My kids have been involved with a number of sports and activities over the past several years, but the most important for me as a parent have been the swim lessons they started taking one year ago.
Admittedly, I signed them up as a safety measure and it wasn’t until we started spending some time observing our local swim team’s afternoon practices that I really weighed the possibility that my kids could join a swim team in the coming years. I used to be one of the 80% of parents who overlooked swimming as a possible team sport for my kids. But after being inspired by 5-time Olympian Dara Torres, I’m hoping the swim lessons my kids are taking will eventually take them to nationals!
If you follow Olympic Swimming, you’ll likely remember that just a few weeks ago, the 2014 National Swimming Championships took place right here in Orange County, California.
Led by 18-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, this particular meet convenes the best swimmers in the nation, some of which will likely join the USA National Team and further compete in national and international championships. I’ve only spent a small amount of time watching competitive swimming during the Olympics, so it was exciting to be so close to these amazing athletes.
Once we toured the facility, we sat down with 12-time Olympic medalist Dara Torres, who inspired all of us (including our children) to seriously consider all of the benefits swimming offers kids as a team sport. Unlike many sports that can cause injury to a child’s growing body, swimming doesn’t pose the same risk as sports like football, track & field, or baseball.
According to Torres, there are at least 5 reasons why swimming is the best sport.
- Swimming builds self-confidence, self-esteem, and focus
- Swimming teaches children time management and organization
- Swimming helps children learn how to compete, win, and lose gracefully
- Swimming allows kids the opportunity to see quick improvement when compared to other sports, particularly because they are never sitting on the sidelines
- Swimming is an exercise for life
Torres became involved with SwimToday to help showcase swimming as “the funnest sport.” We’ve spent practically all summer in a pool and I can tell you my kids think swimming is just that. As part of this campaign, SwimToday offers parents online tools, resources, and education. Since one of the biggest deterrents for parents is the perception that they don’t have access to a pool, the site features a Swim Team locator. I actually found 20 pools located within a 13 mile radius of our home! I particularly like their Parents’ Guide to Swimming which helps parents decide when their child is ready for team swimming, how to choose a competitive swimming program, what to expect at your first swim meet, and what swimming gear essentials are really needed.
After such an inspirational discussion about swimming, there wasn’t a child (or a parent) in the room who wasn’t ready to get their feet wet! Torres graciously joined our kids in the pool for an impromptu swim lesson which was the highlight of our day.
How many kids can say they swam with an Olympian?
Just because Summer is ending, doesn’t mean your kids have to stop swimming. In fact, my kids swim all year long and will continue to do this until they are ready for a swim team. If you’ve never considered swimming as more than a simple recreation, I encourage you to visit SwimToday!
Images: MomTrends, Mike Lewis, Rockin’ Mama.