General Description & Objectives
The Highlander Aquatic Club--a division of Lake Highland Preparatory School-- founded July 7, 1993, is known throughout the country for a first-class, year-round swim program in Greater Orlando. We offer a guided age-group youth program for children ages 5 and up, from the beginning swimmer to the most competitive and skilled swimmer. When a young person becomes a member of the Highlander Aquatic Club, he/she learns the values of sportsmanship and teamwork. Swimming, through the Highlander Aquatic Club, provides physical, emotional and intellectual skills that will last a lifetime.
The Highlander Aquatic Club is a USA Swimming affiliated team. Highlander Aquatics was founded in the Greater Orlando area with the intent to provide the coaching and atmosphere which will consistently allow current and future swimmers, novice to Olympian, the greatest opportunity to realize their dreams. We are also an important facet of a full service aquatics department which provides swimming instruction and aquatic experiences. We welcome competitive swimmers and will help and encourage them to reach their full potential as swimmers and people.
The mission of the Highlander Aquatic Club is to provide a safe, healthy and positive environment for athletes. We commit to make a positive difference in the lives of its team members by promoting good sportsmanship, bio-mechanically sound techniques, healthy lifestyle, balance, commitment, responsibility, love for the sport of swimming and self respect. We are committed to creating an environment where each individual athlete may realize his or her own potential. We believe that the healthiest motivation for a child is the motivation that comes from within. We endeavor to draw out each child's natural energy, hope and courage, thereby fueling the pursuit of their dreams. Not everyone can be an Olympian, BUT we can be Olympic in our pursuit of excellence.
To educate and nurture the whole child at every age. To realize that every child is different and to allow each to develop as far as their dreams, talents and efforts will take them. To provide coaching that develops self-confidence, character, and skills. To encourage parents to actively support both their child and the program as a whole. And through this caring and considerate environment, provide the area with individuals who are becoming the best they can be as students, citizens and athletes. The Coaching Staff offers a program in which a child can learn the strokes, turns and techniques to competing in an atmosphere that instills a sense of discipline, responsibility, and a desire to achieve.
Through a gradual commitment to practice, each child is taught to set goals and work hard to achieve those goals. Through positive encouragement and an occasional stern push, a child will learn to push themselves toward testing their own limits each and every day. A child will learn that hard work leads to achievement and success, and achievement is fun!
Value the sport.
Respect the process.
Above all, be honest in your efforts.
Courage and Perseverance
We can encapsulate our philosophy in the words COURAGE and PERSEVERANCE.
COURAGE is the willingness to accept risk and endure failures. Courage exists when there is a situation that presents the opportunity for success, we encourage our athletes to embrace these opportunities and not fear the outcome.
PERSEVERANCE is the backbone of success in life. One cannot succeed at the highest levels without enduring some set-backs, difficult times can create a lack of faith, low self-esteem, and an obvious drop in enthusiasm. Perseverance is the quality that transcends these difficult times, allowing the individual to find the true strength of their character.
The Highlander Aquatic Club believes that COURAGE and PERSEVERANCE aided by the sport of swimming will prepare the individual for the challenges they will face in life.
Competition vs. Participation
Highlander Aquatics is a competitive program. Its purpose, as you will discover by reading through this manual, is to instruct, train and prepare its members for swimming competition. Since the mid-1970s, there has been a difference in philosophy among those involved in youth sport programs that centers on the question of whether the programs should be competitive or simply encourage participation. As with many issues in American society, a polarization has developed between these two concepts. This doesn't need to be the case though.
The quality and direction of any youth sports program depends on those who operate it. In regard to youth sports, it is our objective at Highlander Aquatics to offer programs that meet the needs of all the participants, encouraging each to reach their full potential and developing skills not only in athletic endeavors but in areas such as character development and citizenship. It does not come down to a question of competition or participation because neither need be exclusive of the other.
Organizations that offer youth sport programs can follow two paths on this issue. They can dilute the program and offer activities that only serve those who wish to participate and never compete or they can offer a true competitive program and let the members decide how much they want to be involved. At Highlander, we have chosen the latter. A competitive program does not preclude participation. Indeed, in many instances it relies on it. Swimmers who give little thought to competing when they first join the team soon find that it might be fun, they give it a try and realize that they like it. They like racing; they like relays; they like cheering for their teammates; they like the challenge that a swim meet provides. Swimmers in our program are assured that there will always be another challenge available to them with Highlander.
At Highlander, we believe that competition is a good thing. This idea permeates every aspect of the program. While the most common definition of competition is striving against another, it is certainly not the only one. Highlander swimmers do compete with others but they also compete with themselves and the stopwatch. Competition is the platform from which the program derives its purpose.
The long term goal of the age group programs are to develop an athlete who is educated in the proper strokes and turns, who is conscientious about practice, and who has the self discipline to move on to the next level, Senior/Varsity Swimming. The coaching staff believes that there are factors that must be present for a swimmer to reach the highest levels of success. These factors are:
- A talented, teachable, coach-able, dedicated, swimmer with a big heart, a positive self-esteem and enormous amounts of perseverance,
- A committed, ultra supportive, patient, and unselfish family,
- A knowledgeable, caring and committed coach,
- Access to a 50 meter facility,
- And last and certainly least...a little luck.