|Like every sport, swimming has its own set of rules,
traditions, and idiosyncrasies. Here are some tips to help
first-time parents navigate the murky waters of swim practices and
|1. Befriend some families who have participated in swim
team for some time. They will help you figure out all the dos and
|2. Get to practice on time. Bring your own towel. And
pack a nutritious snack for your swimmer.
|3. Label everything -- swimsuit, sweats, towels,
goggles and cap. Try a white-out pencil for goggles and
|4. Check your family file at least once a week. All
notices about parties, practices, and swim meets are put in those
|5. Be positive and enthusiastic but not overbearing.
Your child will stick with swim team only if it is rewarding and
|6. If you are going to miss a swim meet, write your
swimmer's name in the sign-out book (located in the family file) at
least eight days before the meet. This information is essential for
the coaches as they put together relay teams,
|7. The night before a meet, check the list of swimmers
posted on the swim team bulletin board. It will tell you what
events your child is swimming in. Don't wait until the meet to
figure it out.
|8. Not every swimmer swims every event in his or her
age group. If you have questions, talk to the coaches before or
after -- not during -- swim meets.
|9. Get familiar with the structure of meets. Hint:
every race has the same number in every meet. Girls' events have
even numbers; boys' events have odd numbers.
|10. Arrive early for swim meets. Park in the designated
areas only, to prevent towing. At home meets, parking attendants
will show you where to park.
|11. Long-haired swimmers prefer silicone caps, which
don't pull hair.
|12. Remember to check in at meets, both at the
registration desk and with the ready area parent. Otherwise, your
child may be scratched from a race.
|13. Bring a pen to meets. Use it to write your child's
race numbers, heat numbers, and lane numbers on his/her hand. You
may want to write it on your hand too. It really helps everyone
keep track of things.
|14. At meets, pretend you are going camping. Bring lots
of extra sweats and towels (even sleeping bags) to keep your
children warm in the early morning. And bring lots of sunscreen,
hats (even tents) to protect them from the hot afternoon sun.
Folding chairs are also a good idea; the ground gets pretty hard
after several hours.
|15. Bring extra food and drinks to meets (but don't
forget to frequent the snack bar). Bring extra suits and goggles,
too, just in case.
|16. At meets, younger children get restless between
their races. Bring coloring books, electronic games, cards, Legos,
board games, etc. to keep them occupied.
|17. Parents also get restless at meets. Bring a book,
newspaper, crossword puzzle and the like. Plan on being there for 4
to 7 hours.
|18. Cheer for all the kids. Good sportsmanship begins
at home. Set a good example.
|19. Feed the coaches occasionally. It makes them