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View Full Version : Dad of 12y.o. F new to competitive swimming seeks guidance



elprofesor2112
November 19th, 2017, 01:11 AM
Background - she is really new to this and just getting into the sport late. As in, she was a mediocre recreational swimmer who was afraid to try to dive just 6 months ago. But she did a summer swim camp, and then her 7th grade team (a no-cuts team), and she fell in love with it, so we just unloaded a moderate chunk of $$$ to get her into a year-round league/club to train up in the off-season.
She has REALLY come a long way in six months. :) The thing is, at 12, she is only really competitive with the 9s and 10s and some 11s, all of whom have been in organized swimming for far longer than she, even at their age. She is not really competitive with many of the 12s, and next year she will age up, and be forced to compete with the 13-14s.

Right now, she has ok technique, but relatively little strength/stamina, and confidence. Her personal bests are as follows:


50 free: 37.25
50 breast: 45.93
50 back: 44.70
100 free: 1:26.00
100 breast: 1:43.48
100 back: 1:39.71 (that 100 back time she just got at a meet today in an age 11-12 race, and it was her personal best, but it was still only good for #19 place out of 20, not including 2 girls who were DQ'ed.)


She can swim a 200, or a 300 or a 400 in warmups, but not at a race pace; her fall-off from the first 50 to the second (and third, and so on...) is precipitous.

So here are my questions. Sorry for the wordiness. Just being a dad:


Should I be freaked out that she only has 10 months before she ages up?
What is an appropriate cardio and stamina regimen for a 12 y.o. girl - effective, but not obnoxious or oppressive?
What dry land exercises should she be doing?
What do your teens and tweens do on race days as far as eating/drinking/carbs/nutrition, etc...? I mean in terms of timing, quantity, calorie count, types of carbs, etc...?
What are realistic goals? Short-term I mean, say this school year, by June.


Thanks. Any thoughts would be awesome. She loves swimming and I just want her to be happy, but if she has a chance to be really good at it, of course, I want that too.

67King
November 19th, 2017, 10:32 PM
Thanks for posting this. Biggest thing I can tell you is.....relax!!!! Don't worry, it will come. For some kids, they take up the sport late. In some cases, REALLY late. For example, there was this one kid, I think his name was Ed Moses, who started swimming at about age 17, and was an Olympic Gold meadalist at 20. So if she's late......who cares?

That's an extreme example. I had thought my daughter got a late start when she was almost 8, and it was true in our case that there were kids who were her age with a year on her. For all but one of them, it didn't matter, she passed them. The other one took a few years, but she did in the Long Course season when they were 10 (b'day is early in SC season). When she started, she was the slowest kid in the pool. 100 Free took over 2 minutes. At 12, she could do a 200 in 2 minutes. The other end of the spectrum is that there are kids who'll start swimming at 10, 11, 12, etc. In some cases, their parents make them. And they don't try, so they don't improve. Doesn't sound like your daughter, so I don't think you have to worry about that.

So, general advice. Biggest thing is to let the coach coach. He knows a whole lot mroe about what your kid needs than you do. And trust me, it may take you a while to get used to that. Probably took me 3 years. But let your coach worry about the regimen in the pool, and the dryland work. I'm sure he'd be happy to sit and talk to you if you would like.

Aging up. My girls just turned 13. The only thing I did to "worry" about it was to try to get them in some of the 200 stroke events, or other long events, when meets had "open" age groups, rather than "senior," so that they'd at least know what to expect when they went from 50's to 200's. Frankly, at this age, the physical development is so extremely varied that your daughter may just be where she is until all of that whole puberty thing settles out. Don't worry about it. Just support her, and encourage her. She'll know if she has a bad swim. Make sure she talks to her coach before she swims, and after. Make sure that you or Mom don't talk to her after the caoch before the swim, or before the coach after. And even if the coach says something with which you disagree......don't be tempted to tell your daughter that. This is a problem our coach has with a few folks on the team, and frankly, I used to be overly chatty about the swims, though not to the point of planting something in my kids' mind before the coach could get to them.

Goals? That is highly individualistic. Here is how it went for us: catch KC, who we didn't think could be caught. Caught her, passed her. Catch CW. Same thing. Caught and passed. Make LSC champ cut. That took a little longer. Got that. Then we started getting close to MF. She was incredible. Caught her in 2 years, then 67Princess and MF kind of went back and forth. Once 67Princess passed her for good, then it was looking at AAAA times (she was getting all of her sectional cuts at this point). Then she started looking at the fastest kid in the LSC. That's where we're gonig for now. She's also had goals for making Zones (got that), winning some LSC events (check), Senior Sectionals (kind of check, got that in Summer, then standards got tougher, and we don't have them). Now, we're gunning for Junior Nationals. But here's the point. There are so many steps ahead of you when you start that you look for the next step, and go for it. Don't be complacent, once you get that one, look for the next. And keep doing that.

Nutrition. That's tough. We've had a nutritionist talk to the team. I've had my girls have private consultation with him. And at 13, it doesn't matter. We try, but they just don't listen. And probably partially because one just does it for fun and health, the other has gotten good enough that she doesn't need to try to eek out everything for an advantage. She'll buckle down a couple of weeks before the LSC championship. But mostly, for nutrition to be something you kid pays attention to, I think they'll just have to get older and more mature.

Tried to PM you my phone number, but you don't get message. I'd be happy to talk, feel free to email me if you want my number, hlvngnr is my Yahoo name, so you can e-mail me there. Our kids are the same age, and I'm the president of our team. And I have twins who approach swimming VERY differently. So maybe I can give you some insight. But again, the biggest things are to relax, and trust the coach.

elprofesor2112
November 19th, 2017, 10:56 PM
Tried to PM you my phone number, but you don't get message. I'd be happy to talk, feel free to email me if you want my number, hlvngnr is my Yahoo name, so you can e-mail me there. Our kids are the same age, and I'm the president of our team. And I have twins who approach swimming VERY differently. So maybe I can give you some insight. But again, the biggest things are to relax, and trust the coach.


Yeah, I'm brand new to the forum, so I think there are some privileges I don't have yet maybe? I dunno. I may just take you up on that, thanks!

cinc3100
November 19th, 2017, 11:06 PM
Background - she is really new to this and just getting into the sport late. As in, she was a mediocre recreational swimmer who was afraid to try to dive just 6 months ago. But she did a summer swim camp, and then her 7th grade team (a no-cuts team), and she fell in love with it, so we just unloaded a moderate chunk of $$$ to get her into a year-round league/club to train up in the off-season.
She has REALLY come a long way in six months. :) The thing is, at 12, she is only really competitive with the 9s and 10s and some 11s, all of whom have been in organized swimming for far longer than she, even at their age. She is not really competitive with many of the 12s, and next year she will age up, and be forced to compete with the 13-14s.

Right now, she has ok technique, but relatively little strength/stamina, and confidence. Her personal bests are as follows:


50 free: 37.25
50 breast: 45.93
50 back: 44.70
100 free: 1:26.00
100 breast: 1:43.48
100 back: 1:39.71 (that 100 back time she just got at a meet today in an age 11-12 race, and it was her personal best, but it was still only good for #19 place out of 20, not including 2 girls who were DQ'ed.)


She can swim a 200, or a 300 or a 400 in warmups, but not at a race pace; her fall-off from the first 50 to the second (and third, and so on...) is precipitous.

So here are my questions. Sorry for the wordiness. Just being a dad:


Should I be freaked out that she only has 10 months before she ages up?
What is an appropriate cardio and stamina regimen for a 12 y.o. girl - effective, but not obnoxious or oppressive?
What dry land exercises should she be doing?
What do your teens and tweens do on race days as far as eating/drinking/carbs/nutrition, etc...? I mean in terms of timing, quantity, calorie count, types of carbs, etc...?
What are realistic goals? Short-term I mean, say this school year, by June.


Thanks. Any thoughts would be awesome. She loves swimming and I just want her to be happy, but if she has a chance to be really good at it, of course, I want that too.
Don't worry, I swam 42 in a 50 yard breaststroke as a 12 year old and got down to 36 as a 15 yard old. My best was 1:16.1 in 100 yard breastbone which would be more like a 1:13 since the stoke is somewhat different from what it is in the 1970's. I swam a 44 50 yard butterfly at 12 years old and 32 at 15 years old and about 30 at 19 in community college fly. I swam 1:08 100 yard fly at 15 years old and my best time was 1:05.8 at age 18 which is probably about a 1:04 or maybe a 1:03 with the more dolphin kicks that are allowed today compared to the 1970's which were only two underwater. I almost swam in Jr nationals in a relay but the coach wanted me to get faster in LC course fly which I only did 1:15 as 18 years old in fly. I was an average swimmer, A times in Breast, Fly and Free and a C swimmer in backstroke my first stroke as a kid.

cinc3100
November 20th, 2017, 12:17 PM
Don't worry, I swam 42 in a 50 yard breaststroke as a 12 year old and got down to 36 as a 15 yard old. My best was 1:16.1 in 100 yard breastbone which would be more like a 1:13 since the stoke is somewhat different from what it is in the 1970's. I swam a 44 50 yard butterfly at 12 years old and 32 at 15 years old and about 30 at 19 in community college fly. I swam 1:08 100 yard fly at 15 years old and my best time was 1:05.8 at age 18 which is probably about a 1:04 or maybe a 1:03 with the more dolphin kicks that are allowed today compared to the 1970's which were only two underwater. I almost swam in Jr nationals in a relay but the coach wanted me to get faster in LC course fly which I only did 1:15 as 18 years old in fly. I was an average swimmer, A times in Breast, Fly and Free and a C swimmer in backstroke my first stroke as a kid. I mean Backstroke was my worst stroke. Your daughter 100 yard breaststroke time helps me feel better since about 2 months from age 60 I did a 1:48.5. I bet your daughter will improved a lot in a year and you will find out if she is a backstroker or breastroker by them. I knew breaststroke was my best stroke and by age 13 fly was going to be my second best stroke. Lots of kids like your daughter will help high school swim teams I did.

knelson
November 20th, 2017, 12:57 PM
What is an appropriate cardio and stamina regimen for a 12 y.o. girl - effective, but not obnoxious or oppressive?

I think you'll find this varies significantly. There are some 12 year old girls who aren't that far off Olympic Trials cuts. You can bet they are in the pool a lot, probably doing doubles some days. I would think a typical 12 year old that is involved in year-round swimming is swimming 5-6 sessions per week around 90 minutes per session.


So, general advice. Biggest thing is to let the coach coach

Agree 100%!