Squad Criteria

Swimmers are assessed by the coaching staff upon joining the club and assigned to the appropriate training squad based on their age and ability. During their membership at Sevenoaks, swimmer progression will be assessed by the coaching team and they will be moved through the squad structure in accordance with their individual ability, development and personal goals. Swimmers are expected to attend ALL sessions advised to them by the coaching team. Failure to do so may inhibit progressive development and result in swimmers losing their place in their squad. Full squad criteria are found for each squad in the section below.


Squad Moves, Trials, Timings, Removals, Transfers & Pathways

Swimmers who meet the relevant criteria for a squad and are age eligible may be offered a trial in that squad at any time at the Coaching Team’s discretion. A trial period may last for a number of sessions and may result in either being made an offer to join the squad full time, to continue on a 1-6 month probationary period within the squad, or to be offered a more appropriate squad. The decision of the Coaching Team, led by the Head Coach, is final.

The achievement of reaching certain criteria does not automatically secure a place to a squad. Every decision is under the Coaching Team’s discretion and is normally dependent upon a variety of factors: work ethic & attitude, commitment to the squad training and competition schedule, age, times or realistic ability to achieve times.

Please note that all squad moves that may take or have taken place since the reduction of competitions due to COVID-19 have been made via a combination of the following:
- The published squad criteria guidance (achievement of qualifying times for the Kent and/or South East Regional Championships) or the potential/ability to be able to achieve these targets (in the professional opinion of the Coaching Team);
- Attendance, aptitude, and attitude in training;
- Technical ability;
- Mindset and training ethic;
- Age, physical, cognitive and emotional maturation;
- The opinion of the experienced, qualified and dedicated Coaching Team to best ensure athletes are within their required training environment to ensure their continued development.
Squad Program/Criteria & Club Structure Alterations

Please note that squad structure, coach allocation, criteria alteration and program focus may be altered, updated or changed entirely for every season. Further pool time, land space, or other privileges (such as Long Course training time) may be removed or added based upon the program’s requirements, availability and viability.

Every second of the Club’s available pool or land hours are being monitored via attendance and use. As a result, every squad's program/hours/time are subject to change at any time with due notice. The Head Coach will be deciding upon any such review quarterly. As mentioned previously, any monthly price changes for affected squads will be communicated with sufficient notice.


Training Expectations

ALL members should firstly ensure that they arrive at each session, be it on poolside or on land, with plenty of time to spare. Each squad will focus on different skills and focuses along each athlete’s pathway, meaning that some squads may require swimmers to arrive on poolside 10 minutes before the session begins, whilst others may only be 5 minutes. This includes morning training. Whatever the relevant arrival time for your squad, ensure you’re punctual and stick to the coach’s request; preparation is key.

You should, of course, ensure that you come fully prepared with the correct kit required for your respective squad/session. Turning up without a drink, functioning/fitted goggles or without a pair of fins is not acceptable and you may be asked to leave the session should you continue to fall below the expected standards. It is more than likely you'll never forget your phone, so why should you misplace any of the required equipment? Successful athletes and people prepare and prioritise.

EVERYONE must respect one another and adhere to the correct training etiquette. The coaches will advise on this at the start of the season and may ask members to leave throughout the year should they not abide by the rules. Examples such as these are not acceptable: Pulling on someone’s ankles to go past, not allowing people to go in front of you, stopping in the middle of the lane and jumping up and down, etc.

The program is constructed to aid your progression. You should not expect any real long-term results if you fall below 60-70% of the coach’s allocated program for you. The more you attend, the more benefits you shall receive. These principles are no different to those in any academic or working environment, and for good reason.

Morning training will become a crucial part of the training week for any competitive swimmer; that’s the nature of the sport. At competition, heats are often in the morning and your body must learn to develop the ability to perform in the mornings and evenings.

Finally, please always remember that Hard Work Pays Off. Simply attending is not enough; you can only withdraw great results from the hard work, focus and consistency you’ve deposited. Train as you want to race.


Criteria for squad exits:

• Unable to attain the relevant squad criteria;

• Consistently late to sessions;

• Consistently unable to maintain the minimum required training commitments as agreed upon with the Lead Squad Coach (directed by the Head Coach);

• Consistently unable to maintain attendance to the relevant squad competition calendar;

• Showing no demonstrable progress towards the desired standards for the relevant squad;

• Repeatedly poor behaviour that fall below the expected standards for Club members.


S&C, Running, Land training, School Sports & Other Clubs

Land training and strength and conditioning (S&C) based training are now vital components to helping develop a complete athlete and the club is looking to build upon the options available to its members. The benefits of such training include the improvement of aerobic capacity, speed, strength, flexibility and suppleness as well as injury prevention. Each of these components help to create a fitter, more capable swimmer and human being.

The Head Coach thoroughly encourages swimmers to attend the allocated squad led runs by Emily McMillan. Emily is a fantastic coach and the aerobic development from such runs will only help to improve each athlete.

Anya Roberts, Gala Secretary for the club, also runs many of our S&C sessions. Anya is a very engaging and knowledgeable PT who always brings variety to the program.

The Head Coach also encourages swimmers to take part in multiple sports from a young age. You do not need to specialise as “only swimmers” at the age of 11. Even participating in school sports/clubs such as cross-country, cricket or netball will help improve your athletic skill and aerobic capacity. You’d be surprised by how skills from other sports can help translate into the water (that is, of course, if the sessions are led correctly by a professional). Please ask your squad lead coach about fitting in such sports into your program.


Meets & Expectations (Selection, Club Supported, Squad Supported)

The competition calendar for each squad is comprised and finalised by the Squad Leads and Head Coach; with the view that each squad enters and competes in meets that are the most relevant and crucial to its members progressive development.

Swimmers MUST NOT enter other meets without the consent of the Squad Lead coach. Doing so does not correlate with the coach’s program and may result in disciplinary action. Consistently entering non-club supported meets, over-entering events in meets (and therefore always withdrawing) and ignoring the advice/information provided by the Coaching Team may then result in the removal of a swimmer from their respective squad.

All members are expected to prioritise representing the club at invited League fixtures (Arena, Tudor & Kent Junior) as well as relay events (such as at county, regional and national level). Being invited to swim for and represent the club should be viewed as a privilege and not an automatic right.


Attitudes & Commitment

Every member of Sevenoaks Swimming Club is expected and obliged to follow the Code of Conduct. Though some of the attitude and commitment expectations are detailed below within the squad criterium, your squad lead coach will relay their expectations at the start of the season, your arrival in the squad or at any meetings you may have.

Remember that punctuality, respect, consistency and hard work yield results. Performance is a mindset.