Given the individual discrepancy among swimmers’ motivations, there is no universal solution for how all age groupers should be coached or parented.
Imagine that you’re a 10-year-old swimmer and have just made your first state cut. You’ve been swimming for about three years now and have continued to drop time at each competition. You go to the state meet and swim one or two races – you don’t make finals, but you do manage to improve on your seed time.
After the season is over, your coach has a meeting with you and your parents. Your coach tells you that you could be really good and suggests that you move up into the next group: the 11-12 group that’s focused on state meet performance. Because you love the feeling of being good at something, you accept without hesitation.