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Information

Mini-Makos Program

This program is specifically designed as a precursor to swim team for younger children who are not yet ready for competition swimming.  The former Micro-Mako program is being merged with the Mini-Mako program beginning with the 2018 season.  

A mandatory Mini-Mako Parent Meeting will be held on deck on May 30th at 6 pm. 

The Mini-Mako program is the overall responsibility of the Makos Head Coach.  Daily practices are run by the Assistant Head Coach Lead for the Mini-Makos program.   Additional volunteer swimmer coaches (minimum age 13 and good role model/strong swimmer) assist with running the practices and monitoring for child safety. While efforts are made to ensure enough coaches are available for every practice, because these are volunteers and work based on availability, this cannot always be guaranteed. Swimmer safety is our top priority.  We hope that the older swimmers will bond with the younger ones and mentor them in their growth with the team.   

This program is not intended to replace regular swim lessons if beneficial to your swimmer. 

While there is no minimum age requirement for this program, kids are typically in the 4-7 age range and must meet the following criteria:

  • They must pass the swim assessment (described below) *

  • They must be willing to put their head underwater

  • They must be comfortable and consistent in wearing goggles

  • They must be easily separated from parents (although within sight distance, but not “with” them during practice)

  • Child must be potty-trained

  • They must be willing to follow simple directions from the coaches

  • The maximum number of swimmers allowed in this program is 30, per contract with the Meadowbrook Woods HOA.

We will administer an assessment to all swimmers in the Mini program. This assessment allows Coaches to determine proper groupings of the swimmers for practices based on skill level and assure appropriate coaching staff ratios are maintained for each group.  During the first week of practice, coaches will work with all the Mini-swimmers to ready them for this assessment.   

The assessment is relatively simple – it is to “propel” themselves 5 meters from the wall of the pool to the first backstroke flag/pole.   

  • They can do that by diving, jumping or pushing off the wall, and moving through the water, unaided, and without any flotation device, using any swimming motion they wish, staying toward the top of the water. 
  • There is no time limit and the distance requirement is not “hard and fast” if they are otherwise swimming independently.  
  • They must also be willing to hold their breath under water for 5 seconds. 

The focus of this assessment is less on the actual technique used, but rather the child’s readiness to operate in the water somewhat independently, and to take instruction from someone other than their parent.   The assessment will be administered early during the second week of practice by Coaching staff with assistance from a Board Member.     The Lead Coach for the Mini-Mako program will make the final determination of whether the swimmer is ready for our program.   If not, the family will be provided a full refund for their swimmer.

*To minimize disruption to our returning families, micros/minis who were in our 2017 program and who are unable to pass the assessment will be “grandfathered” for the 2018 season only, with the goal that they will develop sufficiently during the season and intervening off-season to be successful next year.   

Given the size of the program, and the need to maintain an appropriate coach to child ratio, our first and foremost concern is swimmer safety.  Grandfathered micros/minis must have a 1:1 coaching ratio while in the water; other minis will have a 5:1 swimmer to coach ratio.    If for any reason the swimmer to coach ratio is not met for a specific practice, some swimmers may be asked to sit on deck (outside the pool) for short periods of their practice time.   We will solicit parent volunteers to assist with monitoring “land” activities.  

In general, Mini-Mako swimmers must be comfortable in the water and working with adults and teen volunteer coaches vs. their own parents (parents are not allowed in the pool).  It is imperative that parents self-screen their children to determine if it is appropriate for them to be a part of this program.

During our practices, we work on freestyle and backstroke, kicking, breathing, body position, streamlining, starting and distance to build towards crossing a 25-meter pool in under a minute.

Once that goal is met with confidence, we encourage our young swimmers to join the rest of the team at meets and try to race with the other 8 and under kids in one of the 25 M events. We also hold a Mini-Meet at the end of the season for all Mini’s to join in and give racing a try in a relaxed setting. Even if the swimmer has not reached the 25 M distance in freestyle, in a mini-race we custom design events so every swimmer can participate.

Some things to help your swimmer succeed in the Mini-Makos. 

  1. Parents must be on the pool deck during practices but may not enter the pool.

  2. Parents need to support the efforts of the coaches to get the kids to follow the rules and stay safe.

  3. Properly fitting goggles are very important.

  4. Each child works at his or her own pace. We want them to enjoy their first experience with the swim team.

  5. Our main goals for the Mini-Makos include the following:

  6. Your child’s safety.

  7. Getting them the stamina and endurance to cross the pool in under a minute and if possible getting them to try a real race.

  8. Focus on Freestyle and Backstroke including proper body position, kicking, breathing, and streamlining.

  9. Once ready, starts are also taught.

  10. To have fun!

The decision to move a Mini-Mako to the regular team will be determined by the Head Coach following a recommendation from the lead Assistant Coach and communicated with the parent/swimmer. This could happen at any time during the season, depending on the swimmer’s readiness.

Near the end of the season, we hold an unofficial “Mini-Meet” to acknowledge everyone’s hard work during the season. Mini-makos who have advanced to the regular team during the season are included. This allows children who haven't made the jump to actual meets to get a taste of multi-lane racing. Awards are presented to all swimmers at the team’s end of season Awards Banquet.