But let’s be honest here, it takes a lot of effort and determination to raise a child as a swimmer in Reno because there is a depressing lack of public pools.
The closest public pool in Reno to my house is 30 minutes away.
Once your kids age out of lessons and are ready for team, you either pay a ton of money for a team at a private club, or pay in a ton of driving for a more affordable option.
My kids were on the Carson City Tigersharks Team.
Let me say that again. I live in Reno, but I HAD TO DRIVE TO ANOTHER CITY FOR MY KIDS TO DO SWIM TEAM.
Because I can’t vent on this often enough: the City evidently doesn’t support community swimming, regardless of how many open bodies of water we have within and in close proximity to Reno.
They support other things… We have fabulous art in town. We have freeway art. We have a sculpture that looks like a giant red porcupine. We have massive bus stations, one with a flying bus. We have a bowling stadium that sits empty 70% of the time. But the closest public year round pool is 30 minutes away and about 40 years old.
All of the smaller towns around us have fabulous pools, including Carson, Incline Village, Truckee and Fernley to name a few. I feel like throwing a tantrum and stomping my feet in front of City government screaming, “WHY”?!
OK, off my high horse and back to the point of this post.
Driving to another city for swim team was grueling. My kids are 3.5 years apart, so of course their age groups swam at different times. I did have a carpool, but on the days I drove, the outing to swim practice could take up to three hours.
That’s three hours on a school night. That’s kids trying to do their homework in the car. My daughter was ready to move up to the next level, but the next level swam 4 days a week, and I just couldn’t fathom it.
After a few years of this, my kids just plain got burned out. At 9 and 6, and they weren’t even seriously competing. They were just sick of the commute.
It breaks my heart a bit. Because they did enjoy swimming, and they were GOOD at it. I could see so much potential, and mused that if we lived in a city that took swimming seriously (say like San Antonio, where my nieces and nephew live and are State Champions, or in Palo Alto, where there are multiple pools within walking or biking distance of where my husband grew up), they could have been GREAT.
I loved having them doing MY sport, where I knew exactly how swim meets worked, where they needed to be and when, and how to coach them through their meets. I was truly in my element, and I was so happy to see them enjoying my sport.
But we don’t live in a city that takes swimming seriously.
My husband likes to remind me that we DO live in a city with close proximity to awesome skiing, and that are kids are truly good skiers, but that’s beside my point.
The point? My kids just didn’t want to do it anymore. Despite how much effort I had put into it and support I gave them, and how much I loved the sport, their hearts just weren’t in it. They are at least water safe, and that is the minimum goal for me.
Plus, when you look at the state of high school swimming in Reno, we have many teams practicing at area gyms, in tiny and over-heated pools. Heck, I’ve seen the older Reno Aquatic Club swimmers practicing in Carson City. So as much as it breaks my heart, I don’t see a future for my kids here on swim team, mainly due to logistics. WHICH IS JUST PLAIN WRONG.
So we quit.
My daughter signed up for dance, and my son signed up for karate. Dance and karate are both a quarter mile from my house and right next door to each other. And in the same shopping center is the gym I just joined, so twice a week, schedules align so that I can drop both kids at class and then go workout for an hour right next door. I have to admit that driving ½ mile round trip is so much more manageable than driving 40 miles round trip.
And as much as it breaks my heart, and as much as it angers me that we don’t have more options for swimming, this all forced me to realize that my kids aren’t always going to like the same things I like, and they’re going to have their own passions to pursue.
So I’m now a dance mom, a soccer mom and a karate mom. I am pretty clueless about all three of those sports, but I will support them nonetheless.
(But I do tell my daughter, who loves the show Dance Moms, that I won’t be like THOSE dance moms!)