Swimmers of all ages and abilities will probably encounter swim team tryouts at some point in their lives. Whether it's for a school swim team or the Olympics, tryouts are a normal part of competitive swimming. And while the tryouts can be a little nerve-wracking, there's no need to worry. Knowing what to expect and how to prepare for the tryouts may help put you more at ease and feel more ready for the big event. Here's everything you should know about swim team tryouts.
What to Expect During Swim Team Tryouts
Swim team tryouts will be very similar to a session of swim practice, and they may even be a little shorter than a normal practice. Each team may run things a little differently, but in general, the coach will have every swimmer do each stroke or a certain set of strokes and exercises. The coach will be watching each swimmer as they complete their strokes, noting the strengths and abilities of each individual.
Tryouts are meant to help the coaches determine the abilities of all the swimmers on the team. Then, coaches can place each swimmer in the correct team or level that's going to be best for the swimmer and the team as a whole. Don't be discouraged if you don't place where you expect. The coach will match you with other swimmers of similar abilities so that you'll be more evenly matched at practices.
Tips to Prepare for Swim Team Tryouts
To help you prepare, try these swim team tryout tips:
Talk to someone on the team: If you know someone who's already on the team, ask them beforehand what tryouts and practices are normally like. Although, beware that different people have differing opinions on what's easy and what's challenging. If you're comfortable, you can also talk to the coach before tryouts to see what it will be like or what they are looking for specifically.
Understand what is required: Know if you need to have any paperwork completed beforehand or any other eligibility requirements. Make sure you're signed up for tryouts if you need to be, and that you know where and when to show up. Make sure you also have a good understanding of what it's like to be on the team, what practices are like and what equipment you may need to purchase, like a team uniform, swimsuit, cap, etc. Think about the additional considerations such as how you'll get to practice, if there are any extra fees or equipment costs, and how well practices will fit in with your schedule before you commit.
Practice, practice, practice: Find a pool with open swimming times where you can work on your strokes. Better yet, join a summer league or club that can help coach you through some basic swim team skills and give you an idea of what it's like to train with others. Make sure to work on the four basic strokes of competitive swimming: breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly and freestyle. Ask a coach or swimmer to watch you do these four strokes and offer advice.
Learn simple dryland exercises: While swimming is a great workout on its own, many swimmers also include some dryland practice in their workout routines. Weightlifting, strength training and other conditioning exercises can help you prepare for tryouts. You likely won't need to perform these exercises during tryouts, but regular workouts may help you become a better swimmer.
Show up on time: Being late for tryouts definitely sets a bad impression, but showing up on time shows dedication and commitment. Make a habit of showing up on time for all future practices and meetings, too. For tryouts, consider even showing up a little early. Give yourself time to change clothes, warm up with some stretches, chat with other swimmers and get comfortable in your surroundings.
Eat a healthy diet: Swimmers work hard and use a lot of energy, so it's important to refuel the body with healthy foods. Stay away from junk food whenever possible, and eat plenty of lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Be sure to eat a healthy snack before tryouts, and future practices, so you feel energized and ready to go. Have another small, protein-rich snack afterward to replenish your body.
Before the swim team tryouts even start, you'll need some swimming gear. Here's what we recommend you start with:
Swimsuit: Arguably the most important piece of swim gear you'll need is a good swimsuit. Choose a quality swimsuit that's meant for swimming, not just lounging by a pool. Don't attempt to swim competitively in bikinis, swim trunks, or tee shirts. Choose a suit that is comfortable for you to swim in.
Goggles: Protect your eyes and be able to see underwater with quality swim goggles. They are generally available in a variety of styles, colors and price points.
Swim cap: Get a good swim cap that fits comfortably on your head. While they aren't always required, many swimmers like using a cap that keeps their hair out of their face while swimming. Generally, the two types of swim caps are silicone and latex, and it comes down to personal preferences in terms of which one is best. They are inexpensive and available in many different colors and patterns.
Bag or backpack: You'll probably want a bag dedicated just for your swim gear and supplies. This will make it easier to go to and from swim tryouts and practices. Keep your suit, goggles, cap and more stored efficiently in your swim bag. Just remember to never keep wet gear sitting in your bag for too long! Add in a water bottle, healthy snacks, personal care items and anything else you want to bring with you to tryouts and practice.
One of our favorite swim team tips is to practice swimming in your chosen gear so that you are comfortable with all of it before the big day of tryouts.
Purchase All Your Swim Gear at All American Swim
We hope these tips help you with how to prepare for your swim tryouts. Getting the proper swim equipment can really help you to get ready for the tryouts and train like a real member of the team.
At All American Swim, we have everything you need to be a competitive swimmer. Shop with us for suits, goggles, caps, backpacks and all of your other swimming gear requirements. If you have any questions, our top-notch customer service representatives are happy to help. Contact us for more information.