This program is specifically designed as a precursor to swim team for younger children (age 8 and under) who are not yet ready for competition swimming.

While there is no minimum age requirement for this program, the following criteria must be met for entry into the Mini-Mako program.

  • 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 (parents will be within eyesight)
  • Must be able to follow instructions

In general, the Mini-Makos must be comfortable in the water and working with adults and young adult volunteer coaches without involvement from their 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 the program based on this criteria.

The Mini-Mako program is NOT intended to replace regular swim lessons.

During the first week of practice, new swimmers to this program will be given a swim test to determine their final eligibility (if not, a full refund for your swimmer will be provided).

To pass the test they must be able to swim to a coach for about 5 meters (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 practices, we work on freestyle and backstroke, kicking, breathing, body position, streamlining, starting and distance.


Competing in Meets: In order to compete in a meet, a swimmer must be able to swim the entire length of the 25 meter pool unassisted while staying towards the top of water, kicking, and using their arms with elements of proper freestyle.  This applies to all Makos regardless of practice group.  Once these criteria have been met with confidence, a swimmer may be eligible 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. The decision to allow a Mini-Mako to swim in a meet will be determined by the Head Coach following a recommendation from the Head Assistant Coach and communicated with the parent/swimmer. This could happen at any time during the season, depending on the swimmer’s readiness.


Once a Mini-Mako has tried swimming at a meet, a decision will be made by the coaches on whether or not the Mini-Mako should begin practicing daily with the competition team or continue to practice with the Mini-Makos.  A Mini-Mako's participation in a meet does not result in an automatic move to the competition team.  This decision will be made based on factors such as meet performance, age, maturity, confidence, etc. and will be discussed with the parents.  Similarly, a swimmer who practices daily with the 8&U competition team does not automatically get entered into meets unless the swimmer meets the criteria listed above.


Mini-Mako Meet: Near the end of the season, we hold an unofficial “Mini-Mako Meet” to acknowledge the hard work of our 8&U swimmers during the season. This allows children who haven't made the jump to actual meets to get a taste of multi-lane racing. And swimmers who advanced to the competition team during the season are also included. Awards are presented to all swimmers at the team’s end of season Awards Banquet.

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

Mini-Makos who have not graduated to the competition team are encouraged to attend this meet. Even if the swimmer has not reached the 25 meter distance in freestyle, we custom design events so every swimmer can participate.


Some things to help your swimmer succeed in the Mini-Mako 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 Mini-Mako 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 Mini-Mako program is the overall responsibility of the Makos Head Coach. Daily practices are run by the Head Assistant Coach Lead for the Mini-Mako program. Additional volunteer swimmer coaches (minimum age 14 and rising 8th grader) 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 Head Assistant 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.

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 Mini-Makos practice times!