Monica and Alan Randall are the ‘Swim Mom’ and ‘Swim Dad’ of star swimmer Maya Randall, age 11
Maya swims for DC Wave Swim Team
Her favorites events and fastest times (in the age 9-10 category for Long Course Meters) are:
Monica sat down with us to explain what it takes to be a supportive Swim Mom and share her hopes for Maya’s future.
MR: Maya’s daycare provider took her to a swim lesson when she was 2.5 years old. Maya loved it! We found her a private instructor for a while and then, when she was 5, she asked if she could join a swim team. Of course, we said yes. She’s been swimming year round since she was 6 years old.
BKS: How has the sport of swimming impacted your daughter?
MR: Physically she is in tip top condition. Mentally she’s very tough as well. When children get up on the blocks at a swim meet it can be intimidating. Facing that mental challenge and holding up under that pressure is not easy. They have to know what event they’re swimming, remember how many lengths, remember their pacing, their breathing – it’s a lot! Those experiences have helped her to mature. The social side of being on a swim team has also benefitted Maya. Being able to see other swimmers and build relationships. She has her swim friends and they get together and they are pretty close. It’s a good thing.[pullquote align=”right” class=”” link=”” color=”#066cb2″ size=”20″]When children get up on the blocks at a swim meet it can be intimidating. Facing that mental challenge and holding up under that pressure is not easy. [/pullquote]
BKS: As a parent trying to keep your child interested in swimming how important is the social aspect of the team?
MR: Very important! On a scale of 1 – 10 it’s a 10. Especially for girls at this age – they need a group of friends that they see every day. The camaraderie at swim meets is important as well. It’s a long day with a lot of waiting around and there are not always a lot of black kids who swim competitively. So, having that support group is really key.
BKS: What is the most important thing parents should look for when choosing a swim team for their child?
MR: Parents have to be comfortable with the coaching and the parents. You’re going to spend a LOT of time with these people at practices and meets so you’d better like them and enjoy spending time with them. That is really key. And the teams practice and meet calendar has to fit your family schedule. I like teams that stress the importance of academic success as well as swimming. There are very few college scholarships out there, less than 1 or 2% of swimmers will get a scholarship for swimming alone. So, you’d better make sure you’re focused on the academic performance of your child. (Monica runs Bridge2College Consulting which prepares children for college – so we’ll take her word for it!)
BKS: What do you think are some of the major concerns parents should have if their child chooses to swim competitively?
MR: Nutrition. I worry if Maya is eating enough. They burn a lot of calories while swimming so i’m always concerned about my daughter getting the proper nutrition. They eat a lot – and they need that to keep their body going.[pullquote align=”full” class=”” link=”” color=”#066cb2″ size=”20″]There are very few college scholarships out there, less than 1 or 2% of swimmers will get a scholarship for swimming alone. So, you’d better make sure you’re focused on the academic performance of your child. [/pullquote]
BKS: Did you or your husband swim as children?
MR: No! Not competitively. I played around in the pool. I’m not the best swimmer by any means. Swimming wasn’t something that we did. We knew enough that we would not drown but we’re not swimming laps either.
BKS: What do you hope Maya gets out of swimming in the long term?
MR: The maturity to stick with something for an extended period of time. And of course learning how to bounce back. Our kids will have great races, then they’ll have really bad races. It happens. Being able to bounce back from that – being able to say to themselves ‘I know i had a bad race, but in a half an hour I’m going to race again so I need to get myself together and be ready for that.’ Being able to learn from her mistakes. This will prepare her for the corporate world. She’ll make mistakes but she’s got to let it go and learn from it and move on. I hope she’s learning those lessons from swimming.
BKS: Do you have any encouraging words for parents considering placing their child into competitive swimming?
MR: Go for it! It’s a lot of fun. Swim families are the best families, we’re a really tight knit and close community and I think that’s key. That’s what keeps everyone in it – because it’s a fun sport. There is a commitment – make that commitment for your child’s sake.