A swim team is a great way to extend a child’s love of the water beyond mere recreational activities. It can consist of any number of students, headed by a swim coach (or a coach with assistants). The team will practice the various swim strokes that are used in swimming for sport. These strokes include: backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle. In competitive swimming, swimmers will use all four of these types of strokes, both individually as well as in medley (or combination style) events. Swim teams also often swim in relay events where members of the team work together and trade places at either end of the pool.

How old does my child need to be to join a swim team?
Most swim teams will accept children from as young as five years old. However, your child must be able to swim the length of a standard size pool (about 25m) unaided. Once on a team, children are usually grouped by age. The most common groups are: 10 and under, 11 to 12, 13 to 14, 15 to 16, 17 to 18, and 18 and up.

Are there any special skills needed for joining a swim team?
The only requirement is the ability to swim 25 meters unaided. Swimming as a sport requires great endurance, coordination, and good teamwork skills but any good swim coach will teach your child these skills and they will develop naturally as part of a team.

How much does it cost to be on a swim team?
The price of joining a team varies within different areas as well as age groups. It can be as low as $50 for beginners through $2000 for more experienced teams. In addition, most swim teams require participants to be members of USA Swimming, which has its own membership fee of about $52. Swim meets cost extra (usually about $5 per event) and many swim teams require parents to assist at these meets or else pay additional fees. In addition, swim team athletes will need swimming gear (goggles, swim suits, etc).

How much work goes into being on a swim team?
Swimming, like any other sport, requires practice. Children under 10 usually swim about three times a week in 45-minute blocks. More experienced swimmers can swim up to 18 hours per week, but most swimmers get in 30-60 minutes of practice per day.

What is the best time of year for swim team? Is there a “swimming season”?
No. There’s no real season. Swim teams are active year round, so long as there is an indoor pool to be found. However, most high school and college level swim teams participate in their events during the winter.

What are some of the other benefits of being on a swim team?

  • If you can swim, you can participate! – Swimming is an all encompassing sport. If you can swim 25m, you can take part in a swim team. Most places that have swim teams even have support for those who are physically or mentally challenged.
  • It’s a great social activity. – Like most sports, swim teams build good sportsmanship, camaraderie, and often friendships that will last a lifetime.
  • It builds self-esteem. – As your child gets better with practice, so will his/her self image. Swimming creates strong character and great self image!
  • It’s good for you! – Swimming as a rule is a great physical activity. Swimming just a few times a week will help to build stronger muscles, better endurance, and cardiovascular strength.
  • It’s affordable. – Depending on your swim level, swimming prices can vary but, if you have a local swimming pool, YMCA, college or high school pool, odds are that the costs of joining a swim team won’t cost you a lot out of pocket in relation to other sports.