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Swimming

Swimming Details on Kids Swim Meets What to Bring to a Swim Meet What to Expect at a Swim Meet   Swim Strokes  
 

AGE GROUP  GIRLS and BOYS 4 - ADULT

What is Swimming?

Swimming is the act of  moving through  water using the arms and/or legs.  Considering it is one of the best whole body workouts it is a great way to achieve and maintain fitness. In addition, it is a sport that can be used your whole life.  Kids who are self-motivated and who love the water will really enjoy this sport.  Swimming is something that kids can do on their own or they can join a team and participate in individual and/or relay team events.

The Types of Swim Instruction....

Children can begin water safety and swimming readiness classes at a very young age in mommy and me classes.  However, to learn real swim strokes the best age to start lessons is 4 years old.  Competitive swim teams accept children as early as 5 years old provided they can swim the length of the pool unassisted.  Non-competitive "Training" teams are also offered by organizations for younger swimmers ages 6-8 who are learning the basics of the strokes.

Swim teams are broken into age groups: 10 and under, 11 to 12, 13 to 14, 15 to 16, and 17 to 18.  However, it does not stop at 18 there are many colleges that have competitive swim teams and you can continue as an amateur, adult,  competitive swimmer.  The very best swimmers compete in the Olympic Games.

Swim lessons are usually once or twice a week for 30 minutes.  There are some organizations that offer programs where lessons are everyday for 30 - 60 minutes for one or two weeks in a row. Be sure to always check the teacher/student ratio.  You don't want your child spending a lot of time on the side of the pool waiting for their turn because the class is too large.

 

Cost To Participate...

There are four costs involved with swim teams: USA Swim fees, training fees, fundraising obligation, meet fees.  USA swim fees are an annual amount that each swimmer must pay to join the national governing body for swimming, USA Swimming.  Training fee is the money paid to the club for training and practices.  Fundraising is required by some clubs to help offset costs.  Meet fees are required entry fees paid to participate in the event.  These fees are usually on a per event basis.

Compared to other sports swimming is not an expensive sport.  Club/team memberships range from approximately $300 to $600 for beginners and approximately $1000 to $2000 for advanced swimmers. The yearly USA Swimming membership which is approximately $52.   Meets costs will run about $4 to $5 per individual event, plus an entry fee.  You can expect to spend approximately $30 - $50 per meet plus travel, hotel and food costs for away meets.  Many clubs require parents to volunteer their time at meets, or pay an additional fee.

Required Equipment

The equipment necessary for swimming is a bathing suit  (Jammer for boys), goggles, swim cap, flip-flops, some type of team gear and possibly fins.

It is also important to drink plenty of water when you swim so a sports water bottle is recommended.  You will also need towels to dry off.  Sun screen is a must if you will be swimming outdoors.

Bathing suit:  A competitive suit is recommended.  Boys Jammer $20 - 45   Girls Suit $25 - $70

Swim cap:  Approximate cost $5 - $10

Goggles:  Approximate cost  $10 - $15

Fins:  Approximate cost $16 - $50

Additional required accessories: towels, locks, flip-flops.

Team gear ( warm-up suits,  t-shirts, jackets, duffel bags etc...) Price Vaires  

When Is My Child Ready to Compete?

Your child is ready for his/her first meet when he/she feels comfortable enough to compete and they can swim the required distance.  The sooner the swimmer begins to compete the sooner they will see improvement.   All swimmers are encouraged to improve their skills before the next meet.  Practices prior to a meet are very important to the swimmer.  It is here that they perfect and/or learn skills to help them in the next competition. 

What is the Commitment Level?

Competitive swimming is a year round sport.  It is a very long season, especially for those who are more advanced and compete at higher levels.  Once the warm weather ends the team moves to indoor pools.  High school and college swimmers compete in the winter.

Fall practice season begins in the end of August or beginning of September and continues until May with a variety of meets and competitions including the USS Junior Olympics and Junior Nationals.  High school teams start swimming in November.  Summer season begins the beginning of May and continues until August with meets.

Practice makes perfect...

As with any other sport if your child wants to improve their skills they need to practice.  Practice for younger children, under 10, is usually three times a week for 45 minutes.  Practice time will increase to five times a week as the skill level of the swimmer improves and as they move up the ranks.  A high level swimmer can practice as much as18 hours a week.  Practices are in the afternoon or evening while school is in session and usually in the morning during the summer.

In addition, you must be prepared for swim meets because they will last at a minimum several hours or as long as an entire weekend.