The Benefits Of Attending a Swim Camp

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The Benefits Of Attending a Swim Camp

One opportunity that many swimmers can take advantage of is attending a swim camp. Participating in a camp can be a positive experience in a number of ways. Here are a few reasons to consider this option for your swimming.

Make Connections With Swimmers Across the Country (Or Even the World)

One interesting aspect of swim camps is that they draw athletes from everywhere. The swim camp I attended in Florida had swimmers from Ohio, California, and even from Colombia. I feel that I benefitted from practicing with individuals who came from different backgrounds, and adopted different approaches to the training we received. Since everyone came from different club teams, we all had differing strengths and weaknesses, which kept practices exciting and competitive. Everyone had their moment to shine, and their equal but opposite moment to be challenged or suffer.

Exposure to Different Coaching Styles

Many athletes (myself included) are in a long-term relationship with their club team. While I’ve certainly improved under the consistency of my club’s training, I feel that there is a lot to gain from mixing it up every once in a while. I would recommend attending a swim camp to any athletes who are looking to potentially swim at the collegiate level. Why you might ask? What better way to deduce your preferred coaching style than to experience it first-hand? If you’re the type of swimmer who needs constant reassurance and prefers a more hands-on approach to coaching, you may not benefit from a coach who just writes your sets on a whiteboard and plays Candy Crush for the entirety of practice. It’s important to know these things before selecting your coach for the next four years, and attending a swim camp can be a great way to come to those conclusions.

Sometimes a different coach can affirm things you already knew. They could reiterate that exact piece of advice your coach has been nagging you about during your regular training, which can build upon the foundation of trust between coach and athlete. There’s certainly merit in hearing the same message from two different sources, it verifies its validity.

Reinvigorate Training

Ideally, athletes who attend swim camp leave with a few new ideas of how to maximize their training. The extra attention to detail, which is often a focus of swim camps, can translate back to your regular club team’s workouts, and with more repetition, ultimately result in time drops. Returning to regular practice after a swim camp is like January 1: Yu feel fresh and excited to implement all the knowledge you acquired. Furthermore, swim camps can inspire an all-new set of swimming “resolutions.” I will not breathe on the first stroke off the wall. I will take this certain number of dolphin kicks off every wall. I will limit the number of strokes I take and make each stroke more productive, etc. Setting these goals and sticking to them can yield significant improvements in the long run.

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Attending a swim camp for the first time may seem daunting. Everything is unfamiliar, and there are inherent fears that accompany that. What if I’m too slow and I can’t keep up? Or, what if I’m too fast and the training doesn’t push me hard enough? What if I can’t make any friends? Learn how to make the best out of the given circumstances, especially if they’re not ideal. Swim camps offer the perfect opportunity to embrace change, and if you don’t like it, it won’t last forever. On the other hand, you can learn things about yourself as an athlete or deepen your appreciation for the sport. You never know exactly what you’re going to get out of a swim camp, but there will always be something to gain from the experience if you look hard enough.

Inspiration

Often, swim camps invite superstar coaches or athletes as special guests. What better way to motivate young swimmers than by meeting the athletes they watched in the Olympics? These huge figures in swimming have years of knowledge and experience to draw from, and love to share it with athletes. A swim camp presents the ideal time to ask those burning questions about training, overcoming setbacks, nutrition, mental preparation, etc.

Attending a swim camp during an Olympic summer was certainly beneficial in this department. With so many exciting races to watch (thank you YouTube), we were far from short on amazing swims to discuss and analyze.

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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