Michigan Lakeshore Aquatics

Competitive Swimming & Diving Programs of the Holland Aquatic Center

MLA Swimming FAQ's


What are the different seasons of MLA swimming?

There are two swim seasons each calendar year:

The Short Course (SCY) swim season (with competitions in the 25y pool lengths)  begins at the start of September, ending late February and/or mid March with swimmers attending various achieved championship meets. 

The Long Course (LCM) swim season (swam in 50m pool length) begins in mid-April and concludes at the end of July with Championship season.


How often will we attend swim meets?

Each new season typically begins with 4-5 weeks of practices before our first competition.  We typically use this time for some general endurance building and to improve stroke efficiencies.  From there, you can expect a swim meet roughly once each month.  Our athletes are expected to attend competitions regularly, however, it is not required to be at every meet.  

Near the end of each season, there will be meets that may require qualifying time standards - called "Championship Meets." These meets will vary in size and speed, from the local level to the national scene!  We want your swimmer to be challenged and inspired by their competition opportunities!  You can find out which meets require time standards in our meet schedule link here.

Time Standards - Pre-determinded times listed by age that an swimmer must acheive to attend a certain meet.  Time standards are usually reserved for larger Championship style events.  Your typical local, in-season meets have no time requirements to participate.  


Are we expected to volunteer at swim meets?

Our hosted meets are always held at the Holland Aquatic Center (HAC).  We take a lot of pride in running large, well run meets that athletes from across Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois regularly attend!  We absolutely cannot run these great meets without your family's help!  Hosting meets is the major fundraiser for our team that pays for our usuage of the HAC.  Your family is expected to volunteer at "home" meets only.  If the meet is a two day (four sessions) meet, your family is expected to volunteer at least two (2) shifts during the meet.  If the meet is longer, a minimum of three (3) sessions is expected from your family.  You will see, many families volunteer far more than the minimums.  


What is the cost of MLA?

Depending on age and skill level, practice group costs vary from $100 to $175 per month for coaching fees.

Each September there is also a Team Registration Fee of $100.  This fee gets reinvested back into the program for team gear and equipment i.e. team caps, team shirt, equipment bags, and/or warm-up jacket.

​Note: For those swimmers currently participating in their High School swim season and wishing to continue attending some MLA practices, we offer a discounted membership ($50/mo.) allowing the swimmer to attend eight (8) monthly workouts and attend two USA Swim meets allowable per MHSAA guidelines.


Where and when are the practices?

Practices are held at the Holland Aquatic Center located at 550 Maple Ave., Holland MI 49423

Practice times will stay pretty consistent and rarely cancel unless prescribed rest for our athlete is in order. You can view the practice schedule by clicking here - any changes to this calendar will also come with an email notification to our families. 

MLA does not have a practice expectancy for attendace, with the exception for the High Performance group.  We believe that it is the responsibility of our coaching staff to create a practice environment that your swimmers will WANT to attend regularly!  Your swimmer should not be confronted by a coach for missed practices in this program.  Keep in mind your swimmer's development improves more rapidly with regular practice attendance. 


What are the MLA training groups?

The goal of the MLA structure is for athletes to have advancement opportunities each season or two.  This keeps the sport fresh and also allows your swimmer to be coached by several accomplished MLA coaches whom each excel in their own areas.

Below is a list of the MLA training groups, along with some criteria the coaching staff uses when determining groups: (proficiency of skills, attendance at practices and competitions, maturity and goals will all be deciding factors for group placement)

The MLA Practice Groups

  • Age Group (Typically 10&Unders)
    • Practice 1 hour and 15 mins., 3-4 practice options a week offered.  Practices focus on skill development, drills, and fun.  Goals for this group is to learn all four competitive strokes and turns.  100% skill development focus.
  • Navy Group  (Typically 10-13 year old swimmers) 
    • Practice 1 hour and 30 mins., 5-6 practices offered each week.  Swimmers working towards Michigan Swimming Regionals and MAGS qualifying times. Approx. 90% skill development and 10% aerobic building.   ​
  • White Group (Advanced group for 11-14 year olds)
    • Practice 1 hour and 45 mins., 5-6 practices offered each week.  Athletes in this group are already MAGS and/or ULTRA qualifying swimmers, working towards Zones and Sectional meets.  ​
  • Senior Group (Typically 15&Older swimmers, some 14 year old swimmers may be permitted with coach approval)
    • ​Practice 2 hours and 15 mins., 5-6 practices offered each week.  This group is further split into two groups based on athlete skill-level and attendance to workouts.​
  • High Performance Group for 15&Overs.  USA Swimming Futures qualifying time standards are required.  This group requires attendance of 90% of the workouts and committment to attend the highest acheived Championship meets in December, March, and July.  This group is only offered from April to August.


What is USA Swimming?

Michigan Lakeshore Aquatics is a USA Swimming club member.  The USA Swimming map is divided into four Zones (we are in the Central Zone), which are divided further into 80+ subdivisions called Local Swim Committees (LSC's), ours known as Michigan Swimming.  USA Swimming is the national governing body of our sport and your swimmer's club (MLA) is essentially a feeder program for our Olympic, National, Junior National, and collegiate swim teams that rely on us for development of age group swimmers (swimmers 18 and younger).

MLA attends USA Swimming sanctioned meets as well as participates in a local league, the WMSL.


What is the WMSL?

The WMSL (West Michigan Swim League) is a local swim league of which MLA participates in, which includes teams from the entire West Michigan region.  This league provides smaller, low-key swim meets designed to serve as an introduction to competitive swimming for new swimmers and swim families.  Typically the meets last roughly two hours and are free to participate in. We encourage all 14 and younger MLA swimmers to participate in these meets.  These meets are also convenient events for our Senior swimmers to get some racing in!  The new WMSL schedule will be updated sometime in early October. 


Click the links for more MLA information:  

Team Policies   |   Competition Schedule