This year a lot of our friends decided to give their kids a pass on swim team. My kids tried to talk me into letting them skip it this year, but I said “No.” Here’s why:
1) It’s only a month – Yes, practice is tedious and meets are long, drawn-out affairs (wow – six heats of 8 and under butterfly?) especially with the summer storms popping up almost daily, delaying meets for long stretches of time. BUT, after a season of club soccer, a month of swim team is a breeze.
2) Junk Food – Swim meets are really nothing more than an excuse for kids to justify eating MASSIVE quantities of junk food. Kids want to participate in as many races as possible, so they can go to their parents after each race and say, “That was super hard. I’m exhausted. I need some food.” When I offer them the healthy cut-up fruit or vegetables with ranch dip I brought, they eat a few pieces and then ask for money for the concession stand. These days, I just grin, shake my head and begrudgingly give them the money for junk food.
3) Individual sport – I think it’s good to participate in a sport where you compete against yourself. If something goes wrong, you have no one to blame but yourself. The kids can track their progress week to week and see their improvement as the season unfolds. My kids have seen dramatic improvements in their times every meet and it’s a direct result of the hard work they have put in at swim practice. They’ve moved from the bottom of the pack to the middle. It’s a good life lesson about resiliency and hard work.
4) Forces me to go to the pool – I’m not a pool person. Growing up, I didn’t go to the pool – I played sports outside. The kids, however, LOVE the pool, so swim team forces me to get comfortable hanging out there. By the time swim team season is over, I’m past my aversion to the pool and it’s a great way to end the day at Camp-Everything is Awesome!
5) Safety – I want my kids to be reasonably strong swimmers because it is a good life skill. My goal for them is to be able to swim 50 meters in under 60 seconds. If they can handle that, I feel better about them near water.
The kids have really enjoyed seeing their times improve and getting in better shape. It can only help them in the other sports they play during rest of the year.