4 Reasons Swimmers Should Volunteer

Photo Courtesy: Katie Robinson

By Sarah Lloyd, Swimming World College Intern

This March, Swimming World is celebrating the volunteers of the sport–parents who officiate meets, parents who time, announcers, kids who march the athletes out and carry baskets–the list goes on. The sport of swimming would not be what it is without the dedication and sacrifice of these volunteers who keep meets running smoothly.

There are so many ways that swimmers can show their appreciation, but perhaps the most profound way to do it would be to volunteer themselves.

It’s Easy

Volunteering is one of the easiest things a person can do–just grab a bunch of your teammates after a Saturday morning workout and head to a local animal shelter, soup kitchen, Boys and Girls Club, or mini meet for the day. The most preparation you’ll need to do is call ahead to let the organization you guys will be coming about a week in advance, other than that, you’ll just need to show up and get excited! You can even start a pen pal relationship with younger swimmers or kids in the community–who knows, they may even show up to your conference meet! Not only does it do a major service for the community, but it can also serve as some major team bonding–which is always a bonus.

ncac kids

Photo Courtesy: North Coast Athletic Conference/Facebook

It’s Rewarding

I don’t know about you, but I get some of the best feelings in the world when I do something for someone and I expect nothing in return. Nothing is better than seeing a younger swimmer’s face light up when they finally, finally nail a flip turn after you’ve worked with them for an hour or the hug you get after spending the day with a kid from the local Boys and Girls Club. Parents and coaches at mini meets are eternally grateful for the older swimmers who help to marshal and time–two things that can make or break the organization of a meet completely comprised of eight and unders. There’s just something really, really nice about giving back.

It’s Fun

I honestly can’t think of anything that’s more fun than spending a day with my teammates walking shelter dogs or hanging out with a bunch of little kids. There’s a lot to learn from these situations, especially interacting in a completely human way–we get off of our phones for while and reengage with the world that exists outside of the five inch screens in our back pockets. There’s something so freeing about playing tag, watching little kids dive (read: bellyflop) off of the blocks, and taking a shelter dog outside for some good old exercise as he waits for his forever home and I think we miss out on these opportunities if we don’t volunteer our time.

Cullen Jones

It Promotes The Sport in a Positive Light

When you volunteer your time and energy into something from which you don’t necessarily benefit, it not only makes you as an individual look good, but it makes the sport of swimming look good. College teams taking the time to host free swimming clinics for local kids, club teams donating time after a workout to help serve at a retirement facility, and older swimmers of any age helping to marshal, time, and coach at mini meets sends a message to the communities around that swimmers care. By volunteering time and energy, you can advertise the sport to younger kids and parents as one that make an effort to be involved and engaged in the local community.

As swimmers, we receive more volunteer efforts than may of us realize on a daily basis–our swim meets are almost entirely run by volunteers and should they disappear or fail to show up one session, the meet would not go on. The best way to acknowledge the sacrifice of others is to sacrifice ourselves.

USA Swimming has launched a campaign to recognize our terrific volunteers all month long! Honor all of the volunteers in your life this March by snapping their photo and posting with #1VolunTeam on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Tag @usaswimming and @swimmingworldmag too!