Tryout Information

When are tryouts and how do I register?

The 2020-2021 tryouts for the Westport Weston Family YMCA Water Rat Swim Team will be held September 1st for 8/unders and September 2nd for 9/10.  Blocks of 5 swimmers will tryout for 45 minutes beginning at 2:30 p.m. and ending at 6:15 pm. both days.   For example, swimmers signing up for the 2:30 block need to arrive at 2:30 pm to check-in, tryout from 2:45-3:10 pm, and get dismissed at 3:15 pm.  The tryouts will be conducted in small blocks so that our coaches can evaluate candidates in a safe environment.

On tryout dates the coaching staff will evaluate swimmers during each session. Our team administrator via email will notify parents about tryout results within 3-4 days with the coaching staffs’ decision. The registration fee for tryouts is $25 for members and $30 for nonmembers.

If you would like to tryout, you may register in person or call the Front Desk at the Westport YMCA at 203-226-8981 and explain to them you would like to register for the swim team tryouts.  Please direct all other questions regarding 8/under and 9-10 year old tryouts to Head Development Coach Rob Urban at

13 and overs please contact Head Coach Ellen Johnston directly at and 11/12 age groupers please contact Head Junior Coach Adam King at

If your child is offered a place on the team, then you should use the Water Rat Online Registration system.

Do current swim team members have to try out?

No, if they were registered and swam on the swim team during the previous school year, they do not have to try out. Coaches will put them in a group based on their age and ability.

What do prospective Water Rats do during tryouts?

We will have the children swim at least one length of each of the four competitive strokes (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle). If they do not know how to properly swim all four strokes, don’t worry. Many of our swimmers start on the team with a vague knowledge of the strokes, then learn as they go. The coaches will also treat some of the tryouts as a practice session (asking them to perform certain tasks). This is to see how they will work in a practice-like setting.

How are the children evaluated?

The coaches evaluate the children in a variety of ways. They time some of the swims. The also will instruct the kids to perform tasks, so they can observe how they execute instructions.

How many openings do you have?

We will not know the exact number until we hear from our current swim team participants on whether they plan to join us for another year. However, we already know that we have a lot room on our of 8/under group.

What if my child tries out and does not make the team?

If a child does not make the Water Rats Swim Team, we will offer the possibility of joining at a later time. Based on how your child performs, the coaches may recommend him for the pre-competitive White group, or they may suggest further swim lessons.

What is the White group?

The White group is for swimmers who are not ready to compete at swim meets, but have the skills to begin to learn about competitive swimming. See the online schedule for practice times. The schedule is updated in late August every year.

How do I register for the White group?

You can register at the Membership Desk. Registration is by invitation only. Please bring the letter that we send (or give) you, suggesting that your child enroll in a pre-team group.

If my child makes the team, what group will she be in?

The groups are based on age and ability. We assign new swimmers to groups after we have evaluated them at tryouts, and after we have determined how many returning swimmers we have on the team.

When are the Swim Team practices?

Please see the practice schedule on Team Unify, the team’s online management system. (It is updated every August and March.)

What if my child can’t commit to all the practices?

The Water Rat Swim Team is a serious competitive program and we like to keep open and constant lines of communication between the swimmers and coaches. We also like our swimmers to be very well rounded. (Many of our younger swimmers participate in other sports, such as Little League baseball or travel soccer, and a lot of our Water Rats are accomplished musicians.) If you have to miss a practice, we just ask that you let your coach know by phone call, email or simply by telling them. If you have to miss a series of practices, please discuss this with your coach in advance so they can provide you and your child with training options or suggestions.

If you have other questions, please contact Ellen Johnston.