By Jenni Halem / Contributor.
We recently posted Five Tips To Get The Most Out Of Summer Swimming, a must read for swimmers and parents. Parents, it’s your turn.
On your mark, get set….GO! Summer swim team season is officially underway. You’ve got the suit? Check! Goggles? Check! Sunscreen? Check! Now what? Below are some tips from a parent/coach on how to make the most of your summer swim team experience.
• Show up. Simple enough, right? Go to the pool. Don’t just drop your swimmer off every day, actually stick around and get to know the other swimmers and their parents. My best friends are parents I met on a pool deck.
• Get involved. I know we all have busy schedules and volunteering every day at the pool might not be possible for most parents but that doesn’t mean you can’t get involved from time to time. It’s a fact, there would not be swim teams without the dedicated support from parents. Things like timing, meet set up, computer operator, concessions worker, and officials are the most needed. However, there’s other ways you can get involved. Offer to make a store run for the concession stand or team spirit night, help line up the swimmers at meets or even help find the swimmers at meets (check the concession stand) are all ways you can also get involved with minimal time commitment.
• Be an enthusiastic cheerleader for all the swimmers. Sure, cheer louder for your own but remember those parents you met on the pool deck? Cheer for their swimmers too. This helps in two ways. 1. It makes the meets feel shorter if you are watching and paying attention for more than just for 2 or 3 events out of 20 or so. 2. Your children are learning from what you do. If they see you cheering for their friends, they will too.
• Don’t be overly critical of your coaches or officials. The officials are volunteers and parents just like you. They have no hidden agenda and are there to make sure all the swimmers have a fair and safe swimming opportunity. The coaches, though they may be compensated are working long hours every day to give your child the opportunity to learn more about a sport they love. If you have question about the lineup or the events ask a board member first. It might save you time getting an answer and it will allow the coaches to keep their eyes on the pool.
• Read the emails and signs at the pool from the team. They often have important information regarding a meet location, spirit night you won’t want to miss or a meet theme.
• Wear the darn tutu/crown/tye dye shirt. Wait…what? Most swim teams choose themes for their meets. Things like “70’s” or “princesses/princes” or “neon” are just some examples. These themes aren’t just for the swimmers, but parents as well. My suggestion to you would be to participate as much as possible in the meet theme. When else are you going to get the opportunity to embarrass you kids? I once saw a grown man wearing footed PJ’s to a meet and you know what? That was 3 years ago and the swimmers are still talking about how cool it was.
Seriously though folks, summer swim team is a place to make memories that will last a lifetime. The more involved you are in the process, the better the memories for our kids. In a world where so much of our time is focused on being serious, summer swim team is just the place to get a little crazy, let loose, make memories and have a great time.