I never did swim team as a kid and last year was the first year my girls did it so I felt like I was thrown in with little or no direction and just expected to know what to do. At the first meet we had only had a few practices so not only was I confused by all of the different events, heats, and volunteer responsibilities, but the girls were also so confused about what was expected of them. However, as time went on during the season I got the hang of what to expect and seeing how much the girls loved it really made me grin and bear it.
So now that I have almost my 2nd season as a swim team mom under my belt I though I'd share our experiences for anyone thinking about embarking on this sport with their kids.
One thing I don't love about swim team are the daily practices each morning. I'm a night owl and my kids like to stay up late so I don't mind letting them do that in the summer, but they have to be up and ready for swim practice early each morning so needless to say I'm dragging myself out of bed each morning to rush us all to practice. The daily practices also make the summer seem to fly by. Our summer is so short...only 8 weeks and staying so busy just makes the time off of school seem to fly by. That being said, it gets us out of the house each morning and gets our day going. And despite the mornings that I just wish we could be in our pajamas and not rush out the door my girls have never once complained about having to to go swim team so that is one way I know they love it. Also, the really great thing about them practicing each day is that they are swimming laps daily and it makes them such strong swimmers.
This year with the way the ages worked out the girls were in the same age group meaning they had the same practice time. Next year that won't be the case and if Boo-Boo does swim team then we'll really be in for a long morning of practices.
If my girls love swim team practice they love meets about a million times more. From socializing, sharpie tattoos (more on that later), cheering for their friends and getting treats at the concession stand, it is like a kid's dream.
It really is cute that they all cheer so loudly for each other and get into each race. Last year so many of our meets were delayed because of thunder, but this year we had no weather delays so they ended much earlier.
Every family is expected to have a volunteer for the meet which was news to me when we first began. From being a timer in one of the lanes, a place judge, or helping with concessions there are all sorts of jobs needed to make the meet run smoothly. Last year I was the runner for each meet and that meant I had to get the time sheets from each lane and "run" them over to the people tallying the scores. It doesn't sound too hard, but with a 3 year old in tow, it wasn't the easiest job. This year I've been the place judge a few times and I really like that volunteer position. You work with someone to call out/record the order that the kids finish each race. It's easy and you get to sit down! Haha! I left each meet last year so tired and with my feet really hurting from all of that "running."
When you get to the swim meet our team's coaches have a board with all of the kids' names listed with the events they will be swimming in.
It also shows the different heats and the lane they will be swimming in. I've finally learned how to transfer this information:
You have to write on their arms the (E) event number and what that event is, (H) heat, (L) what lane they will be swimming. This not only helps me to keep up with when they are swimming, but they learn to look at their event numbers and know when to get ready to swim. Also when they are checking in with the volunteer in charge of getting the kids in the correct spot at the current time they just show their arm.
After the important stuff is out of the way then comes the fun! They like having their names written on their shoulders and some sort of "Eat my bubbles" or "Swim Harper Swim" saying written on their back.
I know the concessions are a fundraiser for the teams and while I like the idea of supporting them, I do not like the idea of all of the junk the kids eat. From ice cream to candy bars to chips, they always want the junk. A lot of people just bring money and feed their families at the meets. There are always some sort of meal option like hamburgers, pizza, etc. I have gotten smart though and just pack our things. I bring a cooler with sandwiches, fruit, snacks and drinks and it works out nicely to know I have good options for them to eat during the meet and then I generally let them each pick one treat from the concessions.
Beat the heat:
One of the hardest parts of swim team is that it is so hot and I just have to sit and stare at the pool dreaming of how nice it would be to hop in and cool off. Last night on the way to the meet I looked down and my car read 100 degrees.
It was a scorcher for sure. I always make sure I wear hat and I never get dressed up for swim meets. I know I'm just going to get hot and sweaty so usually my comfy workout clothes is what I'll keep on for meets. I also make sure I have lots of cool drinks in my cooler. As little Boo-Boo said to me this evening, "Our cheeks are both red." And they were! It was so hot! He was a good sport though and had fun playing with some of the other younger siblings until Mr. was able to come pick him up and take him home.
The morning after meets I'm sure each team does it differently, but ours has donuts at practice and practice is more of a free swim. The kids love this time to play and swim with their teammates and coaches. This is also when the kids get the ribbons they earned from the night before. It's one of their favorite things about swim team!
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