One of the founding teams of the Sacramento Swim League (SSL), the Stingrays swim team has been around since 1960. The team—which invites kids ages 5 to 18 to swim to participate—has been swimming at Greenhaven Cabana Club North since the early 1990s. Over the years, the Stingrays have been a top contender in the SSL and have won several league titles from the mid to late 1990s.
But it’s not just the wins that have made the team what it is today, but rather all that it offers its members and families.
Safety and Health
According to KidsHealth.org, drowning is the second leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 5 and 24. So if your child knows how to swim, and better yet, becomes a strong swimmer, this will help she or he if faced with an emergency situation, for example, in an unsupervised pool or while swimming in an ocean or other unpredictable body of water.
In addition, swimming provides tremendous health benefits. Swimming is a rigorous cardiovascular sport, and compared to many other youth sports, swimming has a very low risk of injury.
Stingrays parent Wendi Imagire commented on how her daughters’ swimming skills were honed and strengthened after doing swim team.
“I think that the aerobic and physical training the kids receive is one of the greatest benefits,” Wendi said. “Both my girls have taken group and private swim lessons, but it is on swim team that they have really become ‘swimmers.’ There is just nothing that beats swimming for an hour every day from March until the end of July!”
Another Stingrays parent explained that they joined the team initially because their son was not yet safe in the water.
“Before joining the team, he couldn’t swim the width of the pool—not even doggie paddle,” she said. “After one week of practice, not only could he swim the length of the pool on his own, but he couldn’t wait until the first meet … Swim team is a great mix of individual and team participation. It is great exercise and demands a certain focus from the kids.”
Another great aspect to swimming is that it is a low-impact sport, making it an activity, like cycling, that can be practiced well into adulthood.
Mental Boost, Confidence, Family, and More
Another huge plus to swimming is the emotional benefit. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this water sport improves mental health by boosting one’s mood. In particular, being on a swim team provides the added benefit of giving kids a strong sense of accomplishment, confidence and belonging.
“Swimming is one of the most social sports around, and all swimmers can experience great personal success, no matter their athletic ability. The experience of beating a personal best time is immensely satisfying no matter what place you may get in a race,” Kyle said. “The Stingrays swim team is also an incredible community where I met some of the best friends in my life, and I have continuously heard the same thing as long as I have been associated with the team. It’s more than a swim team, it’s a family.”
Swim team participants wholly agreed. Matthew Lee, 13, who has been on the Stingrays since he was 7 years old, said, “I like being on the Stingrays because I’ve made a lot of good friends and I consider the Stingrays ‘home.’”
Matthew’s brother, Mitchell Lee, 17, who started at age 8, concurred: “Over the years, I have bonded with my fellow group mates and to me they have become family. There exists a strange yet familiar feeling of home whenever I am swimming or competing with these guys. I think I speak for all of us when I say words do no justice to describe the camaraderie felt throughout the Stingrays.”
So despite very early Saturday mornings at the pool, you won’t see kids and their parents complaining.
“We love the social aspect of being together every Saturday, sitting under those tents, playing games, snacking, and talking,” Wendi said. “And I think that is actually the thing that we value the most about swim team—the friendships.”
Find out more about the Sacramento Stingrays at www.sacramentostingrays.com.