NSAC Group Moves
(effective February, 2010)
As each season comes to a close and swimmers and parents begin to look ahead to the next season, the question is often “Will I move up a group this year? How will I know? Although there are no hard and fast criteria to answer these questions, coaches will typically consider the following factors when evaluating swimmers for a possible move to the next practice group.
Test Sets – physical swim test to ensure the swimmer can handle the next level - both strength and endurance.
Technique - the minimum requirements (for all four strokes) before moving between levels.
Attendance - although there is already recommended attendance, if a swimmer desires to move up, they should be able to attend the recommended number of practices for the next group.
Age – used as a guideline to assess physical and social readiness.
Maturity Level - ability to handle the increased training, interact socially with the next level, take personal responsibility, positive attitude, etc.
Coachability - ability to listen to the coach and ability to implement and SUSTAIN the recommended technique changes.
Meet Participation – although meet participation is not required for any of our programs, training needs for those who do compete may influence program placement. In addition, coaches encourage meet participation as a means for one-on-one assessment and coaching which may help swimmers advance more quickly.
Coaches Discretion - is this a good move for the swimmer? How balanced is the enrollment between the programs?
Since the coach may not have complete visibility to everything going on in an athlete’s life, it is important for the coach, parent and athlete to communicate and work together in order to make the best decision for the athlete. The balance of this document will provide more information regarding the move up process and criteria.
How are move up decisions made?
Beginning in 2010, the lead coaches meet four times a year (January, March, May and August) for the sole purpose of reviewing candidates for group moves. Each lead coach will present future candidates from their program with a particular focus on those candidates who may be ready to move up at the beginning of the next season.
Once an athlete is within approximately eight weeks of a possible group move, the lead coach will notify the parents (email, verbally on deck, or a phone call) that their child is being considered for a group move and will be told what specifically the child needs to work on in order to move to the next group. They will also solicit any relevant feedback from the parent regarding the possible move. Afterwards, the lead coach will notify the athlete and tell them what they need to work on at practice. Two to three weeks before the target move up date, the lead coach will review the athlete’s progress, as well as other information obtained from the swimmer and/or parents, with the lead coach of the next group. Both lead coaches will present their recommendation (typically they are unanimous) to the head coach who in turn makes the final decision.
Who makes the final decision?
The head coach makes the decision after having received recommendations from the swimmer’s lead coach and the lead coach of the program for which they are being considered. If the parent or athlete does not agree with that decision, they may request a meeting with the lead coach and the head coach in an effort to resolve the matter. In the end, the head coach will make the final decision if the parties are unable to come to a unanimous decision.
How are decisions communicated to the parent and athlete?
Once the decision has been made to either advance or not advance an age group swimmer (Bronze, Silver and Gold), the lead coach will notify the parents via email, verbally on deck, or by phone. Only those parents whose athlete’s were being considered for a group move will be contacted. Junior and Senior swimmers will be notified directly (rather than indirectly through the parents) of the decision. After the notifications have been made, the lead coach from the new group will send a welcome communication (email, verbal, or phone) to the swimmer congratulating them on their achievement.
When do move ups occur?
Although group moves can occur at any time, they will generally occur at the beginning of the short and long course seasons – September and April. Our intent is to minimize the disruption to an athlete’s training mid-season by changing coaches and practice groups.
Move up guidelines
It is important to note that these criteria are simply guidelines and that achieving one or several of the listed criteria does not necessarily mean that a swimmer is ready for the next practice group. Our goal is to place athletes in the program that best meets their specific training needs.
BRONZE TEAM ENTRY
Swimmers should be able to complete a legal 25 yard freestyle and demonstrate a working knowledge of the backstroke, butterfly and breaststroke. Upon completion of a one week trial, the coach will make a recommendation for the swimmer to either continue with NSAC or to enroll in swim lessons.
BRONZE TO SILVER
Swimmers advancing to Silver must be able to swim a consistent and legal 100 yard freestyle, complete with flip turns at every wall followed by a consistent streamline position with dolphin kicks. Swimmers must also demonstrate capability in non-free events by swimming 100 yards of backstroke and 50 yards of breaststroke and butterfly. All swims must demonstrate proper turns, streamlines, and an attempt at underwater pull outs. Bronze swimmers must have a productive whip kick with continuous forward motion of the body and/or be able to dolphin kick productively keeping both feet together and have an undulating motion accompanying their kick.
Bronze swimmers should also be able to demonstrate the bi-lateral breathing technique and the basic rhythms of both breaststroke and butterfly. Swimmers must also be able to go off of the block head first with or without assistance.
SILVER TO GOLD
Swimmers advancing to Gold must be able to demonstrate both a proficient and efficient freestyle stroke. Swimmers should be capable of completing repeated 200 yard freestyle and backstroke swims with flip turns. Additionally, swimmers should demonstrate knowledge of a proficient breaststroke technique and must be capable of completing repeated 100 yard swims with legal open turns. In addition, swimmers must be capable of completing repeated 50 yard butterfly swims with legal open turns.
Swimmers must understand simple intervals such as 10 x 50 @ 1:00 (10 sets of 50 yards leaving every 1 minute) and demonstrate proper send off times. Minor issues with stroke technique are expected.
GOLD TO JUNIORS
Swimmers advancing to Juniors must have a personal sense of ownership over their swimming. Swimmers must also be able to translate coaches’ feedback into their technique. Swimmers must be capable of swimming 4,500 yard practices (unless there are limiting medical problems) on a regular basis. Swimmers must be able to understand slightly more complex intervals and demonstrate proper send off techniques.
Advancement into Juniors requires swimmers to perform both competitive standing starts and backstroke starts with effective breakout strokes. A prospective Junior swimmer must demonstrate legal technique in all four strokes, including a legal start, swim, turn & finish. Swimmers must be able to complete a 10 x 100 Freestyle set on the 1:35 interval or faster (swim 100 yards of freestyle ten times leaving every 1 minute & 35 seconds).
JUNIORS TO SENIORS
Advancement into Seniors requires a positive attitude, knowledge and demonstration of perfected stroke and turn techniques, self-awareness both in and out of the pool, the ability to maintain and exemplify complex interval work with near perfection, strong work ethic, and the ability to motivate others as well as themselves.
Swimmers must be able to swim 5,500(+) yard practices on a regular basis, and must be able to complete a 10 x 100 Freestyle set on the 1:25 interval or faster (swim 100 yards of freestyle ten times leaving every 1 minute & 25 seconds).
The National Program is available to athletes who are at least 13 years old. Participation is by invitation only after having passed try out sets. Please click here for more information on the National Team requirements and expectations.