I remember the first time I ever saw an Olympic Swim meet. I was 5 years old, and the Olympics had come to Los Angeles. My grandfather was a huge enthusiast of the Olympics and he worked at U.C.L.A where a lot of the heats were taking place. One day, he rushed home from work, told my grandmother to get herself and me ready because he had a surprise for us. He definitely did, because less than an hour later, I was sitting there watching world competitors swim. I knew at that second I just had to learn how to swim, and lucky for me, my mom and grandma agreed.
Last week, I was one of a few very lucky bloggers who got a chance to speak some Olympic Medal Winners and USA Swimming staff such as:
- Karen Linhart, USA Swimming Public Relations and Social Media Director
- Jamie Fabos Olsen, Marketing and Brand Development Director, USA Swimming
- Lindsay Mintenko, National Team Managing Director, USA Swimming, gold medalist in swimming in the 2000 Olympics and gold and silver medalist in swimming in the 2004 Olympics
- Emily Silver, Athlete Relations and Family Program Manager, USA Swimming and a silver medalist in swimming in the 2008 Olympics
They shared with us lots of info about when is a right time to teach your child to swim. Check out some of the Q & A below.
Q: At what age should I start teaching my child to swim?
A: Most places that offer swim lessons begin when the child is six months old, but there are places that do “Mommy and Me” classes as an introduction to water at an even younger age.
Q: What is the right age for kids to start learning swim strokes? Should young kids focus on strokes or fundamentals?
A: It depends on what you are comfortable teaching them. Focus on the fundamentals first, but if they know the fundamentals, you can move on and teach the strokes whenever they seem ready. The goal is for kids to have fun and be safe and comfortable around the water.
Q: How can I give my child the confidence to swim without arm floaties?
A: USA Swimming advocates against flotation devices, because they can give kids a false sense of security. Try to avoid any kind of flotation aid, and get your child in swimming lessons. There is no substitute for professional swimming instruction, and instructors are trained to help kids with their fear of the water and help them acclimate to the water at their own pace.
Q: Should kids be allowed to wear goggles in the water?
A: If goggles help kids when they are in the water, wearing them will not be detrimental.
Q: What are the expenses for swimming lessons and team swimming?
A: It varies by location and club, but a full session of swim lessons (approximately 8 lessons) generally costs about $50. USA Swimming partners with about 525 participating clubs nationwide on their Make a Splash charitable effort, which provides every child in America with the opportunity to learn to swim. Swim clubs on SwimToday.org with a water drop next to their name provide a designated number of swimming lessons for free or at a discounted cost. The distribution of free or discounted lessons is club-dependent, and you can ask your local club about it directly. If expense is a concern, visit SwimToday.org and enter your ZIP code to find out if a swim club in your area is a Make a Splash partner. More about Make a Splash: http://www.usaswimming.org/
We recently started my 4 yr old daughter in lessons. In fact, she has been at it for just over 2 months, and she is fearless. She can swim the width of the pool and she has such a confidence that beams through her because she knows how to swim. If you want to find how to get your child in swim lessons, SwimToday.org is an online resource that provides moms with a one-stop shop to get all the information they need to make entering the sport as easy as possible. On the site, you can: find a place to swim in your area, self-assess your ability, and learn the benefits of swimming and fitness. It’s my go-to site when I need any info involving swimming, safety and where to get further lessons for my daughter.
I know this summer will be one to remember and I can’t wait to sit and watch this summer’s Olympics with Sofia and share the same love for the sport with her, that I got a chance to share with my grandparents. Who knows… I may have a future Olympian in the making.
Would you like to support the swimmers involved in the U.S.A. Olympic Team trials? You can! Just tweet using the #SwimToday hashtag, follow @USA_Swimming on Twitter (where you can also find Twitter IDs for U.S. swimmers competing in the Trials), encourage your friends and family to watch the trials- airing live on NBC from June 25-July 8- and cheer the athletes on, and host Olympic watch parties using Splash Bash resources from USA Swimming:http://www.usaswimming.org/
Disclosure: This is a compensated campaign in a partnership with The Motherhood. All opinions are 100% my own.