Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham.
Sunshine, sleeping in, family vacations and lazy days are what most people love about summer. For swimmers, coaches and families—not so much. Don’t get me wrong, summers are still great, just different for the swimming world than for most everyone else.
Here are nine ways summers are different for people involved with swimming:
A great experience is summer league, where new swimmers can get a taste of competition and being part of a team. Parents also get a glimpse of their future lives–if their children decide to join a year-round swim team.
Sleeping in for swim families and coaches may mean being at the pool at 6 or 7 a.m. instead of 5:30 a.m. If a team has morning practice, swimmers won’t get the chance to sleep in until noon like their non-swim friends.
There’s less pressure without six hours at school plus homework. This allows swimmers to focus on their goals, technique and have more time for practice. They also have more time for sleep. In between practices, there are lots of hours for naps.
In many parts of the country, summer means it’s time to swim outside. In other areas, like ours, it means the pool needs to be cooled, rather than heated.
Non-swimmers don’t know that it’s long course season and that before and after practices, some teams will be changing lane lines from yards to meters. They also don’t know how good it feels to swim long course.
Summer means a plethora of meets including short course and long course Blue, Red, White meets, plus depending on the level of your swimmers, June Age Group, Junior Olympics, Sectionals, Futures, Junior Nationals, etc.
Meets out of town equal time for the family to travel and be together, whether it’s at the pool, hotel, or car rides. If your swimmer is older, they may be joining their teammates for travel trips.
With morning and afternoon practice, how does a parent working 9 to 5 get their child to the pool? By finding a parent who works from home, is willing to drive and opens their house to other swimmers. Great summer memories are created with teammates hanging out together.
Finally, Time to Take a Break
When the summer meet marathon is over, celebrate with your team and take a well-deserved break. Even if your kids want to swim, they should take time off to let their muscles and minds recover. Enjoy the time off to explore activities you won’t have time for when the swim season starts in few weeks.
How is your summer different than your non-swimming friends and families?
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.