The article below by Mia Bolton is republished from USASwimming.org’s Splash Magazine, June 2014 issue.
Did you know that Swimmer parents view swimming as more fun than soccer, baseball and football? And that 99% of parents of swimmers say FUN us the #1 reason their kids stay in swimming?
We know swimming is fun, but does everyone else? When you talk about how awesome swimming is to your friends, are they surprised? After a little research, the folks at Splash found that most people outside the sport view swimming to be less fun than basketball, football or soccer, and they don’t see it as a social sport.
But those of us in the sport know they’ve got it all wrong!
Swimming is so much more than just laps. As our new SwimToday advertising tagline says, “it’s the funnest sport there is.”
So people have to experience the fun to believe it? No problem.
This spring, 10 organizations in the swim industry will come together to spread the word about just how enjoyable swim teams are, and encourage everyone to see for themselves by joining local teams around the country. The SwimToday campaign, called “SwimToday,” will encourage kids to transition from swim lessons to joining swim teams.
Director of swim clinics for the Sierra Marlins Swim Team, Aimee Schmitt, works to take kids from lessons to summer teams to a competitive atmosphere with her bridge program in northern California.
While it’s not all sharks and minnows, Schmitt incorporates a variety of team activities into training to make practice fun.
“Kids like to be on a team because it creates a social circle, something we all want,” says Schmitt. “And when kids are happy and excited about swimming, that’s a passion that can last a lifetime.”
Having fun with your team is what keeps you coming back to the pool every day. Most of us have met our best friends on our swim teams, and we keep them for a long time. Perhaps you know some non-swimming friends who would enjoy it, but don’t know how to get them started. Show them how much fun they can have in the water.
Just talk about swim team. Maybe not the endurance set you did yesterday or how dead your arms are, but the social parts. Tell them about the team dinner you had last week or the away meet you’re going to, because often people who don’t swim on a team don’t quite understand how awesome it is and how many friends you make and how much un you have. This is the best way to get your friends to want to join. So tell them.
Introduce them to swim meets. Swim meets are some of the most high-energy places. There are people cheering, walking around, laughing, dancing and competing. Bring your friends along to experience the excitement and dare them not to get into it.
Share it on social media. Word of mouth is how most families pick a place to swim, so have you or your parents share your love of the sport on social media like Twitter or Facebook, and recommend your team with the #funnestsport hashtag.
Join a neighborhood summer team. Swimming doesn’t’ have to be year-round for those just getting into the sport. Anyone can join the neighborhood swim team, so encourage your friends to spend the summer swimming with you! Convince your friends to go with you to meet the coaches, the swimmers and all the kids your age in the neighborhood. “Encourage your friends to join, even if they feel like they’re not good enough” Schmitt says. “It’s an awesome way to meet new friends and a laid back transition into competitive swimming.”
Swim at a swim-a-thon. Swim-a-thons are some of the most fun events on a swim team. You don’t get timed, everyone’s there having fun and you’re raising money for a good cause just by doing what you do every day, anyway – swimming.
Link to original article.
Image Credit: Splash Magazine/USA Swimming