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Thread: Question about finding a swimming club for intl student

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    Question about finding a swimming club for intl student

    Hi there!

    I am a master swimmer based in Spain (Madrid) who is planning to send his son (born 2005) for a one-year stay in a US school in September 2022. He is good student and fairly good swimmer, currently training in a club in Madrid 5-6 days a week.

    The formula I've found to send him is J1-visa, in which, based on student profile, a family chooses the student and a shool is assigned. So no chance to choose state/city.

    I´d like him to keep on swimming, primarily because I know how important is to be involved in sports at teenage, and secondly because I'd like him to coontinue swimming when he is back to Madrid.

    My post is to receive advice on how realistic with this scheme of J1 International student visa is that my son finds a club an continue training/competing in 2022/23, or I should look for another scheme different that J1-visa that suits better.

    I raise the question with the hope that any of you have gone through the experience of having international students with similar age in your clubs and know how they achieved.

    Thank you very much in advance!

    Francisco

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    Very Active Member pwb's Avatar
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    Re: Question about finding a swimming club for intl student

    I haven't done this before, but wonder if maybe a better approach is to find a large swimming club in a city where you'd want your son to go, then contact the head coach or operations manager at that club. That way, you might be able to find a club/city/swimming family that would host your son, then work on the visa. Swimming is such a huge time commitment in the USA, so I think you'd want your son situated in a "swimming family" as many non-swimming families won't be accustomed to the demands (e.g., early morning workouts before school, long swimming meets on the weekend).

    The club my kids grew up swimming at before I moved to Canada, Scottsdale Aquatic Club (https://www.teamunify.com/team/assac/page/home), occasionally had some international swimmers, but I don't know how they got there in terms of visa. Private Message me if you want me to connect you with the coaches/leadership there. It's a GREAT team.

    Patrick Brundage

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    Very Active Member JPEnge's Avatar
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    Re: Question about finding a swimming club for intl student

    Will he be in high school? I think every year I was in high school (between small town northern Illinois and a suburb of Oklahoma City) we had at least one "foreign exchange student" that swam on our high school team or club team or both - I distinctly remember Caio Timbo my freshman year and Marcos Miranda my sophomore year. I think it's somewhat expected that exchange students participate in extracurriculars that they are interested in as well as going to school.

    I would recommend that once you find out where your son will be headed, you use this tool to find clubs in the area to reach out to their leadership:
    https://www.usaswimming.org/find-a-team
    400 IMer/200 backstroker in another life, now sprinter/breaststroker... Yeah, I don't know how that happened either!

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    Re: Question about finding a swimming club for intl student

    Hi Patrick,

    Thank you very much for the advice. I´m also contacting an agency that help to arrange this sort of things that have given me some hope about achieving it. I´ll let you know how it works. Thanks again!

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    Re: Question about finding a swimming club for intl student

    Hi! Thanks for the advice. I am contacting an agency that help to arrange this kind of student programs and having an interview this Friday. What I´ve been told is that in J1 visa, it is the volunteer family who choses the student based on his/her profile, so if this profile states that the student is willing to swim in a club it is likely that the family will support this. I have to check it out, because as you both say, being a 'swimmer family' is a high commitment (early morning workouts, long swimming meets...). He will be studying at a high-school, in 11th grade. I will let you know how this adventure goes on. Thanks again!

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    Re: Question about finding a swimming club for intl student

    Hi there! Can you explain how compatible is to swim for high school in fall season with club training? I mean, how kids in high schools train during swim season if they are also part of a club team, wether they do high school trainings and skip club ones, or alternatively they keep on training with their club but competing for their high school? I guess that this need some kind of coordination between high school coach and club coach, but I dont know how this works. Thanks in advance!

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    Very Active Member pwb's Avatar
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    Re: Question about finding a swimming club for intl student

    Quote Originally Posted by Chesco View Post
    Hi there! Can you explain how compatible is to swim for high school in fall season with club training? I mean, how kids in high schools train during swim season if they are also part of a club team, wether they do high school trainings and skip club ones, or alternatively they keep on training with their club but competing for their high school? I guess that this need some kind of coordination between high school coach and club coach, but I dont know how this works. Thanks in advance!
    This will vary around the country, based upon the local high school rules about training and competing, as well as how the clubs managed it. When I lived in Arizona, there was a minimum # of practices that kids had to do with their high school team, but the year-round swimmers did most of their training with their club team. Also, different parts of the country will have high school swimming at different times - for example, in Arizona swimming is a fall sport, but I believe it is a spring sport in California.

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    Very Active Member JPEnge's Avatar
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    Re: Question about finding a swimming club for intl student

    Yeah, it depends on what state it is. I went to some high school in Illinois where you aren't allowed to do club sports during your high school sport's season unless your high school doesn't offer the sport. Which might seem bad for progress, but that meant that many high school coaches were just as good if not better than the club coaches in areas. Then when my family moved to Oklahoma you really only had to go to one high school practice per week, in which case the high school coaches were either just managers, or also coaching the local club teams. Now I am an adult in Missouri but I occasionally train with the club teams, and most good club swimmers don't even swim high school at all.
    400 IMer/200 backstroker in another life, now sprinter/breaststroker... Yeah, I don't know how that happened either!

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    Re: Question about finding a swimming club for intl student

    Quote Originally Posted by JPEnge View Post
    ... I occasionally train with the club teams, and most good club swimmers don't even swim high school at all.
    ... another related point is that there are many school districts that don't have swimming as a high school sport.

    If your child is coming to the USA to focus on swimming and getting faster, I would focus on club swimming. If high school swimming exists in that area, it's a nice added feature for socialization / fun, but the best swimmers grow and train inside the USA Swimming club structure.

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