Piranha Swim Team Philosophy

Coaches – Coach

Swimmers – Swim

Parents – Support


The Piranhas is a YMCA Swim Team. The Piranhas are here to offer all swimmers of varying abilities the opportunity to swim and learn. We are not here just for the fast kids or the novice kids; we are here for all kids of Darien and the surrounding community.

Swimming and youth sports are supposed to be fun activities that give kids the opportunity to build the mind and body, help them grow, teach them life lessons and values, and become productive members of society. Our sport does that the best!!

Swimming is a “delayed gratification” type of sport. It rewards kids who stick “with it” and those who put in the time and effort to improve. Sometimes it takes seasons, if not years, to make major changes and to see the rewards. In swimming you get what you work for, not what you wish for.



Along with the core values of the YMCA, Piranha coaches believe in having fun, longevity in the sport and teaching our swimmers life lessons through the sport of swimming. In regards to coaching younger swimmers (typically 12/unders), the Piranha coach’s top three priorities are technique, technique and more technique. When coaching 12/unders, our main focus is to teach proper technique and mechanics for all four competitive strokes and the drills that reinforce that technique. Also, we strive to teach proper practice and meet etiquette, good listening skills, Team unity and all the other “little” things that help swimmers develop and improve. Our overall goal is fun and learning.

When swimmers age-up to 13 and older, they will be expected to become role models to the younger swimmers on the Team. They will be introduced to longer, harder practices and will need to make more of a commitment to the Team and sport in order to continue developing and improving. Technique is still a major aspect of training, as is reinforcing the good habits and “little” things that were taught as age groupers. Learning will continue with race strategy, more drills (as well as the same ones they learned as 8/Unders), how to swim longer sets, proper health and wellness, and commitment to the Team and sport will be stressed.

Although our sport is measured in time, time is down the list in regards to measuring success for 12/unders and it gets only a little higher on the list for 13/overs. As a coaching staff we want all kids to improve and swim ‘fast” but we believe if you attend practice regularly, listen to coaches, pay attention to technique, and take care of the “little” things, faster times will come. Everyone at the swim meet wants to swim fast, but how many have prepared themselves to swim fast? Our overall goal is to get swimmers to enjoy swimming and keep them in the sport. We feel the best measure of success is if a swimmer is happy swimming.



The Piranhas offer Dry Land training to Training Groups Nautilus and above. The goal of the Piranha Dry Land program for all Training Groups is general fitness, body awareness, flexibility and core strength. As Swimmers progress to the Junior I and Senior Training Groups dry land training frequency increases and more strength training is added. For the Poseidon and Junior II training groups at least one session per week is taught by a Y Fitness instructor and at least two for the Junior I and Senior groups. Nautilus dry lands take place on deck before practice and are taught by the coaches.

Please note that dry lands is a privilege and all swimmers are expected to behave properly, not only to exhibit good manners but also in the name of safety. Also, swimmers must show up dressed appropriately, i.e t-shirt, shorts or sweats and especially, athletic footwear. Swimmers participating in on-deck dry lands just need to show up in their bathing suits.

Please note that swimmers who attend dry lands will also be expected to attend swim practice on the day dry lands is offered.

A schedule for these sessions are posted on the practice schedule page along with the swim practice schedule.

Sample Monthly 12/Under Plan Nautilus

Sample Monthly 12/Under Plan Poseidon

Age Group Progression packet – this is basically a packet of information for the coaches.