Swimming World Presents “The Case for High School Swimming”

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The Case for High School Swimming

To swim in high school or not to swim in high school? The answer will vary from school to school, city to city, state to state. Some club coaches say high school swimming takes away from serious training–it’s merely a distraction. Some high school coaches think club coaches are out to steal away the talent and zap the fun out of the sport.

Swimming World asked five U.S. Olympians for their perspective on the subject: Olivia Smoliga, Matt Grevers, Lacy Nymeyer, Misty Hyman, and Breeja Larson.

These swimmers are but a few in a long line of high achievers who might never have reached the pinnacle of the sport without high school swimming. So, what did high school swimming offer that club swimming did not?

To learn more about the possible benefits of swimming in high school, check out the February 2018 issue of Swimming World Magazineavailable now!

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[ PHOTO BY GIORGIO PEROTTINO/DEEPBLUEMEDIA/INSIDEFOTO ]

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FEATURES
018 THE CASE FOR HIGH SCHOOL SWIMMING
by Annie Grevers
To swim in high school or not to swim in high school? Swimming World asked five U.S. Olympians for their perspective on the subject—swimmers who are but a few in a long line of high achievers who might never have reached the pinnacle of the sport without high school swimming.

021 UNDERSTANDING AND DISPROVING RACIAL STEREOTYPES
by Bruce Wigo
If there ever was a baseless stereotype that went against historical facts, it is that “black people can’t swim.”

024 SHI’S THE ONE
by Dan D’Addona
China’s Shi Tingmao has dominated women’s diving for the past three years, having won six gold medals and one silver medal at the last two World Championships and the Olympics.

026 NCAA DIVISION I DIVING PLAYBOOK
by Annie Grevers and Erin Keaveny
The 2018 NCAA Division I Championships will be chock-full of diving talent. Here are a few names of some of the outstanding divers who will be competing this year in Colum­bus, Ohio (women’s meet, March 14-17) and Minneapolis (men’s, March 21-24).

029 DIVERS MATTER
by David Rieder
Swimmers and divers almost never compete in each other’s championship meets, yet the two sports are contested together at the NCAA level—with points from each disci­pline counting toward the eventual team champion. If a top swim team can get some quality diving points, that can make the dif­ference in a tight battle for the team title.

COACHING
010 LESSONS WITH THE LEGENDS: JAY FITZGERALD
by Michael J. Stott

013 COLLEGE RECRUITING: UNDER PRESSURE
by Michael J. Stott
In the fourth and final article of a multi-part series, Swimming World looks at early com­mitments, offers and obligations of coaches and college recruits.

016 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: CAN KATIE LEDECKY SWIM FASTER? (Part I)
by Rod Havriluk
There are substantial changes that Katie Ledecky can make in her head position and breathing motion—as well as in her arm coordination—to swim considerably faster. Next month’s article will explain how to ad­dress these technique limitations.

040 HIGH SCHOOL TAPER SETS
by Michael J. Stott
While a preponderance of points at high school state meets are often scored by club swimmers, every team requires a cadre of dedicated, tapered athletes to support a championship drive.

043 Q&A WITH COACH BRENDAN HANSEN
by Michael J. Stott

044 HOW THEY TRAIN NICCO VELASQUEZ
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING
039 DRYSIDE TRAINING: WANT MORE PULLING POWER?
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER
046 UP & COMERS
by Taylor Brien

COLUMNS & SPECIAL SECTIONS
008 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT
030 2018 SWIM CAMP DIRECTORY
047 GUTTER TALK
048 PARTING SHOT

12 Comments

12 comments

  1. Christine Coakley

    To learn to work together as a team for the same goal. Important skill in life!! On top of that it’s fun

  2. Carole Machol-Atler

    I was fortunate enough to be a member of a great HS swim team. We were cohesive and outside of the pool we were friends. We had Olympians and State Champions. From what I have observed in the past few years…Club Swimming has sucked the fun out of the sport. Now this is just my opinion but I know numerous kids who have left the sport because it was too serious. NONE of the kids were even teenagers! And this was from different teams. Sad

    • Tanya Penrod

      Club swimming is what the coach makes it. Like any other sport, we have some fanatical coaches while we have others that try to keep it fun as well as competitive. In our case, if it wasn’t for club, the high school my son will be attending doesn’t have a swim team so he’s eligible to swim for another school that does. Because of club swim, he knows several of the boys who swim for the high school as well so he won’t be so odd man out. Otherwise he’d choose to just continue swimming club.

  3. avatar
    Samantha Eicher

    I believe this completely depends on the club. Our club swim team creates a lot of team atmosphere, they do a lot of team bonding events, and our daughter has made many great friends through her club swim team. Her coaches believe in her and support her and encourage her more than any highschool coach has ever done. I completely believe that this is a situation by situation thing…not all highschool teams have great team atmospheres. We stand 100% behind our club and the atmosphere it brings and the coaching. The coaches create an atmosphere that is supportive and makes for a well rounded swimmer. Our swimmers have been doing self talks weekly and speak on how to be a well rounded person on and off the pool deck.

  4. avatar
    Leander

    There are three things that are great about high school swimming: (1) you have a least one dual meet a week so you get to race a lot, (2) almost everyone gets to score points sometime, and (3) lots of relays. All of these things are fun, which makes being on the team fun. You have none of these experiences in club swimming.

    Every situation is different, and some areas don’t have very good high school teams or have really bad coaching. But, for most swimmers, being on a high school team is going to be the best part of their swimming lives.

  5. Pam Pence-Schmidt

    Swimming. Something good for you, that you can do all your life. At almost 74, I hit the pool usually 3 days a week. Good for body & soul….and also helps keep my weight in check.

  6. Doug McMahon

    Compared to other states, Massachusetts makes it extremely difficult for kids to swim both club and HS. It’s a shame that it has to be that way. In the end, it’s the kids that are hurt the most.

  7. Diane Pavelin

    Interesting they asked Olivia Smoliga. She’s from Illinois, where the IHSA prohibits athletes from competing in the same club sport during the high school season. It’s always been that way, and Illinois high school swimming hasn’t suffered.

    John Leonard (former ASCA president) once was the coach at Lake Forest Swim Club. One year, every individual girls’ State swim champion swam for his club, but they swam for about 5 or 6 different high schools. They came back to his club after girls’ season ended and kicked everyone’s behinds during club season.

    Those girls trained hard during the high school season and had fun when they went head to head against each other. It fostered great competition between them, which they brought back to the club and trained together. That shows there can be a balance between high school and club swimming, if both work together for the good of the swimmers and not as rivals.

  8. Karin Knudson O

    Always a struggle between club coaches and high school coaches- in CA high school swim is in the spring for all so it conflicts with long course training and of course several big meets that they have to swim as unattached.

  9. Charlene Tallen

    My daughter was a Varsity High School Swimmer for 6 years, club swimmer since age 10 and is a D3 freshman swimmer. Many great years in the pool.

  10. avatar
    p.vandendriesse

    Swimming in high school was one of the best decisions I ever made. No injury risks and a great workout routine that you can carry well into your adulthood, which you can’t say for most other sports. All you need is a pair of goggles and you’re ready to go!

Author: Taylor Brien

avatar
Taylor Brien is the Circulation and Operations Manager at Swimming World. A native of Bettendorf, IA and a 2015 graduate of Illinois College, she has covered a variety of events since joining the SW team in 2015, including the NCAA Championships, World Championships, Olympic Trials, and 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

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