Practices are designed with the goals of stroke development and cardio vascular conditioning, keeping in mind the physical and physiological development of the swimmer. Workouts are designed to be challenging, but at no time will swimmers be expected to swim a set that is above their skill and speed level. Adaptations of workouts will be made as necessary. Swimmers will be placed in lane assignments with age appropriate peers who have similar skills. Lane assignments may change frequently depending on the focus of the practice and the swimmers in attendance.
At the Donald Young Center there are two pools, a 25 meter competition, and a smaller, warmer therapy pool. New swimmers may need extra help until they are able to handle adapted workouts and the team dedicates, at each practice, a coach who specifically works with beginner swimmers in the smaller pool.
The swim team practices from 3:45 – 5:45 PM whenever school is in session. (Practices during the months of October and May will end at 5:15.) During the short course season this would encompass all practices except those held over Christmas break. Practices held over the break are from 8:00 – 10:00 AM. During the long course summer season practices are held after school during the month of May, and from 8:00 – 10:00 am during the months of June and July. There will be days during each season when there is no practice for a variety of reasons. These days will be listed on the website calendars, paper copies of the calendars handed out at practice, and will be announced at practice.
There is no minimum practice requirement; of course, the more your swimmer attends the faster they will progress! That being said, we have set some guidelines for weekly practices based on age:
Up to age 8 2-3 days/week
Ages 9-12 3-4 days/week
Over age 12 5 days/week
Beginning swimmers and younger swimmers will practice from 3:45 – 4:45 and then be allowed free time for approximately 15 min, being done at about 5:00. We design our program for competitive swim training for young swimmers, but we do still want them to be around when they are 12 and over. Therefore, we do not stress 8 and unders with the mentality that they must obtain certain times or perfect strokes. Swimmers in this age group are constantly being treated to a learning experience and are being “pushed” VERY gently. Continuous stroke work as well as introduction to starts, turns, finishes and circle swimming is the focus. It is also important to note for this group of swimmers that building endurance is important. Practices for these swimmers will involve a lot of kicking sets and there will be many days when they are just encouraged to swim without the coaches working on their stroke. The reason for this is that until they are physically strong enough to swim laps they cannot make the necessary changes to their strokes and no amount of instruction will benefit them, they just simply must gain enough strength to properly execute the strokes. Endurance practices also provide younger swimmers with a constant sense of accomplishment and confidence. (When practices are held in the morning the practice times are 8:00 – 9:00 with free time being from about 9:00 – 9:15 AM.)
Returning swimmers who are 9 – 12 years old may be done with practice at about 5:15 PM (9:30 AM). The ultimate goal for this age group is to build a strong aerobic base, good stroke technique and solid practice habits, skills and traits that carry them forward. Work continues with starts, turns, and finishes as well as some sprinting sets. Goal setting is introduced. These swimmers will also begin to use the pace clocks and to be able to read and understand workouts on their own. We encourage young swimmers to participate in a range of activities, but we also encourage them to commit to a regular practice schedule and to attend all practices which are not in conflict with their other activities. Though we play games with young swimmers, by this age we try to get them past the point where they see only the game as fun. We want them to experience the sheer act of swimming, of propelling their bodies through the water more successfully and more gracefully than they have done in the past, as fun.
By the time swimmers reach 11 or 12 years of age, the training intensifies (if the strokes are solid and the swimmer is ready) with a continuous emphasis on stroke technique. Swimmers of this age should definitely commit to a regular practice schedule. There is much that needs to be accomplished during these workouts so swimmers are expected to be self motivated, to be attentive to the coaches instructions, to understand the purpose of each set, to understand how to use the pace clock, and to be focused on quality swims. These swimmers will be challenged every day and we stress the sense of accomplishment they should carry away from practice. Swimmers 12 and older can expect to be in the water the entire practice time.
Please stop by the pool during a practice time to schedule a tryout, or Click Here to send us an email request for more information.