5 Reasons to Go to Swim Camp

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Photo Courtesy: Arizona Swim Camp

By Emma Schoettmer, Swimming World College Intern

1. Stroke Technique

Swim camp was created not just to encourage younger generations to continue in the sport, but also to teach developing athletes the importance of good stroke technique. Camps are usually designed to incorporate a mixture of training with skill work. This idea of thinking critically is what creates the best athletes. Stroke technique is important for developing swimmers because it opens up an opportunity to ask questions during a session and allows swimmers to learn something new.

We all know how daily practices are run; with tight intervals and little time for sitting on the wall. This is great for training purposes, however, for developing swimmers, it often takes away from the importance of perfecting a stroke before building bad habits. Swim camps are designed around critical “skills and drills” sessions that allow for developing athletes to correct techniques before they become bad habits.

2. New Friends

Camp is a time to grow as an athlete within the sport, but also a time to grow as an individual. Part of growing up comes from making new friends, and what better way to make friends than to meet people at camp?

Over the past two weeks, I spent my time coaching at a Nike Swim Camp and witnessed several campers coming together from all parts of the country, working together through workouts. Camps are a great place to meet swimmers from different teams, make new friends, and hopefully, create lasting relationships.

Who knows, maybe you will meet someone and end up swimming on a national team or college team together in the future!

3. Training

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Photo Courtesy: Arizona Swim Camp

Yes, training is still important at swim camp. After all, you did sign up for swim camp. However, depending on the camp, the intensity level and time available to complete training sessions will vary. Where there is more training incorporated into the camp, you don’t want to overthink the difficulty of the next set, and your capabilities beyond that. Try to learn something from the coaches, whether it be a new training style, or just working on a new technique during a set. Find something that will help make you a better athlete.

4. Inspiration

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Photo Courtesy: Arizona Swim Camp

At the Nike Swim Camp, there were several top athletes and coaches who spoke with the swimmers. I know when I was growing up, I loved getting the chance to hear Olympians share their experiences and elite college athletes speak on topics that will ultimately impact my training. At the Nike camp, it was inspirational to hear Matt Grevers speak about his career and the struggles he went through, the training and turmoil that accompanied the commitment, and the experiences he had before becoming a big name like Michael Phelps.

His talk was still inspirational to me, a 21-year-old University of Arizona swimmer. I can only imagine how much it impacted the younger campers, who have yet to reach high school yet, and their viewpoints on the sport. Bonnie Brandon, a senior at the University of Arizona, spoke to the campers about the importance of nutrition and how healthy foods play a large role in the day-to-day development of our young bodies. She engaged with the athletes by answering insightful questions, which was an opportunity not always readily available to new athletes in the sport.

5. Fun

Typically, when I think of camp, I think of sitting by a bonfire, roasting marshmallows, or canoeing on a lake. Swim camp is a different story. There are no bonfires, s’mores or canoes. Camp is a challenging process that opens up the door to a different kind of mental and physical toughness; however, it makes up for the typical fun through persevering experiences and memories.

The Nike Swim Camp at the University of Arizona the past two weeks offered swimmers the chance to grow athletically and individually. Camp activities ranged from training, technical work, dryland activities to games, arts and crafts, and even jumping off the diving boards! When I attended swim camp growing up, we participated in hiking trips, white water rafting, scavenger hunts, and watched movies by the pool.

Swim camp is a place to develop swimming and life skills, but it also gives kids the chance to experience summer fun!

4 comments

  1. Niles Keeran

    Not to eat grits, hominy, greens, or orchra….

  2. Jennifer Hustead

    My daughter leaves next week to go to swim camp. Have to have her read this.