are a swimmer’s training ability, (ability to hold technique while training on intervals), maturity and prioritizing the sport. Maturity can be difficult to understand, because we must take into consideration a number of “types” of maturity: chronological age, physiological age, and emotional development. In the upper divisions, commitment (practice attendance, meet participation, prioritization of the sport) becomes a factor in group placement. Racing times are not a primary factor, although they will be taken into consideration because times translate to meet qualification and training needs.

Group size is another huge factor that our coaches will consider when placing swimmers. We realize that the pool is a learning environment just like a classroom in a school. And in order to be effective teachers, we must treat it as such. Therefore, groups will be kept small, intimate, and effective.

Finding the appropriate group for each swimmer is the goal, and our top priority is to place every swimmer in a group that will allow them to develop and shine while remaining healthy and continuing to progress at SCSC. The coaches want swimmers to focus on the process of what they are doing every day in practice and to be immersed in an environment that will help them succeed in all areas of their swimming.

What group will my swimmer be assigned for this Fall?

​SCSC coaches are considering each swimmer individually, forecasting their future pathways based on their age as of October 1, 2016 and doing some preliminary assignments to appropriate groups for the fall.  Over the next couple of weeks, the coaches will complete initial group assignments and they will be shared with each family. To make this first placement they have been considering all of the above criteria along with what facility families are currently utilizing (Yes, we care about our swimmers’ drivers too!) So, after you’ve examined the group assignments please reach out to your lead coach if you believe another facility hosting your child’s group might work better for you. Of course, SCSC isn’t the only thing that is changing, and the situations at various pools are always in flux. Please trust that we will absolutely do our best to accommodate your requests and preferences!

The coaches will reevaluate the group placements once again at the end of the summer.

What if you have questions?

We have set up an email address that the coaches will monitor and begin creating a FAQ for everyone.  The coaches have a weekly staff meeting on Tuesday mornings and will be able to review the questions and post responses on the FAQ page that is provided in the link below.  This is the best way for the coaches to stay focused on their day to day coaching duties by having an assigned time to give thoughtful considerations to your questions.  This method will also ensure that all are receiving the same message.

If you would like to submit a question click here or send an email to [email protected].  To download the current list of questions click the link below.

Frequently Asked Questions (Click to download)