Oswestry Otters Group Movement Policy

Oswestry Otters Swimming divides its practice groups based upon skill level, training pace, attitude to hard work and coachability.  Moving up to a higher level is merit-based.

Within our groups, coaches are best able to focus on techniques, skills, and intervals that are best suited for our individual swimmers’ development and the group as a whole.  The best indicator of how a swimmer will perform at the next level is based on how they swim in practice today.  Moving swimmers before they are technically or emotionally ready is setting them up to fail in the longer term

Why and when a swimmer gets moved groups

There are a few different reasons why swimmers move groups. Some are critical like attendance, while others, like meet times, aren’t as important as one might think.  Here’s a breakdown of some factors that our coaches use when considering a swimmer training group move.

  • Coachability

Does the swimmer do the sets properly? Follows directions when instructed? Shows up on time and is a positive influence on the group? Respectful of the coach and other swimmers?

How coachable is your little swimmer? Ability and talent don’t count for squat if the swimmer is spoiling team culture or disrupting practices.  Coaches will be very resistant to reward a swimmer that resists instruction and negatively impacts the training environment by moving them up.

Keep in mind that the next group will require more from the athlete (higher levels of skill and swim intensity), which sets the un-coachable swimmer on a collision course with failure.

  • Technique

Proper stroke mechanics and understanding of the rules of the sport are important when it comes to group advancement. 

Has the swimmer progressed technically to the point that they are where they need to be? Are they thinking about how they swim, how they can implement the changes suggested by the coaching team? Are they completing races and practices with technique, starts and turns that will not get them DQ’d?

  • Compatibility with group

Can the swimmer keep up with the next group? Will they be able to compete a little bit with the other swimmers in their new group?

Coaches operate at their best when the swimmers they coach are largely similar in ability and speed.

If one swimmer is far behind, in terms of skill or conditioning, this swimmer will require specialised training apart from the rest of the group, cutting instruction time for the other swimmers.

  • Attendance.

This is about as basic a requirement as you can think of. Is the swimmer attending all sessions regularly?

Of course, shoddy attendance can sometimes be explained by factors outside of the pool (they have another commitment), but when they miss for the sake of not wanting to be there, constantly tired, or poor time management that is a different story.

Attendance is an easy and subjective way to measure commitment. Senior groups require more commitment, so you could say that this is a biggie factor in determining whether a swimmer should advance groups.

  • Meet times

Although the scoreboard and medals might tell you otherwise, meet times are not really as important a factor as most swim parents would think.

The results and what happens on race day acts as a limited snapshot of how your swimmer is doing in the water, but it doesn’t always reflect what kind of attitude and commitment the swimmer is showing at practice.

  • Time of the season

It’s rare that a swimmer will be moved up a new group mid-season. Most common are the end of the season, ready for the new start in September.

Make sure they are earning the reward

Ultimately, moving up a group is a reward and not an entitlement.  It’s an acknowledgement that the swimmer has excelled where they are at and are ready to level up. It’s recognition that they can take on more.

Movement Policy

Coaches will formalise any movements with a starting date. Parents and swimmers will be informed of any changes as and when they happen., when the Coach feels that a move between squads is appropriate. The Head Coach of Oswestry Otters Swimming Club reserves the right to move swimmers at any time from any squad. Movement between squads is not a given right.


Group Placement Criteria and Considerations for NEW Swimmers

  • Level of commitment – swimmers home address within a 20 mile radius of Oswestry must be ranked to Oswestry Otters
  • Training ability
  • Stroke and skill development
  • Level of maturity and personal responsibility
  • Age and previous experience
  • Training pace
  • Meet performance and best times
  • Space availability


Group Advancement Considerations

  • Consistently makes choices that demonstrate the willingness to make the commitment level expected of swimmers at the next level
  • Able to complete multiple test sets for the next practice level in a single practice.
  • Meets attendance expectations for current group; demonstrates the ability to make attendance requirements for the next level
  • Consistently trains above the level of the current practice group and will fit comfortably into the middle of the next group
  • Demonstrates ability to train successfully on base intervals at the next practice level
  • Mastery of stroke and skill expectations of current practice group
  • Space Availability


Process for Implementing Group Changes

  • Coaching staff discusses proposed practice group movements
  • Head Swim Coach provides final approval for group movements to the Committee for approval
  • Coach contacts swimmer’s parent or guardian inform them of the decision in relation to group changes and the expectations at that level
  • Head Coach sends an email to the Treasurer informing them of group changes