Swim Today put together a parent meet and greet in Santa Clara, CA with three-time Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines, as well as four-time gold medalist Missy Franklin's Dad, Dick, Olympic Gold Medalist Conor Dwyer's dad, Pat, and a local dad who is currently taking his 10-year-old son to competitions in hopes of someday making it to the Olympics. During this event, Rowdy asked these swim dads some great questions about the process of becoming an Olympic swimmer, then taught a quick swim clinic to all the kids, and I learned a lot, including what we could all learn from Olympians and their families!
During Rowdy's interview, Dick shared that Missy's coach said Swimming is all about the fundamentals, and you can't have fundamentals without the "fun." Since USA Swimming research shows that about 80 percent of parents think of swimming as something you learn in lessons, but not as a fun activity or sport, the fundamentals of swimming are certainly something families can learn. When asked if their kids ever get bored of swimming, all of the swim dads in the panel replied that they're kids love swimming because it's fun for them, and so it's never a chore or something they aren't excited about being a part of. This concept also applies in almost everything we do, really. As parents, we should enjoy our jobs if we can, and kids should be having fun in the extracurricular activities they choose like sports, dance, music lessons and so on.
Contrary to what a lot of people think, swimming isn't a solo sport, it's an inclusive sport where no one is sent to the bench to wait their turn. When you're a swimmer you're on a team with your coach and family support system (who wake up at hours too early to mention in the morning to get them to swim practice every morning), as well as the team at meets. Because the whole family acts as a team and is so excited about the journey together, dads Pat and Dick both agreed that watching their kids swim never gets old, and neither does the celebration when one of their kids wins another gold medal.
Dick explained how Missy has learned management skills, dedication, drive, teamwork, and basically any life or work skill you would want for a manager at a major corporation through her time as a swimmer. Pat said the same about Conor, adding that swimming has given him an extended family and close friends. Whether your child is a swimmer or not, working as a team with family members, and helping one another to attain a goal is so important, making it lesson number two families can learn from Olympic swimmers.
Aside from it being pretty fun, swimming is a life skill that ensure your safety in case of a serious flood or if you were to fall in the water. Swimming is also great way to stay fit and healthy. By making something like swimming a part of their lives, Olympic swimmers like Missy, Conor and Rowdy have ensured their emotional, physical and mental well-being (it's a great way to clear your head), and it's easy on the muscles, making it an activity for ages 0-90. Incorporate a daily workout or outdoor activity in your day for your own health, and make time for similar family activities for family fitness and well-being, maybe a day playing at the pool?
What's the one thing your family would want to learn most from an Olympic swimmer? Share in the comments below!
For more information about involving your child in swimming classes and teams, check out swimtoday.org, where you can locate your nearest swim club. This is not a sponsored post and all opinions are my own.