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:
- Swimmers at County level and above with the opportunity to develop their skills towards National level competition
- A structured framework to guide swimmers towards achieving the standard required to be admitted into Phase 5 within 3 years
- A complete solution for swimmers within the Training to Train stage of LTAD. With particular focus on building the Aerobic Engine.
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.
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.
|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!
- Minimum targets to stay in Phase 4 are shown in the table above. You will probably be asked to return to your feeder club if you fail to hit these targets to give another swimmer the opportunity to maximise their potential.
- To avoid confusion, Qualifying Times are for Long Course Championships, and events of 100m or greater (Winter Competitions do not count, nor do 50m sprints.
- LTAD rightly stresses the importance of no more than 12 meets per season at this age and we specify which meets you should attend. If you insist on adding your own meets (non-Dartes approved) throughout the season on a regular basis, you will probably lose your spot in the squad.
- Compete in all events and distances you’ve qualified for at Regional and County Championships. The coaching team may limit this depending on the schedule of events.
- Enter and compete across all distance and events throughout the season, with times maintained in the past 12 months for all events up to and including the 800m and 1500m Freestyle. Favourite events always change over these formative years.
- Limit the competitions you enter. Club League galas are okay but do not attend Feeder Club open meets!
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.
|Age||Standard Hours||Weekday Mornings||Overall Target|
- Minimum of 80% pool-based attendance compared to the hours in the table above.
- Should attend 2 of 3 injury prevention sessions per week, these immediately follow Tuesday evening, Thursday and Sunday afternoon sessions.
- Arrive onto poolside at least 5 minutes before the start of every session. Proper notice should be given to the coach if a swimmer should arrive late.
- Arrive with one FULL drink bottle per hour of training
- Strive to be a positive role model for swimmers in JDS
- All training should be done within the squad, training with your feeder club should not continue when entering Phase 4. Parents should also not take it upon themselves to increase their child’s pool time by taking them training, no one-on-one sessions should take place. We strongly believe there should be one coach and one voice.
- Phase 4 is age limited to 10-14 year olds, every swimmer should only expect a maximum of 3 years in Phase 4. If you have not been selected for Phase 5 by this time you should return to your feeder club.
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.
- A strong attendance record (ideally over 90%)
- Track record of competing at a high level (ideally NER finalist)
- Adherence and participation to Dartes competition schedule
- Demonstrates a positive attitude towards training and racing
- Head Coach discretion based on training ability and long term potential