Competitive swimming in Atlanta has produced some top-notched athletes from Division 1 collegiate to Olympic swimmers. Your kid has learned how to swim and can at least swim the length of the pool, or your kid swam for their school and now is interested in competing all year. They’ve got the itch to want to race everybody, and they love to be in the water…..well you just may want to explore competitive swimming. Competitive swimming is inclusive and kids with special needs can compete too! Several parents don’t know where to begin. From finding where the swim clubs are and how to choose one….. SeeGoDoIt is here to help!
With competitive swimming being year-round, it’s also almost a daily commitment. During the younger years, (10 and under), kids can spend an hour to an hour and a half, 2-4 days a week at swim practice. As they get older, it becomes a 5-6 day a week commitment. The good news is that there isn’t time for much else, and the bad new is there isn’t time for much else…if you catch our drift.
Must your child know how to execute all 4 strokes (freestyle, backstroke, butterfly, breaststroke) before competing? The short answer is no…..however the expectation is that he/she will eventually learn each stroke as well as compete in each stroke.
The swim world is broken up into 2 competitive swimming seasons. First there is short course which begins in the fall until early spring. During short course season, the pool is set at 25 yards. If your kid love the fast races, he/ she will love this season. The long course season begins late spring to mid- summer. The pool length is 50 meters, the same size of an Olympic size pool. For a lot of swimmers, the extra 25 yards (give or take) and no way to rest in the middle of the pool can be challenging. Distance swimmers thrive during this time! They say short course is for athletes and long course is for swimmers! Long course is extremely beneficial when short course season is back around. Swimmers have an higher level of endurance and will usually drop time.
The interesting thing about competitive swimming is that you can’t count anyone out. Swimmers that dominated during the 10 and under years can become “middle of the pack” during the teenage years. There are so many variables to the making of a great swimmer. Sometimes its due to the swimmer’s late physical growth. It could be the swimmer chose to focus more on another sport, and they may use swimming as cross-training. The parent(s) may not be able to commit whether it be the lack of ability to get the child to practice or financially unable. No matter, in order to flourish in this sport, you the parent as well as the swimmer must implement GRIT!
Financial Commitment to Competitive Swimming
With competitive swimming, the financial pill in swimming is underestimated. Between club fees, swim meet fees, swimsuits, and equipment, and replacing the countless towels the kids lose, well it adds up….quick. Consider swim clubs like City of Atlanta Dolphins (CAD), their fees are out of this world which makes it very affordable!
- Club fees can range anywhere between $220-$3500 per year.
- Travel training trips (varying)
- Swim Meet fees (varying prices)
- Swimsuits ($50-$500) Fastskins which run between $350-$500, can be worn for 2-3 meets, and that is it!
- Swim bag ($45-$150)
- Parkas ($75-$150)
- Equipment- snorkel, pull buoy, kick board, nose clips, hand paddles, goggles (varying prices)
How to Get Started in Competitive Swimming
- Summer league- Summer league swim is a great place to start. Summer swim is fun and there is no pressure to drop “time” like year-round competitive swimming. You as a parent, just have to deal with the weekday swim meets that last until the evening hours. The challenging part is to find summer swim team options. Check with your neighborhood pool as the most convenient option. If the nearest pool nearby doesn’t have a summer league team, then check with the swim teams we have on the map below.
- City of Atlanta Natatoriums– The City of Atlanta offer developmental leagues for an awesome price (residents $135, non-residents $165) starting ages 6-16. The developmental leagues don’t compete in US Swimming or GA Swimming sanctioned meets, but its a great way to learn all of the strokes in a swim practice setting.
- Swim Schools- Clubs like Dynamo, and Atlanta Swim Academy have swim schools that feed into their swim clubs.
Being in the swim world is a big commitment that takes a lot of parent efforts especially in the beginning. When deciding on a swim club, factor in the frequency of practice as well as traffic in metro Atlanta. Not only getting to and from practice can be a challenge, but consider the commute time from your home or office. Your swimmer will be exhausted coming from swim practice, but he/she still has to eat dinner, complete homework assignments, and study. Executive functioning will be you and your swimmer’s savior!
Big Swim Clubs vs Small Swim Clubs
Competitive swimming in Atlanta has no shortage of swim clubs….When choosing a swim team, there are pros and cons to whatever club you choose. Of course, it also depends on what your swimmer’s goals are, and even knowing that, there is no cookie cutter way to decide. Some swimmers have a coach that they work well with, and stick with them until they go to college. Some choose the club that produce high caliber athletes that may have gone on to a D1 college, consistently own state records, or have athletes that have competed in the Olympics. No matter what you choose, the 80/20 rule applies to swim clubs. 80% of swimmers pay for the functioning of the club, 20% of swimmers will make it to excellent to elite status.
Big swim clubs– Dynamo is a great example of a large swim club, with its own facility, and an excellent coaching staff. Dynamo has a cradle to graduation set-up, and alumni that come back and give back. With smaller clubs, they usually have to rent lanes of a private or community pool. in this scenario, smaller clubs are at that pool management’s mercy if any decisions such as pool closures, lanes being rented to other teams, and time constraints. Dynamo has their own pool and can set their own rules. This has enabled them to have more swim levels than most clubs and can group kids closer to ability and age. With large clubs, you ALWAYS have someone to chase and there is someone that is faster than you. Socially a swimmer’s life is very different that the average athlete in other sports. Because it’s year-round, swimming IS your life, so swim friends turn out to be your closest friends. With big clubs, there are so many kids within an age group, it’s easy to make friends.
Disadvantages– The large clubs have so many kids that your kid could get lost in mix. Coaches of large clubs can only stretch themselves but so much. Usually the best make it to the relays, travel trips, and offered special opportunities. If your kid isn’t performing, you may have to pay for additional coaching so that they can gain the confidence and lead in practice and ultimately drop time.
Small swim clubs– Small swim clubs offer an intimacy like no other. HLHK is a great example of a small swim club. They don’t have their own facility, nor are they 100 swimmers deep at state, however if you ever see them at a swim meet, the parents are thick as thieves. You can’t tell which parent belongs to what child because they are rooting for everyone. They’ve got standout swimmers in most age group categories, and the kids, parents, and coaches are a tight family. The relationships between swimmer and coach are strong because swimmers will be in the same swim group for a longer period of time. A coach can be like another parent. Parents can threaten to tell on their own child to a coach, if they don’t perform academically or if they make bad choices. Your kid may care more about what their coach thinks, than you! (Don’t take it personal!) Small clubs can feel more like family. Not only do the kids get along, but the parents do too! Smaller clubs tend to rely on parent heavily to handle what the coaches cannot, but it develops a sense of community. As a swimmer, a coach can put more time and effort into developing a swimmer, if the coach is skilled.
Disadvantages– With limited resources, a swimmer may not be reaching their fullest potential, and the coach may not want to refer the athlete to a team that could. It can be a tough call for the parents because of loyalty, and the chance that their swimmer may not thrive in a large swim group setting.
Georgia Swimming is the organization that governs all of the US Swimming clubs in Georgia. There you can find important information such as time standards, rules, zone teams, and awards.
Metro Atlanta Swim Teams
(click into the map for closer view)
|3-D Aquatics||WOLF||Nathan Wilson||Andrew Bryant||Zebulon|
|ACE Aquatic Club||ACE||Sabryna Bried||Leila Clark||Kennesaw|
|Advanced Technical Aquatics||ATAQ||Kai Akubo Smith||Paul Cassar||Atlanta|
|Aiken-Augusta Swim League||ASL||Carol Riordan||Mike Jeschke||Augusta|
|Athens Bulldog Swim Club||ABSC||Ceci Churchwell||Will Foggin||Athens|
|Atlanta Swim Academy||ASA||Kathy Lim Sang||Hannah Drilling||Marietta|
|Blue Tide Swim Team||BT||Tim DeMott||Antony DeMott||Americus|
|Brad Akins YMCA Barracudas||BAY||Meredith Carroll||Spencer Smith||Athens/Atlanta|
|Buckhead Aquatics||BA||Daniel Palma||Atlanta|
|Camden County Boomers Swim Club||BOOM||Sarah Ciuk||Cordelia Ciuk||Kingsland/St. Marys|
|Carpet Capital Aquatics Club||CCAC||Sandra Mathis||Jonathan Shaheen||Atlanta/Dalton|
|Carrollton Swimming Assoc.*||CBF||John Pepper||Olivia Strickland||Atlanta/Carrollton|
|Chastain Park Athletic Club||CPAC||Jim King||Jack Macquillan||Atlanta|
|Chattahoochee Gold Swim Club||GOLD||Mark Schilling||Jocelyn Helsby||Marietta/Woodstock|
|City of Atlanta Dolphins||CAD||Tommy Jackson||Miles Simon||Atlanta|
|City of South Fulton Swordfish||SFS||Elisha Reno Bashir||Haleem Bashir||College Park|
|Coastal Georgia Aquatics||CGA||John Eife||Elijah Masch||Jacksonville, FL|
|Columbus Aquatic Club||HURR||Kathy Gramling||Katie Jordan||Columbus|
|Cumming Waves||CW||Teresa Coan||Madison Winship||Atlanta|
|DeKalb Aquatics*||DAQ||Melissa Wilborn||Kendall Seefried||Atlanta|
|Douglas County Stingrays||DCS||Maria Bartlett||Jordan Washington||Atlanta/Douglasville|
|Dynamo Swim Club*||DYNA||Mike Cotter||Abigail Cohen||Atlanta/Alpharetta|
|Eagle Swim Club||ESC||Marty Hamburger||Kaitlyn Berkowitz||Atlanta|
|EXEL Aquatic Club||EAT||Kirk Reynolds||Blake Reynolds||Atlanta|
|Fowler Family YMCA||FPY||Megan Allen||Norcross|
|Georgia Coastal Aquatic Team||GCAT||Bill Forrester||Savannah|
|Georgia Tech Swimming||GTCH||Courtney Hart||Emily Ilgenfritz||Atlanta|
|Great White Shark Aquatics||GWSA||Phil Donihe||Timothy DeBord||Chattanooga, TN|
|Griffin Swim Team||GST||Kelley Henderson||Mallory Tilson||Atlanta/Griffin|
|Gwinnett Aquatics*||GA||Hugh Convery||Sarah Jahns||Atlanta/Snellville|
|Habersham Rapids Swim Team||HRST||Anthony Rabern||Nathan Mosley||Gainesville|
|Harris County Tiger Sharks||HCTS||Penny Reddick||Griffin Reddick||Columbus|
|HLHK Seals||HLHK||Constance King||Atlanta|
|JM Tull YMCA||TGY||Tina Henderson|
|Lanier Aquatics||LA||Jim Young||Mateo Golloshi||Gainesville|
|Life Time Georgia Swim Team||LIFE||David Sutton||Nidhi Pai||Alpharetta|
|Marietta Marlins||LINS||Yit Aun Lim||Alex Blankinship||Atlanta/Marietta|
|Metro Atlanta Aquatic Club||MAAC||Michael Norment||Atlanta|
|Morgan County Marlins||MORG||Melissa Mauldin||Atlanta|
|North GA Rapids Swim Team||NGR||Christy Foster||Courtney Foster||Blairsville|
|Norcross Junior Blue Devils Swim Club||NJBD||George Schlicker||Rachel Todebush||Atlanta|
|North GA Rapids Swim Team||NGR||Christy Foster||Courtney Foster||Blairsville|
|Northwest Georgia Aquatics||NWGA||Michelle Eickman||John Carroll|
|Northwest YMCA Wahoos||WCY||Diana Schneider||Julianna Koebel||Kennesaw|
|Okefenokee Aquatics Club*||OAC||Kevin Sullivan||Robert Hoyt||Waycross|
|Pelican Swim Club||PSC||Jordan Kenney||Nicole Waldo||Canton|
|Pickens Sea Dragons||SEA||Debra Johnson||Canton|
|Rockdale County Riptides||ROCK||Joanna Liu||Delaney Willette||Conyers|
|Rountree Recreation Torpedoes||RRT||Cheryl Rountree||Hiram|
|Savannah Swim Team||SST||Joe Witt||Julie Woody||Savannah|
|Southern Crescent Aquatic Team||SCAT||Denise Sturman||Ben Phifer||Atlanta/Peachtree City|
|Southwest Aquatics of Georgia||SWAG||Cari Best||Sarah Wood|
|Spartan Aquatic Club||SPAC||Karl Krug||Holland Danskin||Atlanta|
|Stingrays||RAYS||Ian Goss||Addie Rose Bullock||Atlanta/Marietta|
|Summer Hill Orcas||SHOC||Kaleigh Shook||Tucker Schroer||Athens|
|Summit Family YMCA Titans||SFY||Erin Hight|
|Summit Swimming||SUMM||Humphrey Fraser||Snellville/Loganville|
|Swim Macon||SMAC||Jason Swaim||Aiden Hichkad||Macon|
|Tara Tarpons Swim & Dive Team||TARA||Nelson Camilo||Jayla Cistrunk||Jonesboro|
|Three Rivers Swim Club||TRSC||Brooks Coville||Samson Mumber||Rome/Atlanta|
|Tidal Wave Swimming||TWS||Jim McGinnis||Rylee Moss||Marietta/Kennesaw|
|Tiftarea Tidal Wave||TTW||Dustin Bengston||Beau Bengston||Tifton|
|Troup County Sharks||TCS||Carol Yin||Columbus|
|US-Aquatics Club||USAC||Sergiy Useinov||Keaton Tsepas Bucciero||Atlanta|
|Valdosta Aquatics||VAST||Matthew Grant||Ruthie Bennett||Valdosta|
|Valdosta YMCA Piranha Swim Team||VPST||Cole Wilson||Valdosta|
|Walton Waves||WW||Dianne Foltyn||Austin O’Brien||Loganville|
|Warner Robins Aquanauts||WRA||Amanda Hamborg||Hakeem Reid||Warner Robin|
|YMCA Barracudas*||BAR||Tera Wilkins||Taylor Ward||Columbus|
|Zaban Sharks||ZBN||Thomas Rey||Atlanta|