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

13 Comment threads
5 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
16 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted

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 been… Read more »

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

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: SWIMMING IS HONEST Kids know success in this sport means signing up for the grind. If you don’t do the work it shows up. SWIMMING IS MENTALLY HEALTHY 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 be a Cal… Read more »

CA Sunshine

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 to… Read more »


The ultimate objective/fair sport

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.


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