Thank you for your interest in the COHO Swim Club!

COHO was founded in 1971 as part of the Deerfield Park District.

COHO is run by full-time coaches who are also employees of the park district and a volunteer elected Parent Board.

COHO offers opportunities beyond swimming to integrate the team into the community.


If your swimmer is not quite ready for COHO:

Information on swim lessons through the Deerfield Park District can be found here:

Aquatics Manager Jeff Napolski is in charge of the swim lesson program, and he can be reached at: [email protected]



Sign-up for new swimmer tryouts for the winter season is closed

Winter tryouts will be held after Thanksgiving space permitting

If you filled out an interest form you will be contacted after Thanksgiving to set-up a tryout

The winter season runs 12/26/22 - 2/23/23 for Developmental swimmers, and 12/5/22 - 2/23/22 for Age Group swimmers


General Tryout Information:

If you are not a resident of Deerfield, or you have not set up a Deerfield Park District online registration account follow the directions here to set up an account prior to trying out:


Minimum Requirements:

In order to join the team, your child must be at least 5 years old and successfully complete a tryout with a COHO coach.

Children must be able to swim with their face completely in the water and turn their head to the side to breathe to tryout.

During the tryout a coach will assess the following minimum requirements for each child:

  • If they can perform at least 1 full length of freestyle (front crawl) with face in the water and side breathing
  • If they can perform at least 1 full length of backstroke with body at surface the entire time
  • If they look relaxed in the water and are not showing signs of "survival" or panicked swimming
  • If they are comfortable in the deep end (5 feet) and can go under & touch the bottom in the shallow end (3 1/2 feet)
  • If they seem mature enough for a larger group practice setting (vs. the smaller group swim lesson setting)

Please note, swimmers may be asked to demonstrate additional skills to determine specific group placement

Freestyle example with side breaths:

For swimmers who successfully complete a tryout and are brand new to swimming, COHO's Developmental Program is awesome! We focus on instruction, learning, and fun coupled with deliberate practice. We want our swimmers to enjoy coming to practice and we approach skill aquisition through habit, routine, and dynamic structure. We focus on helping swimmers of all ages and abilities have fun, develop friendships, set goals, and experience success in the best possible team setting. We aim to instill a sense of Spirit, Character, and Pride in all participants, and we strive to assist our swimmers in becoming outstanding individuals in all aspects of life, even beyond their athletic achievements.

Minnows (ages 9&under) and Sharks (ages 10&over) practices are offered for 45 minutes, 4 evenings per week, Mon-Thu at the Sachs Recreation Center. The times are: Minnows 5:15-6:00pm and Sharks 6:15-7:00pm. Swimmers are not required to attend all 4 practices every week, but the more often they attend, the quicker they tend to learn and progress to the next level. Two to three practices per week is acceptable, but there is no set attendance policy and you do not need to notify the coach which days your swimmer will or will not attend.

If your swimmer is more advanced, he or she may be placed in a group in our Age Group Program.


Registration Information:

Brochure Information:  Search for COHO Swim Club

When you've passed a tryout you can sign up here:


Residency: All-District 109, 112 & 113 residents are residents for the COHO program. This includes families living in Deerfield, Bannockburn, Riverwoods, Highland Park, Highwood, and Fort Sheridan.



Most swimmers begin in Minnows or Sharks:

General Information - Minnows & Sharks:

  • The winter 2022-2023 practice schedule for new Minnows (9&under) and Sharks (10&over) is:

  • Minnows: 5:30-6:15pm Monday through Thursday at Sachs Recreation Center (12/19/2022 - 2/28/2023)

  • Sharks: 6:15-7:30pm Monday through Thursday at Sachs Recreation Center (12/19/2022 - 2/28/2023)
    • Please arrive 5-10 minutes before practice begins.

Note: Minnows & Sharks from the fall season will continue to practice 6:30-7:15pm at Deerfield High School during the winter


Typical Minnows & Sharks Practices look like this: 



We normally start with a short swim and kick to get the swimmers moving.  

Immediately after we do short repeats of drills for review. We will add in some kicking and longer swim repeats to build endurance. 


Small groups: 

Typically we split up into small groups at either end of the pool and work on short distance swimming. This is where the high focus on learning, excellence, and deliberate practice is born and fostered. After the routine of warmup we have established that "play time," or "not swimming time" is over. Like an expectant song you play on repeat, we move into "high focus time." 

During the small groups we do lots of repetition where we are exacting in our feedback and expectations. We'll do things like, 3 times, streamline, plus three strokes of freestyle with a flip, no breathing. Our goal here is to have an excellent all three things streamline, three excellent strokes that do not wobble the body and move correctly, and a flip without breathing before it. 

Coaches attempt to give feedback on every attempt and push our swimmers to more and more complicated swim motions. 

More examples: 

- 5 x SL + 5 FR + 1 breath + flip

- 3 x SL + 2 BR K

- 3 x SL (to the flags) + 3 BK (after flags)

- 3 x SL + 1 fly stroke no kick


Endurance and Games: 

After doing a high focus activity heavy on the instruction and learning we do a breaking up the monotony game or longer distance swim to practice what we just learned. This is where we'll do our "lap swimming" with 25's ( 1 length swims) or 50's (down and back). Our goals here are to continue the high quality effort in the short distance groups and apply it to a longer swim. 

We also do challenges or games. These are designed to encourage thinking about swimming beyond being told what to do, foster interest in personal body control, and be difficult to accomplish quickly or well. These are not always easy and are intended to stimulate their brains as much as their physical motions. 

Sometimes we also do "read the board" activities where swimmers form groups in their lanes and follow a list of choices and activities. This is to start learn how to read the board and how to get familiar with the swimming language.