Retention percentages for USA Swimming by year split into two age groups.

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chart with 3 lines
Chart from USA Swimming that shows the percentage of membership retention, nationally, by year, split by two age groups. The swimmers of the 13-and-older ages are signing up with their teams on a year-to-year basis with greater frequency compared to those who are younger, ages 12 and less. The middle line, shown in blue, is the overall national retention percentage that combines all ages.  This data came from USA Swimming’s National Membership Trends Report via Tom Avischious, Field Services Director, USA Swimming.

The chart above explains why a new embrace of game-play is important.

To do better with retention of youngsters in competitive swimming programs, and with USA Swimming, a more robust embrace of game-play and a more robust utility for deploying the game-play and a legitimate pathway with sound reasoning for such games, is needed. The aquatic game-play we’re most fond of, for countless reasons, are water polo and the emerging game of SKWIM.

Both SKWIM and water polo play key roles in the formula for improving retention for swimming participation.

These SKWIM elements are new and different factors for most coaches, teams and families. SKWIM’s fin use, extra safe, easy of entry with minimal equipment, and flexibility of play among three major types of goal scoring help to support the case for inclusion for individuals and scale for diverse population sets.

USA Swimming’s Clubs could use SKWIM to improve outreach and engagement with their larger communities. SKWIM provides a better recreational alternative and activity with summer clubs, community day camps, country club teams, casual swimmers, physical education departments, university intramural activities and school district service provider contracts.

Regular SKWIM play within swim team calendars can retain more of the younger as well as the older individuals. Let’s keep the athletes in the water and associated with their swimming teams for additional years for the development and fun aspects.

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