Swimming can often be overlooked by parents looking to encourage their children to focus on achieving good levels of health and fitness.
Popular school sports such as football and rugby are often first choices for kids because it introduces them to being part of a team.
However swimming doesn't have to be the individual sport that many parents mistakenly perceive it to be.
Joining a swim team is a fantastic opportunity to get involved in swimming at a young age and can be a transformational experience for your kids, offering a multitude of benefits.
Swimming clubs offer a tremendous team spirit, not just among the kids in the pool but also between the parents who all share a common interest of seeing their children and the club do well.
If you've never considered the idea for your children before, then it's definitely one you should spend a little time thinking over.
To help, we've compiled the top five reasons a swim team could be the right decision for your kids, along with essential tips and advice on how to find the best club to join.
1) Learn valuable life skills
Joining a swim team will help your child gain confidence and develop important skills of motivation and perseverance.
Swimming can be hard work, but it's also great fun. Training and competing alongside friends, and under the expert eye of a swim coach, will help children set personal goals and work hard towards achieving them.
As a sport measured by the clock, children will learn how to set realistic goals and see how hard work results in improvement.
Learning to lose is another valuable life skill, especially learning to lose with grace and humility.
By joining a swim team, your child will be exposed to the reality of not always being on the winning side, which helps build character and motivation, and is incredibly beneficial for their future.
2) Meet new people and make new friends
Joining a swim team will inevitably expand the social circle of both you and your child, giving you both the chance to make new friends.
Swim teams often group together people who would otherwise have not had the chance to meet, improving your child's social skills and giving you the chance to meet fellow parents with whom you share a common interest.
Your child will bond with their team mates. They will cheer on friends during competitions, and they will be cheered on when they swim. This is a huge boost for your child's confidence and self-esteem.
Many children and parents make lifelong friends when they join a swimming club, and they love being part of a larger group that supports them throughout their successes and failures.
3) A fun way to get exercise and improve fitness
Swimming can be a thoroughly enjoyable fitness activity for your child. There's fun to be had splashing in the pool, enjoying the water, and focusing on improving their times and their technique.
You will likely find it far easier to persuade your child to join a swim team than, for example, go running!
Swimming provides an excellent all-round but low-impact workout, which has huge cardiovascular fitness benefits to keep children fit and healthy. Unlike seasonal team sports, your child can enjoy swimming all year round and during school holidays.
4) Friendly competition among other members
As well as learning to lose, your child will benefit from the friendly competition that is an inevitable part of being on a swim team.
They will learn that competition does not have to be vitriolic, and can actually be healthy as it encourages everyone to work hard to meet their goals. There’s no doubt this is a positive life lesson to impart to your child.
5) Your child has something to look forward to every week
Joining a swim team will give your child something to look forward to each week away from school.
They will have a chance to make friends with kids who go to different schools, so club sessions will give them an opportunity to catch up with a different circle of friends.
Swim team will also provide structure to their day or week. What starts as twice-weekly after school sessions could develop into a daily swimming routine as a senior swimmer and a lifelong passion for the water.
Of course, being part of a swim team will give children the very best training from qualified coaches. They will learn the correct stroke and breathing techniques, and will get to experience competing in full size pools.
At the same time, they will be subconsciously developing their confidence in the water which will be a huge benefit for the rest of their life.
With all that said, it's also extremely important to realise if your child is really not enjoying being part of a swim team. If you continue to push them into it when they really are really not happy, it will only lead to a resentment of swimming that will continue into their adult life.
How can I find swim teams near me?
Swim England, Swim Wales and Scottish Swimming all have useful search facilities where you can type in your postcode and find all your nearest swimming pools and clubs. Click the links below to search your area.
What swimming kit will my child need before joining a swim team?
At ProSwimwear we stock everything that your child will need, whether it's for their first training session or they're competing in regular competitions.
For their first training sessions, it's vital that you get the right kit and a comfortable pair of goggles.
Picking the right swimsuit is probably the hardest part of preparing for a new swim club. Not only are there plenty of brands to choose from, but all offer different cuts and designs.
Boys may prefer to choose jammers because of the additional leg coverage over the thighs, and that they most resemble shorts. However, they find trunks or briefs more comfortable. Girls can choose from standard swimming costumes, kneesuits or swim bikinis.
Spend some time and look around our website. Brands such as Zoggs, Speedo, Arena and Maru all offer excellent training swimwear for children. Alternatively, you can browse our complete ranges by clicking on the buttons below.
This might be the first time your child is wearing goggles, so picking a pair that feel comfortable is essential.
We offer a great range of junior swimming goggles, all of which are designed specifically for junior swimmers to wear during training or competitions.
You'll find goggles from all the leading swim brands including Arena, Speedo, TYR, Maru, Mad Wave and many more.
We also recommend a swimming cap. The cap is completely optional, however the protection that it provides can prevent smelly and discoloured hair.
It will also help your child get accustomed to wearing a swimming cap while swimming, as they'll certainly need one on race day!
Our extensive range of swim caps features all the top swim brands and a huge choice of styles and designs, from traditional race-style caps to colourful and cartoon-inspired prints.
Once you think you've got all your kit, you'll need a swim bag to carry it in. The most common bags you'll see at the pool are the TYR Alliance range of backpacks or the Arena Spiky 2 range of swim bags.
Both are excellent bags and will last a very long time, providing plenty of space for kit as well as future training aids your child might need. Click the buttons below to take a look.