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Suggested Swimming Training for an 8 year old


Hi, we have an 8 year old daughter who has been swimming competitively for a few years and is very keen on training more.  Our problem is that we no longer live in Australia and have moved to Bali.

We would like some advice on giving her the best training program for her age.   Currently she does one squad training and one private training on technique.   Our daughter wants to be better and is as committed as an 8 year old can be, but we are really unsure as to how much and what training is appropriate.  Can you suggest a program?

Regards, Christine


Hi Christine,

Thanks for your question.  I would normally advocate two x one hour sessions each week for an 8 year old, with a focus on stroke and skill development at all times. Some 8 year olds would cope with three sesions as long as they are well spaced out each week, eg Mon, Wed, Fri.  I like the idea that your daughter is doing one session a week on technique as this is very important.

If you would like more advice on the number of training sessions and progressions as your daughter gets older you are welcome to look at www.SwimmingForParents.com as this book goes into a lot more detail that will help you.



The Swimming Expert

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3 Responses to Suggested Swimming Training for an 8 year old

  1. warrior8675 July 5, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

    Yes there is a ton of good info on this site. Gary’s recommendations are spot on!

    • Staffan October 1, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

      My reply would be another question: We live in Chiang Mai in North Thailand. Our son (8) is part of a training and competition Club and is now training 6-7 days a week, usually more than 2 hours each time. He seems to enjoy it, but gets tired. You recommend 2-3 days per week, and only hour each time. Is my son a ‘victim’ of the East Asian parental pressure? And as we are approaching the cold season, what temperature limit do you recommend? Last year I had to make him take a complete break for three months due to the cool weather here.

      • Gary October 11, 2014 at 10:54 am #

        Hi Staffan,
        It is my opinion that an 8 year old swimming 6-7 days per week is excessive and the length of sessions at more than 2 hours is also extremely long for an 8 year old to remain focused.
        It would be interesting for you to know how many children who have been through the program and trained similar to this as 8, 9 and 10 year olds are still competing in competitive swimming at 16 to 18 years when the real competition opportunities and major events start to come along. I would guess that there would be less than 10% and possibly much lower. It would be interesting to know.
        In regards to the cold season, it really depends on the temperature of the water in the swimming pool and whether your sons body temperature drops and you see signs of shivering and lack of focus. If this is the case then it may be too cool to swim. While a 3 month break is a long one, it would give your boy the chance to grow and try other sports and activities as he grows up.
        Best wishes.
        The Swimming Expert

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