7 Ways Swim Meets Prepare Our Kids for the Real World

by SwimSwam 25

February 13th, 2017 Lifestyle, Opinion

Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham

Swim meets are a world upon themselves. They can be stressful, fun and a wild roller coaster ride. If we step back and let our swimmers take over, meets can be a place for them to be responsible. They provide many opportunities for our kids to practice skills that will cross over to the real world—in college, careers and families.

Here’re a few life lessons your kids can learn from swim meets:


How to talk with adults in authority positions.

Whether it’s an official who explains a DQ or volunteer moms and dads at check-in, our kids have talk to a whole lot of grown ups without our help. When they talk with professors, bosses and landlords, we won’t be at their side.


Being on time.

If they’re late to the blocks and miss an event, they’ll learn that the world won’t wait for them to show up. What a valuable lesson for school and work.


How to handle disappointments or upsets.

When our kids add time, or miss their goals, they’ll experience disappointment. They’ll also discover there is another swim, another meet and they’ll get to try again.


Good sportsmanship.

Kids learn good sportsmanship from handling defeat as well as from their wins. Meets give our kids a chance to view gracious winners and losers—and some who aren’t. They’ll learn what it means to have good teammates and to be a supportive teammate, too.


Being accountable for their actions.

It’s up to your swimmer to talk to their coach, warm up and warm down. They’ll find out what happens if they don’t do these basic things. In life, this translates into good study habits and taking ownership for their decisions.


How to handle constructive criticism.

After races, your swimmer will get some advice and suggestions from their coach. It’s imperative that they learn from their experiences and are able to accept constructive criticism. One day, they may find themselves face to face in a review with their boss.


They get out of it, what they put into it.

Swimming is like a bank account. Your swimmer can only withdraw what they have put in. The deposits in their account are the hard, consistent practices. They will gain self confidence from knowing they’ve done everything they could to be successful at a meet.

In what other ways do you see swim meets helping your kids throughout their lives?

Elizabeth WickhamElizabeth 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.

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6 years ago

I swam competitley for 8 years and you nailed this discussion ! It was all about responsibility, achievement (both personal & team) and friendships. Can’t ever say that I received a participation ribbon or trophy-lol, you either placed or you didn’t ! Life lessons indeed !!!

Jo and Jim Landon
6 years ago

With three out of eight children that swam for the CINCINNATI MARLINS EVEN PARENTS LEARN SOMETHING NEW EVERYDAY.
Thanks Elizabeth for all 7.

6 years ago

Not every minute is exciting – the down time in between events and how you use that time is like life, too. You can spend some time cheering team mates, visualizing your next event, meditating, studying, whatever, and learn that pacing yourself and using ” in between time” is an important life skill too.

Lois Dickinson
6 years ago

Our kids were on the YMCA and high school swim teams for years. The “kids” and their parents were some of the nicest and most mature people we’ll ever meet.

Roni Smith
6 years ago

Every day

Julie Degler
6 years ago

As a teacher and swim coach for many years I totally agree with this article! All of them I try to instill in my students and swimmers.

Lynda Halsted
6 years ago

My husband and I ran a competitive swim program for 12 years and I have to agree with all the positive feedback swimming allows you. The sport itself carries you through your lifetime.

6 years ago

#THREE. Best lesson my 2 swimmers will always take with them even when they are on their own.