Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham
I look back on joining our local swim club as one of the most important things that shaped my kids’ lives.
We started our swim adventure when they were six months old in a “mommy and me” class at the city pool. After bouncing around in several sports, they both found their passion in the pool.
Besides the more obvious things that swimming has taught my kids, like water-safety, time management, goal setting, perseverance, accountability, character, fitness and grit, there were a few more things my kids learned—things I never imagined they’d learn from being soaked in chlorine.
Here are five other things swimming taught my kids:
For both my kids, part of being on the team meant standing up and speaking. Whether it was at an awards banquet, talking to a local reporter at the pool, or announcing at a meet, their swim club provided many opportunities to work on this important life skill.
Talking to adults
A master swimmer told me she sponsored my daughter for our swim-a-thon because my daughter always exchanged pleasantries with her after early morning practice. Having good relationships with their coaches, officials and other swim parents has helped them become self confident around adults.
Every single day my kids had to be organized. Whether it was packing their swim bags the night before, or balancing homework with practice, they had to be organized to survive. One of my proudest swim mom moments was when my son organized an intrasquad meet and the coach let him run with it. Lots of organizational skill were learned then.
Being a member of a team means all kids are included. My favorite memories were at meets when the kids hung out under the pop-up tents playing Catch Phrase or Speed. Friendships were made from the six-year-olds to high school seniors.
Have you ever thought about all the numbers involved at the pool? My kids think differently because of the clock, lap counter, intervals, meters, yards, seconds, and hundredths of seconds. That’s a lot of numbers and statistics was easier for my kids than for some of their non-swimming friends.
What have your kids learned from being on a swim team?
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.