Courtesy: Elizabeth Wickham
Dear Swim Mom:
My daughter was the fastest in our area when she was in the 9-10 age group. Now that she’s 13, she’s no longer the fastest. In fact, she only has a couple AA times. I’m afraid she’ll lose interest in swimming. Is there anything I can do to make her stay with swimming, or help her to get faster? Thanks for any help you can give me.
—Anonymous Swim Parent
Your daughter probably received a lot of attention for being fast at a young age and it may be disappointing for her to swim without the accolades. Kids grow and develop at their own rates and someone who was fast at a younger age will experience their peers catching up with them eventually. The important thing to remember is not to focus on her times at age 13. If you want your child to keep swimming, ask if she’s having fun and tell her that you love to watch her swim. Be supportive without putting on pressure to perform. It sounds like your daughter puts enough pressure on herself that it’s not a good idea to compare her with other swimmers.
Swimming has to be her sport and she shouldn’t be swimming solely to please her coach or parents. Yes, we want our kids to continue swimming to experience all the valuable life lessons like perseverance, time management, teamwork and good sportsmanship. With hard work and drive, faster times will surely be in her future. You can also ask your swim coach about private lessons if you think your daughter would benefit or enjoy them.
Our kids need to love swimming for many more reasons than getting attention for their successes. Of course it is a part of it, but they should be having fun with friends, enjoy their team’s culture, look forward to practice and reap the rewards for their hard work. Plus, love swimming for the sake of swimming.
What advice do you have for “Anonymous Swim Parent” who wants to help their child stick with swimming and get faster?
Do you have a question for “Ask Swim Mom?” If so, email Elizabeth Wickham at [email protected] and your question may appear in an upcoming column.
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.