‘Swimming has impacted my children positively’

December 14, 2023
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The Kanu siblings – Chukwudi and Chioma have been dominating swimming at national and school levels across the country and their prowess on pool aided Grange School’s domination of the Dolphin Swimming League, Nigeria’s number one private school swimming tournament, their father, Ikedichi Kanu spoke on his wards romance with swimming.

Swimming was the natural option for a couple of reasons including the health and safety benefits; as well as the opportunities it gives in some industries eg. Airline, Oil and gas, etc. The major reason though was the gender neutrality of the sport – so the family/kids could focus on one major sport and attend it together and partake in it at the same time. Another consideration was non-contact sport due to injuries.

Yes, swimming has been very impactful. It improves the child’s discipline and mental alertness, time management, organizational skills and attention to details. The sport helps to build character and opportunities for exposure in terms of travels for training camps and competitions.
It’s very demanding and comes with its cycle of ups and downs – there will always be moments of fun, motivation, frustrations and disappointments. It is expensive in terms of the cost and foregone alternatives but the long term benefits are rewarding.
Parents have to think of ways and means to keep the kids motivated and pushing to greatness. It provides parents the rare opportunity to bond with their kids, sell the opportunities for staying on the sport particularly in high school and college level, and develop grit and grace over time.
There are a lot of takeaways from being a parent of star athletes – first of all, it’s a journey; not a sprint. So parents should have a long term view of the sport and the results they expect of their kids. The need to understand the importance of starting early, training consistency and commitment to incremental expectations of progress over time. They have to be able to support their kids emotionally, sell the bright future ahead and minimize the other distractions and negative energy. Parents have to learn to engage other experienced parents for mentoring and direction.
In this sport, Community, Competitions, Commitment, Consistency and Communications are key success factors for success for our swimming children.
Yes, it did aid their admission to school abroad; Schooling today isn’t only about academics. It’s a mix of academics, and other sport and non-sport extracurricular activities. Our children have to take up any of these activities and do it to the point of mastery, and to a level where it distinguishes them and makes them attractive for high school and college recruitment. The more distinguished they are, and visible at national/global stage the easier it gets exciting offers. Multi-skilled kids are even more attractive.
For me, collegiate level swimming is perfect. In my mind, the return-on-investment (ROI) at that point is positive. Anything after that is “jara”, whether it’s the Olympics or any World level Championship. At that point, I became their cheerleader, supporter and adviser. Nothing more.
I believe the overall experience they gather from childhood to College level swimming is sufficient to cherish and give them the background and confidence for the future.

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