An introduction to competitive swimming training
The information in this booklet is intended to help swimmers who are joining the transition squad.
Please take some time to read through it.
If there is anything you don‟t understand please ask one of the sharks teaching staff or coaches. Transition squad is intended to introduce swimmers to competitive training by gradually increasing the hours spent in the pool. This
will build up stamina, strength and improve stroke technique.
The training might seem quite hard at first but you will be surprised at how quickly you will build up the stamina required.
Don‟t be surprised if your stamina levels drop after illness or a break from training this is quite normal and with perseverance they will soon return.
It is important to try and attend as many training sessions as possible so that you are ready to join junior squad and increase the training sessions you attend.
Transition swimmers (NPTS level 8) train on:
Tuesday 5.00pm – 6.30pm.
Friday 7.00pm – 8.00pm.
Sunday 4.30pm – 5.30pm.
Most swimmers will be in transition squad for about 3 months but this does vary depending on the ability of the individual. There is
no set criteria to move from transition squad to junior squad.
Training times for Junior and Senior squad:
Junior squad Senior squad
(NPTS level 9) (NPTS level10)
Monday 6.00pm-7.30pm Same as juniors
Tuesday 5.00pm–6.30pm Same as juniors
Wednesday 6.00pm–7.30pm Same as juniors
Friday 7.00pm–8.00pm 8.00pm–9.30pm
Sunday 4.30pm–6.00pm 4.30pm–6.45pm
There are qualifying times for swimmers to achieve before they can train in Senior squad. The criteria is as follows:
Girls 200m F/C 3mins Boys 200m F/C 2.55mins 15 x 100m F/C off 1.50mins 15 x 100m F/C off 1.50mins
and any from below:
Girls 200m B/k 3.20 mins Boys 200m B/k 3.15 mins Girls 200m Br/st 3.45 mins Boys 200m Br/st 3.40 mins Girls 200m Fly 3.30 mins Boys 200m Fly 3.25 mins
These times can be achieved in any competition or there is a time trial on the last Friday of each month during the Junior squad
The swimming club have a club kit which is available for squad swimmers to buy. There are swimming suits, hats, towels, T-
shirts, hoodies and kit bags all with the shark’s logo on. These can be purchased from the kit secretary.
See the contacts page for details of who to ask.
Although the club has a limited number of floats, pullbuoys, flippers, hand paddles etc, we strongly recommend that when you start
swimming in junior squad you try to purchase your own flippers, this way you will not be left trying to find a pair when everyone else
is already swimming.
There are quite a few mail order companies that can be found on the internet that specialise in all types of swimming kit, or there are
some suggested contacts on the contacts page.
Working in lengths
The distance of swimming is measured in metres.
Most swimming pools like the pool at Mildenhall measure 25 metres this is also sometimes referred to as short course.
There are a few 50 metre pools (long course) the nearest one to Mildenhall is at the U.E.A. campus at Norwich. Senior squad
swimmers are fortunate to be able to train at Norwich occasionally.
Training sets are written in distances of metres for example,
25m = 1 length (short course)
50m = 2 lengths
75m = 3 lengths
100m = 4 lengths…………………. and so on
Swimmers need to learn the distances and how many lengths are required so that they can follow the set independently.
Working in Lanes
There has to be lane discipline, to ensure safety and an effective session.
Lane organisation depends on the number of swimmers in the pool but usually transition swimmers will start in lane 4, with Junior squad in lane 3, top senior squad in lane 2 and senior squad in lane 1.
Swimmers follow a chain or circuit pattern, with swimmers in the next lane usually following the opposite direction. It is important to know the direction to swim in your lane.
Usually the fastest swimmer in your lane will lead the lane, the second fastest will be next and so on, with the slowest at the back. This will not necessarily be the same swimmer for every stroke.
The swimmer leading the lane must be able to understand the set and follow the pace clock.
A gap should be left between each swimmer. This helps to avoid swimmers being interrupted by contact with others and this is
achieved by leaving the end of the pool 5 seconds or more, after the swimmer in front.
Try not to overtake a swimmer in the middle of the lane, wait until you are at the end and ask to go in front. If a swimmer keeps catching up with you then let them go in front as this will create a better training session for you both.
Using a pace clock
Most swimming pools have a pace clock. The pace clock shows the time in seconds. Swimmers need to learn how the pace clock can
be used in training and to use it independently.
The pace clock can be used in several ways, for example,
To tell a swimmer when to start the swim (e.g. the lead swimmer in the lane is to start when the red hand is at the top or on 60).
To gauge when the next swimmer should start (e.g. leave a 10 second gap between each swimmer).
To time a rest interval (e.g. rest interval R.I. 20 sec.)
To approximately time a swim.
To time the swim & include the rest time (e.g. 6x25m on 45sec which means for each length & rest you have 45sec until you start the next repeat. If it takes 30 seconds to swim the length you will have 15 seconds rest).
Understanding the set
The first section of the set is the warm-up. The purpose of the warm-up is to gradually prepare the body for the exercise ahead by stretching and increasing the blood flow to the muscles and the range of movement in the joints. A correct warm-up lessens the
possibility of injury.
This is why it is important to try and arrive on time. If you are 5 or 10 minutes early prepare yourself by doing some pre-swim loosening up exercises and stretches on poolside.
The swimming warm-up will be written up on the wipe board and should be started from the beginning, even if you arrive late. There are rarely timed swims or rest times given in a warm-up; it should be swum in a steady continuous manner sometimes building up to some sprints at the end. Correct turns should be practiced at every opportunity throughout the warm-up.
Instructions are written down in abbreviated terms because this is more practical. The main set is usually explained before the swimming starts but if you do not understand something or forget where you are in the set then ask one of the coaches or teachers on poolside and they will help you.
Examples of some abbreviated terms:
S = Swim F/C = Frontcrawl
P = Pull BK/S = Backstroke
K = Kick BR/S = Breaststroke
D = Drill FLY = Butterfly
SP = Sprint
I.M. = Individually Medley as Fly, Bk/s, Br/s, F/c equal distances, in that order.
Reverse I.M. = F/c, Br/s, Bk/s, Fly.
No. 1 Stroke = The stroke you are best at.
No. 2 Stroke = The stroke you are second best at.
Choice stroke = You can choose the stroke, this could be the stroke you most need to improve on.
An introduction to drills
Drills are used to improve stroke technique. A drill should be practiced accurately so that the full stroke can be improved.
It is useful for swimmers to try and learn some of the drills so that when required they can practise their own choice of drill
Examples of some drills
DESCRIPTION FRONTCRAWL DRILLS
ZIP UP ON ARM RECOVERY PULL AN IMAGINARY ZIP
UP THE SIDE OF BODY WITH THUMB & FIRST
KENTUCKY OR CHICKEN WING TOUCH THUMB UNDER ARM PIT ON ARM
CATCH UP ONE ARM EXTENDED AS THE OTHER ARM
PULLS & RECOVERS IT TOUCHES TOP OF
EXTENDED ARM THEN OTHER ARM PULLS.
RIPPLE DRAG FINGER TIPS ALONG WATER SURFACE
ON RECOVERY CONTROLLED TWO ARM HOLD THE CATCH POSITION OF EACH ARM
FOR THE COUNT OF THREE BACKSTROKE DRILLS DESCRIPTION
2+2+2 TWO RIGHT ARM PULLS TWO LEFT ARM PULLS
TWO DOUBLE ARM PULLS CONTROLLED ONE ARM PULLING WITH ONE ARM, THE OTHER ARM
DOWN BY THE SIDE & A CONSTANT KICKING
ACTION, HOLD THE CATCH POSTION FOR A
COUNT OF THREE
COMPLETE THE PULL & HOLD FOR A COUNT
OF THREE (REPEAT DRILL WITH OTHER ARM)
CONTROLLED TWO ARM HOLD THE CATCH POSITION OF EACH ARM
FOR A COUNT OF THREE CONTINUOUS SINGLE ARM USING A CONTINUOUS ACTION PULL &
RECOVER ONE ARM WITH SHOULDER & BODY
ROLL & A STILL HEAD POSITION (CHANGE
BREASTSTROKE DRILLS DESCRIPTION
TWO KICKS ONE PULL WITH ARMS EXTENDED AHEAD TORPEDO
POSITION HANDS LOCKED EXECUTE TWO
BREASTSTROKE KICKS BEFORE STARTING TO
PULL & RECOVER ARMS THREE KICKS ONE PULL AS ABOVE BUT THREE KICKS BEFORE
LAYOUT DRILL HOLD THE STREAMLINE POSITION WITH ARMS
& LEGS EXTENDED FOR THE COUNT OF THREE
BEFORE PULL, KICK & RECOVERY BREASTSTROKE PULL DOLPHIN KICK BREASTSTROKE PULL & ON THE ARM
RECOVERY PUSH HIPS UP & EXECUTE A
DOWNWARD DOLPHIN KICK BUTTERFLY DRILLS DESCRIPTION
DOLPHIN DRILL WITH ARMS DOWN BY SIDES & CROWN OF
HEAD LEADING PRACTISE THE UNDULATING
BODY ACTION OF THE BUTTERFLY STROKE
DOLPHIN DRILL WITH ARMS EXTENDED THE SAME AS THE ABOVE DRILL BUT WITH
THE ADDITION OF THE ARMS EXTENDED
ONE ARM PULL BUTTERFLY KEEPING ONE ARM EXTENDED IN FRONT USE
THE OTHER ARM TO PULL WHILE
MAINTAINING THE CONTINUOUS DOLPHIN
ACTION (CHANGE ARMS) 2+2+2 TWO RIGHT ARM PULLS TWO LEFT ARM PULLS
TWO ARM PULLS TOGETHER (FULL STROKE)
Mildenhall and District Swimming Club is a competitive club and therefore we encourage all swimmers to take part in competition. Usually the first opportunity for swimmers to take part in competition is at the club championships. The club championships include events for all abilities, from those still in armbands up to senior squad swimmers. It is a great opportunity for squad swimmers to achieve a personal best time in all the events they are able to swim and for the younger swimmers to experience their first swimming gala.
If a swimmer joins the club at a different stage they might find their first experience of competition is at a colour gala. The top lesson groups and squad swimmers are invited to colour galas. This is a fun event and a good opportunity to achieve times for 50 metre swims or 25 metre for some of the lesson groups. The times are recorded as P.B.‟s and are logged on the P.B. sheet, when a swimmer improves their time the sheet is updated.
Swimmers should use their club log book to keep a record of their P.B. times making a note of the date, place and competition it was achieved at.
The club championships and colour galas are for club members only and swimmers will compete against swimmers of their own
ability which will not necessarily be of the same age.
Medals & trophies for the club championships are awarded in age group categories, but a P.B. is a personal achievement and
something all swimmers can be proud of.
The Fixtures List
The fixtures list is the annual programme with dates of competitions that the swimming club is involved in. This includes trophy galas, junior and senior fenland league galas, the winter league galas, the County Championships, the County Development Championships, the East Region age group and youth championships, the club championships and any open meets that the coaches choose to focus on.
The County Championships
The County Championships is an important event which takes part over three weekends in March at the Crown pool, Ipswich. stSwimmers have to qualify with times achieved from the 1 of June in the previous year to be able to take part. If a swimmer achieves
the entry time in an event they should try to attend as they will be representing the club in an important competition.
There is a points system that exists in competitive swimming called the BAGCATS (British age group categories). This is relevant to
the County Championships because points awarded for individual events are added up to give an overall position for the swimmer in
the county. Swimmers need to have qualifying times for a specific range of different strokes and distances to achieve maximum points.
The range is:
The best 50m sprint
The best 100m sprint
The best 200m or 400m F/C distance
The best 200m form stroke (any stroke but not F/C)
The best I.M. (100m/200) or (200m/ 400m) depending on age
The next county competition in the year is the Development Championships held at Ipswich. This takes place over one weekend in
June. The Development Championships could be seen as the B grade counties because it has upper and lower cut off times. If a
swimmer has a very fast time in a certain event they could be through the cut off time and will not be able to swim that event. The
qualifying times are not as fast as for the County Championships but give swimmers the opportunity to try and achieve qualifying
times for the County Championships in the following year.
The Fenland League
The swimming clubs that compete in the Fenland League cover a wide area and each club takes turn to host. Therefore on occasions, we have to travel quite a distance by coach. The swimmers usually enjoy the coach journey, especially stopping for food on the way home.
The events are categorised by age group, the youngest swimmers being 9 years old.
The Fenland League rule book states, “Ages shall be as at the date of the finals for the year in which the competition takes place.
Only swimmers that have reached the age of 9 years by the date of these finals may compete in any round as per ASA Laws.” There are also cut off times, the rule book states “Cut off times are used as follows:
As per our printed programme for 25m pools for the following age groups:
13/U 12/U 11/U 10/U and 9 years.
Swimmers who have achieved these times at any galas or time trials cannot compete in the appropriate individual events or relays
unless the time is achieved on the night of the gala.
There is no penalty for achieving the times in the gala but obviously the swimmer will be debarred from swimming that event
Swimmers can swim up an age group, but not down, so if they are through the cut off in their age group they can, if needed swim „up‟ as long as they are not also through the cut off in that age group.
Swimmers are chosen to represent the club in competitions based on their P.B. times. The fastest swimmer in the age group or the
closest to the cut off time (depending on the competition) would be the swimmer chosen.
The swimmer will be given an invitation by the team manager and should reply as soon as possible. If they cannot swim another
swimmer needs to be selected. The team needs a swimmer for every event in a gala or points are lost.
The Saxon’s team
When the club competes under the team name of the Saxon‟s this is a team that consists of swimmers from Mildenhall & Newmarket.
Swimmers are chosen by the fastest in the age group for the event, this gives a stronger team with more swimmers to choose from to
compete against larger clubs.
Parent and swimmer useful contacts
Leon Russell 01638780460 Committee Chairperson
Treasurer/membership Brian Prince 01638780609
Rosselle Delgado 07513184059 Membership
Head Coach Glenn Ewing 01638717813
A.S.A. Registration John Browne 01638711023
Team Manager Steve Molyneux 01842812680
Fund Raising Mel Molyneux Contact as above
Kit Organiser Tony Scifo 01842862088
Child Protection Officer Debbie Scifo Contact as above
Club Championship organiser Wendy Read 01638715102
Mail order swim suppliers
Swimshop www.swimshop.co.uk 01582562111
Allens of Kingsbury www.allensswimwear.co.uk 01827330600
The Googlebox www.thegogglebox.com 01702711991