Growing up, every summer we went to a local beach club. The only way we were allowed to go in the pool was if we knew how to swim. My mother had all 3 of us out of the house by 7am and ready for swimming lessons, so that we would feel confident going in the deep end.
We all enjoyed swimming every summer since. I have never had a fear of going into the water no matter a pool or the ocean or even the depth. It is a surreal feeling being able to just relax and float. Though I enjoy swimming I was never part of a swim team. (Although my sister, @SavvyMomNYC was a part of our parish’s swim team for a year.) I have loved watching the sport during the Olympics and watching such strong athletes glide across the water and somehow swim underneath and flip around to complete laps.
Swim Today has launched a new campaign to get the word out of how swimming can be a team sport. Many are under the assumption that only 1 person is swimming so it is more of an individual sport but it isn’t. There is so much more to being a member of a swim team.
On hand to let us know about her experiences as a swimmer was SwimToday ambassador Dara Torres, a five-time Olympic swimmer-turned-swim-mom.
It was amazing to hear directly from Dara. I think in her spare time she could be a stand up comic with her witty comments and passion for swimming. She proves to all us that anything is possible. Dara first competed at the 1984 Olympics. In 2008 she was the oldest swimmer to compete and has yet again made another comeback into the sport in 2012. She has proved to all that age is just a number. She is determined and once she gets the idea of competing in her head she sticks with it. She is the first Swimmer to compete in 5 Olympics. If you would like to hear more from Dara check out this Q&A
Through SwimToday, teams nationwide are inviting new swimmers and families to experience the sport with incentives such as free swim team trial periods, customized swim caps and promotional materials from kits sent to 1,500 swim teams to use locally. Parents can learn more about participating teams and find those nearest them by searching their zip code at www.SwimToday.org.
“Being a part of a swim team is one of the most fun and most rewarding experiences a child can have. I’ve benefitted from the sport’s values in every aspect of my life and that’s why my nine-year old daughter is a swimmer,” said Torres. “It’s also why I’m so passionate to share with other parents and invite them to understand what the sport has to offer. Once they know, more parents will have swimming at the top of their lists.”
According to research, nearly 80 percent of parents don’t consider swimming as a competitive sport for their kids after completing swim lessons, largely due to a number of common misconceptions parents have about the sport.
Those without experience thought other sports ranked higher in the categories of teamwork, fun, ease of learning, proximity, parental enjoyment, social skills, self-esteem and scholarship opportunities.
The Top 10 Benefits of being a member of the #FunnestSport:
- It’s closer than you think – 62 percent of families live within 10 minutes of a pool; 52 percent of households with combined income of $50,000 or less report they have access to a pool nearby
- Everyone participates – Swimming is inclusive, there are no benchwarmers (nor benches)
- Swimming is a team sport – Only 16 percent of non-swimming parents view swimming as a team sport but parents of swimmers associate the sport with teamwork more than any other sport
- Suit up and go – Only a swimsuit, cap and goggles are necessary to get started
- Life skills – Swimming increases self-confidence, self-esteem, time management, goal-setting and social development
- Easy to learn – 76 percent of parents said the ease of learning to swim was high
- Low risk of injury – No contact makes for a safer environment
- Swimming = total body fitness – Burn 650 calories in an hour – more than walking, biking or team sports
- Sport for life – Once you learn to swim, you can enjoy no matter your age
- Swimming is FUN – Parents confirm that swimming is the #FunnestSport
We were able to hear first hand how swimming has impacted the lives of families involved in the sport.
Siu Neal (mom to USA Swimming national team member, Lia Neal), Lai Sun Lee (mom to USA Swimming national team member, Felicia Lee) and local New York mom, Rhonda Schulters, whose kids swim with New York Parks & Rec swim team.
The biggest take away from these moms is that their children had a love and passion for swimming but it has also helped them excel in school due to time management skills they have learned. They have been able to travel all over the country for swim meets meeting new friends along the way. They have also been able to show their love of swimming to others by life-guarding and teach young children how to swim.
SwimToday is a first-of-its-kind marketing collaboration within the swimming industry. It is a joint, industry effort created to promote and grow participation in the sport of swimming. The campaign is led by USA Swimming, Arena USA, Speedo USA and TYR Sport, with additional support from the following aquatic organizations: American Swimming Coaches Association, National Swimming Pool Foundation, U.S. Masters Swimming, Colorado Time Systems, Swimming World magazine, TeamUnify, Counsilman-Hunsaker and USA Swimming Foundation. Creative support is provided by Colle+McVoy, a Minneapolis-based advertising agency.
- The SwimToday initiative focuses on the benefits of swimming: fun, fitness, friendships, self-confidence, teamwork, goal-setting, time management, lifelong participation, swimming’s many health benefits and low rate of injury.
- Joining a new sport can be intimidating for families. Through SwimToday, teams are making it easy to join in with special incentives including free swim team assessments, free swim caps, free trial month and other custom benefits..
Are your children on a Swim Team? Why do you think swimming is important?