As a swim parent, it can sometimes be confusing when a coach selects certain events for your young athlete. "My child was doing so well in X event," many parents often think. "Why did the coach put them in Y and Z instead?"
In an article on USA Swimming's website, Beau Caldwell, the assistant swim coach of First Colony Swim Team in Texas, wrote that a significant amount of time and effort goes into selecting the best events for a swimmer.
"Each swimmer's event choices are unique to them based on several variables," Caldwell wrote. "Variable aspects for each swimmer include: age, birthday, recent achievement, past and future meet entries, past meet experiences, relative practice attendance and performance and future goals. Additionally, many meet goals will revolve around the current focus and training of their respective practice group."
Caldwell also recommended that parents keep the following points in mind:
- A fast swim at a young age many not be competitive 2-3 years in the future
- Comparing times season-to-season or year-to-year is more useful than focusing on the times of individual meets
- If you have real concerns about your child's progress, communicate them with the coach sooner rather than later
- Making progress in swimming takes time. Your child may need to compete in several meets before you notice any changes
- Your child's best event will change over time, for reasons that usually can't be controlled.
It's important to remember that the coach has your child's best interests in mind. Whatever they decide should make your young swimmer a better athlete. So during practices, try not to worry and instead discuss swim team swimsuits with your fellow parents.