Junior swimmers go from green to gold
JUNIOR swimmers from across Australia are going for gold, sliver, bronze and even green in an innovative program being run by Swimming Australia.
Called the Australian Junior Excellence program, it aims to provide goals for children up to the age of 14.
The program is open to all children who are members of registered swimming clubs, and starting at the green level, they can progress through to gold based on results achieved at Swimming Australia-sanctioned swim meets.
Kingscliff Swimming Club coach Lea Speechley said the Junior Excellence program provided children with plenty of motivation to compete and progress through the different levels.
“This is an Australia-wide program which is in its third year, and we have seen a steady increase in children participating each year,” Speechley said.
“We have 13 children at Kingscliff who are in the program, and the results in an improvement in their swimming are great.
“Everyone starts at the green level, but there is plenty of motivation to advance.
“You get caps at green and then different coloured T-shirts as you progress, so they wear their colours with pride once they are up in the top levels.”
Speechley said apart from providing swimmers with personal goals, the program aided coaches in ranking their swimmers and grouping them together.
“Since you can only advance through the program if you swim at the sanctioned meets, there is an incentive for children to enter competitions and this can only help improve them as swimmers,” she said.
“It's also good that this is a national program because that means that the kids can measure themselves against swimmers from other registered clubs.
“It's all about providing encouragement at the grass roots level, and the national body should be congratulated for that.”