It’s that time of year again! Summer swim season is here and you have to be ready if you and your family want to enjoy the many benefits of participating in competitive swimming’s most exciting season. Black Kids Swim has compiled a list of must have items to ensure you survive and thrive this summer!
#10 – Alarm Clock
Summer swim meets start EARLY. And if you and your swimmer oversleep you may miss it.
#9 – Swim Team T-shirt or Team Colors
Swim meets are a chance to get to know the other parents on the team, and what better way to find them than showing your team spirit! Take time during the summer to make friends with the parents of your child’s teammates and keep in touch with them during the school year. The social aspect of being on a swim team can keep your child engaged in the sport – swimmers need swim friends! Additionally, swim parents are a fantastic resource. Conversations on deck can lead to helpful information on swimming clinics, summer camps, sales on swim equipment, schools, and most importantly lasting friendships. Ask your coaches where you can purchase a team t-shirt and find ways to incorporate team colors into your outfit.
#8 – Camera
You don’t want to miss this! Capture your child’s races on camera to share with friends and family after the meet. The footage may encourage them to come out to the next swim meet and also shows your child how proud you are of their hard work in the pool. Also, kids love watching their races. Try a camera with built in wifi to be able to instantly share photos and videos.
#7 – Bug Spray
Summer swim meets happen outside. In nature. With bugs. Don’t be caught unprepared!
#6 – Cash
Summer swim leagues do their very best to be affordable. This is only possible through fundraising. To cover the cost of pool time and coaching staff many teams raise funds by selling snacks and beverages during swim meets. Be prepared to purchase items to support the team. Summer swim meets can last for several hours so you will likely want something cool to drink and something tasty to nibble on.
#5 – Sun Screen
Again, summer swim meets take place outside. Under the sun. Protect your skin with sun screen.
#4 – Super Fancy Deck Chair
For summer swim meets you’re going to need something comfortable and something that makes a statement. Your garden variety folding chair simply will not do. We’ve seen chairs with cup holders, monogrammed initials, foot rests – even umbrellas. Show up in style with a deck chair your fellow swim parents won’t forget!
#3 – Sun Hat
Veteran swim parents know the importance of a wide brimmed sun hat. Pool decks typically do not have a lot of shade, so it is important to bring your own, especially if you are volunteering on deck as a timer (which we highly recommend). Extra points go to swim parents who can find a hat in their team colors!
#2 – Heat Sheet
The Heat Sheet is the program for a swim meet. It lets you know the order of the races and which swimmers are in each heat. You need this so you do not miss your child’s race! Typically, each race event will have several heats. The first heat will have the slower swimmers and the last heat will have the fastest swimmers. Next to each child’s name you can find their fastest time in that event. Selling heat sheets is another way for swim teams to raise money. Support your team by purchasing a heat sheet when you arrive at the meet. Also, heat sheets are a great way to keep track of your child’s progress. Over the summer swimmers may add time as they perfect their technique, or cut time as they get faster. Either way, the most important thing is to encourage your child to enjoy the sport and remind them to listen to their coach for constructive feedback.*
*This is very important. Telling a child to ‘swim faster’ is not constructive feedback, especially if they are trying their hardest, these comments are hurtful and can discourage young swimmers. Allow the coach to give your child advice on how to improve their technique which will eventually enable them to swim faster.
#1 – Volunteer Hours
Summer swim meets cannot happen without volunteers! Swim teams rely on parents to volunteer in order to keep registration costs down and run successful meets that swimmers can enjoy. Swim parents have to volunteer several times during the summer to make the season possible. You can volunteer to donate snacks for the concessions stand, sell concessions, time the races, set up before the swim meet, clean up after the swim meet, organize the ribbons and trophies – or anything your team may need. Swim teams also need parents who are willing to be trained as stroke and turn judges and officials in order to make sure young swimmers are performing at their very best.
With these 10 items you and your swimmer are guaranteed to have a successful summer swim season. Have fun!