Year Round Swim Team
-Is Your Family Ready?
So your swimmer had a blast with summer swim team this year. They had a great season, had successes in the pool, and built friendships in and out of the water. Coming off this positive experience, you may be asking yourself if it’s time to start them in year-round swimming?
While this decision is different for every swimmer (and every swim family), I think there are several things to consider carefully before launching your young athlete into the intense world of year-round swimming.
If year-round swim team is a new step for your swim family this year, here are a few things to keep in mind.
I’ve seen kids as young as 4 or 5 swimming for intense USA Swimming clubs. I’ve also seen kids start year-round swimming as late as 14 or 15 and end up being very successful. It is normally recommend swimmers be at least 7, and I recommend they get started by 12 for best results.
Year-round teams are more intense and competitive than summer clubs, and each team has its own culture and expectations of swimmers (and their families). I recommend asking other families about their experiences with a team if you can. And ask the team what they expect from you and your swimmer, so you know what you’re committing to before the season starts.
If your swimmer already has friends on a team, that’s a big help for them (and for you). Teams may practice before and after school, 5 days a week, plus one or more weekend-long meets each month. Having a few (or several) friends on the team helps swimmers enjoy their long days at meets and means potential carpools and rideshares to help you get them to everything.
Are You Ready?
While it is important to talk to your kids about becoming a year round swimmer- don't forget to ask yourself if YOU ARE READY!
Swimming is a HUGE commitment not just to your swimmer but the whole family. Practices. Meets. Carpools. Fundraising. Many teams have mandatory volunteer requirements. Sometimes as much as 8 hours a weekend.
While volunteering can be tedious- teams simply can't host meets without the help & involvement of parents.
But remember... volunteering allows you a birds-eye view of your swimmer competing- plus it is a great way to make new friends!
Swimmers in a good position to start a winter season should:
Be comfortable and confident in the water
Be able to swim a 50 freestyle consecutively and comfortably
Be able to follow instructions without parental intervention
Have a desire to compete, not just to participate
Above all, make sure they actually enjoy swimming! For a child who doesn’t like being in the water, practice will seem like torture.