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Question for swim parents

  • My 13 year old just completed her 8th summer swim season. She's hit a wall for the first time ever. Couldn't better her time all summer. Consistently swam the same time all summer. Considering a new team for winter swim. Hoping a fresh perspective will help her through that wall. Any swim parents have any thoughts?

  • We did 8 years of summer rec. swimming before joining a USA team. It was a hard transition for my son at 13, he's never lost a race in Rec. league, fast forward 2 years. He has learned so much, he is continuing to improve and qualified for state as a Freshman this year. Find a good USA Swim Team in your area!

  • Thanks! That's what I'm hoping happens here. She loves swimming competitively and I do not like seeing her discouraged. Found what I think is a good USA team, it's a little pricey but will definitely be worth it if it helps her. Ya'll have a good season!

  • My 13 year old just completed her 8th summer swim season. She's hit a wall for the first time ever. Couldn't better her time all summer. Consistently swam the same time all summer. Considering a new team for winter swim. Hoping a fresh perspective will help her through that wall. Any swim parents have any thoughts?

    Is she currently swimming year round? If not then I agree with the other reply. Find a good USA swim team in the area. If she has a current year round team and loves her coach and teammates she should be patient and stick it out. All swimmers hit a wall at some point. You have to hang in there and work through it. It's hard to not get discouraged. She will start dropping time again.

  • My son experienced the same thing, and I agree with everyone here. Signing him up for a USA team was the best thing we did. It was a challenge at first because his technique needed fine tuning, but it was exactly what he needed as his times improved and he qualified for states and junior championships. My younger daughter made the jump over to a USA team as well. She is not as competitive as her brother, but she has improved as well and ribbons quite often.

  • My son, 16 and USA competitive swimmer since age 6, and daughter 18, and USA competitive swimmer since age 8 have hit at least one wall during their swimming lives. My son for a good year from age 12 to 13, and my daughter hit 2 walls; one at age 11, and another at age 17 each lasting a good season (5 months). Growth spurts had a lot to do with it. First their strokes get really messed up and they overcompensate and compromise good swim technique since they're pulling more weight or their body parts are physically longer and they are just more tired (it takes energy to grow). Then mentally, they get a little messed up (even wanting to quit at one point) if they're not getting better times while their friends start getting better, or even worse; a kid they don't like and used to swim bad is having a break out season and starts beating them- ha ha! Best thing for them is to be more aware of their technique with their additional weight and height and really practice form, do additional dry land training to improve strength and endurance, and most important- don't be a bad swim parent and overreact to your kid hitting a wall and get on his/her case for not dropping time. I've been to a few meets where one kid or the other didn't drop time in a single event (nice I have 2 swimmers- I haven't had them both choke at a meet at the same time). Summer leagues are fine, they are a lot less competitive than the club teams and sometimes a better option during the summer for younger kids so they don't get burnt out. I regret not switching to a summer league when my kids hit their first wall- always seemed to happen switching from short course to long course swimming- the jump swimming in a 25 yard pool to a 50 meter pool during a growth spurt was hard on both my kids. Also increasing their calcium and iron consumption helped- they seemed less tired after practice. Swimming club in the fall is a must if your kid wants to swim competitively. If they have a real interest in the sport, they will want to continue in the spring/summer long course season, and will ask you themselves.

  • The year round swimming will help her improve more than she thinks. We have now been swimming year round for about 4 years and it definitely makes all the difference on the kids frustration level of improving. Since she did get frustrated with her times not dropping, I believe that she will like year round swimming.

  • I think because there are meets every week in the summer versus much longer windows of time in the fall/winter, you see the times staying the same or improving slightly. In fall/winter, those gaps between meets give them more time to improve. We do year round swimming with USA/YMCA at the Y in fall/winter, and summer league at our local pool. I like both sets of coaches because they both push our kids while making sure they learn the strokes properly which will make them faster in the long run. The coaches are the key!

  • While making the jump to a USA swim team (year-round) will certainly help her swimming, be sure she is as invested in the sport as you are. I have seen too many young swimmers driven away from swimming because of the competitiveness of USA swim programs. Consider, especially if she has only been a summer swimmer, having her try other sports. If she has a passion for the water, explore other water sports. (e.g. water polo, synchronized swimming, underwater hockey, etc.) Participating in other sports will continue to develop her athletic ability, helping improve her swimming times, while steering clear of the burnout that comes from doing the same exercises over an entire year. Remember, focus should be on building an athlete (teamwork, sportsmanship, flexibility, stamina, etc.), not building a swimmer!

  • Wow great advice Randy! I have two young swimmers, 10 and 12. While one seems completely invested, the other wants to try other things. I completely encouraged life outside swimming which can be hard to do when you swim year round. Luckily, we have been able to find a swim program and coach who share the same philosophy for the young swimmers. I have found that when my swimmers are doing things that work different muscles and that when they are able to enjoy life outside the pool they perform better in the pool. Unfortunately, I see so many very talented swimmers who are champions at 10 and 12 already hating the sport. How could you not when your parents and coaches are pushing 2 a days for a 12 year old!

  • I agree with Eve. My daughters coach talked to us about this and said it has a lot to do with growth spurts. The change to weight and height affects their technique and they will have to learn to make the adjustments for this.

    They told us not to stress about it. It's their job to worry about helping them break through the wall and it's our to be sportive.

    By focusing on technique more in the pool, it will help them to break through the wall.

  • My 13 year old just completed her 8th summer swim season. She's hit a wall for the first time ever. Couldn't better her time all summer. Consistently swam the same time all summer. Considering a new team for winter swim. Hoping a fresh perspective will help her through that wall. Any swim parents have any thoughts?

    I am not a swim parent, but a lifelong competitor. I do remember the same exact thing happening to me around the same age. In hindsight, I chalked it up to puberty and the slight change in buoyancy and body position as my girls started to fill in, and my hips became more curvy.

    Maybe the fresh perspective will help w a change in team, but really not guaranteed as there is potential for new issues to arise w a different training environment. Maybe just a semester off may help to reignite a spark - is burn-out a possibility? She's already been at it a long time! :)

    At that age, swimming - or any other sport - that has become such a routine in life can be less attractive and capable of holding their attention as they start to explore the essence of adolescence!

    The end of my story was; in my junior and senior year, as I looked to earn an athletic scholarship for college, my options were soccer and swimming. I always assumed I would be a collegiate swimmer as soccer was my "#2" sport. In my experience, only those girls who were winning state titles in their events were the ones that were attracting the attention of college scouts, and had the opportunity to earn a swim scholarship. My times weren't even close - I was happy just to qualify for the state meet! :) So, I ended up going with soccer, and was fortunate to receive a 4-year, full-tuition scholarship to a school only half an hour from home!

    Now, I keep aquatics in my heart by teaching swimming, aquatic fitness, learn to mermaid, and freediving classes for a living!

    Anyway, hope this helps spark some thought for you and your swimmer!!! Good Luck!!!

  • There is such thing as a plateau, but typically if your child falls in the "tween" age range, it's typical that they may not drop time. As a USA Swimming Coach, I've come to learn that it is simply a phase, where their muscles are catching up with them and are no longer making the progress they once were. And this happens throughout life, with swimming, you can only go so fast. Major time drops will happen, but as your child grows, the dropped time will become fewer and far between.

  • The age up from 12 to 13 was the most difficult for my son. It just seemed like a big jump in the time standards, combined with all of the other changes in his life. We took a break for about 6 weeks (the longest he had taken to that point), and by the time he went back, he was motivated and excited again. Good luck!

  • My little girl is taking swim lessons in Katy her mentor conversed with us about this and said the changes in weight and stature influence their procedure and they should figure out how to make the modifications for this. They educated us not to take pressure concerning it.
    By concentrating on system more in the pool, it will help them to get through the divider.

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