This weekend I was invited to attend a SwimToday dad panel in Santa Clara hosted by three-time Olympic gold medalist, Rowdy Gaines, who was joined by Dick Franklin (dad to four-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin) and Pat Dwyer (dad to Olympic gold medalist, Conor Dwyer). As part of the SwimToday initiative to focus on the benefits of swimming: fun, fitness, friendships, self-confidence, teamwork, goal-setting, time management, lifelong participation, swimming’s many health benefits and low rate of injury, the dad panel discussed how swimming has changed their lives as well as their childrens' lives in a positive way.
Research shows that many parents think swimming is a sport for older high school aged kids, but that's not the case! Kids can start swimming on teams at an early age. USA Swimming has online resources to help you find instructors and swim clubs in your area. Visit SwimToday and type in your zip code to quickly find an instructor or local swim club.
News flash for my runner friends: swimming isn't just for your kids! Swimming is a killer total body workout. As a runner I find swimming to be easier on my body but just as intense, if not more intense, than running. The benefits of swimming can't be ignored, and the best part is - it's FUN! Unlike running, swimming is a sport the rest of my family actually enjoys with me because it's something fun everyone wants to do.
10 Reasons Swimming is a Great Sport for Kids and YOU
- Fun! Parents and kids agree that swimming is the #funnestsport! 99% of swim parents stated FUN is the number one reason their kids swim.
- Life long skills learned: Self-confidence, self-esteem, focus, teamwork, goal-setting, time management and social development. Parents said they saw how swimming gave their children confidence and improved their self‐esteem compared to where they were when they started swimming.
- Relatively inexpensive gear required: Only a swimsuit, cap and goggles are necessary to get started.
- Easy to learn: You don’t have to be a super athlete to learn to swim. It’s a sport anyone can do.
- It’s a sport for life: Once you learn to swim, you can enjoy swimming for the rest of your life.
- Swimming is an amazing total body workout: Swimming burns 650 calories in an hour – more than walking, biking or team sports.
- Low risk of injury: Parents want a safe, healthy, lifelong activity for kids especially when the rise of head injuries in contact sports is a big concern for parents. And runners can give their knees a break!
- Every child participates: Swimming is inclusive, there are no benchwarmers on swim teams.
- Swimming is objective. It is "you versus the clock". Many parents said they loved that their children were on a swim team because swimming minimizes the interactions between "crazy" parents and officials or referees. As a runner this is what I love about swimming. I am only there to beat myself and my previous time.
- It’s more accessible than people think: More than 60 percent of families live within 10 minutes of a pool; 52 percent of households with combined income of $50,000 or less report they have access to a pool nearby. Visit www.swimtoday.org to find a pool near you.
After the dad panel, I took a moment to ask Rowdy Gaines about the increase in the number of adults who are now choosing swimming as a sport. He told me that his wife recently began swimming just a few years ago and absolutely loves it. We discussed the fitness benefits of swimming as well as how swimming treats our bodies better than other sports as we get older, truly being a sport we can engage in throughout our entire lives. He even gave me a couple of breathing tips. How cool is that!?
The event concluded with a swim lesson for the attendees' kids, where Rowdy taught them valuable techniques and tips. Pretty sweet deal!
See you at the pool!