15th December 2016. For those who love swimming, there's nothing quite like the solitude you can achieve in the pool. Diving beneath the surface is like entering a whole different world. There are always those lucky mornings when you get to the pool before it's too busy as well ? those perfect, quiet workouts where you can focus on improving your abilities. Whether you've been swimming for fitness, pleasure, or both, though, you might wonder if there isn't something more you could be doing. Have you ever seen a local swim club meeting to practice or compete with another club? Perhaps you've wondered about what it would be like to join them. An organised swim club can be quite a different experience from swimming on your own. Whether you're a young swimmer already interested in athletics or just someone who likes the pool, there are reasons to join. It's certainly worth considering if you want to get serious about improving your fitness through swimming. However, swim clubs aren't for everyone. There are some definite downsides to consider before you sign up for membership. Let's look into the issue more closely and see what we can determine. Ultimately, what are the pros and cons of joining a swim club?

Why you should consider signing up for a club

If you already love swimming and you have a real drive to turn it from an exercise routine into a hobby, then a swim club is the ideal place for you. Clubs often feature a very diverse membership of people who all love to swim. Joining this group can benefit you in several ways. Right off the bat, you may feel more driven to do better in the pool. Swimming down the length of a pool chasing after your peers in competition provides an adrenaline rush and the desire to be the one coming in first place. For those who want to tap into their competitive spirit to improve their fitness, swimming in a club is the fast track to doing just that. You may even come to find that you enjoy the thrill of the competitive swim meets your club organise with other teams. It's quite an exciting event! Trying to stay on track to lose weight? Club activities could be just what you need if you choose to become a regular participant. Consider that swimming on average burns several hundred calories each session. Now consider that you could be meeting with your club many times a week if your schedule permits. Practice is heavily encouraged, after all, to maintain a base level of ability and build towards improvements. You could burn hundreds of calories swimming every day. In combination with the right kind of diet, shedding weight won't seem so difficult. You might even think about getting into the gym between lap sessions to convert some of that energy into new muscle mass! Next, consider the guided aspect of club practices. You won't just dive in and swim as hard as you can with reckless abandon. Instead, you'll have the advice of your peers and possibly the mentorship of a club coach. When it comes to improving your swimming form, there's no better way to do it than this. Have you always struggled with the butterfly, or is your backstroke weaker than you'd like? These form issues can prevent you from performing at the best of your ability. Rigorous practice and the experienced knowledge of the other members of your club can help you to build up new capabilities. Finally, it's worth noting that joining a club can create some much-needed accountability for some people. Have you struggled in the past to stick to your swim schedule or to meet your fitness goals on time? It's a problem with which many of us struggle. Being part of a club, however, can create a feeling of responsibility for your teammates. You don't want to miss out on an important practice when you know the long-term results will be worthwhile. Plus, at the same time, others encourage you to keep pushing harder, you can do that for your teammates as well. That leads us to the next reason to consider contacting your local club. There are immense positive benefits for your overall mental wellness due to the social nature of swimming with others.

There are benefits beyond the physical ones, too

Some studies have already demonstrated that swimming itself can help to alleviate stress and reduce rates of depression. Throw in the fun and friendly nature of swim teams and clubs, and you have a recipe for a lot of healthy, positive social interaction. We've already mentioned that this can help push to strive towards your goals. However, it's also important to focus on the team aspect of joining a club. It's about more than simply pushing each other to be better at swimming. You may find that you begin to join your fellow club members for other fitness activities outside of the pool. There's a chance for real friendship to blossom, which has its own long-term benefits, of course! From time to time, we all get a little bit down about our fitness. That's when your teammates will be there to lift you up and keep you on track. The camaraderie can contribute to the development of excellent cooperation skills, too. Teamwork is necessary in the pool, and the more time you spend in a club, the better you'll be at cooperating with others. However, it is important to note that these clubs aren't for everyone. From the casual swimmer to the solitary fitness lover, there will be drawbacks for some. Let's consider a few of those drawbacks and why you might prefer to go it alone.

When joining a swim club isn't the best idea

First up, those with limited time may find they simply don't have the extra hours necessary to commit to club membership. It's important to participate after joining; if you can't get to practices on a regular basis, you may be better off finding a more casual group with which to go swimming. It can also be something of a long-term commitment. If you only swim as a hobby, you may wish to continue that path. The competitive aspect is another potential drawback. While some individuals flourish in competition, others can find it immensely stressful and anxiety-inducing. There's no doubt that there can be pressure to perform well at times. For some, this can detract from the fun of swimming in a substantial way. If you have concerns about being able to cope with the competitive pressure, then a club might not be for you. However, it's worth considering that there may be less competitively-focused clubs in your local area. Before writing it off, be sure to check them out and ask some questions! If you're still early in your journey towards fitness, the highly demanding nature of a swim club's practices could pose a challenge. You don't want the difficulty level to be discouraging; instead, it should enable you to aspire towards goals. There's no reason to rush to join a club ? take the time to improve your ability first. Finally, the heavy swimming schedule a club presents could put you at increased risk for some common swimming injuries. If you have a history of sports injuries, speak to your doctor before joining a club. It's always better to get the medical "all clear" before beginning a new strenuous activity.

Choose the option that's best for your personal fitness

Making the decision to join a swim club clearly isn't one you should just make on a whim. After all, you'll be committing to the club both socially and as a member of the team. While that doesn't mean you need to participate forever, you will benefit from more time spent working in practice with your teammates. You may even surprise yourself with how much you improve your swimming prowess. Of course, if you prefer being able to set your own routine and go at your personal pace, that's fine too! Swim clubs aren't for everyone. You can improve your fitness and swimming ability on your own as well. In the end, it all boils down to what style of swimming you enjoy the most. If you're curious, why not ask your local club if you can sit in on a practice or a meet? It's a good way to "test the waters"!