4 Tips For Swim Parents About Visiting Other Teams

by SwimSwam Contributors 7

August 07th, 2017 Lifestyle

Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham

While were on vacation, Im going to swim Masters with a team in the town were visiting. Im nervous about it. What if its way too much yardage? What if the swimmers are way younger and faster? Why did I think this was a good idea? My anxiety is ironic because in the past when we went out of town, I had my kids swim with other teams all the time. I never considered that they might be uncomfortable or nervous. In fact, I thought it was good for them in terms of their growth to meet new kids, learn from new coaches and be out of their comfort zones. I guess it’s my turn now for growth.

In spite of a couple of less than perfect experiences, they made life-long friends with a coach and swimmersand they got their workouts in.

Here are four tips for parents to make your childrens experience easier:


Finding a team.

If youre going out of town, ask your coach for a recommendation of a team to train with. If your coach doesnt have a connection, look up teams on USA Swimmings website. If there are several in the area, I check to see if any are bronze, silver or gold medal clubs.


Email the coach.

Let the team know in advance when your kids will be visiting. I also let them know my kids times or level, so the coach knows what group would be a good fit. There will be less confusion for your family if you already know the teams practice schedule. Some teams charge for visitors while others do notanother good thing to know in advance.


Follow the team’s rules.

I embarrassed myself when I took my kids to a big team in Orange County, CA and sat myself down with a book in the bleachers. It was against this teams policy to have parents on the pool deck. If Id done a little homework, I would have known that. Also, Ive seen visiting parents talk to coaches or correct their kids technique–during practice.


Embrace guest swimmers.

I asked my kids what they thought about swimming with other teams while we were vacationing. They had good and bad experiences. Two teams they disliked because the swimmers never spoke to them. On a team that welcomed them with open arms, they made lifelong friends with several swimmers and the coach. I know their experiences taught them to be friendly and welcoming to swimmers who visit our team.

What experiences have your swimmers had when they drop in with other teams during vacation?

Elizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog.

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cynthia curran
5 years ago

Well, on a visiting masters team, asked the coach some questions about yardage if you are a beginner or have not swim in years.

5 years ago

As a coach in a small town with lots of visiting swimmers I always have the guest swimmer’s coach send me a quick email with their swimmer’s name, USA swimming number, level of swimming and the dates that they will be joining our team. I also do the same when my swimmers visit another team. We always try to make room for our visiting swimmer in the lanes and have each one demonstrate a fun drill or swimming skill from their home team. It is a really great learning experience for all the kids and coaches as well. We have kids come back year after year!

5 years ago

We have done this several times when visiting grand parents or on vacation. My swimmers always enjoyed the change of pace and the teams were always accommodating. I think the main rule is follow their rules and do what they are doing, whatever the workout. Also e-mail the coach and see where they are in their training cycles (if that is a concern). If it too close to a big meet, the swimmer should probably get workouts from their home coach and swim at public swim times. My swimmers ended up being social media friends with some of their swimmers even into their college swimming years. One team, we visited several times had a wall of college caps from their… Read more »

5 years ago

These are all good points. I would also just say thank the coach for making room in the lane. It does take a little effort to take on visiting swimmers. Mine was invited to some unpublished practices after the first practice where she kept her head down and did the work. It was a great experience.

5 years ago

just say no

5 years ago

Or maybe just go on vacation ?

Reply to  JazzFan
5 years ago

Not an option