“There are two things we should give our children: one is roots and the other is wings.”
The roots for our swimmers’ successes are first developed at home and secondly on the pool deck. The parents are responsible for the home aspect, and the coaches take charge of the growth and development of the swimmers at practice and at swim meets.
The wings of our swimmers must learn how to fly with a little push. As Gators coaches, we push our swimmers to their limits by challenging them at practice and guiding them through the physical and mental preparation needed for success. The parent component of the wings is the emotional responsibility of allowing our swimmers their inevitable freedom that comes with growing up. With freedom comes responsibility. With responsibility comes self-awareness. With self-awareness comes preparation for success. There is a cascade of emotional growth that both the parents and swimmers must experience to help lay the foundation for a successful future in swimming. Allow your children to grow and develop in this sport, and I’m sure they will amaze us all!
Some of my most memorable experiences as an age-group swimmer in Southern California were being able to travel with my team. My first travel trip was at 10 years old. We took an 8 hour bus ride north to Stockton for a swim meet in which we were buddied up and housed by the hosting swim team’s families. This was quite the daunting experience, as I had never been on a trip without my mom. I was excited and nervous all at the same time, especially for the mixed emotions of being away from home while having to compete. A lot of responsibility was laid on my shoulders: make sure I go to bed on time so I am rested, eat healthy food, stay hydrated, and get to my races on time. Don’t forget to swim fast and have fun!
Travel trips are a privilege and a reward for swimming fast and qualifying for those meets. This was just my first of dozens of travel trips I participated in throughout my swimming career. Through hard work and a sense of responsibility for my own success, I was allowed the opportunity to travel across the county for national swimming competitions. I will always look back on these years with fondness and gratitude for the opportunities this sport has provided me.
Later this month, Gators swimmers who have achieved Blue time standards will get to experience a day bus trip to a swim meet in Long Beach with the Gators coaches. This is our second time participating in the Lakewood bus trip meet. On this trip, we will depart from the Nellie Gail pool and drive up to Long Beach, go out to lunch as a team, and then attend an afternoon swim meet. Once the swimmers are finished racing for the day, we will return back home. Most of the swimmers will then return for the second day of competition with their families. I’m excited for the opportunity to take part in this special event bus trip, and I look forward to a fun day of team bonding with the swimmers and coaches. We are allowing our swimmers a bit of freedom, which will give them the chance to grow and learn some responsibility for their own success in swimming.
If you become part of the Gators, you will become familiar with who I am. I am currently a coach and site director at Nellie Gail for Groups 4, 6 and 7, and am responsible for the admin of our team. Once you attend some of our swim meets, you will most likely meet my mom who is now also a Gators coach for Group 3 and 5 at Santa Margarita, and is also a deck referee and admin. She was also a successful age-group swimmer in Southern California herself. My swim family comes full circle. Myself–a swimmer turned swim coach; my mother–a swimmer and swim parent turned swim meet referee and now Gators coach!
If you ever want a good story about roots and wings and allowing your swimmers the freedom to grow and have future successes in this sport, feel free to stop my mom on a pool deck. You can ask her about being a swim parent, and how she was able to balance my achievements as a swimmer with her responsibility as a parent. It was because of my mom’s and my coaches’ guidance that I was allowed to grow and develop into a successful swimmer that carried into my college years. I am forever grateful to my mom, my coaches, and the life experiences I gained through swimming!
If you have any questions about the Gators Swim Club, or would like to discuss your child’s progression from lesson to swim team, I look forward to speaking with you. I can be contacted via email at email@example.com or at 949-388-4545.