Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham
When my kids started swimming, college was light-years away. I noticed many of our team’s older kids went on to swim in college—including top NCAA teams, small private universities and community colleges. When my kids got older, it dawned on me that we should check out college swimming, too.
One child decided to swim in college and one did not. They’re both doing great, but as a parent I see many advantages to swimming in college.
Here are six reasons why your kids should swim in college:
One – Opening doors
Applying to college can be crazy and stressful—even for the best and brightest. Many top schools and state universities have more than 75,000 applications for 3,000 or fewer freshman spots. It turns into a numbers game. Colleges can “flag” admissions for athletes. Being a swimmer can open doors, or at least add to their college resume.
Two – Transition
For kids leaving home for the first time, the freshman year can be tough. According to ACT, one-third of college freshman won’t return to their school for a second year! The pool is familiar territory for our swimmers. Going to practice every day and swimming will help with anxiety and homesickness.
Three – Support
I was amazed at all the support services athletes get that general students do not enjoy. Everything from preference for classes, required study halls, tutoring, athletic trainers to massage therapists and sports psychologists. Every school is different with how much support is offered, but knowing there is a support team around your child will make their freshman year easier for both of you.
Four – Loneliness
Moving away from home, knowing few or no other students, can be intimidating and lonely. It’s almost impossible for your child to be lonely with dozens of teammates to hang out with every day. When we moved our daughter into her dorm room, a bunch of smiling, happy swimmers came by with goodies and welcomes. Friendships develop quickly between teammates.
Five – Financial
Depending on the school and division, your swimmer may receive a scholarship. They’ll have a sense of accomplishment and pride after years of hard work. How many times did they say, “Sorry, I can’t. I have practice.” They’ve earned this reward.
Six – Four more years of swim parenting
Won’t you be thrilled to have four more years of meets, cheering for your child? You’ll meet new families and more swim parents to sit with at meets. If you’re lucky, you’ll see some familiar faces at dual meets and conference meets, too.
What other benefits do you see from swimming in college?
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.