Competitive Swimming – A Guide for Parents
Swimming is a fantastic way to keep fit and is a great activity for children to enjoy. Swimming has a number of physical and mental benefits so is fantastic for your child’s development. But while learning to swim is a vital skill, the sport also has a variety of avenues that your child can pursue if they wish.
Within this article we are going to explore one of the most popular routes for swimmers which is Competitive Swimming. This blog post is your handy guide to everything about this sport and how you can help your child through the competitions. Covering topics such as the basics of the competition and training schedules, to the financial and supportive aspects of the sport, we have got it covered. So, if you want to find out more about what Competitive Swimming entails, then keep on reading.
Basics of Competitive Swimming
Competitive Swimming sees a number of swimmers compete against one another to reach the specified swimming distance in the fastest time. These competitions could be focused on a range of swimming styles such as the butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke or freestyle. However, if your child chooses to compete in the Individual Medley or IM competitions, a combination of the four elements are required. For example, your child would swim the same distance doing a butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and then freestyle. This type of event is popular with some competitive swimmers as it gives them a variety however if your child feels that one element is stronger than the rest, they may want to pursue events based around that single swimming style.
When competition on a World Championship level the pool is required to be 50 meters by 25 meters with ample space for ten lanes. However, depending on the size of your local swimming baths and the entrants into the competitions this may vary. Although the size of the pool may be different on the higher-level competitions, the distance required to swim would still remain the same.
Time Expectations of Training Schedules
When it comes to preparation and training for competitions, there is no set time limit to practices which would make your child the best. No matter what level your child is set to compete at, they can train and prepare for their upcoming tournament however many times a week they are comfortable. But due to this, you would need to ensure that your child is not overexerting themselves by training too much or going only once a week and hoping for the best.
A nice average of a couple times a week would be great for maintaining their stamina and performance in the pool. You could also enlist the help of an instructor at the pool to help schedule coordinating practices for your child to ensure that they are getting the optimum balance of rest and training ahead of the competition.
Financial Breakdown of Competitive Swimming
Regarding the financial costs of competitive swimming it can really vary between pools, organisations and levels. For example, the lower level your child is competing at the cheaper that the entrance fee will be for the competition. But if your child is eligible for entering higher level competitions which include regional and national competitions the cost might be drastically higher. With regards to this, you would be best gauging the price of the competition entries ahead of time if your child is working their way up the levels and winning lower level competitions as to make sure that you have ample funding for the entrances.
As well as the entrance fee for competitions you would need to consider the cost of swimming practices especially if you are looking to enlist the help of a trainer. On top of this you would also need to account for the cost of the swimming gear and equipment. Therefore, you would need to assess for finances beforehand if they are planning on larger competitions and pursuing competitive swimming as a full-time hobby and career path.
Emotional and Physical Support for your Child
Due to their age, children and teens are often more susceptible to suffering from stress and struggle to cope with it, especially within a competitive environment. As a result of this, it is important to build a comfortable and safe space with your child with regards to their feelings in order to gauge when they are under pressure while competing. This way you can help guide and give advice to your child to motivate them in a positive way. However, it is important to listen to your child when they are expressing signs of stress as they may require a break or breather from the heat of the sport rather than pushing them as this could cause further issues both mentally and physically.
Does Your Child Want to Swim Competitively?
Throughout this post we have discussed a variety of topics with regards to Competitive Swimming and how you can help your child prepare and progress in the sport. Does your child want to enter swimming competitions or are they a seasoned competitor? Let us know over on our social media pages where we would love to know your tips and tricks for assisting your child on their journey. You can also shop our wide range of high-quality swimwear and accessories for your child over on our online store – Sports Fitness.
This article was written exclusively for Sports Fitness by Loren Astbury