Five Factors to Consider When Switching Teams

Photo Courtesy: Brian Jenkins - UVM Athletics

By Kelsey Mitchell, Swimming World College Intern.

Whether you are a college, club, high school, summer league or Masters swimmer, your team can completely shape your experience with swimming. There are many reasons swimmers may debate changing teams, such as coaching style, accessibility, team culture and price. If you are interested in changing teams but haven’t quite arrived at a decision yet, here are some suggestions that may make your choice easier.

1. Coaching Style


Photo Courtesy: Lori Beckemeyer

Each coach runs their team and practices differently. What makes one swimmer improve by leaps and bounds may restrict another and lead to slower times. Just as each coach’s style is different, so is every swimmer. When considering switching teams, coaching style is one important aspect to reflect on. One way you can do this is by looking at your results from the time you have swum under your coach. If you have not improved in a long time or are not enjoying the workouts, this can be one reason to transfer. On the other hand, if your coach’s style has been providing you with steady improvement, you may want to remain on the same team.

2. Accessibility


Photo Courtesy: pixel 2013 / 2176 images

Accessibility is another important factor to consider when switching teams. Maybe your current team practices when you have class or work, or maybe the commute takes too much time out of your day. Switching to a team with a different schedule or shorter commute may be a selling factor for you. Price is also an important factor to consider, so be sure to compare payment prices before making your final decision.

3. Competition


Photo Courtesy: Kara Sekenski

Competition can be an often overlooked but important factor when picking a team to switch to, especially on the high school and collegiate level. Racing and training against competitors and teammates of similar or faster speeds can help you push yourself to the next level and achieve faster times. When selecting a team, be sure to take into consideration their standings in their conference, the speed of the teams they compete against, and the times of the current team members. Be sure to look at dual, midseason and conference times before committing to a new team.

4. Team Atmosphere


2017 senior day, Rick’s 30th season; Photo Courtesy: Andy Ross

Team atmosphere can easily make or break a season for a swimmer. When the sets get tough and you want to quit, you want your teammates to lift you up rather than drag you down. Each team has radically different traditions and expectations during practice. For example, some swimmers are able to joke with their coaches during practices, while others are expected to remain silent while training. In some instances, you can get a glimpse into a team’s atmosphere by attending a recruiting trip or training with a club team for a day or two. Team atmosphere can also be shaped largely through a swimmer’s relationships with their teammates.

5. Weigh Out the Pros and Cons


Photo Courtesy: Startup Stock Photos

After considering the above factors, weigh out the pros and cons. Maybe your team has a great atmosphere and is easily accessible, but you do not like the coaching style or the competition. One way to easily compare the pros and cons is writing them side-by-side, making it easy to see if there are more pros or cons for remaining on or switching teams. Finally, decide how important each factor is to you. Maybe team atmosphere is more important to you than coaching style, or maybe you put more weight on competition than accessibility. With this in mind, determining the pros and cons of switching teams can be slightly easier.

Switching teams can be a stressful and exciting event for any swimmer. No matter if you are moving from a high school to a collegiate team or are switching club teams, be sure to stay true to your self. Your relationship with swimming is yours alone, and the decision to change teams should be one you can support.

-All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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