Squad Criteria Guide 

The setting and introduction of any criteria for any squad in any swimming club will always have problems and cannot and indeed must not be set in stone; there has to be some flexibility for both the swimmers and the coaching staff. A major advantage of having squad criteria is that everyone is aware of what is required to move and progress. Parents and swimmers must be fully aware of squad criteria and if unable to comply with all aspects of the criteria then please do not accept an offer to train with a squad until prior discussion with the Squad Lead Coach or Head Coach. Swimmers and parents should also read and adhere to the Clubs’ Code of Conduct. 
The number of sessions each squad has been allocated is what is required to be successful at swimming, with swimmers attending 100% being the ideal. The guide of the minimum attendance maybe different for each squad, as it takes into consideration the different biological/chronological stage of the athletes and also the physiological and psychological development and wellbeing of the athlete. The intent of setting a minimum is that it is the required amount of training to progress well through the sport, and allows for illness and occasions when you have other commitments (please see appendix). All swimmers should aim to maximize their attendance at training, failure to do so will prevent swimmers from reaching their full potential, as well as not being able to cope with the training demands for the squad.  
Swimmers are continually monitored as to their overall performance and attendance, if this falls below the expectations of the coaching staff they will be moved to a squad more appropriate to their ability, commitment to the training and competitive programme. These movements are not done as punishments, but to have swimmers with the same standards in performance and attendance within the same group and to allow the progression of swimmers that will more benefit from that offer. Squad criteria are in place as a guide, movement is not guaranteed and the final decision will come down to the professional judgment of the coaching team. The coaching team also reserves the right to move swimmers outside of squad criteria based on their professional judgment. 
Becoming a successful swimmer is a long-term process; there has never been a 10-year-old Olympic swimming champion. As a club and as a coaching team we are dedicated to long-term athlete development (LTAD) and our squad progression is based on, and inline with, British swimming’s recommendations with regards athlete development support phases (ADSP) this is reflected in the swimmer pathway, squad criteria and coaching practice. 
All age group swimmers (14 & Under) will train to develop all 4 strokes and kick ability, as these are the cornerstones to long term athlete development and successful swimming. Event and stroke specialization takes place in the Senior Squads during the transition through youth level swimming (14-16yrs) and into senior level swimming (16yrs+). Swimmers will always show preference towards certain strokes and distances but this is just a preference and is highly susceptible to change in line with technical development and physical maturation. 







(LTS stage 1-3)

> Min age 4yrs

> Water confident

> Stroke Development 

> Aiming for 10-15m 

> See Silver Joining Requirements


(LTS Stage 3-4)


> 10 - 15m on front (breathing to side)

> 10 - 15m on back (straight arm recovery)

> Idea of breaststroke legs

> Idea of dolphin kick


> Push & glide on  Front & back (streamlined position)

> Floats - star floats (front & back), mushroom float

> Stroke Development 

> Aiming for 25m 

> See Gold Joining Requirements


(LTS Stage 4-5)


> 25m Frontcrawl*

> 25m Backstroke*

> 25m Breaststroke legs (feet turned out)

> 25m Basic Breaststroke whole stroke

> 5-10m Dolphin kick (streamline position)


> Push and glide min 3m  (front, back & side)

> Log roll on front to back, and back to front

> 3m sculling head first & feet first

> Stroke Development 

> Aiming for 50m 

> See Diamond Joining Requirements

*Swim England Standard, swum efficiently without swimmer becoming excessively exhausted

(LTS stage 6-8)


> 50m front crawl* 

> 50m backstroke* 

> 50m breaststroke* 

> 15m Dolphin Kick  - front & back (streamlined position)


> Push & glide min 5m  (front, back & side) - underwater

> Forward somersault 

> 10m sculling head first & feet first

> Tread water  

> Stroke Development 

> Aiming for 100m legal strokes

> 400m distance swim 

> See D3 Joining Requirements


The Swim England stages in brackets are a guide as to equivalent levels for those joining from other swim lessons
these very much depend on where the child has swam previously as there is a big difference between swim schools





Development 3
(LTS stage 8-9)


> Minimum 100m front crawl*

> Minimum 100m backstroke* 

> Minimum 100m breaststroke* 

> 400m continuous swim (all strokes legal*)

> 25m Basic Butterfly 

> 100m basic individual IM

> 25m streamlined kick all strokes


> Proficient touch turns all strokes

> Underwater push & glides & stroke transition

> Dives

> All Turns

> Use Pace Clock

> 100m IM

> 8 x 50m FC_1.20/15

> 200m FC Time  < 4mins

*Swim England Standard, swum efficiently without swimmer becoming excessively exhausted

Development 2

LTS stage 9-10


> Legal front crawl over 200m Target Time 3.30-4.00

> Legal backstroke over 200m

> Legal breaststroke over 200m

> Legal butterfly over 50m

> Legal 100m individual IM


> Confident dives off blocks

> Legal basic backstroke starts

> Correct underwater work throughout all sessions

> Front crawl tumble turns 

> Backstroke tumble turns  

> Legal breaststroke and butterfly turns 

> Legal basic IM turns 

> Correct and legal turns and finishes throughout all training sessions 

> Build stamina whilst practising correct technique of all 4 strokes, starts, turns and finishes

> Develop the ‘competitive’ swimming techniques

> Learning to train 

Development 1

Swimmers moving into Development 1 should now have the correct technique for the 4 strokes, they should be showing legal starts, turns and finishes consistently through sessions. After improving their stamina and endurance in D2, swimmers should now be developing times and improving their speed. Criteria for D1 is predominantly about times but these are a guide and the decision to move a swimmer to D1 is down to the coaches discretion. 

> 8 x 100 @2.10-2.30

> 200m <3.30

> Set of 1800m 

> 100m in under 1.45

> Training to train 

> Building endurance, power, strength and speed

> Correcting and developing techniques

> Competing at galas 





Performance pathway 

> Set of 2500-3000m 

> 8 x 100 @1.40-2.10

> 100m in under 1.30

> 200m fc in under 3.10

> Swimmers in performance pathway should have a confident understanding of drills (their purposes and how to perform them) 

> They should take improvements onboard and use their understanding of swimming to become the best performance swimmer they can. 

> Swimmers in Performance Pathway should be competing at available competitions, and should be creating and aiming for their own targets. 

> Their behaviour should be exemplar and these swimmers should be a role model to all lower squads, swimmers will not moved into this squad with behaviour any less than this

> Training to hit PBs at competitions


> Over 18

Master swimmers should be aiming to reach personal goals, whether that be:

> general fitness

> to improve technique

> to learn new skills

> develop times for competitions

> to spend some of their spare time socialising whilst exercising.