10 Reasons Why I’m Thankful to be a Swim Parent

by SwimSwam 18

May 14th, 2018 Club, Lifestyle, Opinion

Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham


My kids have always been good sleepers. I never had an issue with bedtime.


Homework. Swimmers don’t have time to procrastinate. They often work ahead.


Hard Work. They value working hard. Success came to them, not through raw talent, but through their work ethic.


Accountability. Swimming taught my kids accountability for their actions. Our coach illustrated how attendance affected his senior group in terms of percentages of best times. The numbers did not lie.


Goal Setting. Swimmers learn this skill early on trying for a red or blue time or a JO cut and beyond.


Toughness. Swimming gives kids self-confidence. Swimmers are tough physically and mentally.


Stress. Meets teach swimmers how to handle stress. A former swimmer said her coworkers marvel at how calm she stays while they freak out over deadlines. “Deadlines are nothing compared to being the anchor on a relay at Nationals or standing on the blocks at Trials,” she said.


Friendships. Not only with teammates, but throughout our LSC, and college team. I’m talking about my kids’ friendships, and mine, too! Swimming is a family.


Rewards. My daughter told me that she’s not into “instant gratification.” The whole concept is foreign to her.


Persistence. My kids never give up. On anything. Whether it’s getting into a class that’s full, or landing a show at the college radio station, they will not take no for an answer. Persistence comes after countless hours in the pool, eventually achieving goals.

What are you thankful for as a swim parent?

Elizabeth WickhamElizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog: http://bleuwater.me/.

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
6 years ago

Two things I can think of to add:

1. Connected to persistence I would add long term goal setting and keeping; learning about delayed gratification versus instant gratification. This past short course season my daughter had severe health issues that prevented her from swimming 100%. We have been able, along with the coaches, to show her instances where swimmers have come back from far more severe injuries/health challenges than she has, with sometimes really long term recovery times. We have had to write off the entire short course season and readjust our expectations completely (which I think has been a great lesson for her as well) and just look forward to bouncing back in LC this summer. She has… Read more »

Carolyn Binder
Reply to  mamallama
6 years ago

Totally agree! Only females understand the bathing suit issue and that includes me as well. It’s been my experience that my daughters and their friends didn’t have this problem.

Joel Lin
6 years ago

Great article. I would add this as a parent of kids who have taken different sports paths, swimming and other sports, as a compare statement:

Kids know success in this sport means signing up for the grind. If you don’t do the work it shows up.
I love that swimming does not pile on certain anxieties. What do they think of me? What if the cool team I try out for cuts me? What if I don’t play on this club team or play for this prep school and it hurts my ability to get noticed by colleges? It is very disarming to know EXACTLY what the criteria is to… Read more »

CA Sunshine
Reply to  Joel Lin
6 years ago

So true about recruiting – having gone through swim recruiting vs. recruiting in other sports where there’s more nuance I can definitely say that I prefer swimming’s “raw facts”.

I agree with Joel Lin that there’s a real authenticity to swimming which creates a sense of ownership for swimmers. There’s no room for arguing that parents didn’t get the right video clips of outstanding plays, etc. We would tell our swimmer son from an early age that it was his name on that Meet Mobile app, not anyone else’s. And while we could do our best as parents to instill the character traits he would need as an individual and teammate, the times he posted would be largely up… Read more »

Reply to  Joel Lin
3 years ago

The ultimate objective/fair sport

Carolyn Binder
6 years ago

When my girls were competing at the club level there seemed to be a shared respect between males and females that we don’t normally see in athletics that separate the sexes or in the non athletic junior and senior high population. Theirs nothing like “we’re in this together” to bring on that respect.

Reply to  Carolyn Binder
3 years ago

I can’t think of a more co-ed sport and a sport with more gender equity than swimming

Dana Connell
6 years ago

Thank you for adding the comments about self-consciousness and male/female respect. I have three daughters who swam from age 5 and into college. When younger parents ask me about swimming these are two things I site most. Particularly the body image for females. Our society is so focused on model-like bodies and yet these kids put on their uniform and excel in their sport. It’s not about their body but it’s about their time in the pool, their form on the flip turn or their start off the block – technique and time, not what society looks for on the beach.
I also stress the team and family of male and female athletes working together for the team. I… Read more »

6 years ago

#2… Procrastination
My son gets his work done but he’s a number 1 procrastinator

6 years ago

mine is clean kids and equipment after practice on the car ride home vs. the stench of hockey and soccer, etc.

Reply to  jman
6 years ago


During swim season, I know that the kids are going to get wet and clean at least 4 times a week, more for meets…..and now my 10yo is staying at the pool to shower with a friend, so I don’t have the argument when she gets home about getting in the shower.

6 years ago
Sean McGonigal
6 years ago

All of these are very true. I just wanted to add that my children have elite core body strength due to swimming. My son is also a football player. He at 162lbs could easily handle 225 plus OL players. He’s one of the strongest players on his team of which has been in the top 25 in USAToday in high school football teams. My 2 swimmers are both strong beyond their natural size.