Summer swim has been a staple for our family for the last six years.
Ever since Maddy joined the pre-team the summer before Kindergarten, we’ve spent the first seven weeks of summer camped out at the pool in the mornings and have spent our Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings at swim meets and Sunday afternoons at dive meets.
We are grateful that our neighborhood pool is within walking distance from our home, and we definitely take advantage of it. But even if your family is not within walking distance to a pool, I cannot highly enough recommend that kids join a summer swim team.
It’s an absolute must for families for so many reasons. If you’re on the fence about it, I’m here to do what I can to push you in the ‘yes!’ direction.
Here’s the skinny. . .
Summer Swim Team–An Absolute Must For Families:
Our kids, 11, 9, and 8 years old, know that they’re on the swim team through middle school at the very least. But they really want to be. In fact, they’ve chosen to swim and dive, and the dive piece especially is their choice. They want to do it. They want to be there.
They are counting down the days until they can be the pre-team coaches, until they can be the ‘big kids’ and until they get recognized at the banquet for being swim and dive seniors.
I, on the other hand, am just doing what I can to savor each season as it comes, knowing that the summer days may be long but the years are short.
Thinking about summer swim for your kids?
We love it for many reasons, but here are our top ones:
Kids learn to swim.
Really, they do. Yes, kids on our team must be comfortable in the water, but they don’t necessarily need to know the strokes. That’s where the pre-team coaches come in.
Our littlest swimmers learn water safety and basic strokes, and they become more confident in the water.
Kids try new things and are challenged.
It’s not easy to walk into a pool on a cold June morning not knowing many people, but kids do it. And over time, those people on the team become good friends and playmates.
We all know how important it is for us to step out of our comfort zones every so often; joining a swim team–no matter the age–is a great way to do that.
Kids will learn:
- the proper swim strokes
- how far they can push their little bodies
- how to play safely in the water
- how to jump and dive into the pool
- how swim meets work
- listening skills
- and more.
Older children and younger are brought together and support each other.
Swim teams consist of young swimmers, 8 years old and under, and older swimmers, up to age 18. Swimmers are broken up into different age groups: 8 & under; 9 & 10; 11 & 12; 13 & 14; 15 & older.
All children are on the same team, but they rarely swim together. Except for the medleys and the graduated relays, where one swimmer from each age group takes a section of the race.
One thing I have loved is that our kids interact with other children from different age groups, and everyone supports each other through practices, social events, and meets. It’s awesome.
Families come together.
Our swim and dive teams pretty much create our social calendar for the summer.
Families gather to make the meets work, and they put in their time to make the swim season fun.
We eat meals together, play bingo, enjoy raft nights, support each other through losses, and celebrate our wins. We host book sales and evening events, party it up at an end-of-season banquet, and decorate homes for divisional and all-star meets.
Communities come together.
We drive all around the area for swim and dive meets, making connections all around our community.
Friends from other neighborhood pools cheer for their school buddies across lanes, and pals who only see each other during basketball season or dance class compete against each other in the water.
Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins often join in the fun. Meets become a really great way to see tons of familiar faces and connect with new ones.
It’s. Just. Plain. Fun.
It’s fun. It really, truly is.
Though it gets to feel long by week six or seven–I won’t lie–swim and dive season really is one of the most fun times of the year.
Early mornings, long afternoons, and hot and muggy evenings are overshadowed by the laughs and memories created each season. I know for a fact that when my kids look back on the highlights of their childhood, summertime swim and dive will come to mind immediately.
Every child can have a strong foundation in water safety.
Really. Even if you don’t have a pool nearby, I’m sure that somewhere near you is a YMCA with a water safety or water survival program for kids.
Thanks to people like Justina Pratt who is a Safe Start Swimming Instructor at a Florida YMCA, these programs–and the people who teach our littlest swimmers–can change lives. Actually, they can save lives.
Check it out:
Subscribe so you don’t miss a thing. They’re really cool clips, and they remind us to appreciate those people all around us every day who make our world a better place.
fyi: This post was written as part of a partnership with Find Your Influence, and as always, ideas and opinions are all my own, influenced only by my experience as a parent and educator. Find out more at 1 in one hundred million. Subscribe so you don’t miss any of their videos and follow #WorkforceStories and #1in100MM!