Northwest Aquatic League

League mailing and email address

The Northwest Aquatic League, or NWAL, has become one of the 3 largest summer league programs in the nation with as many as 101 teams and over 15,000 swimmers from ages 4 to 18. The core area of the league is located in the northwest Harris County form Cypress to Humble but stretch as far west as Giddings, north to Bryan and Huntsville, and east to Crosby.

The NWAL season begins in early  May and runs till the end of June.   The teams are divided into 5 and 6 team divisons spread out over 4 regions.  Some teams have as many as 350 swimmers while others only have 45 to 50 swimmers.  Each team in a division competes in a dual meet with each of the other teams.  The season concludes with a divisional meet with all the teams.  During the season and following divisionals, several invitational meets are scheduled. 


In 1970, Shell Oil transferred many families from California to the Houston area.  These families settled in the northwest part of Houston and wanted to continue the swimming experiences they had begun in California.  So five fathers, employees of Shell Oil, got together and established the NORTHWEST AQUATIC LEAGUE.  The first five teams in the league that year were Forest Oaks, River Plantation, Northampton, Ponderosa Forest, and Westador.  Governing rules were based on those that had been used in Menlo, California.

In the early days, the division line-ups were determined by a committee of five who would place teams according to what that committee believed to be the size and strength of each team.  In 1985, Pete Junkins developed what was called the ‘power-rating’ formula.  Team size, meet scores and season record were taken into account mathematically.  As the league becaome ore computerized in the early 2000's, team management software has been used to create a Super Meet or Big Meet that uses the previous year's divisional meet data to score a mock meet with aged up swimmers in each a region.

Parent volunteers have been and continue to be the key to the success of NWAL over the past 40+ years.  In most cases, the coaches are paid but there are cases in which the coaches are also volunteers.  Each division elects a representative who sits on the Board of Directors.  The Executive Board consists of a President, Vice-president of Training & Certification, Vice-president of Software, Secretary and a Treasurer.  The Board meets four times a year to set the guidelines for the season.  These meetings are open to any interested party, although, only the division reps and executive board members can vote.  Each team is then represented at the annual meeting held in January.  The major purpose of this meeting is to disseminate all of the information for the coming season.