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          Last Updated: 01/30/18 @ 1:00 PM
Parents Guide to Competitive Swimming

  1. Please review our list of Frequently Asked Questions
  2. Please review the team Handbook
  3. Communicate with your child's coach!
  4. Let your child own the sport!
  5. What does my child need to do in order to swim in college?
  6. My child stopped getting faster - what's going on?
  7. The 10 Commandments for Swim Parents

Communicate with your child's coach!

In order for your child to get the most out of their efforts, it is critical that there remain open lines of communication between the athlete, their parents and their coaches! Coach Sari maintains an open door policy with all of our athletes and their parents to bring questions and concerns.

While it is important for the child that parents allow the staff to coach (and for parents to show support - for all our swimmers), having open lines of communication is critical for your child to achieve their potential.

Let your child own the sport!

Over 70% of American youth quit sports altogether before they reach high school. In an age where obesity is one of the biggest health problems in the United States, this is a problem. The Greenheads strive to reverse this trend by nurturing a love of swim that will last them beyond their competitive years.

We accomplish this by encouraging our athletes to be well rounded and - especially in their early years - pursue activities out of the pool. One of the biggest drivers behind the dropout rate is early specialization. While the athletes are in the pool, we push them and provide the training necessary for success, however, we also encourage them in other athletic, artistic and academic pursuits.

We feel that for the athlete to become successful - it needs to be their choice. Youth sports needs to remain competition between youth - not between the adults! They only get one childhood - and you only get one shot at watching them enjoy it!

Additional Reading:

The Race to Nowhere

What does my child need to do in order to swim in college?

Short Answer:

Swim very fast (and get good grades!!!) - there are plenty of places such as College Swimming to check how fast swimmers are at your chosen school.

Long Answer:

If you child is not yet in high school, stop reading now. Given the high rate of youth dropping out of sports altogether before high school, it is critical that they focus on enjoying their chosen sport. Success must come from the athlete's own drive and love of the sport. Coaches and parents can and should encourage them and focus on praising hard work (not just results), however, the end results are up to the athlete themselves.

For our older swimmers, Coach Sari and the rest of the staff work diligently with swimmers and their parents putting together plans to get where they need to be for those seeking to swim beyond high school. Swimmers with the talent and drive necessary to swim in college will get the work done in the pool. It is of greater importance that they stay on top of their grades since 1) there is far more scholarship money available for academics than for swim and 2) having fast times is of no benefit if the athlete cannot stay on the team due to poor academic skills.

Leading up to their freshman year, athletes should gather a large list of potential schools (which they will narrow down as they progress through high school). If swimming in college is indeed your child's goal, check College Swimming to get a feel for what schools they would be a match for.

Lastly, while there are scholarships to be had at the NCAA DI & DII levels (and at NAIA schools), hope for financial reward should not be the reason your child is swimming. With the exception of "revenue sports" like football & basketball, it would be far better to put the money in a college savings plan than spend it on athletics if that is their reason for competing. In addition, less than 10% of all high school swimmers go on to compete in college at any level - less than 3% do so in NCAA DI.

The best advice to the athlete in this regard is to work hard, get good grades and reach out to the coaches at their school(s) of interest. NOTE: The *athlete* should be the one calling - most coaches are turned off when parents are the ones making contact!

My child stopped getting faster - what's going on?

The first thing to keep in mind is that progress (in any endeavor, let alone athletics) is never a straight line. There will always be periods of time when progress levels off - or even regresses - for extended periods of time. Often these phases can coincide with the athlete's physical growth, pressure to perform or make a cut, or something external to the sport altogether.

During these times, it is important to keep a couple things in mind:

  1. as swimmers get faster, it becomes harder and harder to drop time - and it can take tremendous work to drop a 10th of a second or so
  2. keep an eye on the trend in their times over the long term - the Swims Database contains all of their USA Swimming times for every event since they began their careers. Sites like Swimming Rank also track their times over the long haul (and include charts and other handy information relating to your swimmers progress

It is critical that swimmers, parents an coaches maintain an open line of communication - and most importantly, keep in mind, that this is the athlete's mountain to climb. Parents need to be supportive and remind their swimmer that hard work is its own reward - remember these 5 words: "I love to watch you swim"

Additional Reading:

When a Swimmer Plateaus

The Dreaded Plateau

10 Commandments for Swim Parents

While intended to be humorous, these "commandments" are critical to keep in mind in order for your child to have success, compete fearlessly and enjoy their sport!

  1. Thou shall not impose thy ambitions on thy child.
  2. Thou shall be supportive no matter what.
  3. Thou shall not coach thy child.
  4. Thou shall only have positive things to say at a competition.
  5. Thou shall acknowledge thy child’s fears.
  6. Thou shall not criticize the officials.
  7. Thou shall honor thy child’s coach.
  8. Thou shall be loyal and supportive of thy team.
  9. Thy child shall have goals besides winning.
  10. Thou shall not expect thy child to become an Olympian.