Swimming - From Learn to Swim to a World Champion

by Pool Builders on 03-05-2007 in Articles

While every child in the world should learn to swim, many children go on to join young squads and become involved in competitive swimming. It is at this time that they start dreaming of representing their country at the Olympics or World Championships. While it is healthy to let our kids dream, how high do we let them set their goals before we (parents) get involved and bring them back to reality. Or is it any of our business?

Swimming is an exciting sport in many countries around the world. With the World Championships held every two years and the Olympics every 4 years, there are many opportunities for swimmers in all countries to compete at the highest level and be seen as role models in their country. At the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne, Australia, you can expect many world records and a large variety of countries represented in each final. No longer is the sport dominated by 2 or 3 countries.

So where did these swimmers start from? A large majority of them have been swimming from a young age, starting in learn-to-swim programs and graduating into junior squads, age group squads and high performance squads.

The expectations on swimmers to train hard and often are very high, with a commitment to morning and afternoon sessions the norm. When a child moves into squad for the first time, they are introduced to competition swimming through a swimming club. Most swimming clubs belong to districts or local regions and have swimming competitions against each other.

Once they participate in competitions, they start setting goals of what they want to accomplish. Many swimmers who enjoy the sport set goals to represent their country at the Olympics or World Championships. It is this goal or ones similar that provide them with the drive to succeed at a young age. Goal setting is a very important part of being successful in any sport and in life. I have observed over many years parents who live their dreams through their kids and this often leads to an unhealthy relationship between the two, with the coach often caught in the middle. It is important that children have their own dreams and goals and are supported in trying to achieve them.

Most kids are pretty smart and they will work it out over time if their goals are realistic. It is important that they set short-term goals in place that lead towards their major goal. This is vital if they are to remain interested in the sport over time.

So I suggest you support your children with their goals and be there for them along the way. Let them dream and set their own goals and remember, always love your child unconditionally, regardless of their swimming performance.

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