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
- be comfortable swimming away from the wall to a coach
- be able to swim half of the width of the pool without assistance or without touching the bottom of the pool

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. Most pups will be 4-6 years old, but exceptions may be made on a case by case basis. 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 take place during Memorial Day Weekend. 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.

Parents of Pups will still be required to fulfill 4 volunteer positions. 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.