Bison Swimming
Road Map

The University of Manitoba Bison Swim Club is a medium-sized, performance-focused, competitive swimming organization that primarily trains out of the Active Living Centre on the University of Manitoba Fort Garry campus.

The main goal of our program is to set our athletes up for success as they enter their physical prime. Proper technical development and racing IQ are fundamental skills that are focused on in the early years of our program. We believe athletes in high school require time to recover, therefore our program emphasizes training quality over quantity. After moving on from our age-group program, our athletes are ready to maximize their potential success in our sport. 

To date, our club has produced many provincial record holders, national qualifiers, national champions, national record holders, Junior national team members, and senior national team members. 

Sarah Watson | Junior National Team Member

Mackenzie Glover | Senior National Team Member & 2019 Pan Am Games Bronze Medalist 

Kelsey Wog | Senior National Team Member & 2020 Olympian 

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Starting Your Journey as a Bison:

The Bison Swim Club is focused on developing performance-focused athletes. Due to our small training environment, performance level and training habits (attendance, work ethic, etc.) are the top priority when deciding which swimmers to populate the limited training space with. Therefore, not every athlete will be invited to progress to the subsequent training group. When this occurs, the swimmer will typically either move on from the sport or if they wish to continue, the Bison Swim club can help facilitate a transfer to another local swim club with more space to accommodate a wider spectrum of athletes.

The club has the following training groups which are categorized by age, skill level, performance level, and training habits:

Mini Bisons

  • Ages 7-14

  • Pre-competitive

  • 1-3x per week

  • 1-3 hours per week

  • 10-week session

  • 3 sessions per season (Fall, Winter, Spring)
     

The Mini Bison program is designed to introduce swimmers to competitive swimming skills such as freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly, starts, turns, streamlining, kicking, and floating. To qualify to take part in Mini Bisons, a skill assessment must be completed by one of the Bison swimming coaches. Mini Bisons operates in 10-week blocks, three times per year (Fall, Winter, and Spring). Swimmers can swim 1-3x per week. This program aims to find swimmers who love being in the water and are eager to compete in the sport; these swimmers will eventually be moved into our competitive program. Mini Bisons is an opportunity for swimmers to explore whether competitive swimming is a sport they would like to pursue on a more serious level.

Bison Racers

  • Ages 7-15

  • Competitive

  • 1-3x per week

  • 1-3 hours per week

  • Full season i.e., Sept-June
     

Bison Racers is an introduction to competitive swimming. This training group runs concurrently with the Mini Bisons program making for a seamless transition from Mini Bisons to Bison Racers. This training group provides swimmers with the opportunity to try competitive swimming. Swimmers in the Bison Racers program will train 1-3x per week from Sept-June and will also compete in external swim meets against swimmers from other local clubs (typically held at the Pan Am Pool). Swimmers MUST compete in external swim meets to register for Bison Racers i.e., it is not an option to train with the group without racing. If a swimmer has aged out of Mini Bisons (i.e., older than 15) and is not interested in racing, we can recommend other swim fitness programs that are available at the U of M. If after training with Bison Racers, a swimmer has reached an adequate skill, performance, and training level (determined by the coaching staff) and is interested in pursuing swimming more seriously they will be invited to move up to the Youth group.

Youth

  • Ages 8-13

  • Competitive

  • 5x per week

  • 5 hours per week

  • Additional strength training optional

  • Full season i.e., Sept-June
     

The Youth training group is the first serious step toward pursuing competitive swimming. At this stage, participation in other sports (school sports for example) is supported and encouraged. Athletes in this training group are typically aiming towards competing at Junior Provincial Championships and Provincial Championships. If after training with the Youth group, a swimmer has reached an adequate skill, performance, and training level (determined by the coaching staff) and is interested in increasing their commitment level, they will be invited to move up to the Junior Development group.

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Junior Development

  • Ages 11-16

  • Competitive

  • 6x per week

  • 6.5 hours per week of swimming

  • 2 hours per week of strength training (optional)

  • Full season i.e., Sept-June
     

The Junior Development group is catered to athletes who have made the decision to focus primarily on swimming. At this stage, participation in other sports is still supported, however, swimmers are encouraged to begin reducing other extra-curricular activities to a manageable level. Athletes in this training group are typically aiming towards competing at Provincial Championships and qualifying for Western Championships. If after training with the Junior Development group, a swimmer has reached an adequate skill, performance, and training level (determined by the coaching staff) and is interested in increasing their commitment level, they will be invited to move up to the Junior group.

Junior

  • Ages 13-18

  • Competitive

  • 6x per week

  • 10 hours per week of swimming

  • 5 hours per week of strength

  • Full season i.e., Sept-June
     

The Junior group is catered to athletes who have made the decision to focus on swimming. At this stage, participation in other sports is supported on a case-by-case basis. In general, athletes will be encouraged to focus on swimming. Athletes in this training group are typically aiming towards competing at Provincial Championships, Western Championships, and Age Group Nationals. If after training with the Junior group, a swimmer has reached an adequate skill, performance, and training level (determined by the coaching staff) and is interested in increasing their commitment level, they will be invited to move up to the Senior group.

Senior 

  • Ages 16 & Up

  • Competitive

  • 10x per week

  • 12 hours per week of swimming

  • 7 hours per week of strength

  • Full season i.e., Sept-June
     

The Senior group is designed for high-performance swimmers who are not in university. Athletes in this training group are typically aiming to compete at Western Championships, Age Group Nationals & National Championships.

Varsity

University students who have met the minimum performance standard may be offered a roster spot on the University of Manitoba Bisons Varsity Swim Team.