10 Reasons Why Swim Dads Are The Best Dads – Father’s Day

by SwimSwam Contributors 9

June 16th, 2017 Lifestyle

Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham

Swim dads are the unsung heroes of swimming and without them, teams would have a tough time staying afloat. I wrote about how swim moms are the backbone of swim teams and I believe dads deserve praise as well. Some swim dads are responsible for the day-to-day responsibility of getting kids to and from practice, while others help with meets and fundraising. There are many things dads do to help their children, teams and swim family.

Here are 10 reasons to be thankful for swim dads:


Dads drive their kids to practice and meets and make the drive more fun by stopping for treats on the way home.


Dads do the heavy lifting to set up swim meets and carry pop-up tents at away meets. They’re the last ones on deck tearing down and putting meet equipment away.


At meets, dads are not shy about stepping up to help wherever they’re needed—whether it’s behind the hot grill, wearing the neon vest as a deck marshal or timing.


A silly joke from a dad plus a big hug can end a swimmer’s tears after missing a cut for the big meet.


Swim dads spend entire weekends at the pool without a complaint to watch their kids swim a few minutes.


They freely give advice and reach out to newer swim families.


At the end of a long weekend, after the sprint and IM families have gone home, you’ll find dads lap counting for their distance kids.


Dads often serve on parent boards and volunteer their expertise in making decisions.


Dads encourage their swimmers to be their best and cheer loudly for their kids and teammates.


Dads are a source of unconditional love. They love their children regardless if they get a personal best or DQ.

Why are you thankful for swim dads?

Elizabeth 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.

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4 years ago

My mom definitely put more time and energy into swimming, and was the one who would try to coach my sibling and me behind the scenes. But even being a bit more more removed, my dad always knew the right thing to say when we were in the car to get us motivated to swim fast at meets. He probably didn’t know that, and in hindsight might have felt like he didn’t have a part in our swimming career. But our swim family wouldn’t have lasted without both of them.

cynthia curran
Reply to  iLikePsych
4 years ago

My dad was the one that got me into competitive swimming. He ran the 440 in high school.

Lane Four
4 years ago

Oh, I love that photo of Boomer in Bob’s arms. Michael looking on. Great photo! Wonderful photo!

California Sunshine
Reply to  Lane Four
4 years ago

I’m wondering who’s the SWIM dad in that photo. Is Boomer already competing? Or is Bob Bowman actually Phelp’s dad?

4 years ago

Didn’t know Father’s Day was this week until I saw this article, thank you swimswam

4 years ago

I do most things as swim mom. However, DH always has the right thing to say in success or defeat to support our swimmer. Sometimes it’s the small things that make the difference swimdads…don’t forget that 🙂

4 years ago

My Dad likes watching me, but deep down he wishes I became a soccer player like he did.

4 years ago

While this is not a universal gender rule, at least when I grew up swimming in the 80s, Dads knew how to give their kids the right kick in the pants when needed. It’s not always about sunshine and rainbows; sometimes a parent needs to tell their kid to put on their big boy pants and make some changes. When the message was delivered correctly, I know my friends and I listened; we might not have liked it at first, but soon realized that our Dads were correct.

4 years ago

Great, BUT, Mum did all the driving