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After your child learns the basics, it they are still interested then consider letting them join a swim team. Before you kid runs off to be the next Michael Phelps or Janet Evans, you may want to talk to them about the responsibility of being on a team.
A great way for both you and your child to try competitive swimming is by joining a summer swim league. These are usually more relaxed and require less commitment (both in time and money) than year-round swim programs. The programs are usually run through your city pool or you. You can also do a search by zip code for clubs in your area at ClubSwim.com.
The coaches for the summer programs tend to be ex-swimmers or swimmers currently involved in a different level. For most summer leagues the focus tends to be on perfecting stroke technique and demonstrating how the swimming world works. This is opposed to year-round programs that concentrate on competition and winning meets.
Even if your child decides that swimming year-round is not for them they can still swim in the summer league every summer. I did that for several years as a kid before I began to swim year round.
I was also a coach for summer league swim teams and this it my advice to the parents: Do NOT put pressure on your kid to do well, even if they decide to continue to the more competitive year-round swimming. Do NOT criticize your child when they are done with a race, instead praise them for all that they did right and for competing. As a coach and a human being I hated to see parents telling their 7-year-old son that they swam to slow and their kick wasn’t perfect. Always be encouraging because even though coaches and other swimmers can tell t hem how good they are, if their parents always tell them everything they do wrong, that is all they hear.
For more tips for parents visit the “parents section” on the (USA SWIMMING LINK).
Before You Begin
Ages 2 and Under
Toddler: Ages 2-4
Ages 4 and Older
Swimming Beyond Lessons