My kids have been on the summer swim team for 6 years and I was on the swim team for 7 years as a teen. So I’ve been around a lot of swim meets. As a parent of 4 young swimmers, I have offered plenty of advice to the new swim parents. If your kids are on the swim team for the first time this summer, here are a few helpful tips that will hopefully make swim meets a little more enjoyable.
Summer swim team is a different level of swimming than year-round swimmers. The primary difference is most of the kids participating in summer leagues are just casual swimmers. The level of competition is much lower and it’s all around a bit more relaxed than year-round competitive swimming. I always tell parents that the summer swim team is a great place for kids to learn how to swim. Swim team allows children to work on their individual skills while being a part of a team. It’s both an individual and team sport.
So let’s get to the tips. If you plan on joining a summer swim team here are a few tips from a veteran swim mom.
1. It’s Hot
Unless you’re lucky enough to swim at an indoor pool, it will most likely be a blazing hot day at the pool. That’s why it’s called the “summer” swim team. I’ve learned to wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing. Linen or lightweight cotton shorts and a light tank. Be aware that you might get splashed or get a little wet so wear something that also dries quickly. I also bring along my Yeti rambler full of ice and water. Stay hydrated folks! A hat or umbrella is also a good idea.
2. It’s Long
Depending upon the size of the swim team, a meet can last about 4 hours. If the weather doesn’t want to cooperate it can last longer. Bring a chair, bring some snacks, and bring some activities to keep kids occupied. My kids will typically bring some action figures and card games to share and play with their swim friends. We also love bringing our Amazon Fire Kids.
3. The Weather Does What It Wants
Storm clouds can roll in at any time and postpone or cancel the meet. Be prepared to seek shelter or pack it up only to return the following night for the completion of the meet.
4. They Need Volunteers
Most meets require a lot of volunteers to make them run smoothly. If you are able to volunteer, everyone will greatly appreciate it. Bonus, you get to meet a lot of great new parents that are also volunteering.
5. New Friends for Everyone
Not only will your kids make new friends on the team but you will probably meet some new parent friends, especially if you volunteer. Between practices and meets you spend a lot of time with these people so get to know them, and become friends. It’s totally worth it.
As long as my kids enjoy swimming we hope to continue with the summer swim team. The long hot evenings by the pool are totally worth it when your child breaks a personal record or wins the race.