Lake Forest Swim Club FAQs

General Club Information:

1. Who is the Lake Forest Swim Club?

The Lake Forest Swim Club (LFSC) is a private year-round USA Swimming program wholly supported by membership fees and the fundraising efforts of our members.  We are a club with high goals and ambitions, seeking excellence in all aspects of the program.

Founded in 1958, we are the oldest and most successful swim club in Lake County.

2. Who are the coaches?

Together our coaching staff has over a 100+ years of experience, working with developing swimmers as well as with the most elite coaches and athletes in the country.

Our Head Coach and Executive Director is Michael Lawrence.  Our Senior Assistant Coach is Laurel Liberty.  Maureen Sheehan is our Coach Emeritus.  To learn more about our coaches, please click HERE.

3. Where is the LFSC located?

Coaches’ offices and most swim practices are located on the South Campus of Lake Forest College in the Lake Forest College Sports and Recreation Center.  The Sports Center is on the corner of N. Sheridan and Maplewood in Lake Forest. 

4. How do I contact the coaches?

The best way to reach Coach Michael or Coach Laurel is by e-mail. 

Our office phone number is (847) 735-5372 and our mailing address is 555 N. Sheridan Rd, Lake Forest, IL 60045.


Coach Laurel: 

Coach Michael:

Practice Squads:

1. What are the different practice squads at the LFSC?

We offer both a competitive team and swim lessons at the LFSC. 

Competitive Team:

There are five different levels on our competitive team:

Yellow Squad (ages 7-12)  Swimmers must be able to consistently perform all four strokes, with reasonable stroke integrity, as well as perform starts and turns legally.  Yellow squad members continue technical development and begin aerobic conditioning.

Green Squad (ages 9-13)  Swimmers refine stroke skills, learn how to practice, develop a strong aerobic system, and learn race strategy skills.

Bronze Squad (ages 11-HS) The Bronze Squad is a demanding Elite Age Group program.  This squad is by invitation only and requires demonstration of commitment and achievement prior to invitation. Sophisticated dryland training and advanced training techniques put pre-senior swimmers on the pathway to maximizing their abilities as senior level swimmers.

Senior Squad (HS) This squad is for high school swimmers of all abilities.  This program uses specific training methods, strategies and techniques to maximize competitive performance. Dryland training techniques are also a significant aspect of the LFSC Senior program.

National Squad The National Squad is a very demanding highly specialized elite squad for swimmers striving to achieve in National level competition. This squad is by invitation only and requires a level of fitness and commitment consistent with the demands of elite-level swimming.

Swim Lessons:

We offer two levels of swim lessons at LFSC:

Mini Ducks  Our Mini Duck program is an advanced swim lesson for children ages 5+ who are comfortable (floating) in the water but have not mastered arm strokes and breathing and kicking in freestyle or backstroke.

The goal of these lessons is to build on learning and listening skills, increase comfort in the waer, let children explore movement, and put them on a path to joining the swim team.

Prospective Mini Ducks need basic “water smarts” and must be able to use a kickboard and independently use the locker rooms.

Mighty Ducks  The Mighty Ducks squad is for young swimmers ages 5-10 years who have progressed beyond basic swim lessons and would like to make further progress to our competitive team. Swimmers in the Mighty Ducks must be at least 5 years old, complete a skill evaluation, and be able to swim 25 meters of freestyle and backstroke with fundamental stroke integrity. 

Mighty Ducks also need basic “water smarts” and must be able to use a kickboard and independently use the locker rooms.

2. How do I know what squad I should sign up for?

Please contact Coach Laurel or Coach Michael to schedule a skill evaluation. They will make the determination as to which squad is the best fit based on age, ability, experience and willingness to meet the commitment expected for each squad. Our Age Group program is skill oriented with a gradual increase in the emphasis on physical conditioning.  The Senior program progresses in a similar fashion with an increase in both physical demand and commitment.


1. When are practices?

Practice times and days depend on which squad you are on.  They can also vary by season and are always subject to pool availability.  In general, practices are held weekdays in the afternoons and evenings sometime between 4:00 and 8:00pm.  Our Bronze and Senior squads have Saturday morning practices as well.  We also have weekday morning practices for our competitive teams in the spring and summer.

The Mini Ducks classes are held two days a week, usually on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 30 minutes.  Times vary according to pool availability but will generally be earlier in the evening.

The Mighty Ducks have class three days week, usually Monday, Wednesday and Friday, for 45 minutes.  Times are also subject to pool availability, but generally early in the evening. 

For specific practice times by squad, we update our calendar on a regular basis.  This will give you a good idea of our exact practice schedule on any given day.

2. Where are practices?

During the school year, LFSC practices at Lake Forest College and Lake Forest Academy, located at 1500 W Kennedy Rd., Lake Forest, IL 60045.  In the summer months, some of our competitive squads use the outdoor pool in Lake Bluff located at 355 W. Washington Ave., Lake Bluff, IL 60044.

Check the LFSC calendar on our website for exact practice locations for each day.

Swimmers in all levels should regularly check the calendar as last minute changes to times and locations can occur.

3. How long do practices last?

The length of the practice depends on the squad, but ranges from an hour to two hours, in addition to “dryland” sessions.

4. What should I bring to practice?

Swimmers at every level should bring a cap, goggles, competitive suit, and fins.  A kickboard is also recommended.  Swimmers on the Yellow squad should also bring a snorkel and those on the Green squad and up should bring a snorkel and paddles.  You can purchase any of this equipment at Kiddles Sports in Lake Forest or go HERE for more information.


1. Do I have to swim in a meet?

Participating in meets is not required, but is very strongly recommended.

2. I want to swim in a meet!  What kinds of meets does LFSC have?

LFSC swimmers participate in two basic types of meets:

Intra-squad competitions:  Mighty Ducks, Yellow, and Green squads participate in an intra-squad meet on the first Wednesday of each month during regular practices times.  No sign up is required.

Club meets: Swimmers on the Yellow, Green, Bronze, Senior and National squads participate in USA Swimming sanctioned meets, generally held on weekends.  Sessions are either in the morning or the afternoon depending on age (and is not based on what LFSC squad you are on) and generally last about 4 hours.  You can choose to participate one day of the weekend or two. You are required to sign up for regular meets, if you choose to participate.

3. Sounds great!  How do I sign up for club meets?

When you are logged into your account, go to the “Meet Sign Up” tab under "Member Information."  This page will list all of the meets the LFSC is participating in.  Click on the “attend/decline” button below the meet you want to attend, and then click on your swimmer’s name.  In the drop down, select “yes, please sign up for this meet.”  Leave a note in the “notes” section if you have special instructions, i.e., can only attend one day of the meet. The coaches will place your swimmer in the events.

4. When should I sign up?

Each meet will have a deadline, typically 6-8 weeks in advance.  Pay close attention to this date as we cannot usually enter you in a meet after the deadline or get entry fees back.  You will receive an e-mail 7 days prior to the entry deadline to remind you.

5. When should I arrive at a meet?

Prior to the meet, the “Meet Sign Up” tab will have warm-up time.  Arrive in time to get settled and check-in before warm-up begins.

6. What should I bring to a meet?

Bring your team suit and cap, goggles, towels, t-shirts, warm-ups, etc.  If there is a Heat Sheet, be sure to download it and print it before the meet.


1. I want to be a Lake Forest Duck!  How do I sign up?

Once you have done your evaluation and know what squad you are on, go to our website at and click on the “Team Registration" button found on the right hand side of the home page or in the drop down under "Join the team" and follow the prompts.  Be sure to complete all required information including waivers.

Once you have registered, you will have a team account that you can use to pay bills or track your swimmer's times.  See our Financial Policies for more information about monthly bills.  

Register early, classes for the Mini and Mighty Ducks do fill up!

2. What are the rates?

Rates vary depending on your squad and which membership you choose.  Once your skill evaluation is complete, you will receive a packet which contains exact rates for each type of membership.

3. Ok, so what are the different types of memberships?

We offer three different types of memberships:

a. Annual Membership, from September 1-August 31 or April 1-March 31.


b. Seasonal Membership, Short Course from September 1-March 3 and Long Course from April 1-August 31.  "Short Course" and "Long Course" refers to the size of the pool we compete in during that part of the year.  Short course is a 25-yard pool, long course is a 50-meter pool.


c. Summer Membership, from April 1-June 15

You can choose the option that best fits your family’s schedule.

Club Policies:

1. Are we allowed to use the facilities at Lake Forest College (LFC) and the Lake Forest Academy (LFA)?

First and foremost, it is important to remember that we are guests of both LFC and LFA.  Swimmers, parents, siblings and caretakers must always respect the property and students/patrons of these facilities.  Failure to do so could result in our not being able to use these facilities.

For LFA specifically:

  • LFSC members (swimmers and their families) may not be in any area of the grounds except the pool and the pool viewing area.


  • LFSC members may only use the restrooms located in the pool viewing corridor.  Changing is not permitted in these restrooms.  Swimmers should arrive at practice already changed.


  • Swimmers may only use the locker rooms after 7:30.  This ensures that LFA student-athletes have privacy and priority use of this space.


  • Even while using the locker rooms, swimmers must change quickly and maintain proper behavior in the locker room.


  • No Adults other than coaches are allowed in the locker rooms.  Children must be able to independently use the locker rooms before joining the LFSC. 

 For LFC specifically:

  • Swimmers must use the locker rooms in the pool area, NOT the locker rooms next to the weight room.  These locker rooms are for members of the LFC Sports and Recreation Center only.


  • No Adults other than coaches are allowed in the locker rooms.  Children must be able to independently use the locker rooms before joining the LFSC.


2. Can I go in the locker rooms to help my child change before or after practice?

No. No Adults other than coaches are allowed in the locker rooms.  Children must be able to independently use the locker rooms before joining the LFSC.  Coaches will only enter a locker room under extreme circumstances.

3. Do I have to volunteer for anything?


Swim meets hosted by LFSC are an important source of revenue for our non-profit club.  We host four meets annually and Championship meets as awarded.  Hosting these prestigious meets requires the dedicated efforts and support of our coaches, Board of Directors and Members. Therefore, members are required to provide minimum support as follows:

a. Families with a child participating in a meet are required to provide one worker (age 14 and up) for each session the child participates in.


b. For championship meets we ask for, but do not require your support.

Also, we are often asked to provide a few parent volunteers at meets we do not host.  While this is not required of every parent who has a child swimming in the meet, we are required to provide some assistance to the host club.  Please consider volunteering at these meets as well.

4. What kinds of jobs are there?  Do I need any experience?

Most jobs at meets do not require any kind of experience.  We need timers, safety marshals, concessions workers, runners, etc.  You can sign up for a specific job prior to the meet.  The sign up is on our website under the “Meet Sign Up” tab

5. What if I can’t be at a meet my child is swimming in to volunteer?

If we do not have enough parent volunteers at any particular session of a hosted meet, we contract with various local groups to fill positions as necessary.  Each position we hire has an additional $80/position negative impact on our profit. We understand that the club event calendar may come into conflict with the family calendar and simply ask that families unable to provide support at a particular meet offset the financial impact to the club.


1. What kind of fundraising does LFSC do?

Because LFSC is a private club wholly supported by membership fees and fundraising (we do not receive funds from a school district or a park district), we do a number of different fundraisers throughout the year.

  • Our biggest fundraiser is our Golf Outing held in late May or early June each year.


  • In October of each year we host our annual Duck-a-thon.  This is a fun night where swimmers at all levels can swim laps to raise money for LFSC.


  • We have opportunities for team sponsorships available; please see Coach Mike for details.


  • Finally we have our Annual Giving Campaign in late fall each year.                                                                                                                                      

2. How can I help?

Please see our website at the “Fundraising” tab for more details on all our fundraising efforts.