My daughter is 7. She loves swimming and joined a proper club about 6 months ago. She has also continued taking lessons with her brother who is a little behind her, just because she enjoys it.
She can swim 50m freestyle in around 38secs and breastroke in around 47 secs and she's noticeably faster than the other children in her club of a similar age. She has never actually competed in a gala/meet, because the minimum age is 8, so these are times recorded by the club coaches.
Currently she trains 3 days a week for an hour each time, plus a half hour "lesson".
The coach from the regional development squad came recently and invited her there to train. It means training 6 days a week in the pool (1.5 hours each) some of which are 5:00am starts, plus 2 days of evening dryland training (1 hour each)
Personally I think this is too much for a 7-year-old so I have been asking around for advice and there seems to be 2 competing views: 1. Train as often as possible (ie. do this new training she's been invited for) because the 3 major elements that hold a young swimming back are strength, general fitness, and technique all of which are worked on intensively in this program. 2. Stick with the 3 days per week swim training, which will also work on the 3 elements just mentioned, but take up another sport/activity which complement swimming. Ones that have been suggested are synchronised swimming and gymnastics. She already does gymnastics once a week for an hour, and she also plays football (soccer) for another hour. Either of these could possibly be expanded as she enjoys them both. She is vaguely interested in synchro, but this is a little inconvenient for us, as it's not done at a centre near us. The argument for this approach seems to be that it won't burn her out as far as swimming is concerned, while at the same time it will develop her strength and fitness in ways that will complement swimming.
She seems quite keen to do this regional swim squad training, but she's also keen on doing a bit more football or gymnastics. She is OK at both, but not particularly good (so therefore room for a lot of improvement)
Basically I worry that the kind of training they have in mind for her is just too much for a 7-year-old and she will get fed up of swimming altogether, which would be a great shame. On the other hand, if she really has potential to do well in swimming, and this is the route that is required, then it also seems a shame not to give it a try.
Any advice/comment would be most welcome.