Swim Fitness Articles
Ten Commandments for Children of Masters Swimmers
- Thou shalt not impose your ambitions on thy parent. Remember that swimming is your parent's activity. Improvements and progress occur at different rates for each individual. Don't judge your parent's progress based on the performance of other athletes or yourself and don't push them based on what you think they should be doing. Your mom or dad does not want to hear it if your warm-up is longer than their entire workout, or if you can do repeat 200's butterfly when they have just accomplished their first 50 meter fly without fins and without drowning. The same applies if you can do a 200 free faster than they can do a 100. The nice thing about swimming is every person can strive to do their personal best.
- Thou shalt be supportive no matter what. There is only one question to ask your mom or dad, "Did you have fun?" If meets and practices are not fun, your mom or dad should not be forced to participate. If your parent wishes to join teammates in a social outing after the meet, remember that this is also important to your mom or dad and humor them.
- Thou shalt not coach your parent. You have taken your parent to a professional coach, do not undermine that coach by trying to coach your mom or dad on the side. Your job is to support, love and hug your parent no matter what. The coach is responsible for the technical part of the job. You should not offer advice on technique or race strategy. That is not your area. This will only serve to confuse your parent and prevent that swimmer/coach bond from forming.
- Thou shalt only have positive things to say at a swimming meet. If you are going to show up at a swimming meet, you should cheer and applaud, but never criticize your parent or the coach. Do not act embarrassed or whine. Masters swim meets don't revolve around you.
- Thou shalt acknowledge thy parent's fears. A first swimming meet, 500 free or 200 IM can be a stressful situation. It is totally appropriate for your mom or dad to be scared. Don't yell or belittle, just assure your parent that the coach would not have suggested the event if your parent was not ready to compete in it. Masters swimmers are often fearful of being seen on the pool deck in revealing swimwear. Refrain from making any comments about The Speedo, loose skin, weird-looking veins, less-than-buff muscles or "Dunlap's disease" on the parent who bore you in childbirth or spent long hours working so you could have a new PlayStation.
- Thou shalt not criticize the officials. If you do not have the time or the desire to volunteer as an official, or aren't old enough, don't criticize those who are doing the best they can. It is not your calling to point out
any lapses in stroke legalities should the official not recognize them.
- Honor thy parent's coach. The bond between coach and swimmer is a special one, and one that contributes to your parent's success as well as fun. Do not criticize the coach in the presence of your mom or dad, it will only serve to hurt your parent's swimming.
- Thou shalt not jump from team to team. The water isn't necessarily bluer at the other team's pool. Every team has its own internal problems, even teams that build champions. Masters who switch from team to team are often ostracized for a long, long time by the teammates they leave behind. Often times swimmers who do switch teams never do better than they did before they sought the bluer water.
- Thy parent shalt have goals besides winning. Giving an honest effort regardless of what the outcome is, is much more important than winning. One Olympian said, "My goal was to set a world record. Well, I did that, but someone else did it too, just a little faster than I did. I achieved my goal and I lost. This does not make me a failure, in fact, I am very proud of that swim." Your mom and dad have other priorities and sometimes family and work needs are met when they would prefer to be training. Many choose to swim for fitness and friendships with competition a secondary reason.
- Thou shalt not expect thy parent to become an Olympian. There are 225,000 athletes in United States Swimming. There are only 52 spots available for the Olympic Team every four years. Your parent's odds of becoming an Olympian are less than 1 in about 4,300. Swimming is much more than just the Olympics. Ask your coach why he coaches. Chances are, he was not an Olympian, but still got enough out of swimming that he wants to pass that love for the sport on to others. Swimming teaches self discipline and sportsmanship; it builds self esteem and fitness; it provides lifelong friendships and much more. Most Olympians will tell you that these intangibles far outweigh any medal they may have won. Swimming builds good people and you should be happy your mom or dad wants to participate.
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