Frequently Asked Questions

Entry Level Group Explanation

This is the first step into the wonderful world of swim team. OCCS coaches keep it fun and relaxed, because these are young swimmers and this is usually their first year. We concentrate on stroke technique, drills and some endurance training. This is a great way to introduce the sport without too much, too soon. This group does attend swim meets and will work towards the same goals as IMR. This group helps them prepare for IMR, which is the next level of training.

This is probably one of the largest ranges in groups. It varies between "newbies" and vets. Last year we had swimmers who qualified in Junior Olympics, finished top 10 in the IMX games, and moved up into the Pre-National group as they surpassed some IMX level swimmers with more of a technique focus. We also had swimmers still working on perfecting the 100 IM. Whatever the age or skill level, this group really focuses on hard work, advanced skills, strength training and goal setting. This group does attend swim meets, and sets goals high. Even though IMR isn't considered an advanced group, this is where the foundation is started to be advanced.


This is an advanced age group program that focuses on some skills, but most skill work is wrapped around fitness training and longer sets.  Kids that are in this group should already have very advanced skills including the ability to swim longer distances in all four strokes without too much deterioration of mechanics as they get tired. 

(Return to top of the page)


Q- "Why OCCS and not another team?"
A- We get this question a lot and here is what a couple of coaches would say:

"I can't speak poorly against other teams, because I do not represent them nor do I have any experience with them. I can only speak for what I do know and put my full faith in. OCCS is a team on the rise, because of their dedicated swimmers, parents and coaches. You can look at stats and see how much we are always improving and where we rank as a whole. But most importantly I love this team because I think that our swimmers are very kind. They are the kind of kids you want your child to become lifelong friends with. The kind of kids that will stay away from drugs and drinking and will support each other in doing so. Are we the fastest team in the world? No, maybe we will be someday. But speed is just one element in a child's swimming career. The other element is much grander in my eyes. We teach and encourage sportsmanship, maturity, hard-work, loyalty, pride, goal-setting, friendship and so much more. Why join OCCS? Because you join a family."

“OCCS is a non-profit organization with the mission of helping each individual swimmer have an incredible swimming experience.  We pride ourselves on our exceptional coaching, supportive parents and incredible swimmers working together to make a great team.  We have an organized system of communication, billing and support to help each parent feel well informed and part of the team.  Our swim meets are well managed and most of them are local and provide a great swimmer-first experience.  Overall, you can not find a group of cooperating members and coaches working together as well as OCCS”

“OCCS is not just a team, we are a family of swimmers.  Although we have grown to almost 500 swimmers in five sites in the area, the team still has a small town feel of support while providing big time opportunities to become the next great Olympian.”

(Return to top of the page)

Max/Flex Option

Q-I only want to swim two days a week, but I don't see which days are offered?
A- Most groups this season are being offered in the "Max/flex" option. This means, you have maximum flexibility. We know how crazy everyone's schedule is and how things come up. In the past when we offered 2/3 day options and when something came up (birthdays, sickness, vacation) and you missed one or two days, we were not able to accommodate the change in your schedule.  We want to make sure you have the ability to get your swimmer to practice and give you some flexibility as well. So if you are in a group which offers 6 practices (Let's say IMR), you may attend 6 workouts, but all six are not required.  You may attend as many or as few as you would like. However, of course, the more you attend the more your swimmer will improve.

(Return to top of the page)

Swimmer Ability Level

Q-I heard OCCS is only for really good swimmers, how do I get my child good enough to join?

A-More than likely, there is a group for your swimmer now! Every swimmer, Michael Phelps included started at the bottom. If your child is 6 or older and can swim 2 laps of freestyle and 1 lap of another stroke, then we have a spot for them! However, please understand this is not swim lessons. More times than not, no coach will be in the water for instruction and it won't be like summer swim with the playtime and silly activities. It is the first step to prepare them for competition and proper stroke technique and some endurance training. It is fun for the kids in a different way than summer – we promote that swimming and learning to swim fast is FUN!

(Return to top of the page)

Contract Options

Q-my child wants to do many other sports, can I just join for 3 months?
A- Occoquan Swimming does not have seasonal memberships (except in certain locations we do offer high school preparation programs).  Many of our programs fill up and there is not any space for seasonal memberships, however in some cases there may be openings to start later in the season if you prefer not to join in September.  Just note your swimmer may not receive the start up gear and their spot is not confirmed until you register.  From the point of registering, your contract will continue until the end of the 9-month programs, May 27 (unless you add the summer option on).  We understand that many of our swimmers are active in other activities. We understand that some kids have not fully decided on what sport is "their sport".  Although we as coaches want to see the swimmers as often as possible, there are times throughout the season that other activities get in the way… just be sure to communicate your intentions to your swimmer’s coach and they can better keep track of them when they are planning to be at practices. 

We only offer 9 and 11 month contracts:
These are balanced around the team’s commitment to facility rental and professional coaching contracts.  Regardless if your swimmer is at practice, we have the set the opportunity up for your swimmer to be there and have to pay for the space for them.  OCCS coaches also make lesson plans for the season that involve helping your swimmer grow and progress throughout the swimming year.  In September for example, the IMR group may be swimming 1000 yards per practice going through certain aspects very slowly to make sure the lessons stick, by March, this  may be up to 3000 yards per practice and things are moving very quickly.  Swimmers that start on time and are committed to regular practices will progress with the challenges, others that only attend sporadically may struggle.

Q-how long is the contract and why is there a contract?
A-There are two choices; 9 and 11 month. The 9 month contract starts in Sept and continues til about when summer league starts, give or take. The 11 month contract continues thru July. There is also an opportunity to extend the 9 month to the 11 month at a later time.  These are based on a seasonal progression of group and also required to ensure our contract obligations with facilities and staff are taken care of.  You will be a member of a special organization and we look forward to having you for the entire season. 

(Return to top of the page)


Q-what are the payment options?

A-OCCS offers a pay up front option, an option to pay in three installments or pay in nine monthly installments.  It is important to note that these are not monthly or seasonal pieces to the season.  For the 9pay option, each installment does not cover a month of swimming, it is an installment of the entire contract that is due.  OCCS offer the payment options to lessen the load up front but because we include so much that fluctuates throughout the swimming year there is no way that we can pro-rate a seasonal membership based on these installments.  

Q-$200 dollar registration fee seems like a lot, what do I get for that?
A-You get all sorts of cool stuff. First it registers you with USA Swimming and that covers the liability insurance. It makes you eligible to swim at USA Swimming events, and an official member of OCCS.
You also get the super cool red backpack (new swimmers only), and it is filled with a bunch of OCCS swag! We like our swimmers sporting the coolest stuff with OCCS represented everywhere we go!  

(Return to top of the page)

Volunteer Requirements

Q-What is the OCCS Volunteer Requirement?
A-None! Zip! Zilch! However, we do not turn down help from volunteers. Our meets, like summer league, cannot be run without the selfless acts of volunteers.  We have parents who go over and beyond and work countless hours to make the events a success, and we have parents who help for a few hours. Either way, it is not required, but we do offer some sweet incentives if you do help…

(Return to top of the page)

Swim Meets

Q-are swim meets every Saturday and does the whole team attend?
A- OCCS attends about one meet per month. You will receive (email and on website) a calendar with the offered meets. They are typically Saturday's and Sunday's, and are optional, however we do encourage you to participate at them. You may attend one or both days. A coach can let you know which meets are best for your swimmers and will assist you in picking which events they will swim.
NOTE for 2015-16 there are not any meet fees for meets that are hosted by OCCS.  Other meets not hosted by OCCS do cost extra – normally about $30 per meet.

(Return to top of the page)


Q- my child has a lot of homework, and can't commit to something....
A- okay, so this isn't a question; But we hear this a lot. Swimmers are usually the students with the highest GPAs and statistical facts show that they are very successful in college.  Swimmers must learn excellent time management skills and learn to balance their free time wisely.  In the National Training Groups, they practice up to 20 hours per week, travel to meets and training camps all across the country all while maintaining exceptional GPA’s with multiple AP (advanced placement) classes.  They have learned to balance their lives and make mature decisions, just as we hope that all kids will do when they get to high school and later to college.

(Return to top of the page)