A Novice Swim Parent Guide to the Swim Lingo
With a possible return to “normal” on the horizon, many of us are contemplating what we will do with the kids over the summer – If you are like me about 8 years ago, you are thinking now is the time to get going with joining a swim team. Of course, if swim is not something you are familiar with, trying to understand those swim parents may be a little tough…….So here are a few tips to help you navigate on deck, at meets and possibly for the rest of your life!
- Dressing the part: yes, swim people like their speedos, or some version of it. If you thought your kid could get away with wearing their cutsie summer splash bathing suits, think again. You should get your child a “real” swimsuit, albeit one that will not break the bank. For one thing, if your kid is still little, he or she will grow out of it in the next 4 to 6 weeks. For another, chlorinated water is not so kind to suit fabric (and if your kid is like mine, well, that’s another issue altogether!). Swim Outlet is a good place to start. Go with their “Grab bags”, look at clearance items and shop the cheap stuff.
- Letting the coaches do their stuff: you can watch, you can take pics and videos and you can ‘ooooooh an aaaahhh”….but for the love of everything holy, let the coaches coach. Trust me, most of them, and certainly the SMAC coaches, ABSOLUTELY know what they are doing. Sometimes it may be better for you to leave the deck and let your little cherub create that bond with the coach. If you choose to stay on deck, just don’t intervene unless you see a look or a clear signal to help. Overall, this is probably the hardest lesson to learn, especially for parents of really young children. But I guarantee you that your little one is in good hands and will be better for it.
- Enjoying the math lessons: swimming is probably one of the BEST thing that happened to my son academically. He was lost in math until then….but guess what? Swimmers count!!! The need to look at the clock, know what it means to leave “on the top” or “on the 20” or “10 seconds apart”…. Then there is the distance in the pool, is it a 25 yard pool? A 50 meter pool? Whatever it is, they learn and somehow, all the sudden, they know about math.
- Talking about yards and meters: if you get to this point, your kid is probably hooked and you are in it for the long hall…. Welcome to the family! Swimming has become such a part of our lives and it certainly is a commitment…..But our family wouldn’t trade it for the world. But, there are some things we wished we would have known a while back. By now, your child is loving going from one end of the pool to the next and you are probably wondering how in the world they have the stamina to keep going….yep, swimming is hard! Here are a few things you should know once you commit:
o There are two “seasons”: the longer (in time) season lasts from about the end of the summer to the end of spring (roughly September to April). That’s the short-course season; that’s because the course they use measure 25 yards across… now, to complicate things, you can swim a short-course in a long course pool. If you are swimming in a really long pool but instead of swimming the length of the pool, the lanes are designed to go across, then you are in short-course…. And you guessed it, the long-course is the really long side of the pool. The long-course pools are 50 meters (not yards, so a little more than 50 yards) long so your child will do more “laps” in a short-course pool than in a long-course pool for the same distance.
Learning the rest of the lingo: there is just so much to learn and well, we all know we just don’t have that attention span. So, for now, I will leave you with some parting thoughts and will ask you to join me again next week for part 2 of A Novice Swim Parent Guide to the Swim Lingo. Trust me, you will thank me later!
o Swimming is really rewarding: for you and for your kid. Yes, it is hard, and if I knew then what I know now….well, I will still do it!
o You aren’t just getting your kid in a sport, you are getting a family: when I look back at the last 8 or so years of our lives, all I see if my swim friends, my family.
o SMAC swim coaches are amazing! We lived in a couple of different states and have had a few coaches throughout the years. Some were amazing, some not always….but these coaches just ROCK – no questions, no arguments – SMAC coaches are the BEST
So welcome to the team and let’s connect soon….and stay tuned for part 2, which promises to be chock full of information you will be grateful you have before your first swim meet!