What I Wish I Would Have Known About Swim Team

It’s that time of year when most neighborhood swim teams are kicking off registration, and if this is not a world you have been in or know anything about, the decision to sign your kiddo up can be a little overwhelming to say the least. 

I had never participated in swim team when I was growing up, so when one of my daughter’s friends suggested we sign up, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. But here we are – five seasons, three kids, and an executive board position later – and it is safe to say we drank the Kool-Aid and are lifers when it comes to swim team! 

With that being said, there are a few key tips I wish I would have known before that first season of swim team :: 

  • Practice is everyday. Well, every weekday along with 3-4 meets mixed in. This does take some getting used to, especially if you are like me and are used to your kids only doing activities one, maybe two days a week. But, you have to remember the season is only a couple months, and after you experience your first meet, you will see why the kids need all the practice they can get. Also, most swim teams take one day a week off. 
  • Swim meets are more nerve-racking for you than your kid. And, this does not go away! Like I said, we are five season in, and I still feel like I am going to throw up every time one of my kids are lined up for their race. Now they are fine, just chatting it up with their little friends as they wait, like nothing out of the norm is about to happen. Then as I am coming down off my adrenaline rush after the race, they are just calmly walking back to their tent excited to eat their 200th snack for the day. 
  • Overpack for swim meets; you are going to be there a while. Speaking of 200 snacks … take the whole pantry to the swim meet! I am not joking. Fill up a cooler, fill up multiple reusable grocery bags, fill up ALL THE THINGS WITH ALL THE FOOD! First off, swim meets are HOURS LONG, and second, your child will eat their weight in food with the amount of swimming, sitting, and general boredom they will experience. While most swim meets have some sort of concession stand, they are expensive and not the kind of food you want to be fueling your swimmer. Also, don’t forget to pack food for you too! And on the note of boredom, charge up and take some sort of electronic for your kid. You may not be an iPad, DS, or tablet mom, and that’s fine if you want your kid to drive you BANANAS ALL DAY LONG! There are literally hours in between events with nothing to do but sit – let the kid have some electronics time. 
  • Your kid may want to quit at some point; don’t let them. I actually wrote another post over just this bullet point. The thing I love about swim team is that rarely is someone good at everything. Some kids are good at freestyle, while others are good at backstroke. Some kids are amazing relay members but average individual swimmers. Some kids excel in sprint races, while others really find their strength in distance swimming. With that being said, your kid is going to struggle at something. They are going to get beat, get tried, and at some point want to quit. DO NOT LET THEM! So much character is built in making your child finish something they started, and swim team is a ripe harvest for those life lessons. 
  • Volunteer. The only thing that makes an extremely long day feel not so long, is having something to do. Some teams require at least one parent to volunteer, so you may not have a choice in this, but if you do I would encourage you to volunteer. The majority of parent volunteers only serve at the meets, which are a HUGE undertaking, so it really helps your team when you step up. It also gives you something to do for the long hours in between your child swimming. I personally like to be a timer because it is easy and guarantees you a front row seat to every race – including those of your kids! 
  • Everyone loses their ever-loving mind! Literally. Everyone. At. Every. Race. Swim meets are one of the most encouraging events I have ever seen or been a part of. You, as well as easily 100 other parents, will find yourself yelling phrases you never even knew existed {or were appropriate around children} until your first swim meet. Things like, “TWO HAND TOUCH, TWO HAND TOUCH!” Or “WAIT, WAIT. OKAY, NOW GO, GO!” And “PULL, PULL, PULL!” You will high-five and hug complete strangers. You will literally wipe tears from your eyes because watching a sweet little 5-year-old give it all they have all the way across the pool {as if they were Michael Phelps} is the most inspiring thing you have seen in a while – guaranteed! 
  • Be ready to be blown away by your kid! You will watch your kiddo go from average {or a below average swimmer} to BEAST in just 8 weeks, and it will BLOW YOUR MIND! Your sweet little baby that can’t even walk without tripping over their own feet will dive in and fly past you while moving both arms and simultaneously kicking their legs like a friggin’ mermaid! They will throw on a swim cap like a boss and approach every race like the Olympic trials. You will see another side of your kid that you hoped existed but never really knew for sure!  

There are so many other tricks of the trade, but for those I will let you make your own mark on the swim team world! Can you tell we love swim team? I mean we really love it, and my hope is you will too! I really believe there are characteristics that only swim team can pull out of a kid, and my hope is that you have the same experience. But, if it isn’t – remember it is only 8 weeks! 

What I Wish I Would Have Known About Swim Team | Houston Moms Blog

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Jenny truly believes Houston is the best city on the planet and that is why she has never left! She met and married her high school sweetheart Chad, and then added three children {via womb} and 1 child {via adoption} to their family all while living in this great city. Jenny works full-time as the Executive Pastor of Real Hope Community Church, and absolutely loves her job! In her not so free time, she enjoys doing Crossfit and binge watching Netflix – generally not both at the same time, but that would be amazing! She also has an odd obsession with presidential libraries and people using the correct form of your and you're. You can stay connected with Jenny at www.jennydayjones.com and on Twitter and Instagram @jennyjones76.


  1. Join a club team if you and your kids are ready. If not, enjoy your summer league experience as long as possible. That’s the grassroots support that grows the sport!

  2. After years of swim team my biggest hint is to write your child’s last name on their towel- WITH SHARPIE!!
    It’s amazing how many other kids have the same towel!


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