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.
For those familiar with Amy Purdy and her story, her success on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars should come as no surprise. Purdy hasn’t just been overcoming obstacles since the double amputation of both her legs at age 19 – she’s been plowing right through them as if they never existed in the first place.
If you’re unfamiliar with her, she’s certainly going to be someone you want to know. After contracting what she thought was the flu at age 19, she found herself growing rapidly sicker, and within a day she was rushed to the hospital after developing septic shock. She soon went into a coma that would last for three weeks. Doctors finally learned that she had the bacterial infection neisseria meningitidis attacking her circulatory system, eventually causing multiple organ failures and resulting in the removal of her spleen and amputation of both her legs below the knee. Doctors at said that at the time, she had less than a 2% chance of survival. She later told ABC News, “I remember thinking, this is so surreal. This is so crazy. I thought, ‘This is what it feels like to die.”
Of course, she didn’t die, and in fact she was back on a snowboard (her sport of choice before falling ill) only seven months after her amputation. A year after the amputation she had returned to the snowboarding circuit, competing thanks to the support of the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Inspired by the support of the CAF, Amy decided to start her own organization for disabled athletes in 2005 called Adaptive Action Sports.
You would think that running a non-profit, working as a massage therapist, and a CAF spokesperson would be enough to keep anyone busy, but not Amy. She continued to snowboard competitively while pursuing other passions including acting and modeling. She even appeared in a music video for Madonna after the singer heard her inspiring story. To top it all off, Amy just brought home a bronze medal from the 2014 Sochi Paralympics.
Now Amy is tackling another project: dancing. Never one to back down from a challenge, she and her partner Derek Hough were rehearsing even while she was in Sochi, and the duo flew directly from Russia to L.A. the day before the first show. Anyone would have been exhausted, jet lagged, and wanting to simply crawl into bed, but not Amy – she dazzled on the dancefloor doing a cha-cha that brought judge Carrie Ann Inaba to tears and landed her an impressive score of 24/30.
She also pulled off another stellar performance during week two, after surviving a double elimination at the beginning of the show. While she was slightly concerned during rehearsals for her swing, she said, “It’s a pretty funny thought to think that my legs could potentially fly off.” Well, it’s a miracle they didn’t with all of the high intensity kicks, splits, flips, and jumps in her and Hough’s dance. Perhaps ironically, the only slip up in the dance was a missed arm motion. The performance ended with Amy doing the splits as the audience gave her a standing ovation. The judges were impressed as well, giving her a score of 24 out of 30 and putting her in the top five for the night.
Yet, amazingly, in week three Amy did even better with her contemporary dance which she told the L.A. Times was about “giving gratitude to my family and my dad for their support through my toughest time.” Clearly her inner passion came through and she landed a 9/10 score from each judge, giving her 27/30 her personal best so far. Those who haven’t seen Amy’s performances yet this season can catch them through many video-on-demand services, ABC Go, the ABC Player App or on demand through your DirecTV receiver or DVR.
For Amy’s fans, her success on the show comes as no surprise, she’s been defying expectations for quite a few years now. But for those of us who hadn’t heard of her before, who didn’t know her story, it’s a truly awesome story of perseverance and dedication. Amy can teach all of us, athletes or not, that only you set your own limitations, no one else.
Image Source: Zimbio.com and HollywoodGossip.com
Gone are the days of ‘shrink it and pink it’ for female fan apparel – Prep Sportswear launched their new feminine Sparkle Twill line for schools and sports! Moms, elementary kids, tweens, teens and beyond will love this sassy new look while rooting for their favorite team! We were sent two items from this new line to review and my daughter chose a traditional looking baseball shirt and a more trendy slouch sweatshirt.
Sparkle Twill™ is an appliqué technique that adds a vibrant sparkle finish to an assortment of t-shirts, jerseys and other apparel. This eye-catching design comes in a large array of styles, colors and sizes featuring your favorite school, sport, number or team name. The first time she wore this shirt, she had other students and teachers stopping her in the hall wanting to know if the school store carried that shirt or where they could get it. The fact is that while the school store doesn’t carry the Sparkle Twill line from Prep Sportswear yet, they really need to be – they would sell so much more!
This is a closer photo of the Sparkle Twill – you can really get a good look at the quality. The bling in part of the fabric – no glitter shedding everywhere, no fading and no peeling off. The letters are embroidered on for an even nicer finish.
The Prep Sportswear slouch sweatshirt has become her favorite! She wears it to school, to dance, to workout and to just lounge around the house!
If you are looking for Spirit Wear that is 100% customizable to be just your style, check out Prep Sportswear! They literally have something for everyone – in every school, organization, group, team – you name it!!
Who says it has to be pink to be girly?