Monday, 5 December 2011

Youth Sports: Tips For Your First Swim Meet

Yesterday was the Swimming ACT Development* meet #2, in a series of four meets held over the summer season for developing swimmers.

Both my daughters Flash (8) and Muscles (7) competed in the under 8 division. They do different races to ensure there is no direct competition, although they will still end-up competing over who gets to take a sip of drink first, or who gets to sit next to me!

In my pound mummy opinion, Flash seems to be developing into an amazing swimmer! (you can find the start of our swimming journey here).Today she won the 50m freestyle in (40.50) , the 100m free (1.30.40) and the 50m fly (48.91). She narrowly came second in the 100m fly (1.59.44) and the 50m backstroke (48.92). In all races she made personal best times! Her freestyle times are the top-ranked times posted so far for this season in the ACT.

 Flash in her competition swimmers

This was the first time Flash has done a 100m butterfly in competition. As had previously been the case, I assumed that no other 8 year-olds would enter.  We were pleasantly surprised, however, to find another 8 year old entered  from country NSW. This was an amazing race to watch as the two girls had the entire pool cheering. Flash was leading up until the last 10m and was eventually beaten by less than a second. Her little arms just couldn’t keep going! Looking into her eyes I could see she was a little disappointed, but she bravely tried to hide it.

Muscles raced in the 25m events and unfortunately there is only an under 8 division which means she has to compete against 8 year olds for the ribbons. Although being within the top  placings for a 7 year old, she didn’t receive a ribbon until the final event, 25m freestyle. She won a 3rd place ribbon and thank goodness she got one!!. You should have seen her face! She was so happy and so proud! She also achieved  personal bests in  all her races, but this didn’t mean as much to her as that ribbon!

 Muscles, ready to swim!

As I’m a new parent in the spot of youth swimming I thought I’d share with you some of my tips for starting out in the sport.

  • Arrive slightly early to get a seat. On my first time I arrived at the pool only to be greeted by “…sorry, someone is sitting there….. and there….. and there….”

  • Always take a towel or a cushion to sit on….After 6 hours your butt goes numb on those hard stands (bleachers), seriously, I can still feel a dull ache in those cheeks just sitting here at the computer!

  • Wear summer attire, even if the weather is freezing outside. It is so hot and humid in those indoor pools, it can feel quite hard to breath!

  • Bring your own healthy food and fruit. The chips and other treats they serve from the pool canteens will do nothing but weigh down your kid with stodgy grease and won’t even help cushion your butt either (well not immediately anyway).

  • I find the girls  feel more comfortable if they do their warm up in an old pair of swimmers, then change into their dry, warm, racing swimmers to wait for their race.

  • Pack an extra set of goggles and swim cap, incase there is an ‘equipment malfunction’

  • Bring pens to record times and write event numbers on the kids hands, Nervousness or excitement may cause the kids temporary forgetfulness whilst standing, exposed, on the starting blocks. You don’t want them to start swimming the wrong stroke. My girls are comforted by having the information on their hand.

  • Get the kids to drink plenty (even though mine don’t feel like it after swimming) and make sure you drink plenty of water or less you will wind up with one thumping headache.

  • Bring something for you and the kids to kill time, like iphone, itouch, DS or even books and magazines. Sometimes there can be long wait between events, for you and the kids!

  • Remember, everyone is sitting in close proximity and may be able to hear what you say….so be nice.

  • Don’t tell your kids how to swim, or what they did wrong!  Just leave that up to the coaches. Tell them instead how great, brave, persistent they were. Or concentrate on a thing that they did well like a great dive or turn. It’s better for you and the kids in the long run…really it is.

  • Concentrate on aiming to achieve personal best times rather than beating others. Sometimes it can help to set other goals like doing a good turn, or not looking  around the pool whilst doing breaststroke.

  • Occasionally you will see coaches standing on the edge of the pool, their hands up above their head, doing rather grotesque looking pelvic thrusts!!!...don’t worry, they are simply demonstrating correct butterfly technique.

* In the ACT, ‘Development’ meets are different to the ‘Main meets’ in that you need to swim slower than the break time to enter an event. However, there are no break times for the under 8 age group. At the main meets you need to have swum faster than the qualifying times to enter. Normally, the main meets start at 10 years and under age group. 


No comments:

Post a Comment