10 Awkward Moments Swimmers Experience

by SwimSwam 12

November 28th, 2016 International, Lifestyle, Masters, Opinion

Courtesy of Claire Forrest

Swimmers treat their team like a family, albeit a dysfunctional family. As with any close-knit group of well-meaning people, awkward moments will ensue. Luckily, you have your family of teammates who have all been there and will help you get through it. Here are some common swimmer moments that are just a tiny bit awkward.

10) Drinking out of someone else’s water bottle

…and getting caught in the act. Whether you meant to grab the wrong water bottle at the end of the lane because you forgot your own or if it was an honest mistake, fending off that death stare from your victimized teammate is tough. Chlorine kills germs, right?!

9) Hairy situations.

Male swimmers are all guilty of asking their female teammates for leg shaving tips at the end of the season, and female swimmers have all attended a Homecoming dance during the swimmer version of No Shave November. Let’s just say there’s a reason swimmers always take other swimmers to dances and it isn’t necessarily romantic. It’s because there is no judgment.

8) The half-hearted podium hug or handshake.

Do you shake the hands of everyone, even the people standing next to the podium? What about the one arm hug to the person towering above you from the first place spot? The things you go through in the name of good sportsmanship.

7) Being that person who can’t count or do mental math.

Is this the third round? We’ve done four 50s, right? We’re going on the top…no, the bottom… on the forty-five? Your teammates and coaches all smile and nod at you just so they can see you sprint one more 50 only to get to the other wall before realizing the set is over.

6) Exposing yourself as a Sammy Save-Up.

“Last one, fast one” on that set of 10 x 100s takes on a whole new meaning when you almost get a personal best time on the tenth repetition. Why can’t I go that fast in competition you ask, coach? Uh, I actually don’t know…

5) Putting on a racing suit with the help of three people.

This is an act of real love. Pure and simple. Even if you tell them you forgot to use the bathroom beforehand.

4) Swim cap and goggle tan.

Not to mention those attractive one-piece suit tan lines. You never have to answer the question, “What did you do this summer?” because everyone can tell you spent it swimming.

3) Never being able to hang out with your non-swimmer friends.

But it’s okay, you’ve got your team, and a three-day meet to eat up all your free time.

2) Accidently touching another swimmer while doing backstroke in warm ups.

Do not make eye contact with them at the wall, whatever you do. Claim it wasn’t you. You would never do that. (Sorry!)

1) When your crush deck changes in front of you.

Make a wrong move and everyone will know! (This stands for both parties.)

Claire ForrestClaire Forrest is a recent graduate of Grinnell College with a degree in English. She is currently based in Minneapolis, Minnesota as a freelance writer. The only competitive swimmer in her family, Claire went to her first swim meet at the age of eleven on a whim without even knowing what a swim cap was. She fell in love with the sport and never looked back. A S6 classified disabled swimmer for US Paralympics, Claire specialized in mid-distance freestyle and backstroke and made national and world rankings throughout her career. She was a 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Trials participant. Claire is passionate about integrating disability swimming into the larger swim community, having swum for able-bodied club teams and her college’s DIII team. She enjoyed both Paralympic and prominent integrated able-bodied meets equally for the many commonalities they share. Over 13 years after her first meet, she’s happy to report she now owns more swim caps than she can count. 

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Wondering what happened with that race only to find out you looked at the wrong lanes time.

Unfortunately, this one works both ways and is never fun when you look at a lane that went as fast as you were expecting to go… And you weren’t even close.

Naya Missy

So true! Once I was in a race where the swimmer next to me had the same last name as me, and the scoreboard showed only our last names. She went the time I wanted to, so I thought I had achieved it (and so had my coach), but then we realized we looked at the wrong time…


haha, ya #2 happened to me, in both ways, I got a handful and someone else got a handful. Honestly I felt so bad, I think I apologized to her about 15 times.


#2 happens all the time! Heck, I swam with the same group of folks for five years (we all moved up to the senior group at the same time) and it got to the point that I could tell who I touched in backstroke just by how their butt felt. One of those swimming things, I guess!

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