Not all of our heroes and heroines get up on the block and crush world records.
Many of them can be found a little further behind the blocks, carrying the snack trays, or in the timing booth troubleshooting the timing system.
They are the volunteers of the sport, and they are the ones who make the sport go round and round. They officiate, they console, they coach, and they help our nation’s youngsters swim their hearts out in an environment where they can grow, improve and chase their goals.
Here are just 5 reasons that swimming volunteers are the best volunteers:
1. They keep the sport going.
It’s difficult to imagine where swimming would be without the tireless effort of volunteers.
For starters there would be a lot fewer white shirts on deck, no one to man the timing booth, and no one to direct vehicles into the overflow parking lot outside the big meet.
Volunteers are what makes swimming possible for so many of our youth. Without them swimmers wouldn’t have meets to go to, wouldn’t have carpool drivers to get them to practice, and many wouldn’t have swim teams to train with.
2. They fall in love with the sport too.
Many of the parents that were around during my club days continue to be involved with the sport, long after their own children moved on from competitive swimming.
It’s a credit to the passion and love for the sport that parents with no vested interest of their own except the pure enjoyment of seeing youngsters have a chance to excel continue to show up weekend after weekend.
3. They multi-task like a boss.
Swim volunteers are a little bit like Swiss army knives. But less sharp.
They can change a touch pad. Jump in and officiate from starter to turn judge. Or even just provide a consoling shoulder after a bad swim. Outside of meets they also run the LSC’s, serve on the club board, and help out in the day to day operation of the nation’s swim clubs.
It’s no exaggeration to say that swim teams run on the efforts of our volunteers, and their multi-tasking and desire to give back is to credit for this.
4. They share their knowledge.
Many volunteers are former competitive swimmers. Whether or not their own kids get involved in the sport they are able to maintain a connection by sharing their time, their experience and knowledge with the next crop of young athletes chasing their respective goals in the pool.
5. They help develop the next generation of superstars.
It’s doubtful that many swim parents who volunteered at Michael Phelps’ meets as a youngster ever forgot seeing him swim. Or Missy Franklin. Or Caeleb Dressel.
In a way, the sport’s volunteers can say that they had a small, but incredibly vital, role in the development of the next generation of superstar swimmers.
Celebrating Our Volunteers
Throughout March USA Swimming is celebrating what makes our sport go round– our volunteers!
Tell us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter what you find most rewarding with the hashtag #1VolunTeam.
It includes a ten month log book, comprehensive goal setting section, monthly evaluations to be filled out with your coach, and more.