Minnow Program

This program is specifically designed as a precursor to swim team for younger children who are not yet ready for competition swimming. 

While there is no minimum age requirement for this program, the following criteria must be met.

  • Child must be potty trained
  • They must pass the swim test (described below) during the first week of practice
  • They must be able to separate from parents (will be within eyesight)
  • Must be able to follow instructions

In general, the minnows must be comfortable in the water and working with adults and young adult 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 based on this criteria.

Typically we see kids as young as 4 to about 7 in our program, with the older ones making quick progress onto the main swim team.

The Minnow program is NOT intended to replace regular swim lessons.

During the first week of practice, new swimmers to this program will be tested to determine their final eligibility (if not, a full refund for your swimmer will be provided).   They must be able to swim to a coach for about 5 yards (to the flags) in a swimming fashion (staying towards top of water, kicking, using arms in any fashion) and able to hold breath underwater. 

During our 30 minute 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 the freestyle 25 meter event. We also hold a Minnow meet at the end of the season so they can give racing a try in a relaxed setting. Even if the swimmer has not reached the 25 M distance in freestyle, we custom design events so every swimmer can participate.

Some things to help your swimmer succeed in the Minnow Program:  

  1. Parents need to stay in the vicinity 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.

Our main focus in the Minnow Program is the following:

  • Your child’s safety.
  • Getting them the stamina and endurance to cross the pool in under a minute and if possible getting them to try a real race.
  • Focus on Freestyle and Backstroke including proper body position, kicking, breathing, and streamlining.
  • Once ready, starts are also taught.
  • To have FUN!

The Minnow program is the overall responsibility of the Makos Head Coach. Daily practices are run by the Assistant head Coach Lead for the Minnow program. Additional volunteer swimmer coaches (minimum age 13 and rising 9thgrader) assist with running the practices and monitoring for child safety. While every effort is made to ensure enough coaches are available for every practice, because these are unpaid volunteers, this cannot always be guaranteed. Swimmer safety is our top priority. The Assistant Head Coach will determine at the start of each practice the appropriate swimmer to coach ratio based on the skills of the swimmers and coaches to determine how many may be in the pool at any one time: as such, there may be times when swimmers are asked to sit on the wall and wait until their turn to swim.  Swimmers must follow these instructions. 

The decision to move a Minnow to the competition 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 “Minnow Meet” to acknowledge everyone’s hard work during the season.   Minnows 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.  

All swimmers competing in the minnow meet get at least a good swim ribbon and possibly a time improvement ribbon. Ribbons are also awarded to minnows who finish legally in Freestyle and Backstroke events based on time.    

Please remember our youth coaches are volunteers and part of the regular swim team.   We hope that the older swimmers will bond with the younger ones and help mentor them in their growth with the team.   

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Parents must be present at the pool during Minnows practice times!