Club swimming has a lot of teams around the Des Moines Metro area. When looking for a program that fits your family, you may be wondering where to start, what questions to ask and how you’ll know if it’s a good fit for you.
At South DM Swimming (SDMS), we pride ourselves a few elements that make us a different program from the rest. Below we’ll highlight a few of those points and also suggest questions to ask teams when trying to learn more about their swim programs.
- Swimmer-to-Coach Ratio: SDMS has a great swimmer-to-coach ratio. We have multiple coaches on deck to assist with practice. Our coaches are alumni state swimmers who are in charge of running practice. We also have club assistant coaches who are current high school swimmers.
- Ability Specific Practices: Rather than divide practices by age (or not at all!), we split them by ability. That way like swimmers are working to improve together. Advanced swimmers are not being held back and novice swimmers don’t feel overwhelmed. This has led to improved performance by our athletes.
- Pre-planned workouts: Our workouts are written in advance to maximize your swimmer’s potential. Believe it or not, a lot of science is behind the sport of swimming! SDMS’s workouts are written by the Head High School Coach, Brayton Weber. So you know your swimmers are getting quality workouts, not just quantity.
- Drills and Skills: Practice is about more than just the yards a swimmer does. Breaking down skills and doing drills are equally important to a swimmer’s development. Working on things that seem small can actually have a big impact on the final times in a race.
- Community Focused: SDMS is the official feeder program for Rails Swimming (which serves Carlisle, Norwalk and Lincoln High School). As such, we limit team members to those attending Carlisle, Norwalk or South DM Schools. This ensures we are training our future swimmers and helps the athletes create friendships from the time they are small to the time they are in high school.
- Total Program Support: Several of our club coaches and staff members are the high school coaches too. Because of this, your athlete will get a similar coaching style from the time they are young through high school. They’ll also get investment from the staff in their progress, because we truly want to see them succeed! After all, they are our teams’ future!
- Affordable: We know that swimming can be an investment. But our program is very affordable for what is offered (as outlined above). We are less than half the cost of other local USA teams (CIA, Riptide, DMSF), but still offer USA swim meets. We also offer club meets at no extra cost, while other teams do not. Having 3-5 coaches on deck is more expensive than only having one, but we feel it is worth it for our athletes! Additionally, there is not a significant amount of gear required to join the team. A pair of competitive goggles and swimsuit, along with a towel is all your athlete needs to get started!
Questions to Ask
Here’s a few questions we recommend asking when evaluating swim teams for your family. We hope you’ll contact us with any questions you may have!
- What is your coach-to-swimmer ratio?
- How are your practices divided? By age? Ability?
- Do you preplan your workouts?
- Can you tell me a bit about workout structure? Dryland? Technique? Drills? Yards swam?
- Are there extra expenses for gear or meets not included in the registration fee?
- What’s an annual cost to swim if my child really loves it?
- Do you cap your practices to prevent over-crowding?
- Can anyone join your team regardless of where you live?
- Do you support high school swimming and my athlete being involved in their school?
- Does your club swim team donate back to a local swim team(s)?
We hope this outlines the SDMS Difference and provides some tips on how to determine what is good fit for your family. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or have follow-up questions related to the information above. We’re looking forward to another great season!