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Phase 4: Age Group Squad

Phase 4 within the Dartes structure is geared around age-group swimming (essentially 11-14 years). As such it is responsible for much of the Training to Train phase of LTAD. Its focus is on building the foundations and developing the skills that young elite swimmers will need as they progress through their careers.

What is the Age Group Squad

Aims and Objectives

The aims of this squad are to achieve progression in real terms, year on year. All members of this squad should be committed to becoming the very best swimmer that they are capable of being. The work done in the squad should build the foundations to enable that to happen.

In other words, to provide:

Due to the nature of the Dartes programme, all squad members are expected to strive towards reaching their full potential and so full compliance to LTAD recommendations is expected.

Competition Criteria

Phase 4 is all about achieving progression in real terms. Getting faster each year is expected at this age, but swimmers in this squad are expected to strive for higher placings at major meets and championships. Similarly, qualifying for a place in Phase 4 becomes tougher year on year.

Year Qualifying Standard
1 1 Yorkshire Qualifying Time
2 2 Yorkshire Qualifying Times
3 3 Yorkshire Qualifying Times
+ 1 NER Qualifying Time

Swimmers may be accepted into the squad without the qualifying times, but are expected to achieve them before the Championship Entry deadline arrives. For 2019/2020 season only, those currently in the squad without these times must achieve them before the season ends in August!

Training Volume Requirements

In addition to competition qualifying standards, members of Phase 4 must also comply with the minimum training volume requirements. As a training programme set up to allow swimmers to achieve their full potential as Senior athletes (17/18+), we closely follow the recommendations set out in LTAD. This provides recommended training progressions throughout a swimmer's career in terms of weekly hours and target volume.

The following table translates those guidelines into the number of hours expected of swimmers in Phase 4. As the Dartes programme is firmly focused on swimmers achieving their full potential, these guidelines are expected to be followed consistently by all.

AgeStandard HoursWeekday MorningsOverall Target
10 8.5 8.5
11 8.5 2 10.5
12 8.5 4 12.5
13+ 8.5 6 14.5

Phase 5 Entry Criteria

Criteria for Phase 5 is currently being reviewed, but for guidance this is what you should aim for to earn a spot.