Harlow Penguins Academy is made up from a structured squad system where individuals will progress at their own pace and is aimed at children aged from 7 – 12 years old who want to improve and develop into competitive swimmers. It will provide youngsters with expert technique work to help them become proficient and legal in all four strokes.

Academy - StructureFrom the outset it is important to understand that Harlow Penguins is a competitive swimming club and in order to develop high quality competitive swimmers we have to ensure that high standards of stroke technique are taught from the start, it is very difficult for our coaches to correct bad habits/technique later in their competitive life.

Emphasis is placed on coordination, breathing pattern and timing, streamlining and underwater skills. Pupils also learn competitive racing starts and turns on the four strokes, helping them to graduate to the High Performance Squads by meeting the published criteria.

Penguins Academy 1

Academy 1 is the first step in Penguins competitive pathway, and our expectations are high:

  • The length of session will be an hour long rather than the 30 minutes in Swim School.
  • As part of our scheme of work, regular time trials will be held.
  • Within their scheme of work, swimmers in Penguins Academy 1 will continue to follow the ASA National Plan for Teaching Swimming. Swimmers will be expected to pass:

Progression – Qualifying Times

As a competitive club, times set by swimmers in races are really important, even Olympic Champions have to achieve qualifying times! We will periodically time your child and the times will be published, please keep a note of the times your child achieves, as they progress through the Club this will become really important.

You will note that as part of the progression criteria to Academy 2, swimmers will have to achieve two Academy 2 squad qualifying times. Please note the times are based on Essex County qualifying times, and are specifically calculated to provide times on 1 length of Burnt Mill pool.

In terms of age, please note that the ASA standard age is “Age as at 31st December”, therefore if your child is currently 9, but has their birthday later this year then you need to look at 10 Year times.

Details of Academy qualifying times are detailed below.

Penguins Academy 2

Having achieved the qualifying criteria, swimmers within Academy 2 will be:

  • Allocated 2 x 1 hour swimming sessions a week and they will be expected to attend both.
  • Given the opportunity to compete in a Team gala or an Open meet.
  • Split into Junior (Under 11) or Senior (11 & Over) groups.

Progression – Qualifying Times

To progress, swimmers will need to compete on a regular basis and to progress to Academy 3 will need to achieve 2 x 50m qualifying times on different strokes. Details of the qualifying times are below and as with Academy 1; age will be determined by the age as at 31st December.

Penguins Academy 3

Academy 3 is all about preparation for Squad Swimming, swimmers will have been competing in Open Meets or galas, such as the Essex Mini League.

As part of this preparation, swimmers will be allocated 3 sessions a week and over the course of a month they will be expected to attend 80% of those sessions, swimmers not achieving this level may lose their place in the group.

As swimmers develop, their competitive opportunities will increase and swimmers should be looking at doing “other events” such as 100m & 200m events – the aim is to achieve County qualifying times.