If you are a young swimmer or a parent who wonders sometimes if there are better ways to spend your weekends, evenings and money, the answer is absolutely not. Not only will Swimming change your child, it will also profoundly impact you. Here are just a few jewels from our 13-14 year journey
1. Passion is mandatory if you are to get the most from this sport. The swimmers who have the most impact on their teams and the sport, and these are not necessarily the Olympians, love the water, cherish the sport, and will walk through fire to compete. It’s literally in their veins.
2. Winning is not everything. But giving each race your personal best is vital. It’s all anyone can do. Push to the limits in that race on that day. It is the hallmark of courage and character. And it is the backbone of champions.
3. Every coach has something to teach you. To expect a flawless relationship, especially at the highest levels is not realistic. There will be periods of complete disconnect, disappointment over unmet expectations, and much more. This is why so many senior swimmers change teams so often. But there are lessons to be learned through loyalty and tenacity. They will stay with you for a lifetime.
4. Your teammates are your everything. They are your companions on this long whirlwind journey. And sometimes they wear different caps. They are there for the good, bad, and everything in between. Cherish them. You will remember them forever. Locker room antics. Mounds of pasta consumed. Tons of wet towels.
5. Swim parents are the unheralded angels of this sport. Cherish each other. I am already trying to imagine life without seeing the many friends I’ve met in this sport. It’s a void I can’t even imagine how I can fill it. They are treasured by me and my swimmer.
6. The sport belongs to the swimmer – period. Coaches, parents, and swim officials are there for the journey. But it is up to each athlete to choose where they will go. Many incredibly talented athletes forgo college swimming. Others, who have maybe not as much pure talent, pursue college swimming with an intense passion. In the end, it is your child’s choice.