Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham
This weekend, I wore a neon vest and volunteered for the Piranha Swim Team’s Thanksgiving BRW meet as a deck marshal. Although I no longer have a swimmer on the team, I swim masters and several of us volunteered for a couple of hours walking around the deck telling kids “don’t run” or “that lane is closed.”
While volunteering, I overheard several parents wondering why their kids weren’t getting best times. Although it’s best not to focus on our swimmers’ times, in reality, it’s hard not to.
Here are a few thoughts about best times for parents of older kids:
When your child is in high school, they will not drop time each swim, especially early in the season—unless their name is Katie Ledecky.
Don’t compare their times at a November meet to their championship meet last season. A better comparison would be how they swam at the same time the year before. You may see some improvement.
Some kids only swim fast at their target meet. They will not drop time without a tech suit and a taper.
Many kids hit a plateau and it’s tough on them. Our concern won’t make it any better but may make it worse. Swimming off events or focusing on technique may help your swimmer break through a plateau.
Volunteer at the meet. You’ll do something good for the community and have fun. You’ll be too busy to worry about times.
Enjoy watching your child having fun with their teammates in the warm-up lanes or under the pop-up tent. You may see a breakthrough moment. Maybe your swimmer will overcome race anxiety, or maybe you’ll notice your teenager reaching out to younger swimmers on the team.
What are your thoughts about parents and best times? What do you focus on besides the times?
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.