Competitive Swimming: Is My Child Ready?

Written by Eric W., Making Waves Swim Instructor

Part 1: Safety First and Other Basics

As a swimming instructor for Making Waves, one of the more common questions I get from parents is “Is my child ready for competitive swimming?” Unfortunately, this is not always a straightforward answer.  So for this series of blogs, I will endeavor to illuminate the basics of the competitive swim world in our geographic area.

Before I start I should probably mention that competitive swimming has been one of the most important and rewarding aspects of my entire life both from a competing and coaching standpoint.  I started competitive swimming for a YMCA team in Massachusetts at age 11, continued through high school, then college (University of Delaware, NCAA Division 1), and still compete to this day through mostly through triathlons.  Also, I have been teaching and coaching at all levels of swimming at least part time for the last 18 years.

Safety first!  Safety second!  Safety third!  Etc.

First and foremost, before you even consider anything else, is your child a safe swimmer?  Being a safe swimmer is far, far more important than anything else!!!   The instructor will need to teach the basics of swimming first regardless of whether competitive swimming may be of interest to you in the future or not.  Learning the basics takes time….sometimes quite a bit of time.  Rushing it runs the risk of turning your child off to the sport altogether.  

Good communication with your child’s swimming instructor is vital.

They should be able to keep you informed on your child’s progress toward becoming a safe and confident swimmer.  However, informing your child’s instructor that you would would like them to work towards joining a swim team, even if it’s in the far future, will help the instructor be as efficient as possible when determining lesson plans.  Think of it as planning a thousand mile road trip.  You may not know for sure the exact route to take but you know the final destination.  The instructor is your GPS. We, the swimming instructors, can help you much more effectively if we know where you want to go.  You will find I refer back to this communication point A LOT over the course of this blog series.

Don’t worry! This isn’t the end!  Today we covered safety and communication basics but this will be a weekly blog for a little while where I will eventually cover as much as I can on this topic.  Next week will cover the specifics of the strokes and technical parts of what you child needs to know when trying out for a swim team.

Swim Safe.  Swim Fast.  Have Fun!

Mr. Eric W.

Making Waves Swim School Instructor