Why High School Swimming is Awesome
You get the opportunity to work with and experience other coaches’ expertise and opinions
A lot of swimmers are hesitant to leave their club programs and coaches for high school swimming. There is often this assumption that club coaches are more knowledgeable and experienced than high school coaches and that club coaches can push swimmers to the next level while high school coaches cannot. Swimmers often place too much focus on how the coach trains and forget about other qualities that make a great coach such as leadership, compassion, ability to create a team environment, and effective goal setting. When swimmers only place value on training they often decide to stick with club swimming year-round. High school swimming is a phenomenal opportunity to learn from the skills and expertise of other coaches outside of your club coach. It never hurts to get a second opinion or a second set of eyes, and high school swimming gives you the perfect opportunity to do that!
*Be sure to communicate with both your club and your high school coach so that you three are all on the same page*
It’s a great break from the same-old club routine and people
We all love our club teams and the friends and teammates on those teams. However, that doesn’t mean that the same schedule and the same people don’t get monotonous. High school swimming is a 14-week break where swimmers are still training hard but in a different environment. Your training schedule changes, your practices are different, you get to train with a different group, and you get to race different teams and swimmers you may not normally compete with. It is an overall refreshing 14 weeks because it is a total change of pace. Plus, maybe by the end of the high school season, you will be fired up and ready to get back to the training and friends who await you at your club team!
It’s an exciting and challenging environment for ALL levels of swimmers
High school swimming attracts swimmers of all levels from defending state champs to those who have never swam competitively before. It is a great introduction to swimming for those who are interested in the sport but may get run over on a large club team. Even as a top high-school age swimmer, high school swimming has a lot to offer as an exciting, high-energy, competitive environment.
One of the best parts of seeing so many levels of swimmers in high school is that coaches, parents, and spectators get to witness drastic levels of improvement across the board. There are plenty of swimmers who are merely starting their swimming career as a freshman in high school and by the end of their first season many of them have achieved drastic improvements they never thought possible! The improvement and the time drops these swimmers experience is the most rewarding part of the sport and it keeps them wanting more. As a spectator, witnessing those drastic improvements and the immense amount of joy that follows is enough to make you fall completely in love with the sport and everything it offers.
High school is the first time swimmers are truly representing and a part of a team, and it’s a lot of fun!
Club swimmers obviously are a part of a team during the club season, but during high school season “team” means so much more than the name on your cap. There is still a team component to club swimming, but the emphasis is placed on individual performance more than team performance. As a high school swimmer you are part of a smaller, unified group that represents a larger community…your high school. During the high school season there is team bonding and camaraderie that you don’t always get through club swimming, and that team togetherness is what makes high school swimming such a wonderful and fun experience.
The high school swimming environment is relaxed, competitive, and a whole lot of fun. It is an incredibly valuable experience that will leave you with so many unforgettable memories. Simply put, high school swimming is awesome.
Contributor Elle Meinholz fell in love with swimming at an early age. Born and raised a Wisconsin girl, she pursued her lifelong dream of swimming as a Wisconsin Badger from 2009-2013. She graduated from Wisconsin with degrees in English and Communications. A year out of college and out of swimming, she is now a full-time Admission Counselor at the Milwaukee School of Engineering in Milwaukee, WI. She continues to fulfill her passion for swimming through high school coaching, writing, living vicariously through her younger sister, and getting in a couple thousand yards when time allows. (Twitter: @ElleMeinholz)