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Parents

My 11 year old is doing squad training 4- 5 times a week and she has just had to go to physio for her back whilst there they said her shoulders are quite rounded . they do an awful lot of freestyle training and not too much of the other strokes could this be  a factor and should she do more backstroke

Without knowing more about your daughter and watching her swim it is hard to comment on your own situation and whether she should do more backstroke.

As a guide, when I was coaching junior and age group swimmers I aimed to have them on their back doing backstroke for many sets each week and while they probably did a bit more freestyle as a group, they did plenty of backstroke.

The only exception where backstroke swimmers, who did many of the freestyle sets backstroke to develop these skills.

Regards
Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions


Could you please explain me how your age groups are calculated in Australia?

My son was born 17/04/1998, in which category would he be in Australia?
Do they go by age groups from 01/01-31/12 or with their birthdate up to the next age group?

We would like to register him for some races in Australia next year and would appreciate your advice.

Margit (Greece)

Hi Margit,
In Australia, the age of the swimmer is their current age on the first day of a swim meet.
So if a swimmer is 11 years old on the first day of a meet then he swims in the 11 year old age group.  If he turns 12 the next day, any meets he enters that begin on that day or any day following, he will only be able to enter the 12 year old events.

If you are looking to come to Australia next year then it would be worth reading the book Swimming for Parents as this will give you a great understanding not only what happens in Australia but all over the world.

Regards
Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions


I was wondering how appropriate it is for parents to drink alcohol at swimming club. Our family take our 6 year old to swimming club and we also take our 4 and 1 year old. Last week my 4 year old was drinking a soft drink at swimming club and said ” look mummy I am having my beer” I was quite stunned and did not realize the impact alcohol consumption has on kids. We have banned smoking at these events and I really feel that alcohol should not be permitted in this setting as it is not really promoting a healthy lifestyle.

As well as this I am sure that at least half the parents that drink here then proceed to drive their kids home if not over the limit very close to it. I don’t want to be a kill joy and I do have alcohol on occasion but selling alcohol at this weekly event has never sat right with me and now I am seeing the reasons why. What are your suggestions?

Drinking alcohol at a swim meet or at swimming training is definitely not something that I would advocate for parents.  Swimming is a healthy sport and should not be linked to cigarettes or the drinking of alcohol.

From my time involved in swimming I have not heard of many clubs selling alcohol (assuming they are doing this as a fundraiser for the club) at club level and I would strongly discourage it at the club I belong to.

As far as suggestions go, I think it would be worth speaking to a couple of members of the Committee about your experience and suggest to them that the Club should look at their rules around the distribution of alcohol when minors are around.

Regards
Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions


I have 3 children, 10.5, 9 and 7. They have all done the standard learn to swim. My eldest did squads for a couple of months to see what it was like, when she was 8-9.

Our 2 eldest children can swim 50 metres bk/s only. They can do 25m f/s. My youngest is still doing learn to swim.

My question is this. What do you advise is the best course to take to improve their ability to eventually be able to save themselves from drowning?

Would the swim club be enough?  I know myself squads are great, as I saw a huge improvement in my daughters swimming..it is more the fact of finding the time for it and having 3 children that would be doing it.

I would strongly recommend that your children continue with their swimming at least into a junior level squad for a minimum 12 months.  While this will assist them to become strong competent swimmers for their age, it will also enable them to experience some competition swimming and if they do have some natural ability and enjoy it, may continue on for a for more years.  The great thing about swimming is that it provides children with a strong healthy body at a young age.

Time is the critical factor, particularly with 3 children however it really is worth the investment.

If you haven’t had a look yet, I would recommend getting a copy of Swimming for Parents book as it takes you through all the benefits of being involved in the sport of swimming and many other aspects, for junior swimmers.

Regards
Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions


We need advice…. Our twins are 7 and have been in water since 2… They moved them up classes quickly…. but now we are finding their breathing is a major prob.. And they can’t swim full length of pool…and have to stay back in same class….1 yr now… They know their strokes… The class has 7 and the attention is hard to give… The club has a mini squad…. wld that help them?

Breathe control is one of the most important and most overlooked skills that young children need to be taught when they learn to swim. It is important that your twins are taught how to control their breathing and I would speak to the coordinator at your swim school / club and explain your concern to them and ask if they can help.

The key for the twins is to learn to exhale fully then turn their head to breath in and then when the face goes back into the water, to exhale fully again.  In most situations similar to the one you have explained the child is not blowing out under water and when they turn their head to breath in, they have to blow out and breathe in very quickly.  Once they do this 2 or 3 times they become short of breath.

Regards
Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions


 

Our youngest son who will be 7 in April is due to go on a swimming camp as part of the school curriculum in May which is mandatory. They will leave on a Monday and come back on  a Friday and will have 20 hours of swimming in that time. My concern is that 20 hours over the length time they have is too much for this age group. He already goes swimming once a week so he can swim well but my fear is that 20 hours is too much.

I can understand your concerns as 20 hours of swimming in one week for a child who is 7 years currently swimming once a week is a huge jump.

If I was in your position I would speak to the person who is coordinating the camp to get a better idea of the expectations of children on camp and exactly how much swimming is involved.  If it is 20 hours, I would let them know of your concern of such a large program for a very young 7 year old.

Regards
Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions


Hi
I have a granddaughter who is 8 years of age she trains 3 sessions per week and completes about 4K each session. The coach has told my son she is quite talented and as such should be training at least 5 sessions per week as he would like to see her in the junior development squad by year end. I am concerned about burnout with one so young I have also observed that a number of swimmers in that squad seem to have poor technique which I think is a worry. She is keen at the momement and we don’t want to do anything that may dampen this. Are we being too protective?

Thanks for your email.

I am going to answer your question from my personal point of view.  This may of course differ from others.

For an 8 year old I believe 3 sessions per week is more than adequate, especially if they are covering distances like 4km.  Girls will cope doing more work than boys at this age however in the clubs I have worked in we have rarely allowed 8 year olds to do more than 3 per week.  They can then progress each year by one session (4/wk for 9yrs, 5/wk for 10yrs & 6/wk for 11yrs) which is the maximum I would allow young children to train, especially if you want to retain their enthusiasm as they hit their teenage years.  The real competition swimming begins at this age.

Technique is critical at this young age and coaches should be working on making each swimmer technically proficient in the water.  While aerobic fitness is also important, technique should be a focus.

I don’t believe you are being too protective, just ensure that she continues to enjoy the training and allows herself time to try other activities and sports at such a young age.

The answer to your question and many others I am sure you (or your son) will have are answered in the book Swimming for Parents. I hope this has helped.

Regards
Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions


Hi,
We have a 7 year old daughter soon to be 8.  She is lucky to have her dads height and swimming ability.  At seven she has broken 8 records for her age and genuinely loves swimming.  Not being a swimmer myself I want to do all I can to encourage her swimming in order to get her to reach her potential.  Could you tell me, how many training sessions should she be doing per week.  I have heard of one little seven year old that trains 5 days a week, surely this is too much.  Michaela is only swimming twice a week.

This is the most common question that we receive from parents with children of all ages. How many training sessions per week should my child swim?

For a 7 year old, the most any should probably be doing is twice a week for an hour each session, working up to 2 or 3 sessions per week at 8 years. These may be 1 to 1 ½ hours.

Regards
Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions


Dear SwimClub,
As long course season started, I have a concern over my 13 years old daughter’s training. Last year, when long course event started, her time for every stroke and every distance  increased dramatically. She was struggling to get back in track for the whole long course season.  At short course season, she has improved her time very well again this year. But she needs to maintain her short course times to qualify Age National at the end of long course season. Our club has only 25m pool. Is there any ways for her to overcome her long course hoo-doo?

Most children will have a year or two when their times do not progress as rapidly as they or their parents would like.

Hopefully, if your daughter can apply herself in training, she will improve her long course times this season.

Most of the questions you have asked below are covered in a new book released last week called Swimming for Parents.

You can find more details at www.SwimmingForParents.com and have a look at the information that is relevant to you.

The book discusses training and racing long course and short course and looks at athlete development through the teenage years and how that affects performance.

It is also important that your daughter compares her times against the same events completed in the long course season last year to gauge how much she has improved.  Most swimmers (and parents) compare short course and long course times which is usually disheartening for the swimmer in the long course season.

Regards
Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions


Hi, my daughter is 12 and has been sick on and off since late May; colds, flu, extremely tired and a sore shoulder. She mostly only trains twice a week and does gym once a week as we live over an hour a way from the pool. Her times were slower at Country this year than last year. We have been told by well meaning relatives that she does too much (I realise this is not true, although she does have to travel a lot more for school, training and gets home late the days she does train).

A fortnight before country she felt okay so she trained 4 times and did gym twice that week and the week before country trained 3 times and gym once. After the championships felt sick and tired again, could hardly swim 25 fly, doctor thought she had glandular fever, but results were negative, he just said she is growing and children get viruses at her age around 8 times a year.

Have you had any experience with this? Do girls sometimes go off in their swimming at puberty? Is it just bad luck that my daughter has been sick this year and changing at the same time. I would have thought even with training so little that her times would have improved with growth. We are giving her a break for a couple of weeks to totally rest. She is upset as she was hoping to get a State time in her fly, although she realises this would not happen. Any suggestions? To improve her speed and strength in the pool what can she do at home when she is feeling better?

Every child develops at a different rate and will cope with their own growing in different ways. Your question is actually more common than you think and you will find a dedicated a section in the book “Swimming For Parents” in regards to the growth and development of swimmers aged 10 to 15 years as well as a special section on the development of females as they go through puberty.

 

Regards
Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions


My 15 year old daughter swims competitively, however she needs new flippers and I can’t find any narrow enough to stay on her very narrow feet. She is currently getting blisters from her size 1-3 flippers as she takes a size 8 shoe but they are the only ones which will stay on.

My only suggestion would be to buy a pair that is slightly too big and wear a pair of thick woollen socks so they stay on. Over time her feet will grow and fit more comfortably into the flippers.

Regards
Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions


My 9 year old is has been on a summer and winter swim team and does very well.  She’s fast and does well in competition.  She’s determined and gets extra help from a university swim coach.

She is short, however, but a bit stocky… powerful shoulders and does a great butterfly.  She is 4 foot 5 inches, shorter than other girls her age.

Will this be a disadvantage for her in future competing?  She will probably be around 5 foot 6.5 when done growing.

Every child develops at a different rate and if your daughter is swimming well at age 9 years, chances are she will swim well all through her swimming career.

Be careful comparing your daughter to others in her age group because they will all develop, mature and go through puberty at different times and until they are around 16 to 18 years they are not on an even playing field.

There are many good female swimmers around 5 foot 6 and this is especially the case in butterfly, so I would keep encouraging her to develop her own skills and work on her own improvement and not to concern herself with her competitors.

Regards
Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions


Hi,
I have a 16 year old daughter who trains twice a day (up to 70km per week) in a chlorine pool. She is serious about her swimming and has competed at 5km National level.

Over the past 12 – 18 months or so, she has been getting severe bouts of sinusitis, combined with massive headaches. These bouts have become more severe and more regular over the past 6 months. She will train for a week, and then is out of the pool for 2 weeks. After talking to a lot of people and reading a lot of online articles, we have determined that she has an intolerance to the chlorine.

We have tried Vaseline up her nose as well as a nose clip, with no success. She is having an operation on her sinuses next week in an attempt to open them up to allow better drainage. Have you come across many cases like this, and is there hope for her to return to the pool without the previous health problems?

Any info would be appreciated.

Around the age of 13 and 14 years I had the same problem and remember being told by the doctor that I was “allergic to chlorine”. I was encouraged by my coach to wear a noseclip and after getting used to it for a 6 month period, I wore it at every training session until I finished competitive swimming at 22 years. If I lost it, or it broke, I would end up training without it and have terrible sinus problems.

The noseclip enabled me to swim for many more years than I would have been able to without wearing one. I recall quite vividly that it was very uncomfortable and took me at least 6 months to get used to it. In the beginning I could only use it for 10min on and 20 min off and then gradually moved to 15/15, working my way over many weeks to wearing it for the entire session. My breathing always felt restricted wearing a noseclip in training, however I rarely raced with one and always felt like I was getting more oxygen in the race.

I also had a friend who at age 18 years had a similar sinus operation as described. The operation cleared out his sinuses and scraped all the ‘crap’ from around the bone under his eye / beside his nose. He went on to swim for Australia over the next three years and only kept swimming because he had the operation.

I hope sharing these experiences help.

Regards
Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions


 

Hi there,

Could you please tell me where I can find the best times for swimmers  under the age of 10. Also, could you please let me know how many training sessions a week are  necessary for our daughter. She will turn nine years old this month.

Are two training sessions a week enough? They usually swim at least 1 km per session – however, I do not want to “burn” her. Could you please give some advice?

Presently, we are overseas but planning to return to Australia next year. Are there any good swimming clubs/teachers around Cairns?

Finally, could you  please let me know where I can buy a swimming suit of my daughter with the Australian coulours?

Thanks and best Regards from Switzerland,

I am not aware of any rankings for children aged 10 years and under in Australia.

Twice a week is fine for a 9 year old and no this will not burn her out at all.  The key is keeping the training fun and enjoyable.

There is a great book being released in a couple of months called Swimming For Parents and most of your questions below and hundreds of other questions as well.  It will be a great resource for all swimming parents. You can find out more at www.swimmingforparents.com

Yes, I believe that Trinity Grammar in Cairns has a good program with the head coach Michael Ursu.

Regards
Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions


Hi, Could you please tell me the quailifying  times required for a 10 year girl to make the country championships and how you quailify.

These will vary depending on which State you live in.  Your best bet is to contact your State Association and ask them to send the times to you or alternatively look for the times on their website.

Most States have ‘Qualifying Meets’ that times must be swum at to qualify for State or Country Championships.  The criteria for a qualifying meet may vary slightly between States.

Regards
Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions


Hi, we are wondering what is the best way to choose a swimming coach.  What do we look for in a coach and both our boys (13 and 15 yrs) are swimming at State and National level but our current coach trains all swimmers, sprinters and middle distance, no matter what stroke, the same way, at the same intensity.

Also, he seems to believe that the harder the sessions and the more sessions, the better, expecting swimmers to be in the pool

10 sessions a week, right up to the day before major meets, without a taper period.  We’ve been with the same coach for the last 5 years and there is a lot of loyalty there but how do we look for a more appropriate coach to help our son move forward and not give his swimming away?

There are so many things to look for in a swimming coach.  Below, I have divided these into 3 key attributes that I believe you should look at.

Technical Knowledge
A good coach will have a strong knowledge of technique and will always be willing to attend conferences and share information with other coaches to ensure they are at the cutting edge of coaching.

Strong Communication
A good coach will be a strong communicator with the ability to listen, watch and speak to the swimmers they train in a positive manner.

Ability to Get Results
A good coach will consistently get results with the swimmers that they coach.  Look closely at the results being achieved by your coach or club and compare it with other coaches or clubs.  The successful ones normally are coaches that have the above two qualities and the ability to plan sessions, implement them and motivate kids.

In your situation, boys aged 13 and 15 years are getting to an age where taper becomes more important and they will need to begin specialised training over the next few years.  The coach needs to be able to provide sessions that cater for the events that your sons are focused on throughout the season.

Regards
Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions


How far should a parent go in making decisions about swimming for his/her child?
There is no doubt that parents need to be involved in the decision making as they contribute financially, emotionally and with their time however I believe it ultimately comes down to what makes a swimmer happy.  I have no doubt that the squads training morning and night will in general get better results that clubs that train just in the evening.  Many swim meets are held in the morning and heats of major Championships are also generally held in the mornings, so you want your child to be able to swim well in races in the mornings.  While I have no statistical evidence, I have no doubt from my 20 years involvement that swimmers who train in the morning are more likely to produce very good results in morning competitions. 

In regards to the decision making…it would be a good idea for your daughter to write down the pros and cons of the different groups.  Ultimately you want her to be happy and improve.  If she is a very keen competitive swimmer completing morning and night sessions are what I would recommend.  Night only sessions can look very inviting (and be seen by some as taking the easy option) however my experience is that they will not perform as well over the long-term and may not get the improvement they desire so that they want to remain in the sport.

Regards
Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions


How do you know when you are encouraging a child to “stick it out when the going gets tough”, and when you are being unfair, domineering and self-serving?
All children will go through ‘rough patches’ from time to time.  They may not be improving for a 6 or 12 month period or their friendship group may change as they go through puberty, the demands on each session may lift if the coach is looking to achieve top results with their swimmers.  Parents will need to support their children at these times and provide encouragement to hang in there and get through it.  Having said that, kids often know better than anyone if they want to keep swimming and if your daughter is making these sounds, then she has probably been thinking about it for a while.

Regards
Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions



Hello SwimClub.com.au!

I am the parent of a college swimmer in the USA.

If my daughter comes to Australia to study abroad, will there be a chance for her to get into a competitive team?

What is the way of australian college swimmers to train and compete: do they stay with their college team and participate in intercollegiate championships? Or they get affiliated with swim clubs aside from the college? Are colleges/universities teams as strong as club teams? Is it common for an australian high level competitive swimmer to do both college academics and swimming simultaneously? Or most of them do just training?

Hi Irina,

The system in Australia is different to the USA.  There are very few university programs and those that do have swimming programs are structured nothing like the ones in the USA.

Swimmers who come to Australia affiliate with local swimming clubs and our main coaches all work in these programs.

Yes, most swimmers who are aged 18 years and over also either work part-time or study at University.

Regards
Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions


Hi – our son is 14 now and swims at a competive level. We are concerned with the amount of reaction he gets after the swimming sessions – sneezing, sinusses blocked and itchy eyes. We thought it may haveen the Chlorine, but it’s the same with salt water at the beach. Is there some way that swimmers can deal with this? Would be greatful for some ideas on who to talk with about this, someone that may have some expertise in this area. GP’s don’t seem to be able to offer any assistance here. Appreciate you reply.

My only suggestion is for your son to try wearing a noseclip like many of the synchronized swimmers do and more and more competition swimmers. A noseclip should stop all water from going up his nose and assist to clear up any sign of blocked sinuses. This should make it a lot easier for him to breathe when not in the pool. The downside is they take some getting used to and some swimmers feel like they limit the amount of air they get into their lungs. With most swimmers only breathing through their mouth anyway a noseclip should not really affect his breathing.

The only other suggestion is to buy a product called Aquacare (in Australia) or similar barrier cream and put this onto his face before swimming. This product provides a barrier to the skin so that the water does not truly come into contact with the face where it has been applied.

I hope these suggestions help.

Regards
Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions


My daughter is ten and we would like to know what the state qualifiying times are for her age? Could you tell me what internet site I could find this information?
Fiona, Tas

Hi Fiona,
Each State in Australia has their own “State Championships”. For these Championships each State will have different qualifying times for different age groups based on their program of events, depth of swimmers in the State and the number of days the Championships is conducted over.

Your first step is to look up your own State’s website. Most States have a page called “Events”. Once on the Events page click on “Events Calendar” or similar. Look through the calendar to identify the Championship you are interested in. In most cases, if you click on the event name, it will bring up a page with the event details and qualifying times.

Regards
Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions


My daughter has been invited to move up to the next squad in her club and this involves 7 sessions per week. While my husband and I are happy to support her, we are aware that she is not ranked too highly and do not want her to be disappointed if she doesn’t achieve better results.
Rosemary, Brisbane

Hi Rosemary,
There are many reasons why children train for swimming, but the three most important ones are:-

(1) To improve competition performances
(2) To be involved in a disciplined exercise regime
(3) To be a member of a group with common interests and a desire to achieve.

One of the above reasons will probably be your daughter’s main reason for her involvement. For example; one particular individual may have a far greater personal need to be involved in a disciplined routine than to improve their competitive performances, whereas, on the other hand, competitive performances may be a priority to someone else.

While there is no doubt all swimmers wish to improve, it is not always the dominating factor in their keenness to participate in the sport.

 

Regards
Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions


I am a relatively new parent to the sport of swimming and I am amazed at how intense some parents can be at training and swim meets. I am not sure if I want my child involved in a sport were some parents seem to live their own dreams through their kids. Do you have any advice for new parents on how they can best assist their child to swim, without being overbearing?
Michelle, Pakenham, Victoria

Hi Michelle,

It is extremely important that a parent loves their child regardless of performance. If you are disappointed with a swim race performance, then they will probably be 10 times more disappointed and will need your support.

Swimming is a great sport and yes, you will observe parents who publicly berate their coach and their children. In many cases, these parents are a very small percentage of the total squad and over a period of time they often move on as they do not fit the culture of the club.

Enjoy reading the article and keep an eye on the website for new articles to be released soon.

Regards
Australian Swimming Clubs

Swimming Questions


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