It’s rewarding being a parent of a young athlete, especially if you’re a parent of a swimmer. However, it can be tough guiding your child through the waters if you don’t have a map or game plan.
It can be fun at times, but other times can be confusing, scary, and disappointing. Today we’re going to go over some great tips to make you and your child’s journey go much smoother.
girls swimming freestyle at a summer swim meet
Tools of the Trade
It’s essential to have certain items or tools on you at all times during a swim meet. One of the most important things is snacks at the ready for both you and your young swimmer. Meets are long, and you’ll need sustenance throughout the day and weekend.
Always keep a sharpie on hand, and don’t forget to leave conditioner in your swimmers’ cap, especially if they have longer hair. Don’t forget to print a “heat sheet.” That way, you’ll know when and where you’re supposed to be.
Swim meets can be very, very, very long. You’ll also want to invest in a tent and a comfortable lawn chair. And remember to bring a cooler. Bring reading materials because the meets are long and, at times, uneventful.
Apps are a part of our daily lives and can be extremely helpful for improvement and convenience. There are a couple of must-have apps for parents of swimmers.
Swimmetry is a great app for both you and your young athlete.
- Sets customized personal goals automatically.
It helps parents and swimmers to be goal-oriented, which improves performance.
Meet Mobile: Swim
Meet Mobile is a must-have for any swim parent. It has several features and benefits you shouldn’t pass up.
- Access and information to meet programs worldwide
- Heat sheets
- Psych sheets
- Real-time results
The website CollegeSwimming.com was founded in 2000 in an effort to promote college swimming and diving programs.
In life, you always need resources, and it’s no different for the parent of a swimmer. Aside from the tools and apps mentioned above, you should never feel afraid to seek other help.
Reach out to parents of more experienced swimmers. Pick their brain and let them know you’re willing to listen to any advice they might have.
Set up a lunch or coffee with a parent or two and make a list of questions to ask while writing down their answers for you to keep as a go-to cheat sheet.
They can ensure your swimmer won’t get disqualified (DQ’d) early on. It’s very common for new swimmers and parents to get confused with the rules, and DQ’s often happen.
For instance, some meets have what are called “fly-over starts.” The next starts without allowing the swimmers from the previous race to exit the pool when one heat ends.
They are required to hug the wall while the referees start the race. This can be chaotic, and if your swimmer isn’t prepared, it gets messy. Also, it’s important to know what the refs’ signals and different whistles mean.
Be Active and Supportive
How they swim isn’t a reflection of you. Don’t fall down the over-identification trap where your child’s swim performance is a reflection of you, leading you to ignore how they feel about the sport and focus on your feelings.
Swim meets are constantly in need of volunteers. Getting involved will help you understand the swim competition world and help you network with other parents and coaches.
Be supportive of your child. Let them know you’re proud of the work they are putting in. Also, let them know that you’re their biggest fan, win or lose. Positive reinforcement will produce better results in the pool.