The Unfortunate Path that Many Swimmers Follow:
The swimmer’s career often starts with 8/under success and high parental enthusiasm. The child is encouraged by parents and others to excel and a big deal is made out of every accomplishment. As the child changes age groups and moves into the 9/10 group, even the most successful child may struggle because he or she has a harder time finding success against 10-year-olds. What successes are achieved may not be as noticeable. Unfortunately, as many as one-third of the young swimmers and their families do not make it past this point.
By the time swimmers are 10 or 11 years old they (or their parents) may realize that twice a week practices or summer only swimming is not enough to compete with others who are practising more frequently. Physical ability and natural coordination can still help the athlete to stay competitive and have success but it is getting harder to stay on top. More big changes and rude awakenings are lurking in the future.
- Events become longer going from 25’s and 50's to 50's and 100's and even some 200's and distance freestyle events.
- Competition changes from sprint competition to race/pace/competition.
- In some programs, one half of the athletes and their families do not make this change. They never give the coaches or the program a chance to help the athlete adapt to the changing nature of swimming competition.
- Events change again. Now it is all 100's & 200's along with 400/500 and 1000/1650.
- The athlete must develop a work ethic and intensify the training aspect of swimming.
- Physical changes affect both male and female athletes. Athletes get bigger and stronger, but many, especially the girls, may struggle to cope with their “new bodies.”
- This can one of the most rewarding phases of an athlete’s career, yet many will give up.
- Swimmers who remain in the sport start to look at the possibility of swimming in college.
- Questions arise concerning the choice of colleges, the level of swimming, the possibilities of scholarships and the willingness to compete and train for another four years.