Congratulations! We’ve made it halfway through the summer - but that doesn’t mean the fun has to end, or even slow down! It’s never too late to join the year-long Waterworks Swim Team - and there’s a few reasons why you should.
Swimming is a Social Sport
I know, I know. “If my child is always swimming laps in the pool, how can it be social?” Swimming actually has a hidden side to it, though, especially at the competitive level (which is where your child is expected to progress through the extra practice and teaching offered by the team) - swimmers have downtime. Whether it’s at a swim meet, which can run for the better part of the day, or in a group session where their sets won’t complete exactly in line with the timers, there’s chances to talk to the people they’re spending hours on end with. This has been linked to lower rates of anxiety and depression. When you get to be in such a group, cheering each other on and talking about your favorite parts of everything, you’ll feel more welcome and part of a family than many, many other sports!
Is this similar to the last reason? Yes - but it’s not the same. In a swim team, especially when doing medley relays (where each of four swimmers do one of the four main competitive strokes) or free relays (where they all do freestyle), there’s time to talk tactics and ideas with the other swimmers in your team to maximize your chances of winning the meet. Communication in the short stints between sets and collaboration and team ethic driven by the experiences are valuable skills to develop early, combined with swimming improving the speed at which a brain develops, is a massive plus. On top of that, learning to work with groups and to brainstorm as a collective early translates to more outspoken and leadership-driven adults down the road, and that translates to more success!
Everyone has goals, but swimmers are trained to seek out both large leaps and incremental gains at the same time. Shaving seconds, or parts of seconds, off their times are major portions of their swim meets and practices. They’re also taught to practice the strokes regularly so as to improve their form - a crucial lesson in “practice makes perfect”. Finally, being encouraged to go for first place means they have to beat not only their own past times, but both their friends and opponents. This creates an atmosphere of friendly competition, where they can become accustomed to failing and getting back up, and where expectations begin to be set on constant self-improvement and practice. Combine this cycle of self-improvement with a little help from coach, and they’re off to the races.
Joining swim teams also gives a sense of structure to an adolescent’s life - they can meet a really varied set of people, from different schools and neighborhoods, but all with one common hobby or passion. They can also have something in particular to repeat two, three, four times a week, which can translate to every day down the road - this sets in place a routine, which can then be looked forward to while stuck in place at school.
Another huge reason to join the team is the way coaching is structured. While it isn’t as personal as a private lesson, it’s based on a competitive mindset - this means higher expectations, longer sets, and learning standard stroke and breathing techniques. Coaches are more focused on the speed and endurance of the swimmer, which then motivates the swimmer to push themselves to the limit - so if your child is looking for the next step up, this is it.
Swim teams are a great resource to improve your child’s various motor and social skills, and to give them a chance to experience early what competitive swimming might be like. Make sure, though, that if they don’t love the experience, you don’t force them into it - there’s plenty of other options related to swimming, especially here at Waterworks. Private or semi-private lessons might be more appropriate for introverted swimmers, for instance, and swim camp for those that aren’t sure if they’re going to want to start doing year long, or club, swimming. Making sure they’re learning, and having fun while doing it, is always the main goal with structured swimming!