You’ve seen them at local games or sporting events: Parents who seem a little over-the-top, aggressively cheering or coaching their child from the sidelines. You might have also seen parents who don’t seem to know what is happening and spend most games or practices on their phones or reading a book.
Coaches work to teach children how to play the sport but also how to win and lose with sportsmanship. But who is coaching the parents? If your little swimmer is ready to move from lessons to swim team, you might be apprehensive. But never fear, Goldfish Swim School is here to help swim team parents be prepared, just like we prepare the kids!
When Your Child Graduates to a Competitive Swim Program
Your little ray of sunshine has been taking swim lessons at Goldfish Swim School and is now ready to move on to competitive swimming after achieving our standard extraordinary results (perhaps on the Goldfish Swim Team, or elsewhere once your child is advanced or older than 12 years old). Now what?
Be prepared to practice, practice, practice! In order to reach full potential, repetition is best. That means being committed to a practice schedule – but still maintaining the love of swimming and fun in the water! In addition, kids can add home routines to strengthen muscles to aid in swimming.
Search for the competitive swim programs near you and go in to explore and find out which team is the best fit for your swimmer and your family. Teams will assess your child’s ability and be able to encourage the correct events for their skill level and desire.
How to Read a Swim Meet Program
Now that you’re at your first swim meet, you may need a little insight to decipher the program (we’ve all been there!). If you have a psych seed instead of a program, you’ll find the seed – or place, like 1st, 5th or 25th – of the swimmer. It will also include seed time, which places swimmers who are at similar times close together. This is just a sneak peek of what will happen during the meet.
The program itself contains your heat (the swimming event your child is in, which may have multiple “heats” because there are too many swimmers to all swim at the same time for the event) and heat sheet or lane assignment, which tells when and where a swimmer will swim. There will also be the seed time, so you’ll be able to know when your child is swimming by the number of their seed, which is listed next to his or her name, and then in the lane assignments.
Pro Tip: Bring a highlighter to circle your child’s heat and seed info for easy reference!
Sideline Etiquette During a Swim Meet
At a swim meet, are you supposed to be silent, like during golf, or loudly cheering like during a big hit in baseball? Well, we want you to celebrate your swimmer, so feel free to cheer! Just make sure to display and encourage positive behavior and good sportsmanship – especially because our kids learn by watching.
DON’T go out on the pool deck to coach your swimmer, cheer for your swimmer, talk to the coach or for any other reason. On that same token, DON’T call your swimmer off the pool deck and make sure the coach knows if your child needs to leave the pool deck for any reason.
What to Expect at a Swim Meet
As swimmers compete in their own heat, they may advance further to the finals of the swim meet – so expect to be there for the duration should your swimmer do well. In addition, you’ll need to arrive a bit earlier than the posted warm-up time to ensure enough time to get suited up, check in and have everything ready to go.
Some swimmers may become disqualified for some reason or another, but don’t fret: Most competitive swimmers are disqualified at least once in their career. It’s a great learning opportunity to work on what can be done better.
Meets can be long, and there may be opportunities for breaks between heats. Prepare with food, water, and snacks, along with a place to go to rest and regroup if there’s time. In addition, plan to bring a blanket to sit on and ways to keep younger siblings occupied for those longer stretches of competition. Then sit back, cheer, and enjoy!
Prepare with Goldfish Swim School
If your little one loves the water – or you have hopes of getting your kids into swimming, whether competitively or because it’s a beneficial lifelong skill, test the waters at Goldfish Swim School. We have different skill levels — and babies as young as 4 months old can learn to swim with the help of our instructors who exhibit integrity, compassion and trust each lesson. Find a location near you and sign up today! (Then stop in and witness firsthand our WOW! customer service!)