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Competitive Swimming for All Ages 
 
by Samantha Nelson May 20, 2005

There are many advantages to competitive swimming, not the least of which is that swimming is a sport that can be enjoyed throughout a lifetime. Here is a look at what swimming has to offer and how to get involved.

Our nation's health experts are increasingly concerned about the level activity the average American engages in on a daily basis. This article explains:

  • Benefits of competitive swimming
  • How to become active, no matter what stage of life, in competitive swimming
  • How to set up an effective training program

Benefits of Competitive Swimming

The most obvious benefit to competitive swimming at any age is that it gets us moving. More importantly, swimming engages us in a sport that we will be able to continue with throughout our lifetime without concern for damaging joints, breaking bones, or placing undue stress on our bodies. In fact, because of the high levels of humidity, swimming has been found to make breathing more comfortable for people with lung conditions, such as asthma. Beyond that, swimming utilizes all of the major muscle groups and provides an excellent workout for our hearts and lungs.

Aside from the ample physical benefits of the activity, competitive swimming provides a supportive, social outlet for people of all ages. While actually competing in races is not essential (about 45% of all swimmers on club teams actually race), being part of an organized training group has several advantages:

  • professional coaching
  • peer support
  • social outlet
  • access to facilities

Encouraging young people to become involved in swimming will not only provide them with needed physical activity and them build healthy habits but will also form friendships and develop good character traits, such as sportsmanship, determination, responsibility, and integrity, that will serve them a lifetime.

Most clubs have a variety of training groups broken down by age. For example, on for youths that focuses on a variety of developmental skills, basic to advanced training, and competition preparation. Most also have a Master's program available to anyone over 18 and can be structured in several ways. Some Master's programs are more competition oriented, but all should welcome participants of any age and skill level whether or not they choose to compete.

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