YOTA Swim Groups

The YOTA vision and mission incongruence with the YMCA core principles and values will serve as the cornerstone of our teaching.

There are several ways to progress and grow through the sport of swimming. The uniqueness of YOTA comes in the delivery of that progression. We focus on the long term development of the athletes both in and out of the water including a solid technical foundation and a very high standard for character development.

Many factors go into the progression. The coaching staff is solely responsible for the placements within the progression outline, utilizing the strength of their experiences and training to understand and recognize what is best for each individual and the YOTA swim team.  In order to embrace our mission and best serve our membership, we must accommodate various aspects of each of the groups below. This process is based on the integrity and standards of the YOTA Swim Team program and ensures the correct group placement of each individual athlete.  This is essential to ensure proper progression through YOTA and the best quality in coaching for the individual, the group, and the YOTA Swim Team.

The group definitions below serve as guidelines for ensuring each athlete is placed in the training group that best fits their inclination and ability; however, extenuating circumstances will exist at times for group placement and will be made for the betterment of that athlete’s, groups, and YOTA Swim Team.

Age Group Program

Five levels offered within the Age Group Program, emphasis on stroke technique and excellent foundational habits. The goal is to place each swimmer in the group that is the best fit for their inclination and ability within that of available opportunities and needs of the YOTA swim team.   

YOTA Prep: “Developmental” (practice at: Chapel Hill, Durham, Finley, Kerr, & Taylor)

The YOTA prep program provides a great bridge between swim lessons and swim team for 12-year-olds and under. It's the ideal opportunity for swimmers who want to continue their swimming development.

Our goal is to help build self-confidence and a love for swimming. In addition, individuals may qualify for one of the competitive age groups (Green, White, Purple, and Silver) at the YOTA Swim Team Site Director’s discretion.

Coaches will focus on improving stroke technique and efficiency, teaching proper starts and turns, and building endurance in a swim team practice environment. Swimmers will learn how to interact and grow in a team environment and structure. Progress is measured based on techniques and their ability to develop.

All swimmers must schedule an assessment to ensure they are swimming at a level appropriate for entry at each site. As the minimum standard each swimmer must be able to complete at least 25 yards on their front or back in order to be considered for the YOTA prep program. 

As space is limited in this program, invitations will be on a competitive basis.

*This group practices up to two times per week for 60 minutes at 10 week cycles.

Green: “Age group beginner competitive” (practice at: Chapel Hill, Durham, Finley, Ingram, Kerr, NC State, Taylor)

This is an entry-level developmental group for ages 9 and younger. The minimum standards and expectations for entry into this group is 25 yards of freestyle and backstroke while demonstrating proper technique and streamlines. In addition, they must have understanding and knowledge of both butterfly and breaststroke. Swimmers in this group must be able to demonstrate great listening and behavioral skills. Acceptance into this group is based on specific site space and needs as determined by the YOTA Swim Team Site Director.

*This group practices up to three times per week for 60 minutes.

White: “Age group moderately competitive” (practice at: Chapel Hill, Durham, Finley, Ingram, Kerr, NC State, Taylor)

This is a group for ages 9 - 11 and is designed to build upon technical skills in all four competitive strokes, while also developing a strong aerobic foundation and learning about training disciplines. Skills will be taught with an emphasis on fun and teamwork to ensure that all athletes develop a long-term love for the sport.

Athletes will also focus on starts, turns, underwater streamline, underwater kicking and conditioning work. Swimmers will also participate in some basic dryland conditioning emphasizing core body strength. Volume and intensity of both kicking and swimming will increase throughout the season. Acceptance into this group is based on specific site space and needs as determined by the YOTA Swim Team Site Director.

*This group practices up to four times per week for 75 minutes.

Purple: “Age group competitive” (practice at: Chapel Hill, Durham, Finley, Ingram, Kerr, NC State, Taylor)

This is a competitive training group designed for ages 10 - 12 to prepare swimmers for state and regional levels of competition.  The emphasis of the Purple group is on mastering the following skills necessary to be successful competitive swimmers: training etiquette, advanced stroke mechanics, race strategies, goal setting, proper nutrition, mental preparation, and the ability to handle increasing training workloads. Developing consistent and committed training habits is a priority in this group.

Swimmers will participate in a dryland program to help develop strength in their core, shoulders, legs, and overall body control and coordination. Acceptance into this group is based on specific site space and needs as determined by the YOTA Swim Team Site Director.

*This group practices up to five times per week for 90-105 minutes - depending on the site. 

Silver: “Age group highly competitive” (practice at: Chapel Hill, Durham, Finley, Ingram, Kerr, NC State, Taylor)

This is the highest competitive training group at the age group sites. This group is designed for swimmers ages 11-14 to train them for YMCA and USA Swimming state, regional and national levels of competition. Acceptance into this group is based on specific site space and needs as determined by the YOTA Swim Team Site Director.

The emphasis of the group will be on developing aerobic capacity through increased swimming volume, intensity, and kicking.  Development of progressive stroke technique, race strategies, creating proper nutrition habits, individual goal setting and understanding of the importance of proper mental preparation. Training will also include a specifically designed dry land conditioning program.

At this point swimming is becoming one of your main activities thereby meet and practice attendance is becoming more important to include the summer months. Continue to develop strong work ethic for preparation required for potential placement in the senior groups.

*This group practices up to six times per week for 120 minutes.

*Note: practice times represent the highest number of opportunities per week. The duration (in minutes) is an average and can vary from site to site with regards to if it includes drylands.

Things to remember with the age group program:

  • Group moves are a coaching decision.
  • The staff has nothing to gain by retaining or moving your athlete to a group.
  • Each individual develops at a different rate. A child’s current group placement is not a determination of the long term success of your child.
  • Try not to compare your child with others at your site or another site.

Some factors associated with group movement:

Attendance, work ethic, attitude, training ability, and performance.

As well as: actual age, physical maturation and cognitive capacity.

YOTA Senior Program

There are three levels within this program.  Emphasis on progressive stroke technique and racing strategy. Maximum desire in all aspects of training: Practice, competition, nutrition, physical conditioning, integrity, and leadership.  The goal is specific training for our senior athletes geared towards challenging each individual and developing them to reach their full potential.

Senior Prep: “growth opportunity” (practice at: Finley, Taylor, West location TBA)

The Senior prep group is for 13-Over swimmers that want to continue their progression in the team or are relatively new to the sport that are not ready to commit or possess the ability to swim in the Senior program. 

The goal is to provide them the opportunity to continue to develop at their pace while possibly balancing a myriad of other activities and commitments in their life.   Athletes are encouraged to attend all practices and meets available to them, however, there is no required commitment expectation. 

The focus of this group is primarily technique development along with an increase in volume and intensity at various points throughout the season. Eventually individuals may qualify for one of the senior groups based on inclination and ability.

This group practices up to 5 times a week and for 90 minutes.

Senior II: “Pre-National” (practice at UNC or NCSU)

The Senior II Group is for 13-Over swimmers generally at the North Carolina Swimming State Championship level. This is a highly committed group focused on learning how to achieve at the senior level of the sport. At this point swimming is becoming one of your main activities thereby meet and practice attendance is becoming more important to include the summer months.

Vacations and other activities are encouraged to be taken in balance with the swimming practice and meet schedule. This training group should begin to take a higher priority in instances of conflict with outside activities.

The focus of this group is eventual advancement to the Senior I Group.  

Admittance AND continuation in the group is by invitation only, based on coach considerations/decisions and will be based on, but not limited to, proven commitment, attendance, ability and work ethic, time management, high character standards, and willingness to adapt/adjust. This group focuses on each athlete’s needs to excel in the sport. Technique and dryland skills are an integral part of the program to help the athlete reach their potential.  

*This group practices up to six times per week for 150 minutes.

Senior I: “National” (practice at Meadowmont or OPC)

The Senior I Group is for 15-Over swimmers generally at the YMCA National level. This is a maximum commitment, high achieving training group where swimming is a mainstay in their life.

Vacations and other activities are taken within the confines of the practice and meet schedule. Attending meets and practices are crucial, expected, and monitored to maintain the integrity of this culture. 

The focus of this group is to prepare athletes for national and international levels of competition while giving them the tools to be successful in collegiate swimming, if they choose to do so.

Admittance AND continuation in the group is by invitation only, based on coach considerations/decisions and will be based on, but not limited to, proven commitment, attendance, ability and work ethic, time management, high character standards, and willingness to adapt/adjust. This group focuses on each athletes needs to excel in the sport. Technique and dryland skills are an integral part of the program to help the athlete reach their potential.  

*This group practice up to nine times a week for 180 minutes.

*Note: practice times represent the highest number of opportunities per week and duration includes the time both in and out of the water (i.e. dryland).