Development Squads

Long Term Athlete Development

Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) is a sports development framework that is based on human growth and development.

In short, it is an athlete centred approach to swimming development.

Swimmers’ Pathway is based on the LTAD frame-work and should be used to review and shape swimming all programmes. The LTAD is a tool that can be used pull teachers and coaches in the same direction and ultimately aid getting more people swimming, get existing swimmers swimming more frequently and to add/increase participation.

Swimmer Path-way incorporates the following:

Swim Skills

Building Technique: – 8 to 11 years (female); 9 to 12 years (male).

Building on the generic movement skills developed through FUNdamentals, this starts to shape those skills to an aquatics specific context. Participants learn how to train in a structured environment alongside participation in complementary activities i.e. other sports which use similar energy systems and movement patterns. This stage coincides with a period of peak motor co-ordination.


Tracy Lowe Development Squads

Learning to Train Stage

This is where we are at Tracy Lowe Swimming School. Focus is purely imbedded in developing technical swimming skills in all strokes and developing the engine through endurance swimming with the view of maintaining the skills developed and achieved.

The ADSP aquatic headings known as core aquatic skills are: Entry, Exit, Buoyancy & Balance, Rotation & Orientation, Streamlining, Aquatic Breathing, Travel Coordination, with the additional elements of Water Safety and Health & Fitness.

(ADSP stands for Athlete Development Support Pathway and identifies a framework for aquatic development).

Front-crawl, Back-Stroke, Breast-Stroke, Butterfly – Technique, Starts and turns, Learn to Train through repetitions, interval training, Drills (Recommended Water Time 4-7hrs/2hrs land training per week).

With the STA Programme – Swimmers or participants have to be given the option to explore other Aquatic Activities to explore.

This is purely a competitive swimming development paradigm with focus on those who may be interested in taking up competitive swimming or swimming for fun/fitness each week.

“The swimmer may choose not to enter a structured club situation, but will still have the skills to enable them to pursue a healthy lifestyle”. (Swim England).


To get swimmers competence level in all four strokes up to 100m and front-crawl minimum of 500m with good technique, starts and turns.

We will be writing a programme in 5/6/7 week cycles that incorporates all skills with critical emphasis on one like I have been doing. This has been our guide and all swimming clubs use this approach in their development squads and monitor progress with PVH mind as guided by the LTAD.

Training to Train (Too much for your Swimmers and Not enough Water Time)

Building the Engine: – 11 to 14 years (female); 12 to 15 years (male).

Emphasis is on maintaining high skill levels whilst putting the swimming skills under increasing pressure through covering longer distances i.e. high volume, at slow speeds i.e. low intensity, to develop an endurance base. The focus should be on training rather than competition.

This stage coincides with a period of rapid growth spurts and peak endurance gains (PVH).

Training to Compete

Optimising the Engine: – 14 to 16 years (female); 15 to 18 years (male).

There should be a continued emphasis on maintaining high skill levels and high volume, but with increasing intensity. The emphasis should be on developing individual strengths and weaknesses through race practice, simulated race situations and starting to specialise in a particular stroke or distance, but not both. This stage coincides with a period of rapid strength and weight gains.

Training to Win

Maximising the Engine: – 16+ years (female); 18+ years (male).

There should be an emphasis on specialisation and optimising performance. Swimmers should be trained for specific events and competitions. As a result, all aspects of training should be individualised with the maintenance of high skill levels and variations to both volume and intensity.

Swim England Report (21st June 2017)

A new study that shows the health and wellbeing benefits of swimming has been launched by Swim England.

The report shows the unique benefits of water make it the ideal place for people of all ages to exercise. It is particularly beneficial for those with long term health conditions.

The report also found evidence that swimmers live longer. Swimming regularly also helps older people to stay fit, physically and mentally.

On the other end of the scale, the report also found that children who take part in swimming lessons regularly develop physical, cognitive and social skills quicker than those who do not.

Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise you can do. In a major report into the health and wellbeing benefits of swimming, it was found that the unique benefits of water make it the perfect place for people of all ages to exercise.

Swimming is a fully accessible sport and has particular benefits for people with long-term health conditions. It is also a great form of exercise for older people, as it helps to maintain physical and mental health.


View our Development Pathway