Is a summer swim camp right for your child?
Photo: Michael C Lyn

Swimming is a year-round sport and so those young athletes make a lot of sacrifices: missed slumber parties, spring break trips, and more. So, does sleep-away summer camp need to be something else swimmers miss?

There are many things to be considered when deciding if a sleep-away camp is the right move for your child.

1) Age and Maturity

Although many elementary school children are old enough to attend a well-supervised sleep-away camp, it’s not the right move for everyone. You have to evaluate your child and decide if she is ready to spend a week or two in a new environment surrounded by new children and adults. It can be a great learning experience, but if your child is not emotionally ready yet, homesickness can ruin it.

As an additional consideration, most swim camps offer a day camper option, where the swimmer attends everything but sleeps at home.

2) Camp Location

Swim camps are offered across the country, and so you have a choice of sending your child to a camp offered by a university in the mountains or one by the beach. For example, Eagle Swim Camps, on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University take place in beautiful Fort Myers, Florida. Campers will not only enjoy our state of the art Olympic sized pool, but also the beachfront at beautiful Lake Como, which is also the home of USA Swimming’s Open Water National Championships.

3) Change in Training

What many parents do not realize is that your child’s coach is also preparing a training program geared specifically for the summer. Many athletes will swim twice a day, switch to long course, up the dryland. Coaches will have not only a daily and weekly plan, but also a seasonal plan where consistency is the key. So, discuss with your child’s coach as to whether attending a week or two at a swim camp will be a positive disruption to their training.

In many cases, a change of lane partners, new exercises and drills, as well as a new set of coaching eyes might be an enhancement of your child’s summer training.

4) Expertise of Camp Coaches

A swim camp provides a chance to be evaluated by a high level coach, such as a Division I college coaching staff as well as interact with elite athletes. For example, Eagle Swim Camps are led by first year FGCU Head Coach, Dave Rollins. Rollins is a 10 year coaching veteran who coached a 2016 Olympian, NCAA All-Americans as well as numerous collegiate conference champions and high school All-Americans.

Rollins will be joined by members of the 7 time, CCSA Conference Champion FGCU Eagle swimming team and coaching staff. Camps will be focused on teaching, refining and reinforcing elite swimming technique. Campers will walk away from camp with a deeper understanding of their strokes as well as their starts, turns and finishes.

5) Memorable Experience

In addition to the swim instruction, you want your child to have an enjoyable experience. Eagle Swim Camps are bringing in Olympians such as Darian Townsend and Nick Thoman. They also do special events throughout the week, like movie nights packed with ice cream and fun. Add-in sleeping in the dorms with the other swimmers, and your child will have the full sleep-away summer camp experience.

FGCU’s Eagle Swim Camps are for swimmers ages 8 – 18 and provide an excellent opportunity to improve swim skills and make lifelong friends. For more information about Eagle Swim Camps, click here.