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Thread: Swim Parenting (Help!)

  1. #1
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    Swim Parenting (Help!)

    Hi All!
    i have a 14 yr old daughter who has been swimming with a USA swimming club for about 1.5yrs now. She is the only person in our family to swim, so naturally I feel in a bit over my head at times, though she seems to fit in well in the swimming world. I’m not sure how my daughter ranks against her peers, or her just others in her age group for that matter, nor what is a “good time” or “bad time”. So I’m wondering what I can do to be a “good swim parent”, how far do I go when she adds time and how happy should I be when she drops a little time? Thanks for all your help! I’ve put a couple of her short course times below.

    200 freestyle: 2:03.11
    100 freestyle: 57.51
    50 Freestyle: 26.19
    100 backstroke: 1:04.03
    200 backstroke: 2:15.90
    100 Butterfly: 1:03.13
    200 butterfly: 2:22.78
    100 breast: 1:17.66
    200 IM: 2:20.12

  2. #2
    Moderator Rob Copeland's Avatar
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    Re: Swim Parenting (Help!)

    USA Swimming has some excellent resources on the topic at https://www.usaswimming.org/for-you/parents
    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine and not those of U.S. Masters Swimming.

  3. #3
    Very Active Member Swimspire's Avatar
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    Re: Swim Parenting (Help!)

    jayrowan, you should first of all consult with your daughter's coach, who probably has a good idea as to where she stands in terms of her age group. Beyond that, the USA Swimming National Age Group Motivational Times are a good way of determining progress. Here's the link to the document for 2017-2020: https://www.usaswimming.org/docs/def...imes-top16.pdf

    Good luck to you and your daughter! Being encouraging of her during the ups and downs of her swimming journey will be the best way to support her in the sport that she loves.

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    Re: Swim Parenting (Help!)

    She's in the same age group as my daughters. She has some pretty solid A times, and some AA times. The A times are often pretty close to the LSC championship cuts, and the AA times are often close to Sectional cuts. I would say that she's doing incredibly well for only being in it for 1.5 years. Some kids can come in when she did, and crush it, but it is not that common. Let me say a couple of things before I show you another cool resource. First, she needs to be happy doing this. She'll make great friends and have strong bonds. She'll learn about hard work, time management, sportsmanship, etc. Those are far more important results than the times. She'll carry those forward for the rest of her life, regardless of if she swims in the future or not. Second of all, one of the great things about swimming is that one doesn't need to always have an opponent to measure success. Her progress can be evaluated against her old times, or as she improves her Power Point totals, or as she moves up the Motivational Time chart.

    That said, one of the more useful tools I have found is www.swimmingrank.com. You can see where she stands on her team, in her LSC, in her zone, in the nation. But again, don't get caught up in that. I use it mainly to try to pick the best events for my really competitive swimmer to swim in the championship meet (and then it is only a guideline, as she and her coach ultimately choose, but if the goal is something like "make finals," then that is a useful tool). My less competitive daughter is borderline on some LSC cuts, we just go with tthe flow with her.

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    Very Active Member quicksilver's Avatar
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    Re: Swim Parenting (Help!)

    Quote Originally Posted by jayrowan View Post
    Hi All!
    i have a 14 yr old daughter who has been swimming with a USA swimming club for about 1.5yrs now. She is the only person in our family to swim, so naturally I feel in a bit over my head at times, though she seems to fit in well in the swimming world. I’m not sure how my daughter ranks against her peers, or her just others in her age group for that matter, nor what is a “good time” or “bad time”. So I’m wondering what I can do to be a “good swim parent”, how far do I go when she adds time and how happy should I be when she drops a little time? Thanks for all your help! I’ve put a couple of her short course times below.

    200 freestyle: 2:03.11
    100 freestyle: 57.51
    50 Freestyle: 26.19
    100 backstroke: 1:04.03
    200 backstroke: 2:15.90
    100 Butterfly: 1:03.13
    200 butterfly: 2:22.78
    100 breast: 1:17.66
    200 IM: 2:20.12
    The 100 free and 100 back are very good times - so is the 200 free. For only 1.5 years in the pool, this is really something to be proud of - and she will probably only keep improving.

    Don't pay too much attention to all the national times - as there are some real freaks of nature out there, including 10-12 year olds who are really blazing the trails.

    Let her improve at her own pace, and just be content that you're daughter is enjoying it - and is actually quite good. If that 100 free gets into the :52.0 range by senior year... and 100 back to a :58 or so, - it should open the doors to a few nice college programs. Maybe not scholarship, but you never know. ...It's really admirable that you are trying to find out more - in an effort to be informed and supportive.
    Excellence Is Never An Accident.

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    Very Active Member Gary P's Avatar
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    Re: Swim Parenting (Help!)

    Those freestyle times are solid for any 14 year old girl, let alone one who's only been swimming club for a year and a half. I'd stay out of her and her coach's way and let them keep doing what they're doing. Your job is to be supportive, no matter whether her times go up or down. Let the drive to perform come from within herself. Let the critiquing come from the coach. You need to be steady.
    Last edited by Gary P; February 12th, 2018 at 06:33 PM.

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    Re: Swim Parenting (Help!)

    Jayrowan -

    her times are good, but there are a "million" other girls with times just like your daughters. That is not meant to be a negative - just the reality of swimming.

    Your question is how to be the best swim parent you can be. Based on 40+ years and lots of conversations with swimmers, coaches, parents, my response is you should forget times and place. That should be between your daughter and her coach. Your job is "Best darn cheerleader" you can be. After every swim, no matter what the time or place, you should tell your daughter "You looked great out there, honey/dear/etc.." If she comments about adding time, just say "So what, you looked great. Are you having a good time? What do you want to do after the meet?" If she is excited cuz she dropped time, just say "That is great, honey. I don't totally understand all that, but if you are happy, so am I! What do you want to do after the meet?"

    In reality, the less you know about the sport, the better parent you can be. Be happy that she is doing something that leads to many great things in her life.

    Just my two cents worth.

    Paul

  8. #8
    Very Active Member Gary P's Avatar
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    Re: Swim Parenting (Help!)

    Article today on SwimSwam that you might find useful:

    https://swimswam.com/6-takeaways-swim-parents/

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    Very Active Member Sojerz's Avatar
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    Re: Swim Parenting (Help!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary P View Post
    Those freestyle times are solid for any 14 year old girl, let alone one who's only been swimming club for a year and a half. I'd stay out of her and her coach's way and let them keep doing what they're doing. Your job is to be supportive, no matter whether her times go up or down. Let the drive to perform come from within herself. Let the critiquing come from the coach. You need to be steady.
    I couldn't agree more. Because she has only been swimming USAS for a relatively short time, chances are her times have been descending and this success is encouraging. But her times will not always descend. Swimmers often plateau for awhile and some times even ascend, especially if she races when she isn't tapered. At these points the going gets tougher and your support is most important and needed to avoid her losing enthusiasm. Like life, there are ups and downs and I think that's where a parent can provide the most support. Let the coaches coach and don't be afraid to occasionally ask questions if you or your daughter think she needs something - just not in the middle of practice or meets.
    Some guys they just give up living and start dying little by little, piece by piece. Some guys come home from work and wash up and go racin’ in the street. (Bruce Springsteen, 1978)

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    Very Active Member pwb's Avatar
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    Re: Swim Parenting (Help!)

    Watch I, Tonya and do the opposite.

  11. #11
    Very Active Member Swimspire's Avatar
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    Re: Swim Parenting (Help!)

    Parents should definitely educate and inform themselves on swimming principles, particularly on swimming technique. Basing yourself on times alone can be deceiving since, as another forumite mentioned, your daughter's times may not always descend. What is most important is to ensure that your daughter has a solid technical foundation from the beginning of her swimming career - you can get away with good times for awhile, but if you don't work on developing your stroke, those times may not always continue to improve. There are many different stroke clinics or camps out there that help age group swimmers improve their technique. Having good technique will remain with your daughter throughout her entire swimming experience. Once again, good luck!

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