Kids SwimmingIn this article from Swimming World magazine, Wayne Goldsmith and Helen Morris present questions that every swimming parent has probably asked...

You see them every day. They are everywhere. At every pool. Every swim meet. Every school swimming practice.
There they are. Sitting at the side of the pool. Watching every lap. Counting every breath. Analyzing every stroke. Studying every move you make.

Coaches? No.

Swimming media? Uh-uh.

Officials? No way.

Who are these people who go to the pool and watch you swim laps day after day after day? Who are these folk sitting there in the wind and rain for hours and hours watching you practice? Who are these strange humans who love nothing more than getting out of bed at 4 a.m. just to sit in the cold and watch you train?

1. How many training sessions should my child do each week?

There is no magic number of training sessions for every swimmer. Even at an elite level, some swimmers swim 7 sessions a week, some do nine, others 11…there is no magic number.

It all comes down to the FLAG principle:

Fatigue – if a swimmer is swimming 3 sessions a week and as a result is always tired, irritable and their grades are falling, then doing more swimming does not make sense. So the optimal number of sessions for any individual swimmer is largely based on their ability to adapt to and recover from their training load.

Level of performance – training sessions should also be based on the level of performance being targeted. Chances are swimming two sessions a week will not get you selected on the next Olympic team and similarly 14 sessions a week is a little too much just to achieve a PB time at the under 9 state championships meet. As a broad benchmark, world class swimmers spend one day per week, i.e. 24 hours per week training and the rest of the time eating and sleeping so the higher you want to go, the harder you have to work.

Available time – if your child is in junior high, playing basketball, learning piano, doing special projects on weekends for extra credits, playing tennis and in the school choir…and……swimming five sessions each week, then it is safe to say, adding more swimming sessions is not going to do anything other than make them tired and fatigued. Keep in mind your child's total commitments across all areas of their life before adding more training time. And – never, ever forget that some days they need to just hang out with their friends, play and enjoy life. They are only kids once!

Goals – if your child sets high swimming goals, then naturally the time, effort and energy to achieve them must also be high. As a general rule, as kids progress through each level of swimming they need to add an extra pool session or gym workout to learn the skills, develop the fitness and build the technical abilities to be successful at the next level. For example (Note: this is a guide only):

Swimmer level/ Sessions per week
Water safety / Learn to swim – 1-2
Mini squads / School swimming programs – 2-3
District / Country Swimming Championships level – 3-4
State Swimming Championships level – 4-6
National Swimming Championships level – 6-8
International Swimming level – 8 plus

Read the other 9 questions every swimming parent has in the original article from Swimming World magazine here...