Please review the  Mini Gator Guide for more information about the Mini Gator program and the progression to Gator.

Is my child ready to be a Mini Gator?

Mini Gators are team members that, at a minimum, must be comfortable in the water. If this is the first time you are registering your child, we must rely on your judgment that they are ready to join a group practice that is held in the water! Some things you should consider before enrolling your child: 

  • Can your child leave the parent and get into the water, working with other Mini Gators, willingly?
  • Can your child fully submerge their head for 5 seconds in the water?
  • Can your child stand on their own in the water without holding onto someone else’s hand?
  • Can your child propel themselves for a short distance in the pool?
  • Can your child follow directions?
  • Is your child willing to work well in a group?

If you cannot answer yes to the large majority of the questions above, it may be best for you to wait another summer before joining the swim program. Maybe a summer of private lessons or simply time in the water with the parent is the right thing. Remember – each child develops at his/her own pace and not all of our “Gator Greats” began swimming at the age of 4! Don’t force your child, but encourage them to join when they are ready!

Is my child a Mini Gator or a Gator?



The AST is open to swimmers, ages 4 – 18. Because that age span has very different skill sets, at Accokeek we distinguish between Gators and Mini Gators. We understand that the future of our team is grounded in capturing the enthusiasm and spirit of swimmers at the youngest age possible. But, we also know that each child learns at their own pace; and for each child’s safety and the efficiency of practices, we must make some distinctions regarding skills.


In order to be a Gator, the swimmer must meet at least the minimum requirements listed below.  The coaches will help make the determination about the appropriate group.


Physical Swimming Capability:

  • Ability to swim 25 meter freestyle without stopping, standing, or needing assistance.
  • Ability to immediately follow the 25 meter freestyle with a 25 meter backstroke, again without standing, stopping or needing other assistance.
  • Ability to practice for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour in various activities including lap swimming, drylands, group activities, or other activities to enhance swimming performance.

Emotional Capability:

  • Ability to listen to a coach and then do that activity, exhibiting both good listening skills and the ability to follow those instructions.
  • Ability to work in a larger team environment (ratio 1 coach to approximately 15 swimmers) with no one-on-one attention and using proper manners to ask the coach for further clarification.
  • Desire and commitment to want to swim for approximately 45 minutes in organized activities, including lap swimming, dry land exercises, breathing techniques, and other developmental activities assigned by the coach.