I love summer swim team. I just love it. My family loves it. My kids begrudgingly swim year round, and I can honestly say I don't love winter swimming. But summer league, that's our jam.
Since I am in my 4th year of chairing swim team, I have heard all the excuses. My kids don't want to sign up. There are too many practices. Its hot outside. Practices are early. Meets are late. And so on. I think you are missing out.
Why do I love swim team? Here are my reasons.
1. It is a sport that is not limited by age or gender. 4 year olds compete in the same meets as 18 year olds. Brothers and sisters both are in the same meet.
2. In summer league skill level doesn't matter. Our team has had kids that go on to swim in the Olympic Trials, and on to swim in college. We've also had swimmers who do nothing but swim in the summer, who struggle to make it across the pool. Both enjoy it, and both can strive to get better.
3. Being a parent volunteer at a summer league meet makes you part of the community. Not only do you see kids you know from our team, but you see your kids friends and neighbors too.
4. It adds a schedule to our lazy summer days. I like the fact that during swim team, my kids have to be up and somewhere in the mornings, instead of in their pajamas all day watching TV.
5. It is scheduled exercise for the kids, during summer. My kids need that.
6. I love watching kids make it across the pool for the first time. My own daughter starting swim team when she was 4. She had spent two years as a younger sibling to a swimmer, and so we pushed her to learn how to swim so she could join. The very first time she swam backstroke in a meet, she had never swam across the entire pool before without stopping. She jumped in the water with a little dance, and then proceeded to swim a very slow, not very pretty backstroke across the entire pool. She had the biggest smile on her face. I feel like I relive that moment every time I see another 4 or 5 year old make it across the pool again for the first time. It is such an accomplishment.
7. A season of summer league teaches your kid how to swim. It is a lifelong and lifesaving skill.
8. Relays. Who doesn't like to watch a competitive relay.
9. Friendships. I get a kick out of watching my son's age group. Some of the boys he sees all year long at school, and some of them he only sees during the summer. They all just seem to get a long and have a good time. For my personally, I have many friends that I have made because my kids are on swim team.
10. Its fun. Between fun Fridays, the coaches playing in the water with the kids at parties, and the meets, its just a good time. Someone once described a meet as "like a tailgate party just for kids", and I think that's pretty appropriate.
I hope you will all decide to sign your kids up this weekend.