The Virginia Gators is a developmental swim team that promotes personal excellence through competitive swimming.

The Leading Group

The Leading Group is so named because it is comprised of swimmers who lead the Gator organization with a history of advanced training and a commitment to achieve their maximum potential and beyond. This is our top training group and these swimmers are motivated and ready for the challenges and demands of training to compete at the Sectional, Jr. National, and National levels. Many aspire to and achieve success in top college swim programs.

Leading Group Standards

This group follows a highly individualized 12-month training cycle that is prepared and carried out with the specific needs and goals of each swimmer. Participation in the full 12 months of training, most regional and championship meets and better than 80% practice attendance is assumed. Swimmers in this group are expected to attend 6 swim practices and 2 ADAPT dryland training sessions per week; if swimmers do not meet this standard, they may be moved down to the Advancing Group and will not move back to the Leading Group until the beginning of next season.  Placement in this group, even for those previously in the group, requires an explicit invitation from coach JJ.  Invitations to this group will be made at JJ’s discretion to swimmers possessing both tangible and intangible criteria as listed in the full practice placement requirements.  In general, swimmers in this group will have the following:

  • 13/14- AA time in 2 or more strokes, IMX > 2200
  • 15-18- A time in 2 or more strokes, IMX > 1800

IMX score = sum of USA swimming power points for 200 Free, 100 Back, 100 Breast, 100 Fly and 200 IM

Training standards for this group include the ability to swim 30-45 min sets on the following interval bases:

  • 10 X 100 @ 1:30 freestyle swim
  • 8 X 100 @ 1:40 fly/back/breast/IM
  • 10 X 50 @ 1:00 kick, 2 out of 4 strokes
  • 5 X 200 @ 3:00 free swim
  • 5 X 200 @ 3:15 IM swim
  • 16 X 25 @ :40 15 meter underwater dolphin kick

Practice Schedule
Leading swimmers are expected to attend 6 practices per week to ensure that a complete training regimen is followed and continued progress at the elite level is maintained. Practices will focus on preparation for success at nationally recognized events as well as a successful collegiate experience. Swimmers have already shown they are able to balance Gator requirements and school before being considered for this group. Swimmers in this group have maintained the highest level of practice attendance and participation with the Gator team. Leading Group practices are held 5:30-7:30 am Mon-Fri and 8:00-10:30 am on Saturdays.

ADAPT Dryland

The Gators have contracted with ADAPT (Athletic Development and Performance Training, LLC) to provide dryland training for Leading group swimmers to improve power, endurance, and speed and reduce the risk of injury. The ADAPT staff is licensed and certified to provide athletic enhancement services and will design a program specifically for each Gator Leading Group swimmer.

Leading swimmers are encouraged to attend all meets assigned by the Head Coach.

Equipment and Training Tools 
Fins, snorkel, pull buoy and paddles are required for practice so that swimmers can fine tune their technique. Swimmers increase speed, strength 
and endurance by using other training tools such as Tempo Trainers, to optimize their stroke rate, and swim parachutes, providing additional weight to pull. The Gators continually test and utilize the most advanced training tools and techniques to maximize swimmer improvement. Coach-approved equipment can be found by clicking this link: SwimOutlet Gator Affiliate.

Breakfast Club
At the beginning of the season, Leading swimmers are invited to join the Breakfast Club. The Breakfast Club is comprised of parents who provide swimmers with a good breakfast each morning on the pool deck before swimmers head to school. Each morning, breakfast is produced and served by one of the parents of a national swimmer, on a rotating schedule, so that all families participate equally.  Sign-Up Genius is used to manage the breakfast club so that parents will receive reminders via email and can easily switch if need be. The Breakfast Club is entirely managed by Leading group parents and can include carpool planning and information as needed by the group. Just a reminder, parents are responsible for making their own arrangements with other families if they need to switch days.

Morning AHS Carpool(for non-drivers)
Parents of AHS students (non-drivers) are asked to support the morning carpool from the pool to AHS, depending upon the number of non-driving swimmers that need a ride to AHS each morning.

Communication Policy
USA Swimming “Safe Sport” policies and the Gator communication policy prohibit coaches from texting or emailing swimmers prior to 7:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. This poses a problem for the Leading swimmers due to their practice times and schedules. As a result, during registration, we ask that each parent and swimmer grant permission to override this policy.