*You must log in to your account in order to edit your information, sign-up for meets, or to sign up for team events & orders


How do I cancel membership?


Send us an e-mail at [email protected] a week or two before the end of a month, letting us know when and why you want to cancel your child's Otters membership. The admin team will see it and be able to make that adjustment.

  • Changes made after autobilling has gone through for a month will be assessed a $25 administration fee. The pre-billing preview is a great time to reply and let us know changes before the billing goes through.

How do I add a name to the e-mails?


Log into the website and adjust your account information by clicking on my account, from there you can update your info. Remember to save changes before logging out!


What is required for practice, or a swim team tryout?

  • Swimsuit: A one piece a swim suit for girls. For boys a racer/brief, or jammers. No trunks are allowed after a swimmer's first week of practice.
  • Goggles:  A swimmer who doesn't have them cannot practice
  • Swim cap: It must be an Otters team cap, each swimmer gets two latex Otters caps a season
  • Water Bottle:  Swimmers musrt bring a plastic or metal water bottle to each practice

Meet Costs

Meet fees are charged to each swimmer participating in a meet, and there are two main ways that meets can be charged, a flat fee or a per event fee.

  • A flat fee for the whole meet
    • Flat fee meets charge one amount no matter how many events a swimmer does.
  • Per Event Fee
    • Initial swimmer entry fee, plus splash fees (cost per event), plus facility fee and sometimes program fee. Some meets are more expensive then others

Relays are divided by the 4 swimmers who compete on them, if a swimmer backs out of the meet last minute resulting in their relay not swimming, they are charged the whole relay fee.

Once entries have been submitted to a meet you are charged the cost of the meet. So, if your swimmer is unable to attend come the day of the meet, you are still charged for it. We are required to submit payment to the host team when we submit our entries, and we do not receive refunds if swimmers do not show up to the meet. Otters do have an administrative fee added to all swimmers at meets to cover the cost of coaches attending.

Your account will be automatically billed for meet fees, you do not need to bring payment with you unless the meet allows open lane swims.

Where can I get team gear?

  •  Team suits, which are required for meets, can be bought at either of Elsmore's stores, or through our team shop on their website here. They are custom order suits.
  • Spirit wear is available at the Uptown YWCA, where we have t-shirts, sweatshirts, winter hats,towels, caps, bumper stickers, decals, mugs, water bottles, and more (limited stock).
  •  Custom team spirit wear can be ordered from our teamidentity store


What is a tech suit? Is it required?


Tech suits are specifically designed for speed in the water. They do not last for many meets, and are not for use in practice. They should only be brought out for major meets. We would recommend them for the following events: Minnetonka Team Challenge, MRC, State Champs, and either Speedo Sectionals or Zones. That's it!


They can be expensive, but a good introductory tech suit is the Speedo Aquablade, which costs about what a regular team suit does.


Can I take lessons with the coaches?


Taking lessons with coaches is something many of our swimmers do. Whether it is for extra technique work, wanting to move up a level, or needing to shave some time off an event, you can access all of our coaches through private lessons. We recommend that swimmers only take lessons with our team coaches, and not take lessons with a regular swim lesson instructor. Coaches have more competitive swimming training, are trained in a consistent technical framework with the Otters team, and know what to look for and change in a swimmers stroke.


Are there other resources you endorse? Which swim camps are good?


During the summer, there are many swim camps that are available to swimmers looking for a new experience.

  • St. Olaf (we recommend this one)
  • Gustavus
  • The U of M

Before registration begins for these camps, we have more information that we can give you about which ones we recommend our swimmers attend.


We endorse Total Immersion swimming, as a Y and a team. We recommend the St. Olaf swim camp, and we have had dozens of swimmers, and two coaches who participated in it in the past.


I want my child with a specific coach. Can you make that happen?


We make no promises or guarantees in regards to a swimmer working with a specific coach. Our coaches tend to work with a specific group all year long, though we do see some overlap form time to time. Especially after meets coaches do an excellent job of communicating progress and things to work on for individual swimmers, and the team as a whole. If they really want to work with a specific coach, private lessons are always an option. We have coaches that work with specific groups, and we try to keep those coaches as consistent as possible. All coaches can coach any group, and do on different occasions depending on what we are doing that day. We want the swimmers to be able to be comfortable with all the different coaches, and be able to take feedback from them all and not just one certain coach. If you want private lessons with a certain coach we can look into that.


How can I contact my child's coach?

Send an email to [email protected] and the admin team can get the message to that coach. You can try and talk to them after practice, sometimes this is difficult though due to all the practices we have back to back.

Who are your team members? Are there young kids, older kids, boys, girls, etc?


We have a broad age range, from ages 6-22, although our college swimmers only train with us when they have breaks, and in in the summer. Each practice group has a rough outline for the ages that are appropriate for it. Younger swimmers are not swimming with kids that are much older then them and vice versa. We are also a coed swim team, so boys and girls practice together. The Senior group sees more of a shift in group makeup depending on when the girls and boys high school seasons are.


What is your team philosophy?


Our team strives to use technical coaching, support, and competition to help each swimmer reach their greatest potential in the sport of swimming as a youth and to love the sport for life.


Goal-setting, team building, and skill work are used to build the plan, competition is our evaluator, and swimmers come out of our program as well-rounded athletes with a deep understanding of their sport.


Our goals are to: train swimmers well technically, teach them to be good teammates, and to encourage them to be competitive with themselves and learn to set, and achieve, goals.


What is the basic progression through levels on the team?


Our team has five basic levels, with practice frequency and length increasing as they move up through the progression.

  • Novice swimmers are new to a swim team, and are learning both improved mechanics of the strokes, and how swim practices and competitions work. Most swimmers joining our team who are 10 or under join this group.
  • River Otters have emerged from Novice and are learning more workout structure and race strategy, practices increase from 1 hour  to 1 hour and 15 minutes, and they are starting to push more.
  • Sea Otters are pushing to the next level of training and competition. To get to Sea Otters you have to have the right focus and drive, be willing to practice more often and for longer periods of time (1hr and 30 min), have time standards, and they must commit to a meet schedule for the season.
  • Pre-Seniors combine more frequent practices with basic cardio and bodyweight exercises in a dryland routine several days a week. They are also required to have time standards, focus and drive, and commit to a meet schedule for the season.
  • Seniors balance rigorous workouts, deep analysis of strokes, and challenging variety of weight and dryland workouts. They need to commit to a training plan for the season, as well as a meet plan for the season.

Where are practices held?

Practices are at two of the Minneapolis YWCA sites:

  • Uptown YWCA: Novice, River, Sea, Presenior, & Senior
  • Midtown YWCA: Novice, River, Sea, Presenior
  • We also use the Richfield Municipal Pool, St. Louis Park Rec Center in the summer months

Can my child come to a different practice than they're signed up for?


Due to the size of our team and the goal of each swimmer getting instant feedback and help strengthening their technique and ability in all strokes, we ask that swimmers stick to the practice group (and the days and times that they are held) that they are signed up for. This way we ensure that each practice group has the room that they need in order to excel, and the coach to swimmer ratio is what it should be.


If you need to adjust your schedule, or switch practice times, please e-mail or speak to a coach so we can work with you to keep your swimmer on the team.


How do I sign up for Otters?

Once your swimmer has come to a Swim Team Tryout, and been given approval to sign up for a specific group, you can then go ahead and start the registration process. This is the only way to register. We cannot register you over the phone or in person. Once you have created your account and registered your swimmer, the website becomes your hub of information and keeps you connected to the team. It is how you register for meets and events, and how you find out all the latest news

Once you have signed up, your registration just needs to be approved by our administrative team before your swimmer starts coming to practice.


The Otters will not accept new swimmers (new swimmers can start at the beginning of a month) to the River and Sea groups in the months of February, March, and July so as to avoid disrupting the competitive postseason. The Pre-Seniors and Senior groups will not accept any swimmers from January - March


Novice Otters can start coming at the beginning of a month, as long as there is room in the group you want.


How does billing work?


After your initial registration, billing is automatically charged on the 1st of each month.

  • Please review your bill in the preview that comes out before the end of the month. Use the link and log in to check each charge before it occurs.
  • Let us know if your membership status changes (member or nonmember of the YWCA). Changes need to go into effect before autobilling goes out on the 1st of every month, in order to be used for a month's billing.
  • All meet fees and other event or gear fees are added to the invoice automatically. Meet fees cannot be refunded if a swimmer misses a meet, as the team is required to pay the host team when we submit entries. Once entries are sent to the host team, we will not change our entry fees.
  • Changes after billing has gone through (on the 1st of every month), including cancelations, will be assessed a $25 administration fee.

How do I choose a group for Otters?


Through our website we provide information on all of our different practice groups ( we have five), their schedules and locations, age range of each group and the prerequisite of each practice group. We ask that you look over the information on the website so you are informed as to how our team is structured, what is required and what we look for.


The best way to choose a group for your swimmer is to sign up for a Swim Team Tryout . We offer a few a month at Uptown. If you look at the tryout page you will see all of the Tryouts listed, their locations and times. Tryouts take between 15 - 30 minutes typically, it depends on how many swimmers sign up. After the tryout is over, a coach will let you know if your swimmer is ready for Otters, and which group your swimmer should start in/what the next steps are.


How many practices does my child need to come to?


Our coaches design practices based on moving an entire group through skill progressions. We ask that swimmers in Novice and River come to at least two practices a week, 3 when possible. Swimmers in the Sea Otters group have five practices a week, at least 4 practices per week are expected, five practices a week is great when they are able to.


Swimmers who are not attending practices on a regular basis, without notifying us, will waive their spot to swimmers on the waitlist for that practice time. Parents should understand that the kids requiring the most work from coaches, distracting the group to work on makeup skills instead of moving on to the next sequence, are the swimmers who are not attending.


Can I watch practice? From where?


Each site has an area where parents can watch practice from afar.

  • Uptown - you can watch practice through the windows from the upstairs lobby.
  • Midtown - there are windows in the gym you can watch through.

Parents are not allowed on the pooldeck during practice, not to keep them away from their children, but to allow their children space so they have a better learning environment.


I don't think my child should compete. Why do your require this, or can I be exempted from the rule?


Children registered in any group, Novice - Senior, do have to participate in meets, building to the appropriate postseason meet. Competition can mean many things to a young athlete, and we feel it should be a celebration and recognition of the swimmer's own quest for improvement.


Can my child take a break from Otters?


Yes, but we do require a written communication (e-mail) from families before we “de-activate” a swimmers account. This must happen before the 1st of each month, preferably a week before. Then, before they return, just send us another e-mail letting us know they want to come back.  We will make sure there is room in the practice group you want, and then re-activate their account.

Otters is a year round team and swimmers come and go as needed due to schedules. We do not allow any swimmers, new or returning, to start back up in:

  • For River & Sea they cannot start up in the months of February, March and July
  • For Pre-Senior & Senior they cannot start up in the months of December - March
  • Novices can start at the beginning of each month, as long as there is room in the practice group you want.

This is to aviod disrupting the competitive postseason, and change the flow of the groups.