Courtesy of Josh Brown. Follow: @joshbrownisaman Featured Image: Michael Phelps, from NBAC, a team of about 225 swimmers, not exactly a big club team.
Swim teams come in all different shapes and sizes, and they are from many walks of life. Some are massive, having close to a thousand swimmers. With each year that goes by another regional or even national title goes to that team that spans across the state, swimming at four different locations. Now don’t get me wrong, these club teams often breed success in large numbers. They proudly graduate many top level athletes from their program each year. But rather, I would like to take a look at the small club teams out there. The teams that swim out of one location, sometimes battling for pool time. The teams whose rosters may consist of 100 swimmers, definitely less than 200. The ones who are often overshadowed by the success of these larger teams but make the sport of swimming what it is, and here’s why…
1. EVERYBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME
…and you know everybody’s name as well. To you these people aren’t just lifeless bodies swimming in the pool. Each swimmer stands out in a big way on small club teams. They mean more to the team than just a stroke or a time on the score board. You will get to know everyone on the team – older to younger, big to small, tall to short, fast to not-so-fast. Everybody has a part in the team dynamic.
2. LANE SPACE
In short, on a small club team you gain lane space. No one will be encroaching on your personal space or swimming up on your heels. Less swimmers in a lane equals more room to yourself, for yourself, and by yourself. There is no such thing as having too much space. Remember, it’s the little things that count!
3. YOU’RE A PART OF SOMETHING SPECIAL
You don’t have to be a member of that “A” relay team to make a difference. Sometimes just squeezing into that championship meet is contributing in a big way to the team. And no matter how big or small your contribution is, it ends up being a big deal on the small teams.
4. INDIVIDUALIZED PRACTICES
On a small club team, a coach who sees a swimmer’s true potential can make practices more specialized for that swimmer. Less swimmers in the pool means more focused training for each individual swimmer on the team no matter how fast that swimmer may be. It also allows more time for your coach to watch your stroke and help you improve upon it.
5. YOU’RE MORE THAN JUST “SWIMMER JOE”
You’re being watched in a good way. A smaller team allows better relationships with coaches. You know your coach, and as mentioned above, he or she knows you. Smaller team offer the ability to develop a good relationship with your coach, such as sitting down at dinner to discuss the upcoming season. No matter where you fall with your times, you are considered a vital part of the team’s success. Your coach will be honest with you about your swimming. Regardless of your ability in the sport, you will never get left behind on a small team.