Female: 11 to 16 years
Male: 12 to 15 years
During the training to compete stage there should be an emphasis on aerobic conditioning. This is the stage where there is greater individualisation of fitness and technical training. The focus should still be on training rather than competition and the training should be predominantly of high volume, low intensity workloads. It is important to emphasise that high volume, low intensity training cannot be achieved in a limited time period, and therefore the commitment to training should increase significantly. As the volume of training increases there is likely to be a reduction in the number of competitions undertaken. However, there should now be specific targets for each competition undertaken with a view to learning basic tactics and mental prepartation. There should be either single or double periodisation of the training year.
During this stage, training should continue to develop suppleness and to include the use of ‘own body weight’ exercises; medicine ball and Swiss ball exercises. However towards the end of this stage, preparations should be made for the development of strength, which for girls occurs at the end of this stage and for boys at the beginning of the next stage. This should include learning correct weight lifting techniques. The ancillary capacities (the knowledge base of how to warm up and warm down; how to stretch and when to stretch; how to optimise nutrition and hydration; mental preparation; regeneration; how and when to taper and peak; pre-competition; competition and post competition routines) should be established.
Similar to the previous stage, if insufficient time is devoted to this stage or it is missed, then the young swimmer will never reach their full potential.