The best investment you'll ever make as a parent.
“I firmly believe that the sport of swimming gives young people so much more on top of their academic qualifications and athletic prowess. In my business career I have also both worked with, and recruited, a number of people with strong sporting backgrounds, and would argue that the swimmers come out on top!” Nick Holmes
Wait, before we continue: It should be law that every child, ideally commencing at a young age, should have the right to appropriate and relevant swimming water safety skills, regardless of ability and background. An alarming number of children don’t know how to swim or have weak swimming ability. Swimming is the only sport that can save your child’s life.
The following life lessons aren’t things you can include in your cv. It’s not taught in a classroom at school, college or varsity. You only learn it in the school of hard knocks. All the great character traits that we will discuss in this article, are developed over the course of your swimming career. You can unleash these life lessons to achieve success in whatever endeavour you choose in your future. Swimmers do have experience and skills that employers desire. Through their hard work and persistence, they’ve developed traits that will serve them well in the workforce.
From the swimmers I knew from school days, they were the most disciplined kids who had to put in much more work than others. When I stood on the blocks as a swimmer, I knew that there was nobody else who had worked harder than me and that gave me a sense of confidence. This is something I’ve moved over to my business ethics. Ryk Neethling
1. Confidence isn’t something you are born with. Confidence is the most beautiful thing you can possess. With confidence, you have won before you have started.
It’s a natural by-product of the environment you create around yourself and the actions that you take. But without confidence, competence and talent will only get you so far. If you want to develop the confidence and mindset of top swimmers, you need to take yourself to task for your swimming. This means tracking and evaluating your training and competitions.
Confident swimmers make for confident kids. Aside from the link between body and mind, those that swim also gain a sense of achievement. It’s a fact that being taught, and subsequently mastering any skill, builds confidence. Swimmer’s bodies start to release more endorphins, because swimming is one of the best all-round exercise. This natural endorphin high leads to a more positive mental attitude, as well as happiness.
However, swimming in particular provides the added bonus of learning to be in control of an environment which can potentially be unsafe. Once grasped, this makes every swimmer feel as though they can achieve anything! For children, this new found confidence translates into the classroom, the playground, the football pitch and almost any other part of their lives. Who wouldn’t want this for their child?
2.Being on time and time management.
Swimming takes time management to another level. They handle year-round 6 days a week training, participate in school activities, traveling to galas, and setting goals for that next personal best time. School, college and working a nine-to-five job one day, may seem like a piece of cake.
They spend hours at practice each day and are in the water with morning practice while other kids haven’t rolled over in bed to turn off their alarms. They learn to balance swim commitments with a full-course load. Our kids use their time wisely and are organized. If a swimmer is late to the starting blocks at an event, they get disqualified. All the hard work, effort and preparation…. gone! They will soon learn that the world won’t wait for them to show up. What a valuable lesson for school and work. (Elizabeth Wickham)
Planning & prioritising – making sure homework is done, to fit in hours+ per week of training, plus competitions, requires this in abundance. Every second of the day has to be planned, every task prioritised and downtime accepted gratefully as a luxury!
3. Work ethic
A good work ethic always requires giving what sometimes may seem like unnatural levels of effort. Make working hard, your talent!! You will never go without success in the pool and in life. The nature of swimming cultivates a strong work ethic. Even the most talented athletes can’t get by forever without hard work. Work ethic traits: Integrity, determination, dedication, appearance, attendance, attitude, character, communication, cooperation, organizational skills, productivity, respect and teamwork are defined as essential for success. All found in swimmers.
They learn that success doesn’t happen without a good work ethic. If you only show up at the pool and do the bare minimum amount of work required, how can you expect to improve? There are no easy shortcuts to success in life, or in the pool. To reach your goals, hard work and dedication are critical. Swimming teaches you that training hard, working on technique and stamina in the water are the keys to becoming a great swimmer. To be dedicated, consistent and to push yourself to achieve goals will get you far in the pool, and in general life.
To maintain a good work ethic, you need to be persistent, be able to persevere and handle pressure.
4. Team players
Although swimming may seem like an individual sport, our swimmers learn to be part of a team. They learn to be a part of something greater than themselves. Appreciating teammates and knowing your role is a great advantage in the workplace. Ever wonder why so many swimmers seem to have sudden incredible speed when it comes to racing relays?
There is something that happens when you race for something besides just yourself. But when you can gather the effort and the will of the group for a common goal, incredible things start to happen. One swimmer chasing greatness is powerful, but a group chasing greatness is unstoppable. Being part of a group of swimmers will challenge and inspire you. Spend a lot of time with them, and they will change your life forever.
5. Goal setting & accomplishment
To make your goal S.M.A.R.T., it needs to conform to the following criteria: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.
Goal setting is a process and a skill.
For most swimmers they set a goal, and that’s it. Goal accomplished. But that’s not how it works. Goal setting doesn’t stop the moment you write out your goal. It is an ongoing and evolving process.
Doing great things requires going into the unknown, of pushing ourselves and our abilities, and yes, that means there will be moments where we are uncomfortable, where we struggle, and where we are inundated with doubt, insecurities and fear.
It takes courage, and a lot of hard work and dedication to become a swimmer. Hard work and dedication are critical. Swimmers learn that having a routine is critical to their success. Swimmers are the first to get out of bed, even on cold, dark mornings, because they have learned how important it is to be serious and consistent about training.
Prioritising are critical lessons that swimming can teach you, which will improve your life immeasurably. Discipline can be your best friend, because once you harness it, it becomes easier and easier to use. While most swimmers will wait around for motivation to strike them, the disciplined swimmer does the work regardless of how motivated or not they are.
Long-term success in anything comes from individuals who have learned accountability for their actions and do not seek to blame others for their shortcomings. Accountability on the part of the athlete cannot only be taught at the pool, it must be reinforced at home with a positive relationship and trust of the coaching staff.
Swimming is like a bank account. Your swimmer can only withdraw what they have put in. The deposits in their account are the hard, consistent practices.
It’s up to your swimmer to talk to their coach, warm up and warm down. They’ll find out what happens if they don’t do these basic things. In life, this translates into good study habits and taking ownership for their decisions.
8. Pressure & Setbacks
When our kids add time, or miss their goals at galas, they’ll experience disappointment, but there is always another swim, another meet and they’ll try again.
After races, swimmers get some advice from their coach. It’s imperative that they learn from their experiences and are able to accept constructive criticism. It’s not always going to be fair. And things won’t always go your way.
There will be times where no matter how hard they work the results don’t match their effort in practice. Or there will moments where you get flustered as you get up on the blocks and totally choke.These moments sting, they hurt, and they take us down a peg. (Olivier Poirier-Leroy) But they also teach you how to be mentally tough. To overcome. And to be humble.
9. Healthy Lifestyle
Swimming is a great workout because you need to move your whole body against the resistance of the water.
Swimming is a good all-round activity because it keeps your heart rate up but takes some of the impact stress off your body, builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness. Helps maintain a healthy weight, healthy heart and lungs. Tones muscles and builds strength. Provides an all-over body workout, as nearly all of your muscles are used during swimming.
Swimming requires massive amounts of energy, whether it’s an elite-level practice or an age group practice. Because of this high energy expenditure, swimmers need to take the right steps to replenish the nutrients lost.
The healthy nutrition habits of swimmers will contribute to a healthier lifestyle, improved training, and a better performance in the pool.
10. Lifelong friendships
As a swimmer, you spend countless hours training in the pool or in racing situations and you share those experiences with only a handful of people — your teammates. You sweat together, fight with each other, stare at a black line together, and compete against each other day in and day out, and those are the friends that will stick with you through all your ups and downs.
Swimming cultivates a special kind of crowd. What do i mean? Easy, you can’t play swimming, every day every practice we have to push ourselves beyond what we think possible and only my teammates get it. “
Looking back, it’s not the times and the records that I remember most but the laughs, the joy shared, and the memories with friends that I will have forever.
My friends at the pool make it enjoyable to show up every day, and push me to be my best. At the end of the day, my closest friends are swimmers.