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Otters Youth Swim Team

Technique, Teamwork & Sportsmanship

Since 1989, the Otters have been transforming novice swimmers into well-rounded athletes with a love and passion for the sport. Children involved with the Otters learn the value of acceptance, respect and community in a competitive, well-mannered swimming environment that pushes them to their full potential.

The Otters are led by a seasoned team of coaches dedicated to the development of young athletes as strong individuals — both in and out of the water. These swimming experts view competition as an opportunity to improve and bring out the best in others; a sentiment that cultivates excitement, progress and cooperation in Otters athletes.

Being an Otter is ultimately about pursuing your love of the sport of swimming while learning to set and achieve defined goals. Participating athletes will develop swimming and teamwork skills in collaborative environments as they prepare for meets and other standard competitions. Joining this group is a perfect way for young athletes to hone their craft while developing essential life skills — including teamwork, goal setting and embracing challenges as hard-earned opportunities.

Scholarships are available to those who qualify! Contact Dave Cameron for more information:

Beginner & Advanced Youth Swimming

New swimmers or swimmers moving to a more competitive level will find a positive and encouraging atmosphere for enhancing their skills with YWCA’s Otters Youth Swim Team. In the novice group, Otters learn the fundamentals of competitive swimming and work with the coaching team to set productive goals. This introductory training establishes a rock-solid foundation of discipline and athletic competency to support each athlete’s continued success.

Next, Otters graduate into more advanced training groups — all of which are required to participate in meets at a rate of one meet every other month. These events help Otters test their progress against other talented swimmers in a positive and supportive competitive environment. Outside of competitive events, members will continue to hone their skills with help from the coaching team based on their goals and abilities.

As a YWCA Minneapolis Otter, your child will:

  • Be placed in training groups based on age and ability
  • Improve swimming and endurance by working first on technique work and stroke efficiency
    Learn good sportsmanship, nutrition and mental preparedness
  • Compete in YWCA intrasquad swim meets and other swim meets
  • Have a flexible practice schedule with three time slots for practices at YWCA Uptown and YWCA Midtown locations

How to Join the Otters Swim Team

Is your child ready to join one of the best youth swimming teams in the state? Then it’s time to look into team tryouts! Each candidate must participate in a swim team tryout before joining the Otters. This allows the coaching team to see your swimmer’s ability in person to determine whether they’re ready to participate in competitive youth swimming.

Tryouts only take around 10 to 15 minutes and are overseen by an experienced Otters coach. If your child isn’t quite prepared yet, the coach can offer helpful advice to assist them in improving. They can also give you more information on specific practice groups or YWCA swim lessons so your child can start to improve strokes, endurance and other key skills.

To learn more about the tryout process, be sure to visit the Otters website for specific dates, times and tryout locations. You can also connect with the Otters by emailing them at or calling 612-215-4224. This is a great way to find everything you need to know about the team’s values, athletes and event schedule.

Swim Team Rookie Camp

Bridge the gap between swim lessons and swim team. Youth participants will learn the basics of competitive stroke techniques, racing start and turns, all in a positive atmosphere. Prerequisite: Passed Red Cross Level 4 or equivalent.

Swimmers that would fit well into this class:

  • Swimmer that has passed at least 4 or equivalent and/or Novice Otters
  • Swimmer interested in moving on to swim team
  • Notice Otters that want to develop their skills a bit more


  • Location: Uptown YWCA
  • Ages: 6-12
  • Cost: $75 for members; $95 for nonmembers