What It’s Like To Be A Swim Family
You’ve seen the kids in parkas and swim caps practicing at all hours. Your neighbors are at a competition every weekend. You may even tear up watching proud parents cheer on the superhuman members of Team USA during the Olympic relay races. You know that for some families swimming is a way of life, but did you know your child can enjoy the benefits of swimming by committing as little as one day per week to training?
That’s because there’s not just one way to be a swim family. The experience can be as recreational or competitive as you make it.
“Most of our swimmers start out young and they come once per week,” says NCA Coach Mickey Murad. “They come consistently so they start to improve rapidly, which is exciting. If they’re having fun they may choose to get more involved. Either way, families wind up enjoying the atmosphere.”
Drawing from more than 50 San Diego-area schools, there are more than 700 members spanning ages 6-18 in the NCA program. The community is diverse and thriving on and off deck. Swimmers and parents can expect to be part of an educational and social experience, whether that’s at practice sessions or at one of NCA’s quarterly Pizza Port happy hours.
Most experiences kids have with youth sports last for a time-intensive short season, but NCA’s swim program is a flexible year-round opportunity to engage in regular exercise, to develop strong work ethic, and to practice leadership development. Not only does the annual pacing prepare swimmers for ongoing real-world obligations once they’re out of school, parents report that it’s easier to navigate than many other extracurricular activities.
“We know that the key to improvement and sustained long-term life skills is all about consistency,” Coach Murad says. “An athlete who maintains a manageable schedule is never backtracking, remastering techniques, or overwhelmed by practices. They’re not out-of-shape or struggling to remember the last lesson. They’re ready to learn and they get better.”
Most new swimmers immediately start working toward becoming fast enough to make Junior Olympic qualifying times, a goal that usually leads to participating in a swim meet within one month of joining NCA. The club offers families the option to practice as many as three or five days per week, depending on a swimmer’s desired skill level. The decision is typically made by swimmers, parents and coaches together.
“We never want a kid who is 13 or younger to feel they have to commit only to swimming,” Coach Murad says.
So if you’re wondering how to squeeze in pool time when your son or daughter is already being shuttled from soccer games to piano recitals to tutoring, don’t sweat it. Try coming to practice once a week and dive in!