Developmental Policy

  • We want IM’ers not I AM’ers
  • IM’ers are multi-stroke swimmers that strive to be their best at all 4 strokes.  These swimmers are not afraid of their “weak” events.  They  typically  demonstrate  a  growth mindset and accept failures as a learning experience.
  • I AM’ers are single or double stroke swimmers that fear their weak events, ask not to swim them at meets, and often avoid working hard on them at practice.  These swimmers typically  demonstrate a fixed mindset where failure leads to a negative outlook…and often quitting!

We are interested in long-term success, not overnight stardom. We are not pushing athletes to win NOW and at all costs

Training Dynamic

Age Group Swimming (Up to 6th Grade)

  • “How will your swimming look at age 18?”
  • Not expected to perform/train like senior swimmers
  • Age appropriate: “10 year old's need to be 10 years old”
  • Highly instructional/skill based
  • Focus on learning, not being perfect

Senior Swimming (Junior High and above)

  • Serious/Rigorous physical training
  • Light focus on stroke specialization
  • Future planning highly emphasized (college swimming, etc.…)
  • High focus on Self-Reliance


  • Age Group Swimming (14 and under) We recommend your child partake in various activities and develop a wide variety of skills.
  • Senior Level Swimming (15+) We recommend narrowing your sport focus in order to maximize success.
  • If you are going to be gone or will be missing practice, please let the coaches know ahead of time.  For Senior athletes, it will be their responsibility to communicate with their coaches directly

Below is a diagram of the progression path for swimmers with the Marlins.  This diagram can assist in understanding the group your swimmer will be assigned to as a general rule, but there are always exceptions and then also the next group your swimmer will be moving to and note that there are different paths once the swimmers are in Junior High that will depend on their skill and commitment level.


 Developing youth into independent, respectful and responsible young adults of integrity"

 The Marlins are pleased to offer several opportunities for swimmers of all ages, abilities and commitments. 

Due to popular demand, we are excited to be offering a new track within the Sierra Marlins for athletes that want to swim year round, but play other sports and/ or are involved in other activities. There is no attendance requirement for these groups and the entrance requirements are more relaxed than our college prep track.  Athletes have the flexibility to stay in this track for the duration of their swimming career or transfer over to our college prep track if and when they choose.

Of course our most popular and well known track is our college prep track. Groups in this track are for those that have prioritized swimming and have dreams of swimming in college or swimming on a National or International level. The Marlins have a long history of developing many of the area’s best swimmers including National Champions, USA National Team Members, World Championship medalists and NCAA All Americans. This year alone, the Marlins are sending 10 student-athletes on to some of the finest Universities in the country including Stanford , Cal , Notre Dame, Cornell and others. Many summer swimmers have the basic skills necessary to start in this track right away, or with some hard work they can develop their skills and switch to this track when they are ready.

By joining the Sierra Marlins, each swimmer becomes a member of USA Swimming. USAS is the national governing body for the sport of swimming with over 250,000 members and over 2700 participating clubs across America . With membership, each Marlin athlete is tied to our Olympians who, as members of USAS, have maintained our country as the best swimming nation in the world for over 40 years.  Each Marlin swimmer will receive a USA Swimming membership card with an individual USAS number which will remain the same for the length of a swimmers career. Every swimmer also receives a subscription to Splash! Magazine. All Marlin swimmers are covered under USA Swimming’s general liability insurance policy.

We are constantly growing and training young swimmers to maintain a well rounded competitive swim team. Thank you for joining us. We are looking forward to meeting you. Please feel free to ask a board member or coach any question you may have.