Swimming can be a highly competitive sport -- even at the 11- to 12-year-old level. A lot of pressure is on youth swimmers to perform at the top of their game to win swim meets. Some swimmers might be naturally fast while others may require training to reach improved swimming times. Through regular exercise, swim practice and strength-training, 11- to 12-year-olds can improve their swimming times.
Practice different strokes. Allow a child to try out a variety of different strokes including the breaststroke, butterfly, freestyle and backstroke. Allow a child to explore their strong points and weaknesses.
Have competitions. Hold friendly competitions within your child's swim team. Friendly competition can encourage a child to swim faster and give it her all.
Swim regularly. Swimming is a form of cardiovascular exercise. The American Heart Association recommends that children participate in 60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day.
Cross-train. Allow your child to build stamina and speed by cross-training. Have a child pick another sport or physical activity -- including running, brisk walking, jumping rope, basketball, dancing, soccer or aerobics. Cross-training will prevent a child from losing interest in swimming by providing variety.
Participate in light strength-training. Strength-train two to three times per week, according to the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Have a child perform leg extensions, squats, lunges, triceps curls and bicep extensions. Developing muscles will help a child propel through the water more quickly.
When participating in strength-training, allow a child to take a day off in between strength-training workouts. This can help prevent injury and provide time for a child's muscles to rebuild themselves.