Why Dedicated Swimmers Should Consider the WeAquatics Young Masters Program
Why Should Your Child Participate in Competitive Swimming?
After a combined fifty years of participating in and coaching swimming, the Worrell brothers agree: discipline is the key to success.
Swimming is an opportunity to discover discipline on a new level and to embark on a journey to personal success. Swimming is a whole-health and full-body sport with minimal impact on the joints (as compared to football or wrestling, for example). The skills also last a lifetime. The practice requires personal endurance and commitment, both of which build character. The sport requires good sportsmanship, camaraderie, and team skills. In swimming, you get exactly what you put into it, meaning you can train as much or as little as you want. Obviously, it takes a certain commitment, though, to be competitive.
There are a few general reasons to compete in swimming, the very least of which is the sense of accomplishment and confidence young swimmers gain within themselves when they master such skills.
“At the end of the day,” Coach David shares, “even if you don’t want to go on to swim competitively, you can still lap swim and utilize the strokes for fitness purposes. We give our kids the skills to exercise well for a lifetime.”
WeAquatics Programs Run Differently Than Other Swim Programs
In WeAquatics programs, the instructor-to-student/athlete ratio is smaller, meaning young swimmers get the focus on technique they need. This technique-based approach combines with strategic training plans in order to prevent injury and burnout and to ensure the young swimmers have fun!
“You have to make sure the athletes’ techniques are solid before they push and hurt themselves. Many stop swimming at ages thirteen to fifteen due to injuries because they swam too much too early without proper technique,” says Coach David. “Teach them the right way in the beginning, and if they’re having fun, they won’t quit.”
What Is the WeAquatics Young Masters Swim Team?
The Young Masters program is for swimmers (and parents) interested in swimming as a competitive sport. Many people don’t know what that entails, so this program seeks to strike a balance between the curious and those who are ready to work toward the Olympics. It is designed for swimmers ages four to eighteen.
Most Young Masters start with the level before, which is our Learn to Swim lessons. In Learn to Swim, our coaches work on the skills necessary to legally perform strokes, such as the backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle. These classes are thirty minutes and occur once a week. The lessons are one on one and are based on where each student is at any given time.
Young Masters sessions are more intense and take place in a group setting. They last an hour or more and occur in deeper areas of the pool. Swimmers do not have to attend every workout or training session. Many start with lower levels of commitment and gradually increase their involvement as their strength, confidence, and understanding of the program grow. There is no limit to how involved swimmers can be. All participants get what they put in.
The Young Masters group sessions are designed for the best swimmer in the group. This way, everyone tries to work up to that level.
A typical session looks like this:
- Warm-Up. Generally, the focus here is on nonstop swimming while maintaining lane etiquette. Each swimmer seeks to coexist in the lane with other people while the body gets warmed up. In some instances, we’ll hop out of the water for light stretching at the end of the warm-up while we explain the next set or sets or the day’s objective.
- Introductory Set. This is ten to twelve minutes and includes emphasis on varying areas, such as stroke count per lap or kicking. The goal here is to get each swimmer in the right frame of mind in order to focus on what he or she is doing and to take ownership of his or her practice or workout.
- Main Sets (One to Two). Skills. Drills. Repeat. During these laps, we focus on the main themes outlined in the annual plan for our practices. Examples of skills include underwater dolphin kicks, racing starts, racing turns, and stroke technique. The goal is to condition our swimmers while teaching them to swim as efficiently as possible.
- Cooldown. Normally this is two to three minutes before the end of practice. It includes slow and relaxed swimming to lower the heart rate before we end. Depending on that day’s focus, we might hop out and stretch on the deck as a unit.
Overall, Young Masters swimmers work on the foundational techniques and skills for competitive swimming. These fundamental skills can be built on at every level of a swimmer’s career, no matter how long. The skills we practice are the same skills Olympians work on but at a beginner level.
WeAquatics keeps track of each athlete’s success by recording milestones.
First milestones include the following:
- Stroke Work – The mechanics of strokes (at least three to four), including freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly
- Endurance Benchmarks
There are two levels of Young Masters: the Young Masters Swim Team and the Elite Masters Swim Program. The Elite Masters Swim Program coaches athletes on technique while the swimmers compete on other year-round competitive swim teams. Our coach-to-swimmer ratio is smaller, so many families find value in getting supplemental technique work with us. Technique, after all, might not be a high priority in bigger clubs in our area.
Here is our current Young Masters swim meet schedule.
How to Get into the Young Masters Program
Once a swimmer masters the core strokes and techniques taught in our Learn to Swim classes or after that swimmer passes benchmark tests proving skill mastery, he or she is eligible to join the Young Masters swim team.
“Some parents aren’t sure their children can complete an hour of swimming, and they are reluctant to get involved, but that’s why we’re here. Embracing a new challenge like this can be overwhelming at first, but we prepare all our swimmers—and our parents. We coach our athletes on what the focus should be to have a great race,” Coach David explains. “It will be a challenge at first, but you will finish and grow after. We always let our swimmers know they are not alone.”
If you or a child you know wants to swim, contact us today! Take a look at our programs to see what best suits you or the child, based on age and skill level. Plan your classes easily through our parent portal. We are always expanding our class options to meet the scheduling needs of our families. We currently have locations in Alexandria; McClean; and Washington, DC.