When my boys were old enough to join a sports team, I never considered swimming as an option. Soccer, baseball, flag football, etc., yes – because those are all in my face all the time. “Soccer mom” is as easy a phrase as breathing. But “swim team mom” is not something that is programmed into the vernacular in quite the same way.
I’m a little sad about that now, actually, because I think that swimming, with its emphasis on “team” and its constant exercise and activity, would have been a great sport to encourage my children to try. It’s not too late, though, as five time Olympic swimmer Dara Torres recently reassured me and other parenting bloggers on hand at the US National Championships swim meet in Irvine, CA.
Torres is the spokesperson for SwimToday, a special campaign sponsored by USA Swimming and other partners designed to motivate people to try swimming as a sport, not just splashing around in the pool like goofballs, the way my children approach the activity. Torres is a parent herself, and when she relocated to Boston she was surprised to learn that it was hard to find a swim team for her daughter Tessa to join. SwimToday makes it easy for parents to locate swim programs and teams for families all over the country.
In an afternoon of chatting, a behind the scenes tour of the meet, and a once-in-a-lifetime swim coaching session for the kids with Torres, I joined the other parents and children in learning about the benefits of swimming. Torres noted that as a swimmer, you’ll never be on the bench for the whole game – everyone participates. Aside from the obvious physical benefits (that swim meet was an event for the .3 % top swimmers in the U.S.: not an ounce of body fat in sight!), swimmers get team spirit, camaraderie, and a sense of accomplishment. And unlike other sports like soccer where true competitors get started as tiny tots, my kids aren’t too old to get involved.
As we toured Irvine High School’s swimming pools – which were amazing – my boys kept getting distracted by the heats and hanging back to watch. I don’t blame them. The swimmers were intense and they were fun to watch. The main pool even had a jumbo social media board up in one corner where tweets were posted if they were labeled with the #Phillips66Nats hashtag.
After they spent about 30 minutes in the pool receiving instruction from Torres about the proper ways to kick, stroke, and breathe, Kyle and Brady seemed very fired up about swimming. They love going to the pool and playing around. Now I’d love to motivate them to achieve better form and even check out a local swim team.
SwimToday has everything parents need to get started – a tool to locate local teams, advice about how to know when your child is ready to join a team, and information about gear and training. Their mission is for kids and adults alike to learn why swimming is the Funnest Sport!
This post is sponsored by #MomTrendsSwim. Many thanks to MomTrends, USA Swimming, and Swim Today for hosting us on what turned out to be a very educational and inspiring afternoon.
School starts for my children next Wednesday, so this is the last week of summer vacation for us! It definitely went by too quickly this year, and I’m in full on back to school mode: gathering new supplies, transitioning the kids to earlier bedtimes, and meditating (that one is for me). While I do look forward to getting back to the routine that school days impose on our family, I know that the beginning of the year is an opportunity for us set the tone for that routine, so I’ve been feeling the pressure to do it right.
Fortunately, I can reassure myself, this is my 6th year as a parent of school aged kids (if you count Kyle’s one year of preschool). I’ve picked up a few survival tactics along the way that have worked for us. I will be preparing these tools (and my mindset) during this last week of freedom, and I’d like to share them with you.
5 Tips For Starting the New School Year Off on the Right Foot
Ritual is very important for our family. We operate much more smoothly when the same things happen at the same-ish time every day. But above and beyond the daily wake-up time, the morning routine, and the bike ride to school, there are other less frequent rituals we engage in to mark the passage of time. For example, one of my favorite new traditions is a special family dinner the night before the first day of school. We live about 20 minutes’ drive from the beach in Malibu California. Our favorite family spot out there is called Neptune’s Net. It’s a greasy shack by the beach filled with bikers, beach people, and tourists. We drive out there before sunset, order a meal of cheeseburgers and fries, and top it off with ice cream cones for the kids. Then we take a short walk on the beach at sunset, and that’s the end of summer. Sad, a little, but it also marks a new beginning.
Bonus: breathe and roll with it. As with anything parenting related, once you get a system in place and you think you’re golden, something will change: your kid’s attitude, the school’s personnel or process, your own availability, whatever. The Universe has a way of messing with you once you settle down and think you’re getting good at this. So take a deep breath, count your lucky stars, and be flexible.
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