Level Up! Learning the Levels of Competitive Swimming

Good PIcCompetitive swimming is a great way for swimmers to take their skills to the next level and meet lifelong friends. Once your child is ready to graduate from swimming lessons and dip their toe into the competitive waters, how do you determine which level is right for them?

Every business organizes their levels in a different way. At RIO Swim Club, the competition side of EVO’s Gilbert swim school, we offer two main levels: Development and Competitive. Each level has several teams made up of swimmers of similar ages and skills so they can swim with their peers.

The Development Team

RIO’s Development Team is designed for swimmers who are new to the sport, currently developing their skills, or who are not yet ready to fully commit to a competitive team.

This program will not only develop the fundamental skills they need to be great swimmers, but also give both parents and children a taste of the full commitment required to be on a competitive team.

If your child plays multiple sports or is involved in other activities, this is a great team to be on because it allows them to keep up with swimming while still having time for work or other extracurriculars. They’re encouraged to attend swim meets, but it’s not required.

This team has four age groups:

1. Advanced Stroke Group: For swimmers who have graduated from our swimming lesson program or who can perform the very basics of all four strokes. This group focuses on helping children learn the skills needed to be ready for Development 1 and larger group training settings. Practices are one hour long, 1-3 times per week.

2. Development I Group: For swimmers 13 years and younger who can perform all four strokes by legal USA Swimming standards and do a flip turn with a streamlined push off the wall. Practices are one hour long, 2-3 times per week.

3. Development II Group: For swimmers 13 years and younger who can perform all four strokes, starts, and turns proficiently and by legal USA Swimming standards. Practice gets longer at this stage, so swimmers must able to complete 1.5 hours of training, 2-3 days a week.

4. High School Development: For swimmers 13 years and older who are working to become smoother and more efficient in the water. These swimmers most likely won’t swim in college, but they still want to swim in high school and further their skills. Practice is held 2-3 days per week from November through July.

The Competitive Team

Our Competitive Team is designed for serious competitive swimmers who can meet certain performance standards and commit to regular training. All swimmers sign a performance and practice expectation contract with their coach that’s reviewed each season, and they’re expected to regularly compete in swim meets in the highest championship level they qualify for.

This team has three age groups:

1. Age Group I: Our entry-level competitive program is designed for swimmers 9-12 years old who try out or are invited from our Development Program. This team focuses heavily on proper technique in all four competitive strokes, as well as starts and turns. Practice is held 3-4 times each week and includes both in-water and dry-land exercises to build up their strength and endurance.

2. Age Group II: For swimmers 12 years and younger who have excelled in Age Group I and receive feedback from their coach that they’re ready for more intense training. This team continues the combination of in-water and dry-land exercises that began in Group I. They practice 4-5 times each week.

3. Senior Group: For swimmers 13 years and older who want to maximize their potential, swim in college, and/or are looking for the next level of training and competition. All Senior swimmers practice 6-9 times each week.

For details on EVO/RIO’s Gilbert swim school and which competitive level would be best for your child, give us a call at 480-539-2660.