Penguin Pee Wees

The Farber Penguin Pee Wees is a low pressure competitive swim team for ages 5–10 years. This program is specifically designed for kids interested in a swim team experience, but not yet ready for a fully competitive team. A tryout is required.

The team is currently on HOLD due to staff shortage, but email to get on the waitlist!

Winter Season Info

  • Dates: TBA
  • Coaches: Sankarsh & TBA
  • Session length: 10 weeks
  • Dive Clinics: TBA
  • Swim Meets: TBA & TBA
  • $265, includes 20 practices, two dive clinics, two swim meets, and a team gift 

Tryouts & Registration

To qualify, swimmers must be able to do the following:

  • One Length Freestyle (with controlled, rhythmic strokes, side breathing preferred)
  • One Length Backstroke (with controlled, rhythmic strokes)
  • Dolphin kick (to show basic introduction to butterfly stroke)
  • Listen and follow directions well in a group setting

If you are interested in joining Pee Wees and believe your child is ready, send an email to and schedule a (free!) 15-minute tryout with Coach Liz. Tryouts can be scheduled and completed at any time, but registration sessions are only open before new seasons begin. Keep an eye on this page for current registration information. 

***Successful tryout must be completed before registration, so schedule your tryout ASAP if you’re interested!***

Pee Wees 101

  • 4 yearly seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, & Fall
  • Seasons run for 9–11 weeks, varying by season
  • Team size: 10–16 swimmers
  • 3 Team Coaches, who coach from in the water
  • Price includes:
    • Twice weekly practices in our 16 yard pool: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 4:30–5:30pm, at our Portland location
    • 1 or 2 Saturday Dive Clinics per season
    • 1–4 low-pressure swim meets per season
    • Pee Wees swim cap, ribbons, and other prizes


The main focus of Pee Wees is stroke technique and mechanics geared towards eventual competition with a USA Swimming Club team. They will also learn:

  • How to practice and swim with a team
  • Team terminology and swim meet structure
  • Competitive stroke development (freestyle, backstroke, butterfly, intro to breaststroke and IMs)
  • Introduction to timed laps, flip-turns, open turns, racing starts, and team relays


My child doesn’t turn 5 until after the season begins, but they can do all the strokes. Can they still join?
We ask swimmers to wait until they are 5 at the starting date of the season.

My child is turning 11 during the next season. Do they have to find a new team?
As long as they are 10 at the start date of the season, they are welcome to stay with or join Pee Wees!

My child is turning 11 before the start of the next season or is now too advanced for the Pee Wees. What’s next?
One of the goals of Pee Wees is to prepare them for USA Swimming competition, so joining a club team is the most natural next step if they wish to keep developing in the sport. If you wish to remain part of the “Penguins Family”, the next step is to join Club Swim at Club Sport where Coach Keith and Coach Cait will help them prepare for competition as a fully fledged Penguin at USA Swimming meets. Most swimmers that complete the highest level of Pee Wees start in the Blue Group at Club Swim.

If you are not interested in competitive swimming or unable to join Club Swim, there are many other teams or aquatic sport options in the Portland area that Coach Cait or the other coaches can talk to your swimmer about pursuing. 

My child is joining Pee Wees for the first time. Do they still need to take private lessons?
Once they join Pee Wees, in most cases private lessons are no longer necessary and Pee Wees takes the place of weekly lessons. If you are currently enrolled in a private lesson and are switching to Pee Wees, remember to fill out an exit form before the season begins. Even if you no longer have a regular lesson after joining Pee Wees, you are always welcome to schedule drop-in lessons with a Pee Wees coach if you want your swimmer to have some additional time and attention to work on specific areas of their swimming.

It’s not a fully competitive team. Why do swimmers need to try out?
The tryout serves a lot of purposes, first and foremost being safety. We need to verify that they are comfortable and strong enough in the water to swim in a larger group without constant supervision from a coach. Secondly, while not a fully competitive team, joining the Pee Wees is more challenging than regular lessons and teaches advanced swimming skills. While it is meant to be challenging, we want it to be a positive experience, not a frustrating one. For that reason it is important that kids demonstrate that basic stroke skills are already easy for them and they are ready to build on that foundation.

My child didn’t pass their tryout. When can we try out again?
There is no strict time frame, but depending on Coach Cait’s recommendations at their tryout and updates from your instructor, a good time to try again is usually 3–6 months after their initial attempt.

Why is the roster so small and why do returning swimmers get to register first?
The roster is so small because we have limited time and practice space. Additionally, since the focus of Pee Wees is technique, we want the swimmers to receive a lot of attention, even in a team setting. Though multiple seasons of Pee Wees occur throughout the year, it functions best as a cumulative experience, so we want to make sure those swimmers that wish to keep building on their past seasons have the opportunity to do so.

We only want to swim once a week with the Pee Wees. Can we pay half the amount?
While you are not required to attend any minimum number of practices or other events, the price is the same for all swimmers.

Do we have to take lessons at Farber Swim School first in order to be on the Pee Wees?
If your swimmer passes their tryout and is within our qualifying age range, anyone from any swim school or lesson program is welcome to join!

Do the Pee Wees go to swim meets?
In the Summer season we participate in a recreational swimming league. There are about four meets each summer and those are meets that take place at other pools against other teams. The majority of the swimmers at the summer meets are also just learning the sport and usually 5–10 years old, just like us! The races are timed and awards are given. Ribbons, medals, and places awarded vary by meet. Swimmers are generally not disqualified at these meets and a lot of other rules are relaxed, so they’re a good way to experience more “formal” meets in a low-pressure setting. There are no dive clinics held in the Summer season.

In all the other seasons, we attend 1–2 dive clinics with Coach Keith (a Penguins coach) and also hold 1–2 practice meets, just against ourselves. We’re currently working on establishing partnerships with other “junior” swim teams to hold more meets against other swimmers throughout the year.

I don’t think my child is fast enough to be on a swim team.
While on more competitive teams speed is a major focus, on the Pee Wees the main focus is improving technique and learning what a swim team is. Speed is not a determining factor in qualifying for the team and no one is left behind. Since the team size is smaller, there’s enough flexibility to account for varying levels of speed and strength in the water. In fact, if one of your swimmer’s goals is to get stronger and faster in the water, Pee Wees is a great place to start!