Otter Pups


The Otter Pup program is a subset of the Oakton Swim Team designed for swimmers who are not quite ready to compete in meets. The program goal is to prepare the swimmers to compete in at least one B meet, swimming 25m freestyle and/or backstroke, by the end of the program.


The Otter Pup Program is designed for swimmers who are well adjusted to the water and are eager to learn the fundamental techniques of competitive freestyle and backstroke. Otter Pups are expected to have already learned the basic swim skills of kicking, floating and progressive stroke.

To join the Pup Program swimmers must:

- be able to fully and comfortably submerge their face and body underwater
- be able to float on their back
- willingly leave the parent/guardian
- be able to get across the shallow end of the pool (12 yards) unassisted 
- be 4 years old  

The Otter Pup Program is designed for children who are comfortable in the water, ready to take direction from the coaches and have had previous swim lesson experience. The Pup program is a great preparation for competitive swimming. The children will receive personalized attention, swim in a supportive and enthusiastic environment and be a part of the Oakton Otters Swim Team. Pups will have a 30 minute practice beginning after the end of the school year. Please refer to the Swim Practice page for times.

There will be no afternoon make-up practice available to the Pups. Pups are invited to all social activities, dinners and meets (to watch and cheer but not swim until they are capable). The goal is for every Pup to swim in at least one B meet by the end of the season.

Evaluations for new 8 and under swimmers will be June 2nd and 3rd from 11:00 to 12:00. This evaluation will be lead by the Otter Pup Rep, Robin Liddell, and the Support Coaches. Swimmers who cannot comfortably swim the length of the pool, and who are not proficient in freestyle and backstroke will be referred to the Pups program. Once the coaches feel that a swimmer is ready to move to regular swim team, the swimmer will "graduate" from the Otter Pup program and join the appropriate age-group practice. Many children may swim with the Pups for just a short time while they develop their swimming ability and then "graduate" to swim team before the first meet. A few private lessons with one of the coaches or practice assistance may also help prepare your child for regular swim team.

The swim team registrations fee is the same for Pup program. If this is not the right program for your child, the coaches and practice assistants also offer private lessons. Group lessons are offered to the youngest swimmers during the summer.

Questions about the Pup Program?  Contact Robin Liddell at 703-304-3801 or  She will be a wealth of information for parents about swimmer progression, meets, etc.