By Elizabeth Wickham
After a couple years of swim lessons and seasonal swimming, my kids drifted into swimming full-time, year round. Looking back, I wondered why both my kids chose this sport? Why did we support them with this huge commitment of early mornings, plus daily evening practices and many weekends out of town? In the end, it was truly their love of the sport that pulled us down this lane.
Here are several reasons why we were attracted to the pool at the beginning of our aquatic adventure:
We live in an area where there are pools in most backyards. We enrolled our kids in the city’s “parent and me” swim program when they were six-months old. As they continued with swim lessons, we observed our local club practicing. Our son was filled with pride when his swim instructor told him he should try out for the team.
“Swimmers have the highest GPA of any sport.”
When I saw that on a flyer for our local club, I found it intriguing. Would my kids do better at school just because I signed them up for swimming? We soon discovered that swimming taught a lot of skills which helped with school, such as time management, hard work and goal setting.
I saw a group of dedicated parents who worked together for a common goal. People who gave unselfishly of themselves for the success of our team. The children were respectful and hard working. I was thrilled to have my kids hang out with this group of kids on a daily basis.
Unlike other sports, like tee ball and soccer, where volunteer parents coach, the swim coaches were professional. They had credentials, background checks, college degrees and swim backgrounds. They were passionate about their sport. They treated the team as though it was more than a team or a job. It was their family.
With a “Secret Garden child,” as a coach called my son who has asthma, swimming proved to be a valuable part of increasing strength and stamina. His doctor was impressed with how much his breathing capacity increased—more than doubled—because of his sport. The overall fitness and lifelong health benefits that swimming has given my kids, and now myself as a masters swimmer, is immeasurable.
They love it.
I’m thankful my kids loved swimming and our lives streamlined around the pool. They took to the sport for different reasons and I’m proud they both swim today. It’s a decision that we’ll always be proud and pleased about — that we became a swim family.
What other reasons do you have to become a swim family?
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.