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Encouraging Kids to Get Active with SwimToday

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I was recently invited to attend the 2014 National Swimming Championships sponsored by USA Swimming in Irvine.  Growing up it was very important to my mother that I was on a team so she put me on various swim teams from ages 8-15.

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Obviously I wasn’t in the same league as these amazing swimmers but I knew the drill and swam pretty well.  I never thought about my kids being exposed to the sport, but once I got there and smelt the familiar scent coming from the pool, I felt a bit guilty.

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When I took my kids in to get our passes, I hadn’t yet told my children that I use to compete. It had been so long for me that it felt more like a story than a part of my life.  Being part of a swim team is like being part of any sport.  It’s in your blood, soul and culture; I had long forgotten the feeling but when I heard the ding of the start bell everything came back.

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Suddenly I felt as if I were at one of my old swim meet but the difference now is  that the swimmers are leaner, taller and faster than anyone I had swam with – these swimmers were all working to be part of the Olympic team.

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My behind the scenes experience started off with the back story of SwimToday.  It was created to promote and grow participation in the sport of swimming.  Swimming truly is an amazing sport and workout.  I was in the best shape of my life when I swam.

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There is very little injury in the sport of swimming and you build  great camaraderie with the other swimmers.  There is nothing better than hearing your peers cheer for you as you swim down a lane; I still remember their muffled screams.

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I’m not going to lie and say I always won, I didn’t by a long shot, but the one thing that swimming taught me was to deal with losing.  With each meet my time would improve which was a personal win.

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I would push myself to beat my own previous record which helped build my self-confidence, self-esteem and focus.  On top of that my time management and organization was top notch – to this day those skills dictate how I run my life.  After a breakdown of their mission, SwimToday took us on a walking tour of the competition and let the kids see the races.

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The National Championships host the best-of-the best Phelps and Lochte had just swam but we missed them – so bummed that would have been mind-blowing.  To wrap up the tour my kids were able to sit up at the autographing booth and see what it would be like to be on stage in front of fans. I’m not sure if they got the swimming bug but for sure the diva bug.

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Following the tour, my kids were coloring and having lunch when Dara Torres joined our group for an enriching luncheon.

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 My son Dara was so excited to meet someone who shared his name that he couldn’t wait to tell her.  It was a jaw dropping experiencing meeting Torres.

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She is the first and only swimmer from the United States to compete in five Olympic Games (1984, 1988, 1992, 2000 and 2008) and, at age 41, is the oldest swimmer ever to earn a place on the U.S. Olympic team.

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Not only has she won twelve Olympic medals (four gold, four silver, four bronze) but she’s a mom and is also campaigning with SwimToday to encourage more kids to join swim as a sport.  After talking with her I was ready to throw my kids into the pool and have them do laps.

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Luckily for my kids, Dara said she would go in as well and teach them some techniques!  That’s right Dara Torres gave my kids swimming advice and a semi-private swim lesson which ended in a race.  I don’t think my kids fully understood what an incredible experience they had that day, but I can assure you that I was over the moon about it.

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Swimming is more fun, healthy, and easier to learn than parents and kids ever imagined.  If you are interested in learning more about SwimToday or USA Swimming, you can visit their websites, www.swimtoday.org and  www.usaswimming.org  to locate swim clubs and start your kids on the path of fun.

I’m an OC mom of two and photographer. I love living in Southern California and want to expose my children to all that it offers. I love taking my kids on adventures and capturing their every moment so much so that my kids find it odd if I don’t take their pictures. You can see my work on facebook.com/photosbynaz.
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2 Comments

  1. What an amazing day! It was so nice to meet you and your kids were so adorable!

    • Naz and her kids had such a fun time with you too! I hope to see you soon!

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