Team Philosophy

Coaches – Coach

Swimmers – Swim

Parents – Support

For those in Darien and the surrounding communities, the Piranhas, as a YMCA Swim Team, are here to offer all swimmers of varying abilities the opportunity to swim and learn.

Swimming and youth sports are supposed to be fun activities that help kids grow and learn, and also provide the opportunity to build the mind and body.  Swimming does this the best!!  (Winning and fast times are awesome, but those are not the only two aspects of our sport, nor the most important.)    

Swimming can best be described as a “delayed gratification” type of sport.  It rewards kids who stick with it and 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.  We want all kids to improve, swim fast and win races, but that is not why we coach.

In regard 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 along with the drills that reinforce proper technique.  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.  Even though there is a “training” aspect, our overall goal is fun, learning and longevity.

When 14 year-old & over swimmers are promoted to the top training level the Piranhas offer, they will be expected to become role models to the younger swimmers on the Team.  They will be introduced to longer, tougher 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 the “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 swimming will be stressed.

Although our sport is measured in time, time is NOT #1 in regard to measuring success for swimmers.   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?   We feel the best measure of success is if a child is a happy swimmer.


The Piranhas will be offering Dry Land sessions for the benefit of our swimmers.  Swimmers will be expected to attend both dry lands and swim practice on the days they have both.  Choosing to do dry lands and not swim practice will not be permitted.  Swimmers must show up dressed properly for dry lands i.e. sneakers, shorts, t-shirt and bathing suit underneath clothing.  The coaches and/or fitness staff reserve the right to disallow a swimmer to participate if he/she is not dressed properly, especially footwear.  Please note this is for the safety of your swimmer.

The main focus of the Piranha dry land program will be helping your swimmer in the pool.  First and foremost, swimmers will practice safety, proper technique and dry land etiquette.  The Y instructors and Piranha coaches will set up programs that best fit the age and ability level of the training group.  Exercises will be geared toward core body strength, stability, stamina and coordination.  As swimmers progress through the dry land program, strength training will be added.  This usually happens in the top training groups, when swimmers are ready.

Sample Monthly Plan

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