Poolside Heroes: Swim Moms (And Dads)

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Swim Moms and Dads are special people who contribute to their child’s development every day. Swimming is not only a good sport to develop healthy muscles and coordination, but also a way to make friends and develop camaraderie joined with competitive spirit. When a child or student is motivated to pursue the sport beyond the early swimming lessons, there are many things that parents can do to support their child in this pursuit.

Swim Moms

What Makes A Swim Mom?

There are several things that differentiate swim moms from those attending a swim lesson. When your child begins to truly invest themselves in the sport, there are things that you as a parent can do to help them achieve their goals.

  • Swim moms are always prepared for any difficulty. For instance, they can produce new goggles or towels in seconds when needed. It also doesn’t hurt to have an extra suit ready and food on hand for extra energy.
  • Volunteering is part of the gig. It takes many hands to make sure that a swim meet goes well. That’s where swim parents can lend a helping hand. It’s also a time for parents to develop friendships with other parents in the swim community.
  • Acting as a cheerleader. While some parents may simply drop their child off at a meet, many dedicated swim moms stay to cheer on their child and the others in a meet. This lets your child know that you support them in their efforts.
  • Being there when a race doesn’t go well. During a child’s swim career, there will be many ups and downs. Being there to support them through both the good times and the bad shows your support. It’s also a time to reinforce the spirit of teamwork and sportsmanship.
  • Many swim moms begin to remember key race times. While this may detract from the overall experience of the event, it does become part of the experience and helps you support your child.

These are key traits of many swim parents, but there are also a number of things that you can do to support your child during meets and swim practice. While swimming is an individual sport, it’s important that each child learns camaraderie and to support other team members. This is an opportunity for them to develop friendships with others who share their passion for the sport.

Here are some tips to consider when your child becomes interested in swimming competitively.

  • Have good food on hand. It may be tempting to resort to fast food options, but that is not the best for their development. Practice and meets can make swimmers very hungry. By providing healthy options they will develop good dietary practices and not always resort to something that is fast and not the best for them. To perform at their best, they need lean protein and high-quality complex carbohydrates.
  • Recognize when your student is down or frustrated by losing by a fraction of a second. Being there helps them realize that there is a next time and that by losing one day doesn’t mean that they will totally miss their goals. Your student may begin to question themselves and their techniques. This is totally normal for anyone, but it is also the time that they need your support to help them see the bigger picture.
  • Bleachers can be rough! While it may seem like a simple suggestion, a portable chair will help you get through long meets.
  • Endless wet towels will become a part of life. The best solution is to simply stock up on more beach towels so that the daily laundry doesn’t get backed up. It helps to have a ready supply of clean, dry towels ready for the action the next day.
  • Understanding shaving. Shaving is part of the competitive swimming environment. Before a race, swimmers will do almost anything that will help them shave off seconds in the water. This often means shaving arms, as well as legs.
  • Rest is important! In competitive swimming, it is called the “taper”. This means refraining from other activities such as biking, running, and other activities. This is important for muscle recovery and getting ready for the next practice.
  • Swimsuits and kneeskins: As your student advances in the competitive swimming arena, their equipment tends to get more expensive. Technical suits are designed to help swimmers move more quickly through water without as much drag or friction. These suits are often very tight, but they can help shave seconds off of a swimmer’s time.
  • Consider carpooling: Not only is this an opportunity to develop friendships and bonds in the swim community, but it can also save time and money on getting everyone to practices on time. When scheduling conflicts arise, they can save the day by helping to get everyone where they need to go.

Being a swim mom (or dad) can be challenging but worth every moment of the experience. Your children are developing healthy lifelong skills. It also gives you the opportunity to be there to cheer them on during the challenges and celebrate the victories. While it may take time and effort to schedule around daily practices, especially when these often mean being active at five or six in the morning, it’s worthwhile to be on this journey with your child and help them attain their goals and celebrate their accomplishments.

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