Why Swimmers (and Parents) Should Take A Break

Courtesy: Elizabeth Wickham

Summers seem busier and busier with more and more meets. That leads to the question of when do your kids take a break? Many schools start in August and the swim season ends at the same time, too. That doesn’t give kids time off between the big summer target meets and school. Hopefully your kids have time off between school and the pool, but even if they don’t, the time off from swimming will make their first school days easier.

If your kids insist on training during their one or two weeks off recommended by their coach, try to have them stay away from the pool. Some swimmers may fear that taking time off will result in losing a feel for the water and getting out of shape. But a little time off may be more beneficial than staying in the pool.

Here are five reasons why our kids (and we) need time off from training:


Mental health.

If our kids are constantly thinking about their swim goals, times, new skills and upcoming meets, they may burn out. Having downtime to stop thinking about swimming will refresh their brains and when they return, they’ll be ready to take on new challenges and once again give it their all.



Swimmers are prone to shoulder and lower back injuries. The body needs time to recover just like the brain does. Time to rest, sleep and eat and be a couch potato has been earned after 50 weeks of intense training.


Family time.

If you’re lucky that school doesn’t start just as the swim season ends, you may get to spend time together at the beach, in the mountains or at a stay vacation and savor the moments without rushing between practice, dinner and homework. Enjoy the time together because it will all go by too quickly.


Try something new.

Instead of swimming in the pool, kids can try different activities to stay in shape. Body surfing, surfing and boogie boarding are great ways to enjoy time off. Maybe kids will try yoga, pilates or bike riding. Take a trip to an amusement park or to a museum that you haven’t been able to fit into the schedule with swimming.


We need a break, too.

Swim parents are busy parents, and having a few weeks off will give us a chance to recharge and refresh. After a couple weeks of not schlepping kids to the pool, endless loads of washing towels, and fulfilling our team’s service commitment is a nice relief. Once the season gets back in gear, we’ll be ready to give it our all once again, too.

Why do you believe kids and parents need a break from year-round training?

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.

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3 years ago

I never like taking more than a week off tbh