We’re Katie and Shannon. Two friends who share a lot in common, not the least of which is our passion for swimming. The sport is near and dear to our hearts, but we also see how swimming impacts Michiganders in many other ways, too.
Summer is fast approaching and our children, like so many others, spend their days in or around the water. Now we’re sharing our knowledge and experience with swimming, so you, too, can raise an educated and happy swimmer.
About Katie: I started swimming competitively at the age of seven for my local summer swim club. My enthusiasm for the sport quickly exploded, and I started swimming year-round. This obsession continued all the way through the summer after my freshman year in college, totaling 12 years of almost non-stop swimming. As I aged out of competition, I became a swim coach, first during the summer season then picked up my USA coaching certification to be on deck all year long. I currently coach for Farmington Glen and dROP Aquatics swim teams.
About Shannon: I also grew up on the water, boating on the local lakes and up north with my family. Later on, I joined the summer swim team at our club. That team jumpstarted my love for competitive swimming. I swam for middle school, high school, and winter club teams until I graduated. Now, the tides have turned, and I am a swim mom! Both my kids started lessons when they were babies. They joined the swim team at our summer swim club and discovered they love the sport like I do. They currently swim year-round, and I drive them all over to meets.
Now that you know a bit about us and the significance that swimming has had in both our lives, here are our top 10 reasons why YOU should raise a swimmer:
Did you know drowning is the number one leading cause of unintentional death for children ages 1-4? Did you know that even if a child is wearing a puddle jumper, it won’t prevent them from drowning? Living in Michigan, we are literally surrounded by water. However, many kids and a shocking number of adults never learn how to swim, making them high risk for drowning. It’s important to enroll your children in swim lessons to ensure they learn about water safety, the basics of floating, and moving through the water unassisted. Swimming is a life skill that everyone should learn, regardless of how often you find yourself near a body of water.
You don’t go to the pool to have a terrible time, do you? Spending time near the water is scientifically proven to boost your mood and generally improve your well-being. Let’s encourage our children to engage in activities that have a positive impact on their good health and happiness and that have long-lasting benefits for their life.
When kids know how to swim, there’s no end to the possibilities for friendship. Whether it’s meeting a new friend on the beach during vacation, hanging out by a friend’s pool in the summer, or becoming lifelong friends after carpooling to swim practice every day, it’s all cultivated by this common bond. Here in Michigan, with water all around, making friends is easy and fun if you can incorporate swimming.
Although swimming is largely an individual sport, swimmers train and compete as part of a team. There is a great deal of team spirit and camaraderie in swimming, from cheering on your teammates to working together to finish a practice set. The team becomes your family.
5. Health benefits
Swimming is healthy for the mind and body and is great exercise for your entire lifetime. It is a low impact workout that is highly dynamic and adjustable to a leisurely or intense pace. Swimming provides an all-over body workout, builds endurance, muscle strength, and cardiovascular fitness. It is also great for relieving stress, improving flexibility, and is often used for therapy.
The sport of swimming teaches kids a great amount of discipline in and out of the water. During the course of a standard swim practice, they will exercise discipline in listening, cooperation, and self-regulation. Outside of the pool, swimmers are held to a high standard academically and are expected to participate in their communities.
7. Teaches Life Skills
Due to intense daily practice schedules, most swimmers naturally develop excellent time management skills. Homework and other activities are completed efficiently and effectively, structured around practice and depending on when school lets out. Most swimmers are also organized because no one wants to show up to a swim meet without their goggles or towel in their swim bag. And, being a part of a team means that you learn to get along with just about everyone.
Swimming is unique in that teams are comprised of a wide range of ages. On a standard USA or summer league team, kids could be as young as three and as old as 18. Oftentimes, the older swimmers will take the little ones under their wings, talking with them at social gatherings, encouraging them before races, and cheering during swim meets. The older kids become mentors and offer support in many different ways than even a parent or coach.
Swimming is by and large individual in that the objective is to drop time and improve your stroke at each meet. However, when competing as part of a swim team, there is a larger sense of competition. Swimmers may be facing the same rival time and time again. Also, meets are often times scored based on how the individual swims collectively finish. It’s a group effort, and the team must win or lose the meet together.
10. Benefits for Parents
Don’t worry, there’s benefits for parents, too! Swim parents have the opportunity to volunteer and be on deck with the team, learn about what’s going on, see the races, and become even more connected to your child. It feels like you become a part of the team, as well. The also parents socialize with each other and become lifelong friends.