Archive for Swimming
If you ask kids what the FUNNEST sport is, you will get a lot of different answers – from soccer, to gymnastics, softball and everything else in between. Not a lot of them will raise their hand and say swimming. But if you ask the question a different way, like “what is the best part about summer?” I bet almost all of them will say SWIMMING and going to the pool.
First, from the press release:
Ten industry partners, including USA Swimming, are collaborating on a summer-long campaign called SwimToday, led by five-time Olympian and 12-time medalist, Dara Torres. Launching today, the lighthearted campaign proclaims swimming as “the funnest sport there is” and showcases its many benefits in an effort to bring more kids who know how to swim into the sport of swimming.
According to the 2014 State of the Competitive & Fitness Swimming Industry Report by Sports Marketing Surveys, the exclusive research provider to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, nearly 80 percent of parents overlook swimming when choosing organized sports activities for their children after they learn to swim. Most notably, parents whose children had never tried swimming perceived it to be less fun than other sports. However, parents of swimmers rated the sport at the top in fun, teamwork, confidence-building and health and fitness once they gave it a try.
The campaign is endorsed and supported by 10 leading swimming industry partners, including membership organizations, coaches associations, swimsuit and equipment manufacturers, swimming media, and technology partners. The “Funnest Sport” campaign will also address common misconceptions about the sport, encouraging more parents to consider swimming as a youth sport option for their children.
Torres, a lifelong swimmer, entered her first international swimming competition at age 14 and in 2008 became the oldest swimmer to compete in an Olympic Games. Now a “swim mom” herself, she cheers her daughter on at swim practice and understands the challenges parents face as they make decisions about how their children will spend their time.
“I started swimming as a kid and it gave me skills I’ve used throughout my life,” said Torres. “Now I have an 8-year-old daughter who is on a swim team and loves it. I see her benefitting from the same things I did, and I want other moms to know how much fun it can be and what a lifelong gift it is for our kids.”
As part of this campaign, I was given the opportunity to talk with Dara Torres on the phone last week about swimming and why it is the FUNNEST sport. But, I already knew why! While Dara’s daughter is just now starting to swim competitively, all three of my kids have done so in some capacity – summer league, year round competitive team and high school swim – over the last seven years. I know it’s fun – not just for the kids either – it is a very family friendly sport.
Here are a few of the reasons my own kids love swimming on a team (and my 5 Reasons to Join a Summer Swim Team):
- Like the image at the top of this post shows – there are no bench warmers! Every child can participate – from swimming in individual events to the incredibly exciting relays. My youngest daughter would be totally content just swimming relays -she LOVES being part of a team and working together as a team.
- It’s social! They love sitting with their friends between races at meets, writing silly sayings on their arms, and cheering on their friends. Did I mention how much fun the relays are?
- It’s great cross training. Swimming makes you stronger and builds your endurance – and that makes every other sport they do easier. Plus swimming is low impact – which means fewer injuries.
- They can all be on the same team. Yep, that’s right! Especially in summer, all three kids go to practice and meets together. Boys and girls swim side by side and the big kids swim at the same time as the younger kids. It is like one big family.
In talking with Dara, we both agree that swimming teaches so much more than just swimming (that in itself is a life long skill). Of course, it is most important that your child is watersafe at a young age – and swim lessons are great way to start, but once they can swim, competitive swimming can teach so much more. Things like self confidence, team work, setting goals and time management are just a few of them.
Over the past seven years, I have watched the friendships made at the pool grow – not just with the kids either. As swim parents, you have to get involved, too. From timing to officiating, concessions and awards, it takes volunteers, but some of my closest friends are those I have met timing or helping to run swim meets. I asked Dara what job she usually does at her daughter’s meets and she responded, “timer.” Timing a meet is a blast – you get to see every race and be right in the middle of the action!
Summer swim season for us starts the Tuesday after Memorial Day and even though only one of my kids is swimming this summer (well, maybe two), we are so excited for another FUN summer of swim, friendships, team spirit, and staying fit!
For more information on getting started with a swim program in your area, visit SwimToday.org.
I love this fabulous infographic sent to me by Aries Apparel that highlights nine amazing female athletes who accomplished more as teenagers than most of us will in a lifetime. Featured athletes include gymnasts Mary Lou Retton, Nadia Comaneci, and Gabby Douglas; golfer Michelle Wie; tennis players Maria Sharapova and Martina Hingis; snowboarder Elena Hight; figure skater Kimmie Meissner; and swimmer Missy Franklin. Enjoy!
Who is your favorite? I’m going to have to go with Missy Franklin – such a classy young lady with a very bright future.
As we head into our sixth season of Summer Swim Team, I thought it would be appropriate to bring this post back out of the archives. All three of my kids look forward to summer swim and some of the best summer memories have been made thanks to our time on the swim team. If you haven’t signed up yet – check with your local team – they may still be taking registrations!
This weekend marks the official kick-off of another summer and the opening of neighborhood pools across the country! Summer Swim Team is one of the best activities for building self esteem, creating new friendships, and it offers an amazing value for the money. My kids have been doing summer swim team for six years and it is a topic of conversation all year long!
Here are my top 5 reasons why your kids should give Summer Swim a try!
1. Just about anyone can do it! The only pre-requisite at our pool for joining summer swim is the ability to swim (anyway, anyhow) across the pool. No previous swim experience required. Just a desire to work hard and learn. And as an added bonus, swimming is a life long sport and useful life skill.
2. Affordable. If you live in a neighborhood with a community pool, chances are you are already a member of the pool. Summer swim fees tend to be relatively inexpensive – considering your child can practice 5 days a week and participate in multiple swim meets through out the summer. If you don’t have a neighborhood pool, check with your local YMCA, parks and rec department or local private pools for additional options. As far as equipment goes, you really just need a one-piece swim suit and a pair of goggles to get started. Some teams will give your swimmer a team swim cap – others may require you to purchase it. Either way, they are not too expensive. (My favorite online resources for high quality swim gear at great prices)
3. Social. It is real easy to make friends with kids you train with just about every day! My daughter and her friends do their best to get from one end of the pool to the other first so that they have more chit chat time while waiting for their team mates to finish up. Then there are the swim meets themselves – tons of cheering for each other, writing sayings like “eat my bubbles” on each others’ backs, and relays!
4. Fitness. Whether your child plays soccer in the spring, basketball in the winter, or gymnastics all year long, swimming an hour a day 4-5 days a week for the bulk of the summer just improves their overall fitness level. Cross training is excellent for any athlete.
5. Self Esteem. Regardless of what skill level your child starts the summer with, it is just about guaranteed they will improve as the summer goes along. Last summer my daughter started the season off too scared to start her races on the blocks. With some positive coaching and lots of practice, she was diving off the starting blocks with ease by the time finals rolled around. Our league rewards kids with heat winner ribbons, generous placement ribbons, and the kids get an award of some sort at the end of the season.
During our first summer swim season I was a little overwhelmed at what seemed to be organized chaos at the first meet. By volunteering to do one of the many jobs it takes to run a swim meet, I quickly learned the ins and outs of the chaos – it wasn’t as crazy as it initially appeared to be.
All youth sports require parent volunteers in order to be successful. Summer swim is no different. Whether you help as a timer, scorer, clerk of course, marshall or in the snack bar, I guarantee your child and their team will be very grateful for the support!
Make some memories this summer! Get your kids involved in summer swim and watch them flourish.