It’s a new year, so you and your child might be thinking about upcoming goals, and planning how you may be able to work towards them in 2023! 

If your child is swimming through our School Age Levels, they might be starting to think about competing as part of a swim squad, and you might be wondering what that entails, if they are the right age, and how you can support them to pursue kids’ competitive swimming. 

What’s the Right Age for Kids to Start Swimming Competitively?

Has your child expressed an interest in swimming competitively, but you’re not sure where, or when, to start? Just like when parents ask us what age their kids should start swimming lessons, it can be a tricky question to answer, and there are a few things to consider first. 

There are three main things to weigh up when asking yourself if it’s the right time for your kids to move to competitive swimming:


Ultimately, there is no set age at which kids should start swimming competitively. The most important thing is that they are having fun, are enjoying their time in the pool and have shown an interest in taking their swimming to the next level. 

It is important for children to have a strong foundation in basic swimming skills before starting competitive swimming, but it’s also important to consider how your child will feel in a competitive environment. You can discuss this with your child’s coach, but you know your little one best, so it’s important that you consider if your child is ready for the level of focus required to compete, and ask yourself, are they ready for a competitive environment?

Ultimately, it is up to the child's parents and coaches to determine when the child is ready to begin competing, but it's also important to consider the child's level of interest and physical ability to handle the demands of competitive swimming.


While we want to help all of our students to accomplish their goals, our students' safety, and happiness, is what we care about most! We want to ensure that kids who express an interest in competitive swimming are encouraged to pursue it, have fun and stay safe while doing so. 

Before a child can participate in swimming competitions, we need to ensure that they are comfortable, confident and safe in the water. We do this by guiding our students through a set of classes at increasing levels of difficulty, so that they can learn to feel comfortable, and tackle challenges as they are ready for them. Once your child has conquered the Legends level, they are eligible to swim in the Development Squads. 

The Development Squad is a technical step up from Legends, and serves as an introduction to competitive swimming. Your child can experience swimming in a team environment, and coaches will monitor your child’s learning and development through sets. Once your child graduates from the Development Squad, they’ll be ready to swim at our swim club and compete, if they choose to do so!

Fulton Swim School focuses on celebrating success, we see it as vital that kids are rewarded for doing their best and encouraged to keep trying, no matter what level they are at. This ensures that swimming stays fun for kids, and keeps them wanting to come back for more. If your child would like to take part in competitive swimming, we suggest not putting too much emphasis on winning or placing in competitions. Instead, be their cheerleader! Celebrate them for giving it their best shot, and acknowledge the accomplishment of making it to competitive levels, regardless of the outcome. 

kids competitive swimming preparation


Once your child is ready to take part in kids’ competitive swimming, it’s time to make sure that they have all of the equipment they need to excel! You’ll likely have already invested in equipment to get the most out of your swimming lessons, but, while you’re preparing your child for competitive swimming, it’s a good time to ensure everything is in good working order, and fits your child comfortably. 

At a minimum, your child needs togs that fit them snugly, but don’t restrict movement in any way. If it’s time to buy a new set of swimmers, you might like our tips for finding the right swimwear, and how to care for it. It’s also vital to make sure your child has a well-fitting pair of goggles to protect their eyes and make swimming more enjoyable. There are so many choices of goggles on the market, so you’ll be sure to find something that suits your child’s needs. If you’re having trouble choosing between all of the options, you might enjoy our tips to find the right goggles for your child, or you can always ask one of our team members the next time you’re in! 

The age of kids taking part in competitive swimming can vary, this is because children should only start swimming competitively when they are physically and emotionally ready to do so. Some children may begin competitive swimming as early as 5 or 6 years old, while others may not start until they are 10 or 11, there’s no right or wrong age. If your child has been having lessons at Fulton Swim School, we know they’re on the way to being a great swimmer! But, if your kiddo is considering giving competitive swimming a go, and still feeling nervous about the idea of competing in a swimming event, you might like this blog which is filled with tips to empower your child in the water. 

No matter what age your child is, it’s important to consult with a swim coach or other qualified professional to review your personal circumstances and determine when the right time for them is to begin competitive swimming, and our friendly team is always happy to help! 

Chat with your child’s coach, or contact us here to discuss when it could be the right time for your child to move into competitive swimming.