The Carolina Aquatics coaching staff makes group placement decisions in the best interest of the swimmer and his or her long-term development. All group assignments are made at the discretion of the coaching staff.

For all CA swimmers joining or progressing through the program, our overall objective is to position the swimmer for success. Determinations are made based on a variety of factors, including:

  • Ability
  • Motivation
  • Age
  • Goals



Intro is CA’s entry level group. It introduces young athletes to the world of competitive swimming. Through education, application, and repetition of drills and skills, Intro swimmers will build a foundation of excellent swimming fundamentals that they will carry with them for the rest of their swimming careers. Teamwork, sportsmanship, and the ability to follow directions are developed alongside skills in the water. Practices last 45 minutes. Swimmers will be evaluated for entry into the Intro group. Swimmers who are not yet ready to join CA’s competitive team may be referred to CA’s Swim School, with the goal of preparing them for the Intro group. Swim meets are optional.

  • Ages: 10 and younger
  • Practice Options: : Offered 3 days per week at USC and Topspin, on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. 
  • Monthly Dues: $100
  • Prerequisite: Swimmers must be able to complete a 25 of freestyle and backstroke
  • Fundraising Obligation: *$150



The Piranha group builds on the foundational swimming skills learned in the Intro group. More advanced drills and training methods are introduced progressively in order to improve overall coordination and efficiency in the water. Swimmers are encouraged to attend practice regularly and participate in swim meets. Piranha swimmers will continue to master the four competitive strokes and build proficiency in starts, turns, and finishes

  • Ages: 7-10
  • Practice Options: Practices are offered 4 days per week at USC and Topspin, on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The in-water portion of practice will last one hour. Saturday practices will include a 30-minute dryland session
  • Monthly Dues:  $120
  • Prerequisite: Swimmers must be able to compete legally in all four competitive strokes and complete a legal 100 IM
  • Fundraising Obligation: *$200



The Barracuda group maintains an emphasis on stroke technique, while building greater aerobic endurance, dryland proficiency, and racing skills. Swimmers will develop mastery of all four strokes and demonstrate a respectful, positive attitude toward all team members and competitors at practices and swim meets. Coaches will prepare swimmers for a lifelong love and appreciation of the sport, while introducing the group to more rigorous training, with the goal of preparing Barracuda swimmers to compete at the State and Sectional levels.

  • Ages: 8-12 
  • Practice Options: Practices are offered 5 days per week at USC and Topspin, on Monday, Tuesday Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Recommended attendance is 4-5 practices per week, with swimmers attending Saturday practices. The in-water portion of practice will last an hour and fifteen minutes. Monday and Saturday practices will include a 30-minute dryland session. 
  • Monthly Dues:  $130
  • Prerequisite: Ability to complete aerobically challenging freestyle and kick sets.
  • Fundraising Obligation: *$200



Varsity is a fitness group that focuses primarily on building conditioning and learning and reinforcing fundamental swimming skills. The Varsity group is an excellent way to stay in the sport for high schoolers who have multiple other activities and are not yet ready to commit to competitive swimming. Swimmers in this group will have a more limited meet schedule. Practices will include a mix of in-water and dryland activities to maximize overall fitness alongside swimming proficiency. 

  • Ages: 14 and older
  • Practice Options: Practices are offered 3 days per week at Topspin only, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Practices will be one hour and fifteen minutes in length.
  • Monthly Dues: $105
  • Prerequisite: Ability to complete a 100 of freestyle and backstroke, ability to swim butterfly and breastroke. 
  • Fundraising Obligation: *$200



The Pre-Senior group is a competitive group that focuses on higher level skills and builds on the training introduced in the Barracuda group. This is where dedicated, senior-level swimming starts at Carolina Aquatics. Swimmers are prepared to be competitive on the State and Sectional level, with the desire to advance to the Senior group. Training will focus heavily on developing high-end aerobic capacity, while introducing race-pace training, which is the cornerstone of CA’s Senior program. 

  • Ages: 11-15
  • Practice Options: Practices are offered 6 days per week, including three dryland sessions, at USC and Topspin. In-water practice sessions last one hour and forty-five minutes. 
  • Monthly Dues:  $150
  • Prerequisite: 11-12 Sectional qualifier, 13-14 swimmers capable of completing aerobically challenging swim and kick sets consistently, ability to train 4,000-yard practices. 
  • Fundraising Obligation:  *$300



The Senior group is the next step toward elite level swimming in the CA program. Morning practices are introduced and will be offered once per week. Swimmers will transition into CA’s race-pace training system, building on the high-end aerobic capacity earned in the Pre-Senior group and adding anaerobic capacity to the swimmer’s arsenal. Dryland training will increase in frequency and intensity. 

  • Ages: 14 and older
  • Practice Options: Seven practice per week are offered, which includes one morning practice. Swimmers may choose either Tuesday morning at Topspin or Thursday morning at Columbia College. Afternoon practices are offered Monday through Friday at USC only, with Saturdays taking place at Topspin or Columbia College, depending on the time of year. Dryland sessions will take place on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. 
  • Monthly Dues:  $160
  • Prerequisite: 13-14 State Meet qualifier, 15 and older swimmers who have demonstrated the ability to maintain a high practice attendance in the Pre-Senior group.
  • Fundraising Obligation: *$300


High Performance

The High Performance group’s focus is to perform at the highest levels of American swimming. Swimmers will train to achieve Junior National, Senior National, and even Olympic Trials cuts. Swimming should be the top extracurricular priority for High Performance swimmers. Swimmers in the High Performance group are highly driven and intrinsically motivated to achieve success. Training hard with a positive attitude and swimming fast are fun for swimmers at this level. Swimmers in the High Performance group will develop leadership skills as they serve as role models for the rest of the team, both on and off the pool deck

  • Ages: 14 and older
  • Practice Options:  High Performance swimmers need to make a minimum of 7 out of the 8 practices offered per week, the preference being 8 out of 8.
  • Monthly Dues:  $170
  • Prerequisite: Minimum of one Senior Sectional qualifying time, an average of at least 6 practices per week in the Senior group, and/or a coach’s invitation.
  • Fundraising Obligation: *$300


* Fundraising obligations are per swimmer. Annual fundraising obligations are capped at $500 per family. There are multiple opportunities offered throughout the year to meet this obligation.


Let’s get started!  Begin your registration for the CA competitive team.




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