Hatfield SC squads are divided into three main sections – Skill Development (10/under), Learning to Train (11-14) and Learning to compete and race (15/over). We also have University of Hertfordshire, Masters, Junior Masters and Water Polo Sections. Our new structure (below) is to start in April 2016.
Our history, tradition and culture have enabled us to fly in the water. Our club’s location is linked to Hatfield’s proud aviation manufacturing history, which began with the De Havilland Aircraft Company’s pioneering designs and production of aircrafts which were aerodynamic and streamlined, with high performance and great endurance. Hatfield Swimming Club has continued this tradition of high performance in the water, with similar ingredients: streamlines, skills, biomechanics, high performance, and endurance. This is why our squads are now named after some of the De Havilland Aircraft Company’s leading aeroplanes: Vampire, Mosquito, Venom, Dragon, Hornet, Trident, and Dove. We fly in the water. Read more…
The key focus of this section is improvement of technical skills and stroke techniques needed in competitive swimming. Efficient technique forms the foundation of future success and without it future potential will be limited. Swimming specific fitness at this stage will develop from being in the water on a regular basis anyway and is therefore not a priority of the training programme. The children at this level will learn how to train in groups, lane organisation, and how to use the pace clock for timing.
Swimmers will be introduced to low-level competitions where they can test out their strokes in a safe, friendly and fun environment. Swimmers will establish ‘personal best’ times in the events they race and whilst these are a useful method for the young athlete to measure progress they are by no means a definitive indicator of current ability or future potential. Children will obviously be involved in races against each other but parents and swimmers are encouraged to focus on self-improvement rather than comparisons with others.
Learning to train
Swimming is a technique driven sport and this remains the number one focus in this section, as it must be constantly refined. However, the coaches will now also begin to build swimming specific fitness through the regular inclusion of training sets that develop endurance (or more technically known as ‘aerobic capacity’). The swimmers will undertake a multi-stroke approach to the sport and learn the skills and abilities required to compete in the full range of swimming events from 50m sprints to longer 1500m distance races. Whilst the swimmer may display greater ability on some strokes/events over others, there are no specialists at this stage of the sport and everyone will be required to improve their weaknesses as well as developing their strengths. Competitions are still just stepping stones on the pathway to greater things in the future but they now start to take more prominence with swimmers aiming demonstrate their progress at the County and Regional Championships. The training is based on Progressive Overload.
Learning to compete and race
Not all swimmers reach this stage of the sport, and some who do reach it choose not to pursue it – but it is our aim to get everyone there. The training programme becomes significantly more demanding in this section with regular early morning workouts a key element of the routine. Whilst technique is still the key driver, the planning and periodisation of physiological conditioning becomes much more important. Sessions must be plotted much more carefully with different types of work targeted as the year or swimming season progresses. The psychological skills of training and competition are also tested more frequently and coaches will often challenge swimmers to produce good performances in difficult conditions or situations, as the ability to do this successfully is vital at the elite end of the sport.
The highest-level swimmers in this section are training up to ten times per week in the pool plus 2 or more land based sessions every week. Because of the commitment required, careful monitoring of the athlete’s whole lifestyle is required. As such, the swimmers are given instructions in nutrition, self-massage, stretching and lifestyle management and encouraged to start taking full responsibility for their actions and behaviours. Entry level of the section is a progression towards this, while the Dragon (15/+) group provides a challenging training programme with the aim of developing competitive swimmers and progressing them into the Vampire squad. Junior Masters section is less competitive programme, for those wanting to train for fitness, triathlon, and improve their technique.