Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham
When we look back at our kids’ swimming careers, we’ll remember some great races where they dropped time and finally made that cut they were chasing for months. But, we’ll also remember so much more than fast times.
Of course, times and improvement are important. One of the great things about swimming is the objectivity because the clock doesn’t lie. Yet, there are many other aspects of the sport that our kids will benefit from that will mean more to them in the long run than their times. When your swimmer isn’t getting personal bests, and the sport seems unforgiving, it can help to reflect on the big picture.
Here are five things besides fast times that your swimmers will gain from swimming:
Our kids will form life-long friendships on their club, high school, and college teams. Life is more enjoyable with friends you can count on. Hanging out at meets and daily practices, our kids create memories and long-lasting relationships. Our friendships with swim parents will extend long beyond our days at the pool, too.
Jeff Julian, assistant coach at University of Southern California and Rose Bowl Aquatics head coach says it best: “It’s about the TEAM – first and foremost. Ever since I began my coaching career, I have believed that swimming is not an individual sport at all. In order to succeed to one’s potential, they must believe in the TEAM approach and learn to be supportive of their teammates.”
My kids know that success comes from hard work. Most things in life that are worthwhile don’t come easy and you do have to work to achieve them. The lessons of hard work learned through 50 weeks a year of swimming will follow our kids into their adulthood.
Opportunities for leadership abound in swimming, whether or not your child is named a team captain. Swimmers learn from positive role models of older swimmers they admire, and they, in turn, become leaders to those around them. There’s always an opportunity for our kids to lead their team with a positive attitude and good sportsmanship.
Exercise is a key factor in physical and mental health. Swimmers build endurance, strength, strong hearts and lungs. Fitness is an important aspect of our kids’ daily life. Because swimming is low impact, they can enjoy the sport throughout their lives.
How do your children benefit from swimming?
Elizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kid’s 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.