Snow Swimming Group Placement

Group moves are based on many factors and a fair bit of coaching instinct.  However, there is a big picture, team-wide philosophy that drives group placement decisions.  We hope that communicating these ideas will allow for a better understanding of our group placement decision making.  Coaches on our staff have many years of experience placing swimmers in groups successfully, and we utilize the collective wisdom of the entire staff when making these decisions.  Finding the appropriate group for each swimmer is the goal, and doing so is our challenge.  As the swimmers grow physically and emotionally (often rapidly), their needs change.  The more we can think and talk in terms of appropriate group, and changing needs, the healthier our team culture will be.

Some of the most important factors driving group placement are commitment (practice attendance, meet participation, prioritization of the sport), maturity (chronological age, physiological age and emotional development), training ability (consistently trains above the level of the current practice group), technique (they have mastered stroke and skill expectations of current practice group) and personal best times.  While performance results are certainly not the most important criteria in determining group placement, they are a tool we can use to analyze how successfully a swimmer may be applying what they are learning in practice to their race opportunities.  Several of the Snow training groups will have minimum performance times in each stroke as prerequisites for joining that group.  We hope this will act as motivation for the swimmers to work on all strokes in practice and compete in all events at meets.

The group into which a swimmer is placed determines a floor, not a ceiling.  That means each group has different standards for membership (the floor), but does not have upper-limits of achievement (the ceiling).  In no way does group placement communicate a belief by the coaches about swimming potential.  Your child’s group is not meant to be a predictor of future success, nor an indicator of his/her worth to the team or to the coaches.  First and last we view swimmers as outstanding young people, and the more we can do to remove inaccurate status labels from groups the better.

At Snow we believe in teaching each swimmer that ownership of the sport is critical to self-development and success.  A major part of that ownership is building a relationship with their coaches built on trust and open communication. A face-to-face conversation with the coach can go a long way toward alleviating any concerns or misunderstandings a swimmer may have.  We ask that you encourage your athletes to communicate with the coach if they have questions about group placement, even at a young age.  It may not be an easy talk for them to have, but all coaches will have increased respect for a swimmer who comes to them directly with questions, because taking that step for a young athlete is empowering.  Belief in one’s team, coach, and group is necessary to achieve potential and understanding the reasoning behind our decisions will help strengthen that belief.  The staff will always welcome questions and concerns from the parents regarding group placements, but we want to allow the coach / swimmer relationship to flourish.

In the attachments below, you will find information that will give you better insight into the priority’s and objectives of each group.  You will see not only what the basic prerequisites are for each training group but also what skills your swimmer will be mastering as they move from one group to the next.  Development as young athletes and individuals is multifaceted; therefore we have broken down the group progression sheets into different categories covering physical, mental and emotional development.  As stated earlier, there is a competitive component added to the end of each progression sheet.  These must be looked at as merely one piece to the puzzle and not the determining factor for which group is appropriate for your swimmer.  I hope you enjoy reading through the information and bring plenty of questions to your coaches.  For our team to reach its full potential, knowledge and communication must go hand in hand.   

On a final note, we understand that group moves are not a small change in your lives as parents.  The change in schedule will potentially affect other activities, car pools, team dues, coaches and expectations.  We appreciate the sacrifices you make as families to ensure that your swimmers get the most out of their experience at Snow.  But just like going from middle school to high school, or from one level of math to the next, these moves should be looked upon as necessary steps along the path to success.

SR Gold Swimmers

SR Silver Swimmers

JR Gold and Silver Swimmers

TAG Gold Swimmers

TAG Silver Swimmers

TAG Bronze Swimmers