Courtesy: Elizabeth Wickham
It may seem a little early to think about summer swim camp, but as swim parents, we plan our calendars further ahead than most. Also, the spots on swim camps can fill up quickly! You can read about the many possibilities for Summer 2019 in See 27 Swim Camps You Might Love.
There are swim camps at many universities that are taught by top level coaches and current and past swimmers. My kids loved swim camp at USC and swam at both the Schubert and Salo camps. They were coached by an amazing staff, made life-long friends and enjoyed meeting Olympic medalists.
Here are a few things to think about when sending your child to swim camp:
A week away.
Will your child be prepared to be on their own for a week? One of my friend’s daughters was hit hard with homesickness. My own son suffered with illness and asthma. It wasn’t the week we had planned. Fortunately, the staff was really good about communicating with us and they were helpful to our kids.
Read the rules.
Swim camps have rules for behavior and some have restrictions on cell phone use. It’s a good idea to read through these policies with your kids, so everyone knows what’s expected. If there are restrictions on when to call parents, you’ll both be on the same page and can plan. Don’t feel too bad if your kids forget to call.
Time for independence.
Swim camps give your kids that needed experience of being on their own, which will help them on their journey to adulthood. They’ll be getting themselves out of bed, choosing their meals at the cafeteria and learning to fend for themselves without mom and dad.
Your children will get to swim with a group of kids that they may not see at their local meets. It can be eye opening to see the various levels of swimmers within the same age group. Many of the summer camps at major universities attract swimmers from throughout the country and the world.
Talk to your children’s coach.
We had a few coaches who didn’t like the kids leaving for a week. Maybe they viewed camp as a conflict with their training, or they weren’t happy with possible changes in technique. Others thought camp was a valuable experience that would inspire swimmers. In any case, it’s a good idea to let your children’s coach know what your plans are and ask for their input on timing.
If your children love swimming, what a great week you’re giving them. The summer swim camp may keep them in the sport and inspire them to swim beyond the age group years. They’re guaranteed to have fun while swimming several times a day. Take advantage of your time off from being a swim taxi and have some fun, too.
What are your thoughts about summer swim camps?
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.