Children are often faced with a wide range of sports and hobbies as they are growing up although few require quite so much dedication as competitive swimming. Whilst there are many benefits to being a swimmer, there is also a need to:-

•             Get early nights and rest well;

•             Choose nutritional food rather than fast food;

•             Work on flexibility through stretching at home;

•             Organise school work effectively and ensure this gets completed on time;

•             Limit time on social messaging and electronic games so that you can do all of the above;

•             Be positive!

As a Swim21 Accredited Club, we follow the Long Term Athlete Development programme as set out by The ASA. This ensures that swimmer development, squad participation and commitment is suitably paced to a number of other factors such as physical and emotional development. When we initially determine or subsequently change the squad that your child is in, we will have taken account of the following:-

Maturity vs Age

We have all observed instances where a swimmer is ahead of others in maturational age, allowing their racing performance and their ability to cope with the training demands in advance of their peers. These swimmers’ long term development may not be best served by promoting them as their social and emotional development will be quite normal for their age and from this perspective it is important that they are able to continue to engage and mix with swimmers of their own peer group and take part at a level they are comfortable with.

Emotional Age

Whilst some swimmers may well be physically capable of taking part in a very challenging training regime, these same swimmers may not have the required level of self discipline, application and resolve to cope with the training. We have to be certain that swimmers have the correct level of maturity in this respect for them to benefit from being promoted.

Aptitude and Potential

Our coaches have a wealth of experience and knowledge in the sport of swimming cultivated over many years of coaching at every level of the sport. This gives them a unique appreciation of the potential of swimmers that is based the above variables and most importantly personal observations and instincts. From time to time therefore, some swimmers may be fast tracked in spite of the normal promotions protocol. This may seem unfair but is in the best interest of the individual.

Training Performance

Training performance is paramount when considering swimmers for promotion. The coaches have to be satisfied that the swimmers have the necessary skills, physical strength, application and resolve to benefit from joining the next stage of the scheme and to be able to cope with the increased demand. Promoting a swimmer when they are not ready or equipped for the demand can have a negative effect on performance and motivation.

There may also be instances when we promote younger swimmers ahead of older swimmers if we believe it would be in their interest and they show particular ability and potential. This is not a reflection on the older swimmers, but a recognition that all swimmers develop at different rates.

Competition Performance

Racing performance is the normal benchmark applied by swimmers and parents when making judgment with respect to their place in the squads, this is understandable. At face value this seems the best method but is not necessarily the most important, particularly at the early stages of development. For instance, some very naturally gifted swimmers are able to swim very fast in competition, but do not cope with the physical demands of the daily training regime.

We do recognise the motivational value in setting out some objective training and competitive performance standards for the swimmers to achieve. Therefore we have created a series of requirements for each of the squads which, if completed, will qualify you for consideration for promotion to the next squad. In the majority of cases promotion or membership will almost certainly be achieved, but it does not give you automatic qualification.

Attitude

A good attitude is a characteristic common to all accomplished sportsmen and sportswomen. It tends to embrace concepts such as a positive outlook, an eager and energetic approach to training, a sound work ethic, good timekeeping, fair play, team work and a willingness to cooperate and engage with their team mates and the coaching staff. Having a good attitude will become an increasingly important consideration factor for promotion as they progress through the squads.