Kingsbridge Kingfishers

Swimming Club

Supporting the Developing Age Group Swimmer

This is a transcript of a presentation made by Lindsay Dunn (England Programmes Officer and
AASE Technical Lead) at the ASA SWR Age Group Championships in June 2015.

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Supporting the Developing Age Group Swimmer

Lindsay Dunn
England Programmes Officer and
AASE Technical Lead

Today’s Talk ...

  • Discuss the cultural and organisational changes that are currently taking place within the National Governing Body
  • Consider the role of the Parent/ Guardian in supporting the development of young swimmers, particularly during this time of change

The Swimming Pathway

  • Publication of updated long term athlete development resources:
    • Stage 1:
      Domestic Competition Review
  • Creation and roll out of a National Development Syllabus.

The New Competition Structure

  • An increased emphasis on swimmers having clear periods in their training plan which focus on the development of skill and training capacities.
  • The presence of clear competition periods where individuals learn to produce peak performance on the day when it most matters.
  • More swimmers training for the full season with access to a quality end of season competition at a relevant standard.
  • A progressive provision of Championship competition as swimmers get older and progress through the performance pathway.

Competitive Swimming Pathway

County Championships (x 35)


  • 11 years and upwards (age as at 31 st December)
  • 10 year olds may compete if they meet the 11 year old qualification standard


  • Time standards for each event
  • Must be achieved in a licensed competition

Additional Information

  • Take place in January and February each year
  • 25m or 50m pool
  • Held over 2/3 weekends

Regional Championships (x 8)


  • 12 years and upwards (age at 31 st December)
  • 11 year olds may compete if they meet the 12 year old qualification standard
  • Open SC competition (Junior/ Senior)


  • Time standards for each event
  • Must be achieved in a licensed competition

Additional Information

  • LC take place in May each year, held over 2/3 weekends
  • SC take place in November each year, held over 1 weekend

National Championships (x 3)


  • British: 14 years and upwards (age as at 31 st December) – 13 year olds may compete if they rank amongst the 14 year olds
  • English: 13 years and upwards (age as at 31 st December – 12 year olds may compete if they rank amongst the 13 year olds


  • Top 44 ranking in each event (British: 24, Home Nations: 20)
  • Must be achieved in a licensed meet within the qualification window (14th March – 31st May 2015)

International Championships


  • Junior and Senior Competitions
  • Girls 13/14 years and Boys 15/ 16 years and upwards


  • Formal selection policies for each competition
  • At Senior level this relates to funding targets agreed with UK sport

Additional Information

  • Held throughout the year
  • SC: Winter (Dec/ Jan) LC: Summer (July/ August)


Athlete Development Programme

Regional Athlete Programme

  • Selected from Regional Age Group Championships (criteria on websites)
  • 72 swimmers (36 girls and 36 boys aged 11 years)
  • 72 swimmers (36 girls and 36 boys aged 12 years)
  • Multi stroke approach plus education on land training, and key areas such as lifestyle management and nutrition
  • Inclusive and less ‘selective’ – chance to spread the message for cultural change

National Programme

Development Camp

  • Girls aged 12/13 years
  • Boys aged 13/14 years (age as at 31 st December 2015)
  • 1 day camp in September/ October (Saturday 17 th October)
  • Progressive athlete, coach and parent education
  • Possibility of progressing either to a top up education day (5th/6th December) or Phase 2 (21 st – 23 rd December) – not a pass or fail, each individual develops at their own pace.


Stroke Camp

  • Girls aged 13/14/15 years
  • Boys aged 14/15/16 years (age as at 31 st December 2015)
  • Swimmers can join at the stroke camp or progress from the development camp (girls 13 years and boys 14 years)
  • Induction day on 22 nd November 2015 for swimmers entering the programme at the Stroke Camp stage (G: 14/15, B: 15/16)
  • Progressive athlete, coach and parent education
  • 2 day camp from the 21 st – 23 rd December 2015: Liverpool/Coventry/ Millfield

International Camp/ Competition

  • Girls aged 14/15/16 years
  • Boys aged 15/16/17 years (age as at 31 st December 2015)
  • Athletes can join at phase 3 or progress from phase 2 (girls 14/15 years and boys 15/ 16 years).
  • Progressive athlete, coach and parent education
  • The international programme will typically involve an opportunity to compete internationally. Aim to schedule this in February – prior to the opening of the competition window.

The Athletic Triangle

The athletic triangle, consisting of the coach, athlete and parent(s), is a natural aspect of the youth sport setting. The coach's and parents' roles in this process are critical to the success of any program.

23:1 Rule

23: 1? 2? 3? 4? 5? 6? 7? 8?

  • Time away from the training environment often allows the athlete to undermine their hard work in the pool!
  • England programmes commitment to parents/guardians to improve education on how they can better support their child.

Coach and Parental Support

Coaches provide:

  • Informational Support
  • Emotional Support
  • Esteem Support

Parent/ Guardians provide

  • Emotional Support
  • Esteem Support
  • Tangible Support

Social Support

Self – Determination Theory (SDT)

SDT supports three basic psychological needs that must be satisfied to foster health, well – being and athletic performance; these needs can be universally applied.


Seek to control the outcome and experience mastery


Is the universal want to interact, be connected to, and experience
caring for others


Is the universal urge to be causal agents of one's own life and act in harmony with one's integrated self; however, this does not mean to be independent of others.

Fostering Competence

  • Provide positive and constructive support.
  • Value effort over achievement.
  • Support the coach when they encourage ‘process focused’ goals – always ensure there is always something positive to take away from the performance.
  • Do not offer technical advice or feedback to your child as this may conflict with coaching advice.

Fostering Relatedness

  • Attend social activities to improve team cohesion.
  • Support the club yourselves as parents.
  • Adhere to and help to enforce squad rules i.e. compulsory Team Kit.
  • Allow your children to attend overnight camps/competitions where the team is accommodated together overnight or attend finals sessions to support team mates.

Fostering Autonomy

  • Providing an element of choice within limits (choice of physical activity/ commitment level of squad).
  • Allow your child to voice their opinions and feel that these are valued.
  • Encourage and support the athlete in adopting an increased level of self – sufficiency (relative to stage of development).

Thwarting Competence

  • Providing negative and unconstructive feedback.
  • Promoting outcome focused goals where the athlete has little or no control over the result.
  • Fabricating entry times for swimming competitions.

Thwarting Relatedness

  • Allowing your child to not to follow squad rules/ club policies.
  • Humiliating your child in front of their peers.
  • Fail to really listen to their concerns particularly when they are critical of your parenting approach.

Thwarting Autonomy

  • Nanny Culture of over protectiveness! Let the young swimmers learn to do things for themselves and take responsibility.
  • Offering solutions to swimmer’s problems as opposed to allowing the individual to think for themselves (guided problem solving).
  • Providing a safety net to ensure that they never fail or develop coping strategies to help them deal with failure.

Further Information

Key Websites

Email: England Programmes Officer – SW Region