Today we are talking about swim meets. While we have a baseball player and tennis player in the house, we also have a competitive swimmer. While I’m not an official swim Mom volunteering in leadership, I’ve learned a few things over the last four summers that I think would be very helpful to share with you about swim meet survival. While you’ll find a host of tips below, here are the four that stick out to me as being the most “A-HA” in the bunch.
1. Bring a Sharpie: Swimmers on neighborhood swim teams will have a number assigned to them so timers and officials can record their scores and more. So when you arrive at the meet with 300 or 400 of your closets friends, don’t ask someone to borrow a Sharpie. Bring your own, get a brand new one, keep it fat and big, and write on your child’s arm with your own Sharpie. Then you can be that person who is prepared and has one for other’s to borrow. Write the number horizontally on each bicep so it can be easily seen while in the water. You will find this number on a chart that lists all swimmers, their events, and their previous times from the most recent meet. Some swim clubs may provide heat sheets with the same complimentary or for a small fee.
2. Charge Up: Charge up your media and have a mobile charger with you when you go. You will want to take pictures, video, and you might want to consider timing your child for your own records. Not up on the line, not as a helicopter parent, but because they are volunteer judges and there is a ton of chaos on the pool deck. If you have your phone well charged, you can not only take pictures and share media for others who might not handle the chaos, you can grab that video so you can work on your strokes, and finally check that time. Bring your cell phone fully charged and include a mobile charger as your backup. You may find yourself with plenty of time to catch up on social networks, emails, and the chance to take some great photos. Don’t let a lack of juice steal the fun.
3. Ladies Room Etiquette: Consider the fact that if each neighborhood swim team has somewhere close to 75-100 swimmers. That means that potentially in the restroom if 100 those swimmers are little girls and probably 75% of them have to use the restroom that evening, if YOU need to use the restroom, it will be WET!!! There really won’t be a dry seat in the house. So you might want to bring paper towels, sanitizing solutions that you want to bring with you if you need to use the bathroom. I’m totally not joking ~ its like an ocean in there!
4. Compete Don’t Eat: I’m amazed to see how much eating happens in recreational swim at an evening swim meet. While the swim meet happens over dinner time, in a three hour time period, even if your child is swimming every single event, they are likely not swimming more than three to six minutes over three hours. No where does this need snacking, power up, pumping it up with having the right things in their system every single time they swim. They truly don’t need to eat six times in three hours for short distance recreational swim. While I’m not a competitive swimmer and not a trainer, I know that I know that I know that children eating candy, ice cream, pizza, soda in the midst of a swim meet completely defeats the purpose of why you are there. Its a sport, an athletic event. Compete don’t eat! Lead by example and pack a healthy dinner from home, eat it a bit at a time, and remind them that they are there to compete athletically. Pack a bag of fun, age appropriate activities for them to share with their friends and stay busy.
Check out the additional trips below and if you are a swim Mom I’d love to know:
What are your best Swim Mom tips for navigating the pool deck during neighborhood swim meets?
Every sport has its personality and swim team is something special. Thanks so much for stopping by ~ well see you next time!
Arrive Early: If you want to get a decent parking spot or place to set your chair, you need to arrive at least 30 minutes before your swimmer needs to be in the water. Otherwise you can plan to walk the neighborhood for the nearest side street and find yourself outside the pool deck on the wrong side of the fence.
More towels are better: We bring five towels ~ two for sitting on, two for wrapping up in, and one final one as a fresh blanket on the way home. Towels on the ground get wet ~ its inevitable ~ so plan to refresh your child’s waiting space midway through the meet. If you can, provide a child size beach chair that is low to the ground for your child to sit in. It can help them stay dry, comfortable, and have a great spot to leave their items when they swim.
Find a Spot to Relax: With close to 200 swimmers and their loving families, being a swim meet spectator can be very stressful. While its great to sit poolside in the front row, you’ll find you spend most of your time trying not to bump into those walking across your path and at eye level with, well, mostly the backside of everyone you’d ever know. Find a spot out of the main path where you can set up camp and when its your child’s turn to swim, hop up and join the timers on her lane.
Goggles and Plastic Bags: Always carry a 2nd set of goggles your child will be comfortable swimming in and keep a plastic bag on hand not just for your trash but for those wet towels we mentioned earlier.
Coverups and Sweatshirts: Evening swim meets can get chilly after the clock turns 8pm so pack a fresh coverup, sweatshirt, or long sleeve shirt, and sweatpants so your swimmer can warm up between heats. Remember to include the same for yourself as you’ll be surprised when it hits you and holding mostly wet towels while you wait.
Plan for Bugs: Its summer, there is water, need I say more? Bring bug spray to keep your bites at bay and if you find its a buggy night for the kids too, encourage them to stay wrapped up in their towels, covering their skin as best they can.
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