I recently attended a panel at the USA Swimming event held on Friday, April 17, 2014 in Mesa at the Skyline Aquatic Center. The yearly event was held to educate parents about the benefits of swimming and to encourage parents to consider swimming as a youth sport for their kids.
My son is a multi-sport athlete so I thought it was interesting to hear some insight from other moms. According to Scott Leightman, communications director for USA Swimming, “89 percent of mothers are involved in the decision-making process for sports for their children.”
Swimming, often an overlooked sport, is not only beneficial for the health and safety benefits, but can be a sport that children do long into adulthood.
The moms on the panel were:
D.A. Franklin, mother to four-time Olympic gold medalist, Missy Franklin
Mary Gen Ledecky, mother to Olympic gold medalist, Katie Ledecky
Jeannine Leverenz, mom to Caitlin Leverenz, Olympic bronze medalist (Tucson natives)
Nancy Moreno, mom to two boys, current Mesa Aquatic Center swimmers
The mothers spoke of the time and dedication that swimming provided noting that their children would hesitantly get up at early hours to practice and how they would learn from each other in various aged swim groups.
When asked about what tips the moms had for being a parent of a child on a swim team, Jeannine Leverenz replied, “Get involved in the team so you meet families and you’re part of the same team your kids are. The more involved you are the more fun you’ll have.”
The sentiment was followed by Mary Gen Ledecky to agree to get involved and volunteer. This helps to get engaged and meet other families, lasting in long term friendships.
These were just a couple of topics discussed as well as the other benefits of swimming such as developing healthier eating habits, time management, focus, and commitment.
Nancy Moreno, a local east valley mother herself, gave some insight on why it is important to be patient with your kids when they first start off in swimming, “A lot of times they see the child next to them going faster, so be their biggest cheerleader. Eventually they’ll get faster and better. They learn a good work ethic pays off and it’s a great thing to learn to swim”.
One of my favorite things said was in regards to commitment, Ledecky commented, “we have never had to wake Katie up for practice. She’s had to wake us up a couple of times, because she doesn’t drive yet. Let them drive commitment.”
It was a valuable experience and insightful to learn more about the sport of swimming. If you have been thinking about getting you kids started in swimming or want to learn more, parents can find more information as well as search for a swim club near them by visiting www.swimtoday.org.