25 Tips and Ideas to Organize Your Summer Swim Team

If you’re helping to organize a swim team this summer, you’ll help give kids the chance to increase their confidence in the water and have lots of fun. Being involved with a swim team can be a big commitment, but your time and support are well worth the effort.

These tips and tricks can help you with planning meets, organizing volunteers, boosting swim team spirit and more. Hopefully, you can use these suggestions to help make this season the best one yet. Just try to remember that the most important thing is to support kids, encourage them to enjoy the sport, and make some memories together!

Team Planning

Summer swim season goes by quickly and there’s a lot to organize, from coordinating meets to planning celebrations. Planning ahead and using smart digital tools to engage volunteers helps set you up for success.

  1. Reach out to newcomers – Joining a swim team can be a little overwhelming for new parents and children. Encourage long-time team members to introduce themselves to newcomers and make them feel welcome.
  2. Set expectations – Most swim teams encourage or require parents to volunteer at a certain amount of meets each season. Make sure that you give a heads up to new and returning participants that everyone will be expected to help.
  3. Utilize online organizing solutions – Digital tools like SignUpGenius help keep the whole team organized by simplifying volunteer scheduling, party planning and more. You can set up automatic reminders to send a few days to participants before the event.
  4. Plan ahead – Try to give parents as much notice as possible about the schedule for meets and practices. Allow them to sign up for volunteer roles well in advance so they can plan accordingly.
  5. Schedule volunteer training Some volunteer positions require specialized training, such as stroke and turn judges and data entry. Schedule training sessions a few weeks before the first meet so volunteers have the chance to ask questions and do a few dry runs.
  6. Create volunteer shifts – Swim meets can run for several hours, so assigning different volunteers for each half will make it easier to recruit help and keep spirits high. Create 1st and 2nd half slots for roles like timers on your sign up and make sure to communicate when the 2nd half begins.
  7. Pre-shift volunteer meetings – Host a short meeting before the start of the meet and the second half to ensure volunteers know their responsibilities and have the chance to ask questions. Emphasize who they can contact for help if unexpected issues arise during the meet.
  8. Provide a roster – Send out a team roster with family contact information at the start of the season. This will help your team members connect and give parents a way to get to know each other.
  9. Heat Sheet – Send out heat sheets (list of races and swimmers with lane assignments) at least several hours before meets, so parents can view or print out the list. This will save a lot of confusion and help everyone be ready to cheer!
  10. Stock up on extras – Try to have a few extra essentials on hand in case any team members forget items such as spare goggles, swim caps or towels.
  11. Weather updates – It’s helpful to have a group team chat, text chain, or email list so that you can easily alert parents if your events are affected by inclement weather.
  12. Easier parking – Parking during meets can be chaotic as the home and away teams arrive at the same time. If you have a willing volunteer or two to help drivers find designated spots, it’s a huge help to ensure people can exit easily later.
  13. Request drink donations – Whether you’re selling drinks at a concession stand or keeping swimmers hydrated, use a sign up to request donations of bottled water, sports drinks, soda and more.
  14. Listen to feedback – Offer a contact or form for people to share constructive feedback. If the parents or team members have ideas to make swim practice better, try to have an open mind and hear them out.
  15. Encourage sportsmanship – Though the team races to win, there are important life lesson to learn from swimming. Emphasize sportsmanship throughout the season, win or lose. If you have parents who are being overly competitive, share a gentle reminder to relax and enjoy cheering on their child in a positive way.

Team Spirit

One of the things that makes swim team so fun is the sense of camaraderie. Encourage team spirit by getting creative and involving both your swimmers and their parents. 

  1. Swag – Share your team spirit with some stylish gear! Sell branded items like t-shirts, swim caps, or water bottles so the team can show off their pride at the pool and around town.
  2. Theme nights – Pick themes for your home meets and encourage everyone to dress up (including the parents and coaches) to create a fun atmosphere. Theme ideas could include USA, Disney, Western and Pirates.
  3. Fundraisers – Raise money for the team with group events like a dance contest, car wash, or bake sale.
  4. Get tweens and teens involved – Beginning swimmers look up to the big kids, so invite some of your older team members to help teach and encourage younger ones.
  5. Senior night – Recognize the high school seniors on your team during a home meet, announcing how long they’ve been part of the team and their post-graduation plans.
  6. Team night out – Plan a fun team event like a bingo or bowling night to encourage team members to get to know one another and make newcomers feel welcome.
  7. Team cheer – Nothing brings kids together like trying to come up with a cheer for their team. Let them have some artistic control so that every meet they have a fun way to get hyped up about their upcoming races.
  8. Embrace fun – Try to remember that having fun is the most important thing about swim team. You don’t want practices or meets to become anxiety-ridden events for team members or parents.
  9. Cheer squad– Encourage your team members to cheer one another on so everybody feels supported at each event.
  10. End of season awards Celebrate your swimmers’ hard work with a laid-back banquet or party! If there’s a budget for small gifts to commemorate the season, kids always love trophies, medals, or bracelets. Give out awards to recognize swimmers who stood out for their team spirit, accomplishments, and growth.
Swim team can be such a fun way to get to know other people at your child’s school or in your neighborhood. But it can also be a big commitment! Between practices and meets, life can feel a little hectic at times. Use the above tips to organize your team so that you can maximize the time you have with them and their parents. With a little organization, you can have a successful swim season and make a lot of great memories with the children on your team.

Kelsey Caldwell is a realtor and freelance writer from Charlotte, NC. She and her husband are parents to two amazing kids, a golden-doodle, and a bearded dragon.