Swim Parenting – Raising A Swimmer – 10 & Under

Parenting Young Swimmers: Swim Team Parent AdviceSwimming is an excellent sport that teaches incredible life lessons and instills virtuous qualities within its participants.

But what is expected of young swimmers and the parents that raise them? Read on to see what swim team life looks like for parents of swimmers age 10 and younger.

Swim Parents – What are you in for?

Is that what you were wondering? Has your imagination run wild hearing other swim parents talk about endless weekends and early mornings? Don’t let the pessimistic talk get you down. There are countless benefits that far outweigh the early mornings and long weekends if your child is in the sport for the long haul.

How Often Is Swim Practice?

For swimmers age 10 & under, you can expect a swim team to offer 5 – 6 practices per week. Some coaches will want their athletes there every day, without exceptions. Other coaches are more relaxed and will recommend a smaller number of practices per week. Personally, as a coach, I encourage kids to never plan to miss. Why? Because things come up. Last minute homework, family emergencies, illness, fender benders… there are a million things that can keep your kid from attending practice. Always plan to go to practice, this stands true to all ages. This is a basic life lesson you can start at a young age. Commitment.

Swim Meets

Swim meets will likely be timed finals, single session events, so just an afternoon or just a morning. Sometimes meets will only last one day, but more often will be two. Friday afternoon coupled with Saturday morning or Saturday morning and Sunday morning.

At this age, your young swimmer should be having fun and learning about being a team player (emphasis on fun). FUN. They are encouraging and cheering for each other and doing things together as a team.

Swimmer Goals & Progress

Young swimmers go through tremendous growth & development during early involvement with swimming, learning how to listen and take instructions- and execute them. Their motor skills are increasing drastically. They are exploring their limits and pushing themselves.

Coaches may talk about goals- short term and long term to help your swimmer build their intrinsic drive. The kids get to compete with their peers on a regular basis in a battle of who rules the pool. Sometimes it might be a kick set and other times a swim set. A good coach will find ways to have multiple kids be the victor and leaving everyone feeling accomplished.

Young Swimmer Nutrition & Rest

Expect your child’s appetite to grow. Your swimmer may eat more than other kids their age who aren’t in athletics. Make sure you feed them quality foods like fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy, meats, and grains. Encourage them to drink plenty of water (not energy drinks) and make sure they get a reasonable amount of sleep.

Hope that helps!

Please let me know if you have any questions and watch for my next post on swim parenting for 11-12 year age group!

About Emily Milak

Emily Milak is a lifetime competitive swimmer living in Southeastern Wisconsin. Emily is a US National Team champion, NCAA champion, and USMS champion with extensive coaching experience. She is a product development consultant at Kiefer.

3 Comments on “Swim Parenting – Raising A Swimmer – 10 & Under”

  1. Hi Emily,
    I know this is an old post; however, I am looking for swim advice as a parent who knows nothing about swimming. My 10 year old daughter has loved the water all her life but just learned how to technically swim 10 months ago. She latched on immediately and is now swimming like a fish, being asked to join the swim team where she took lessons just three months after beginning lessons. Since it was the end of the season, April, she only practiced and then joined the local swim club and swam all summer with them. Her first meet was at age 10 and she did very well, swimming faster times than many of the kids who have been swimming since they were 6. Since the new season has begun in September, she has only swam in one meet, though has about 5 or 6 more this season. Her times for the first meet were very good, in my opinion, for a novice swimmer. 39.99 in the freestyle, 47.56 in the breast, 42.57 in the backstroke, and 1:40.42 in the 100 IM. She is quickly making up the gap since she began this sport so late in comparison to the other kids, and is holding her own. My question is, how much should I expect her to improve. At practice, she started in a lower group since she was new, but was a lot stronger than the other kids in that group so the coach just moved her up to the next level two weeks ago. My daughter is SO competitive that she is now the strongest swimmer in that group in two of the four strokes, free and back, second in the breast though not so good in the breast. I honestly think she can swim a 35.2 in the 50 free, 36.5 in the 50 back, 44.5 in the 50 fly, and 1:29.5 in the 100 IM. Her breast stroke is very weak. Are these realistic goals? She will swim 10U all season since her birthday isn’t until April. I think it’s also worth mentioning that both my husband and I were college athletes in basketball, so she has athletic genes.

    • Hi Nicole! Apologies for my slow reply, technical difficulties over here! I’m glad to hear she has found a love for swimming! As far as improvements go, naturally it is a fairly unpredictable thing and varies from child to child. I think hitting plateaus is a very normal thing, but sometimes it takes a special kid/young adult/person to deal with. A late start can influence her progress, but it may not. Keep communication lines open with her coaches and always encourage her to reach out to them when she has questions or explanations.

      Its awesome to hear she is competitive in nature, that can be an asset in the pool! Support that and let her know you enjoy watching her race, whether she had a best time or not.

      Without watching her or seeing her, I can’t comment on the goal times being realistic, but if her team does goal setting that might be the perfect opportunity to see what the coaches think she is capable of. I have a 10 year old daughter, but she doesn’t turn 11 until December, so while I don’t see anything outlandish on the potential above it wouldn’t be fair for me to say yes or no.

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