Your child wants to join a swim team or participate in swimming! That’s great! Swimming is a life skill that provides athletic conditioning for almost all of the muscle groups. But many of us may be intimidated by the swimming schedule that we hear about. From my own personal experience, the schedule was no different than any other sport. At the ages of nine and ten, my son swam year round for ATOM (Aquatic Team of Mecklenburg) and practice was only three nights a week. I got to sit in air-conditioning, while catching up with friends or reading. Now, as my kids have gotten older, they have expressed interest in swimming again. So I recently sat down with TEAM Charlotte’s Associate Head Coach/Head Age Group Coach, Kristina Bond, to find out more about the world of year-round swimming Charlotte. But let’s start with lessons and seasonal swimming first.
Why should I invest in my child’s swimming?
– Learning to swim well helps prevent drowning
– Swimming promotes fitness, strength and coordination.
– Swimming is an individual and team sport.
– Swimming is relatively injury free, unlike many other sports.
– Swimming is a lifetime sport.
– Swimming motivates kids to self-improve.
Where do parents of young swimmers begin?
For beginners and up, check out the following locations or contact swim coaches for private lessons (some coaches also teach privately):
– Charlotte Swim Academy
– Mecklenburg Aquatic Center(newly renovated)
– Little Otters
– Charlotte Aquatics
– Levine JCC
– Marion Diehl
Where can my child swim on a winter swim team?
All of these teams require a membership to their pool prior to registering for swim team. Swim teams belonging to the Greater Charlotte Swim League compete against one another; there are over 20 teams in this league, so be sure to click the league link to view the complete list of swim teams. Below are a few pools that offer a summer swim team:
– Levine JCC
– Fairmeadows Swim & Racquet
– South Park Swim & Tennis
– Starclaire Swim & Tennis
– Park Crossing Swim Club
– Cameron Woods
– Beverly Woods East Swim Club
– Carmel County Club
How can my child swim year round and what does that look like?
Kristina Bond of TEAM Charlotte advised tryouts are now underway (June to mid July) for USA Swim Teams. Kids typically need to be at least seven years old and be able to swim the backstroke and freestyle.
TEAM Charlotte is offering a chance to win 25% off the registration fee ($150-$175) if your child makes the team and follows TEAM Charlotte on Instagram. Details are at the end of this article.
Charlotte USA Swim Teams:
– Year-round conditioning and training.
– Improve strokes.
– Can opt in or out of the monthly meets.
– Compete at local, state and national levels up to the Olympics.
What does practice look like for a USA Swim Team?
The swim schedule for younger kids is only a couple times a week. As kids age up into higher age groups, practices increase.
Typically, kids take the month of August off. To give you an idea, Kristina provided TEAM Charlotte’s practice schedule:
Piranha Level (6-12 yrs): 2 days a week
Blue (7-12 yrs): 3 days a week
Gold (12 and under): 4 days a week
Black (11-13 yrs): 5 days a week
Senior 2 (13-18 yrs): 5 days a week
Senior 1 (looking to qualify for state meets): 6-8 times a week
Advanced Senior (competing for state and above): 8 times a week: evenings with 2 mornings
If your swimmer decides to participate in all the meets, then he or she would be in about eight meets during the short course season. During the long course season, there are another five optional meets. Championship meets have time standards in order to qualify.
What is the difference between long course and short course?
Short course: the season begins at the end of August or beginning of September and extends through March/April. Swimmers compete or swim 25 yards each way.
Long course: the season begins in May, ending in July. Swimmers swim 50 meters each way.
What is required of parents during swimming?
For winter and summer teams, parents volunteer to be timers, runners, label ribbons, and as stroke judges.
For year round swimming, parents can either help out with the above or help out in the hospitality suite where food is provided for judges and coaches. Most teams have 80-100 families, so roles are filled quickly. Year round swimming also looks for parents to assist with organizational matters, such as booking blocks of rooms during away meets.
What does the registration fee for year round swimming go towards?
Coaches are paid with the fee, as are pool and lane rentals. Some teams, like TEAM Charlotte, are nonprofit. Most USA swim teams are coach-owned.
What do tryouts look like for a USA swim team?
TEAM Charlotte allows swimmers to join at any point in the year, as long as a spot is open. Other USA swim teams have the same policy. Tryouts are typically in the summer. Kids come to a practice, swim, interact with the team and coach, and participate in some dryland events. Kristina said she wants kids and parents to know what they are committing to. Summertime is the best time to tryout, as that is when the teams have the most spots open.
More about Team Charlotte:
If no one else will say it at this point, we will: the Queen City is THE premier metropolitan city in the country for competitive swimming and we’re extremely proud to have been a key part of the city’s development.
Team Charlotte is a year-round, competitive age group USA swimming team that’s been serving the ultra competitive Charlotte market for 35+ years
TEAM is THE fastest growing year-round swim team in the city, and one of the fastest growing in the country.
Team Charlotte, first and foremost, is a family, comprised of highly dedicated coaches, swimmers and parents. We have each other’s back. We care about each other. We take a different approach than most, maybe, but we genuinely care about the life long development of our swimmers.
We work incredibly hard, but we like to have fun: We just hosted one of the fastest age group swim meets in the country – the Sunkissed Invitational – and on Saturday night at finals, we had a DJ and the swimmers from the teams were out on the floor dancing!
Our alum have gone on to swim at Div 1 schools, participated at US Olympic Team Trials, competed internationally, and served in our armed forces (US Coast Guard and Navy Seals).
We take pride in hiring the best, highly educated coaches often with master degrees who care about the long term development of our swimmers, not just in the water but in the classroom.
We take pride in developing swimmers, yes, but also the leaders in our communities of tomorrow.
Go to CSP’s Instagram page for details on how to win 25% off the registration fee ($150-$175).
Now take the plunge with your child!