The expectations on swimmers to train hard and often are very high, with a commitment to morning and afternoon sessions the norm. When a child moves into squad for the first time, they are introduced to competition swimming through a swimming club. Most swimming clubs belong to districts or local regions and have swimming competitions against each other.
Once they participate in competitions, they start setting goals of what they want to accomplish. Many swimmers who enjoy the sport set goals to represent their country at the Olympics or World Championships. It is this goal or ones similar that provide them with the drive to succeed at a young age. Goal setting is a very important part of being successful in any sport and in life. I have observed over many years parents who live their dreams through their kids and this often leads to an unhealthy relationship between the two, with the coach often caught in the middle. It is important that children have their own dreams and goals and are supported in trying to achieve them.
Most kids are pretty smart and they will work it out over time if their goals are realistic. It is important that they set short-term goals in place that lead towards their major goal. This is vital if they are to remain interested in the sport over time.
So I suggest you support your children with their goals and be there for them along the way. Let them dream and set their own goals and remember, always love your child unconditionally, regardless of their swimming performance.