Activity Matters: Jump in! The water’s fine!

On July 27, the 2012 Summer Olympics will kick off in London. Families everywhere will take this opportunity to watch some amazing sports performances – especially from swimmers like Michael Phelps who competed in the Olympic trials last week in Omaha.

The excitement of the Olympics is a great opportunity to get your kids excited about trying new sports – and it’s the best time to get them excited about swimming. In fact, over 75% of all “active” families will watch the Olympics as a family.1

Now is the time to inspire future swimmers…
As our family watched the USA Olympic Swimming Trials last week and followed along daily with our Mobile Meet App, we were thrilled to see our own Aquamonster Swim Club coach, Scott Weltz, place first in the 200M Breaststroke and win his spot to the Olympics.  Both of my children could not believe that their goofy coach, who by the way is not the biggest, richest or tallest swimmer out there, made the team through hard work, perseverance and passion. They now believe they can get to the Olympics too, if they work hard enough. And they are even bigger fans of the sport after watching the amazing performances at the trials. I guarantee your kids will feel the same by watching the games this summer!

Ok, so now that your kids are inspired, what will motivate them to start and continue in the sport of swimming?

Swimming appeals to a wide range of youth participants, but in particular fun and fitness focused kids.
Swimming appeals to all kids, and unlike other youth sports, immediately delivers fun and fitness. Since performance is focused on the individual, and skills can be improved through repetition, coaching and practice, this is a great sport to build confidence and reward the individual for hard work. And if fitness is a goal, swimming is a great cardiovascular workout that is easy on the joints and increases fitness in kids.

As demonstrated in the chart below, when the general population youth indicated that swimming was their favorite sport, fun and fitness motivated youth had the highest percent make up of the overall group. (Source:  The Sports Activity Journey, by Active Network and SGMA/SMS, June 2012)

Over time, swimming will deliver fun and build confidence in your kids.
When motivators to start in swimming were analyzed, we found that swimmers indexed slightly higher than overall youth sports on the following motivators: “because it’s fun”, “builds confidence”, “improves performance”, “improves appearance” and “lose weight”.   (Source:  The Sports Activity Journey, by Active Network and SGMA/SMS, June 2012)

 

Motivators to continue swimming also indexed slightly higher than overall youth sports.  Kids will feel better, improve their performance and confidence, and have fun as they continue in their participation in swimming.

And it’s a great way to focus on what’s important and make great memories!
Anyone who has experienced a swim meet knows that it is similar to an all day play date – families bring snacks, board games and books, kids hang out between events and everyone pitches in with the set up, timing, getting kids to their events, and break down.  And nothing’s more exciting than cheering on your relay teams.

Because this sport requires the whole family to get involved and spend time together, it’s a great opportunity to make lasting summer memories for both the parents and kids. Our group of families that makes up the Aquamonster Swim Club in Davis, CA is some of the most generous, fun and dedicated families we have ever known.

Activity Matters – finding the best swim club for your kids and your family.
For parents who want to raise confident, fit and fun kids, a competitive swim club can be a great alternative. USA Swimming lets you gauge your overall family interest at www.usaswimming.org. And check out www.active.com or the Meet Mobile app for local swimming events and activities and clubs.

Becoming a swim team family can be a big commitment, but the memories and benefits for your kids will be long lasting!

1 Active.com Annual Member Survey, 2011 (Source:  11,000+ respondents from the Active Lifestyle Panel)

– Stephany Cavatoni is our chief research guru and gets active by biking around town in Davis, California, hitting up the ARC at UC Davis, and cheering/coaching her kids in youth sports.