Olympic & Commonwealth Games Medallist explains . . . School Swimming
After more than 30 years being involved in school swimming as a swimmer, coach, parent and carnival organiser, my key advice is to have fun, enjoy the racing, and try your hardest in all events.
Please try not to place too high an expectation on your child, as best results are achieved through excitement, not fear of disappointment. Encourage your children to participate and do their best, and reward them regardless of their overall results.
A parents attitude towards swimming and competition is key to a child's success. Teach your child to be resilient, and to learn by watching the older and highly skilled swimmers. Explain that there can only be one "winner" in each race, but everyone who competes can achieve their best. Parents and coaches should encourage all swimmers to congratulate each other after every contest, and always focus on how to improve themselves for their next racing opportunity.
It's normal for a swimmer to feel disappointed if they don't "win", but learning to compose themselves in this situation is key for future success. Help them set goals and strategies to work on for the future. Plan now for 2017 swimming carnivals - I can assure you that the Rio 2016 swimmers have been training and competing for many years for their chance to compete.
Time in the water is the most effective way to improve skills, speed and endurance. Swimmers who have had more swimming experience have a big advantage when competing at their school carnival.