Swimming is NOT a Seasonal Sport!

Swimming is NOT a Seasonal Sport!

I laugh when Sophia comes home and tells me how she argued with a fellow middle school student over swimming versus seasonal sports. Those who do not swim or have just swam in Summer league don’t really have a clue that swimming isn’t a sport … it’s a marathon. A marathon that lasts for YEARS! Competitive swimmers swim year ’round 6-7 days a week, sometimes twice a day. There is no “off season”.

I read once (and of course I can’t find the source now …) that a swim coach told his swimmer to be at the pool early on Thanksgiving morning. The swimmer said, “But Coach! It’s Thanksgiving!!”

The coach asked, “When do you eat dinner?”

“Mid afternoon,” said the swimmer.

“Good! You’re not busy in the morning and you will be hungry after a good swim,” replied the coach.

Few things take precedence over the swim calendar.

Some days I am struck by how unusual our existence is. For the past nine years we have been at the a pool year ’round except for a few, a very few, small breaks. Even on vacation we often find a team to swim with. We have missed family trips, weddings and even funerals. Few things take precedence over the swim calendar.

Is that excessive? Do we take it too far? Maybe at times, but Michael Phelps, in preparing for his successes went five years without missing a single workout. He knew what he wanted to do and he set out to do it. My swimmer isn’t Michael Phelps … who is? … but are we 100% or just 80%? It’s a strong work ethic to instill in a kid to be all in 100%. There is a price both ways. I think as parents we have the tough job of helping to achieve balance for our swimmers. They are learning so much from the process. They are learning at a very young age how to manage a schedule and work load and how to dig deep.

They are learning at a very young age how to manage a schedule and work load and how to dig deep.

I think it’s fair to say that sometimes we get tired. If our swimmer gets stormed out or they are sick and we have a “normal” day at home we often don’t know what to do with ourselves. It’s just so weird. I often find myself thinking, “This is how most families live.” But we miss it … even if it is just one day. String a few days together and literally my girls are going nuts and needing a good two hours of hard work. They can’t get to sleep at night.

One time a friend took Sophia to the pool for her swim practice for me. He sat and watched her practice. He brought her back home and was astounded. “They swim non-stop. They don’t get a break. They swim and swim and swim and before you know it they have been at it for over 2 hours! It’s insane!” No … for us it’s normal.

As a swim parent, I had no idea what I was signing up for when we found that little fledgling team. I didn’t even know how to find a real competitive team. This team didn’t even go to swim meets, that is until Sophia and another girl came. I was totally clueless.  I thought swim team would be like soccer … 1 to 2 days a week, about an hour, and no big deal. Or it would be like ballet, which at the time was only 1 day a week for one hour. It was an outlet for my little ball of energy. Little did I know! It’s probably a very good thing I didn’t know!

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