While summer swim season feels up-in-the-air for many teams and leagues right now, swim teams are a central part of many neighborhoods, connecting a large cross section of families throughout the community. This puts swim teams in a unique position to offer encouragement and hope to families who may be stressed by the uncertainty and isolation of COVID-19.
Swim teams are used to rallying people together (the above photo is a great example), but obviously you can’t rally your people that way right now! During this difficult time we encourage you to use what resources you have through your swim team website to mobilize and connect your communities.
Be a Conduit for Communication in Your Communities
Summer swim team has always been all about fun times with friends, community bonds, and traditions. Even during this time of “social distancing” and isolation, your team can come up with creative ways to maintain those bonds with “virtual” social time.
With your SwimTopia team website, or equivalent, your team can remain connected even if they have to stay apart:
- Communicate messages of hope and encouragement to your families.
- Reinforce messaging from health experts for best practices, while also providing support and ideas in these trying times. Remind people that they are connected and part of a shared community.
- Post links to your team’s social media sites, where families can connect. Use social media to update people with reliable COVID-19 updates and encouraging / funny memes to lighten the mood.
- Post links to a photo-sharing site where families can share photos and ideas of how they’re spending time while “social distancing.”
- Create a signup for your team through Signup Genius, CaringBridge, or MealTrain so team members can sign up to help neighbors at high-risk due to age or medical condition, with grocery shopping, etc.
- Help organize virtual kids’ activities – organize group video chats for the kids to connect with each other. Call it a virtual “swim meet” where they sit around for hours on beach towels playing card games.
- Set up a system for sharing of puzzles and board games in your neighborhood (with a focus on those that are easy to disinfect 🙂 ).
- Start virtual book clubs (for kids and adults), use video conferencing to discuss the books.
- Organize a neighborhood scavenger hunt to get the kids outside, but keeping their distance. Have your team members put a printout of the team logo or mascot in their windows and encourage your swimmers to walk the neighborhood, seeing how many they can find.
Other Suggestions and Resources
Support your sponsors. Encourage members to help local businesses. Many of the sponsors that have supported your team season after season are now in need of your support to keep their doors open.
Display your team spirit. Suggest that your families display yard signs for your team – this will reinforce the team bond and will encourage neighborly connections.
Be optimistic. If you are thinking about canceling your swim season, consider delaying the season instead. When this all passes (and it eventually will), everyone will want to let off some steam and connect with their friends more than ever.
Stay Active. SwimSwam is posting daily dryland training resources to help folks stay active at home.
Look for support. You’re not alone, youth sports organizations across the world are facing the same challenges you are. Find articles and resources on the ProjectPlay “Coronavirus and Youth Sports” website for ideas to help your athletes get through this time.
When it comes to coronavirus and your swim team, SwimTopia aims to be a resource for you and your families. Please join our online community through our Help Center to learn and share with other swim teams facing the same struggles.
If you don’t yet have a swim team website, and you’ve got time on your hands right now to get one started, SwimTopia is the easiest-to-use and most comprehensive swim team website for summer swim teams on the market. Websites start at $179 for your first year, and you can try us out with a no-obligation 2-week free trial anytime.
About SwimTopia: Launched in 2011 with a focus on ease-of-use and exceptional support, SwimTopia helps summer and high school swim teams save time and increase fundraising with a modern, cloud-based software platform providing web content management, electronic commerce, online registration, volunteer coordination, team communications, online swim meet entries, meet management, and more. SwimTopia is the flagship product of Austin-based Team Topia Inc.
Courtesy: SwimTopia, a SwimSwam partner.