Thursday, September 8, 2011

International Water Safety Day- Teach someone to swim!

I came across this article today- I thought it was interesting... how fortunate we are!   I am brainstorming on something WE can do to take part in this-  if you have ideas let me know!



By Mike Gustafson//Correspondent (

In my sophomore year of college, I visited Argentina. It was a fairly large town, located 50 steps away from the ocean. That old adage “stone’s throw” proved true here, as you could literally glance out your hotel window and throw a stone into the ocean. In this coastal town, I assumed that everyone was a natural-born swimmer. That swimming would be infused into locals’ DNA, like snowshoeing in Sweden, or grits in the Carolinas, or surfing in Huntington Beach.

I was wrong.

Quite a few locals had little swimming ability. They could jump in waves, sure. But some couldn’t swim adequately, or tread water, or complete a freestyle stroke. The town itself had 100,000 people, situated along a stretch of land that bordered the Atlantic Ocean. “Learning to swim” was confined either in the Ocean, or in a tiny, 6-lane pool at the town’s epicenter.

Even growing old a stone’s throw away from the Ocean isn’t a guarantee that a person will one day learn to swim. That realization was relatively shocking, but proved true.

So, on May 15, 2012, swim people:

Mark. Your. Calendars.

The International Learn To Swim Day takes place more than eight months from now. Swim professionals (which probably includes 99% of people reading this article) are encouraged to teach a swim lesson, water safety course, or even just spread the word. Since many readers are current or former USA Swimming members living abroad, this day is particularly geared for you.

Don’t think so? Think swim safety is just a “problem” rather than an epidemic? Try these statistics on for size. (via

-In 2004, almost 400,000 people died from drowning.

-96% of these drownings come from low/middle-income nations

-Africans experience eight times the drowning rates of Americans or Australians

-In China, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in kids ages 1-14

Sure, the International Water Safety Day is over eight months away. But the Olympics start in 324 days; look how much press it gets. Imagine if a fraction of that attention was diverted toward water safety. Imagine if the readers of this article who lived abroad, in places like China, African nations, India, or Indonesia organized and participated with the similar ferociousness that’s given toward the Olympics.

What can you do? How can you help? Want to be involved?

One particular website has a plan. urges “aquatic professionals, competitive swimmers, master swimmers, scuba divers, water polo players, recreational swimmers, and boaters” to hold a water safety event or classroom lesson. The event is held on a weekday in order to increase school participation. So if you are a teacher, you can help put this together as well.

With over 1000 people drowning daily (via WHO) throughout the world, this is a problem that cannot be ignored any longer. Even in the United States, you cannot assume that just because you live in a beach town or coastal community that children, teenagers, and adults in your neighborhoods know how to swim. Many do not. (I read a statistic the other day that stated nearly 35-50% of adults cannot adequately swim.)

To us, swimming comes easy. It’s as simple as dipping toes in the water, pulling down with arms, turning your head and breathing, flipping, and repeating. It’s as easy (for us) as riding a bike.

But as I think about my experience in Argentina, I wonder how simple it would have been to offer one or two water safety courses. To teach a few people how to float, how to tread water. It would have taken an afternoon. Maybe it would have saved a life.

One doesn’t have to travel to Argentina to participate on May 15th. Call a local school and find out what programs are being offered. If there are none, offer one. Or call a local swim coach and see if he or she would be willing to give a water safety event. Or urge a local swim club to host a day of water safety lessons, free to the public.

During this time of hurricanes, rip tides, coastal drowning, and flash-floods, awareness and preparedness can be the difference between life and death. Make people aware of May 15th, 2012.

And prepare now.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Parents- Frequently asked Questions

Parents- Frequently asked Questions
1. Sometimes my child doesn’t want to go to practice. He wants to play with his friends. Should I force him to go?

You should not force your child; you want his participation to be his decision. Reinforce the choices and decisions he has made to start his sport. For example, your son chose to go to practice on Tuesday and Thursdays, on other days he has the freedom to do other activities. As a parent, explain your expectation that he fulfill the commitment he made by joining the team. You don't want to force your child into a sport that he does not enjoy, yet you want your child to be involved in a 'lifetime sport', to learn about making and keeping a commitment and to interact with peers So, what are you to do?

Instead of allowing your child to make a daily decision about going to practice, allow him to decide whether or not he wants to participate for the season. Once the decision is made to participate, he is making a commitment to the team and needs to follow through on it by attending practice on a regular basis. A haphazard schedule is detrimental to the athlete’s overall development.

Interestingly, when asked to reflect on the role of their parents in their swimming, athletes from a recent USA Swimming World Championship team talked about being pushed to swim by their parents on a weekly basis but knowing they could quit if they stopped having fun with swimming.

2. My child has a lot of interests and activities so he only attends about half of his practices. What will happen to his competition results?

Children involved in other activities can benefit in the areas of coordination and balance, as well as improved social and intellectual development. Specialized training in one activity does not necessarily need to take place at this stage of development. Will your son’s teammate who makes all practices have better results? Probably he will because his teammate is working solely on developing one sport skills. It is up to you to explain to your child that making the choice to participate in other activities can have its consequences. Tell your son that he should not compare his results to that of his teammate, but to focus on the fact that he is benefiting from and enjoying other sports.

3. It looks like my child is having a lot of fun at practice. Shouldn’t she be working harder?

Be happy that your child is having fun! According to a recent study conducted by USA Swimming children who experience fun while participating stay in sports longer (Tuffey, Gould, & Medbery, 1998). At this stage of the game, the most important aspect of development is the mastery of skills, which means learning the proper technique. Fundamentals must be established prior to true “training” taking place. And, if she is having fun in the process of learning, she is more likely to continue to the sport.

4. It looks like all they do at practice is drills. Shouldn’t they be training more?

Your child needs to develop a solid foundation in mechanics. Drills and drill sets serve the specific purpose of teaching skills and fundamentals. Drills develop motor coordination, motor skills, and balance. In fact, your child’s coach may prescribe a particular drill, just for your child, in order to improve an aspect of her technique. In addition, she may actually be experiencing a “training” benefit from drills. Drills require concentration and aerobic energy to do them correctly.

5. My daughter’s coach sometimes makes her “sit out” for disciplinary reasons. Isn’t that a waste of her time?

The coach has set up expectations of proper behavior. Hopefully, your child is aware of the consequences of testing these boundaries. Obviously the coach is reinforcing what is expected of the children at practice. We encourage you to reinforce the coach's practice expectations by discussing your child’s behavior and the consequences of that behavior. Hopefully, this “time out” begins to reinforce self-discipline, accountability and respect for others.

6. My son complains that some of the kids cheat in practice. What should I tell him?

Praise him first for completing the workout the coach offers. Remind him that he is there to improve himself and he can’t control what his teammates do. Tell him however, that his best course of action is to continue to do things right and others may actually be influenced by his good example. By committing to do his best at all times, over the long haul he will reap the benefits of his hard work.

 Many parents have lots of questions about swim practice, especially when their children are new to the sport. It is sometimes difficult to know what to expect of your child. Your child may talk about swim practice, but you may not even understand the new "swimming vocabulary" your child is using.  
Many children improve rapidly during the developmental stages due to growth and improved technique. It
 is difficult to resist the tendency to push young athletes at this stage. However, the emphasis should be placed on technique and not intense training. The training schedule for developmental swimmers should be flexible enough to provide them with enough time to participate in other activities. Since swimmers' careers can extend well into adulthood, swimming at the youngest levels needs to be fun, pressure free, and filled with learning experiences. This will ensure that swimming remains fun through­out their lives. 
 should certainly ask questions at swim team parents' meetings or schedule an appointment with your child's coach to clarify things. However there are many common questions that might be answered in our FAQs. 


Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Yah... I know wrong sport-  but a principal of CHARACTER and SPORTSMANSHIP

The One???

Ok being my first real post on here it better be a good one-.... so i'm going with a goody but an oldie for me-  I read this back in April and something stirred in me... I am speaking to you-  whether you are the mom of a swimmer, a friend of mine, or my swimmer.... this one is for you.  Don't just think swimming here- think LONGTERM, think LIFE

The full article is found here:

Obviously, this article isn't for everyone, but the ideals can be applied BY anyone.  I'm writing this as a reminder for those individuals who talk about being the best, or reaching their potential, but who don't really get it.

Under each of the following headings, there is someone who IS... and the rest who AREN'T.  Can you be the ONE?  Chances are slim, and that's understandable, but the question is... how close are you to being the one?

Hard Worker
Somewhere in your city, state, country, or planet, is there someone working harder than you?  Think about it... If you're goal is to be the best at something, then you'd better start realizing that there is a very real relationship between work and reward and there is probably somebody out there working harder.  Do you do dryland training?  If so, do you use that as an opportunity to joke around with your friends or do you try to figure out how THAT particular exercise is going to make you a better swimmer?  The next time you watch Ryan Lochte win a race, and you wish... boy, I wish I was that good... remember the video posted below...   not sure who Ryan Lochte is????  Check this out-


Do you have more desire to win than anyone?  Are you willing to set your alarm 10 minutes earlier so you can get to practice on time because you're nervous about missing a chance to do as much as possible?  The way you train should be the way you want to perform.  Be honest with yourself about this one.  If you don't have the desire to train, then you really don't have the desire to be the best.  You can NOT have one without the other.  You may day-dream about being the best, but without the effort that matches the dream... then it is what it is... fantasy.

Are you the most talented swimmer in the water?  In your event, are there people, or a person whom you'll eventually have to race but who simply has more talent than you?  If you're the one, and you don't apply the first two aspects of this article, it won't matter if you ARE the most talented.  While talent is important, talent in itself is worthless without polish.  Is Michael Phelps talented?  I know, stupid question.  he would be a good swimmer without doing anything at all;  he was one of the lucky ones to be born with the feeling.  But without years of what HARD HARD HARD (did I mention HARD) practice, he would have never rewritten the history of the sport.

No matter how nice someone appears, the ONE has a killer attitude inside, and won't give up when things don't go their way, or when the road gets tough.  You don't have to be a jerk outwardly to maintain the attitude that creates greatness, and the question is, do you have the attitude geared to greatness.  Attitude is more than smiles, thinking positively, and trying hard.  Attitude is about talking yourself into doing what you need to do when you don't feel like doing it.  When it would be far easier to stop, skip, take a few strokes with your arms during a kick set when your legs hurt a bit.  Attitude is about doing just a little bit more than you wanted to.  Want to know why Amanda Beard keeps making Olympic and World Championships teams EVENafter getting married and having a beautiful son whom she wants to spend time with?  It's because when she gets the opportunity to train, she trains like the video below.  Can you beat that attitude of not giving up?  (SIDE NOTE- I ABSOLUTELY LOVE LOVE LOVE AMANDA BEARD!!!!!) ok.. resume... wait.. if you don't know who Amanda Beard is... wikipedia her and take me off your facebook friends page- ok... resume...

Are you the ONE that's the most honest about all of the above, about how much you really commit to your sport?  While you may not want to be the best, or may not believe you have the ability to be the best, since there can be only ONE, are you honest about being your own ONE?  Are you honestly doing all you can to maximize your performance?  Are the choices you make about how you spend your time productive ones, or are you failing in your time management?  Reaching your potential means keeping up with your studies so you don't have to cram for your exams.  It means deciding to not go to parties when you know you have a competition approaching, or morning practice that you know you shouldn't miss.  Honesty is about not making up excuses that you think your coach will "buy," but rather, about making sure you put in as much effort to be at practice on time as your coach does.
It's both hard to watch, and completely exciting to watch.  This 2 minute video doesn't show the complete dedication and effort that went into this team becoming the ONE.  It was ultimately a spec in time in these athlete's lives now that they're older... but that moment will last forever.  
The last question is... can you become your own ONE, or are you simply daydreaming?

Article by:  Glen Mills   (little sarcastic tidbits... by me)


Hey everyone-  I wanted to use this site to post little tidbits of wisdom (insanity) as I get them... so - subscribe if you want to see more... if no one uses this ahhh well.. a great way to organize my thinking!  Enjoy