10 Things I Learned from Swim Moms

Courtesy: Elizabeth Wickham

I was so fortunate to have amazing swim moms on my children’s team when I was a newbie. They took me under their wings and taught me the ropes around the pool. We stayed friends years after our kids graduated from the team and have long phone conversations to this day. They shared their favorite volunteer jobs at meets. They helped me through the elementary and high school years by telling me about great teachers and when to schedule SAT tests. They even helped with college recruiting. I hope everyone has such helpful moms around them, too.

Here are 10 things about swimming that I learned from swim moms:


All kids progress at different rates. Don’t compare your kids to other swimmers.


When kids get older, it doesn’t matter when their birthday falls on the calendar. Aging up won’t be as big of a deal as it when they’re young.


You don’t need to buy an expensive tech suit for your kids when they are young. Wait until they are teens (USA Swimming and LSCs are taking care of this point!)


Don’t put your expectations on your child’s performance. Don’t put too much emphasis on their times.


Make sure your children rest between prelims and finals. A trip to a theme park or a big heavy meal in the middle of the day won’t be great for fast swims in the evening.


If your child has a decent score on their SAT or ACT’s and is getting a swim scholarship, don’t make them retake the tests over and over to get higher scores.


When you look at colleges, make sure your swimmer can see themselves at the school with or without swimming. Kids can get injured or may decide to quit.


When kids plateau in their best events, suggest they talk to their coach about swimming off events for a few meets. They may improve greatly in strokes and events they haven’t swum for a while.


Cheer for lots of swimmers besides your own. Be interested in how other kids are doing.


Enjoy every moment. Create memories, friendships and have fun with your kids.

What are the best things you’ve learned from other swim moms?

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: http://bleuwater.me/.

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T Hill
5 years ago

Thanks for some good pointers- share with members in our newsletter. #8 Expect & hope for some up/downs in performance, it happens in life. Have a conversation about finding ways to get consistently better in practice or the process; as we know it’s no different in other aspects of life. Ask the parents if the are always performing & focused at 100% of their best.

5 years ago

11. If your child is swimming fast and training well and sees a friend/teammate stuggling in training……
ask them reach down and lend them support , let them drag a few laps…tell them they can do it …
For the time will come, for every swimmer to struggle, and when they reach up for help……….
……..it will be of no surprise the hand the reaches down to repay the favour……….

Squads are stronger and faster when each member helps another…..

Mitch Johnson
5 years ago

We have a great swim family, we all cheer for all our swimmers, and we fully support our coaching staff. Great to be a Barracudda swim parent. !!

Reply to  Mitch Johnson
5 years ago


5 years ago

Your competitors are not your enemies. They will make your kid better. Your kid will make their competitors better. Then watch everyone ratchet up!

Reply to  Anonymous
5 years ago

Unfortunately, this aspect is often overlooked. Psycho parenting.

Sir Swimsalot
5 years ago

I can’t recall a single article about or for swim dads. Where’s the love for them?

Elizabeth Wickham
Reply to  Sir Swimsalot
5 years ago

Here’s one I wrote for Father’s Day. But you are correct, Swim Moms get more love. https://swimswam.com/10-reasons-why-swim-dads-are-the-best-dads-fathers-day/

5 years ago

SO MUCH great advice here! I think a mom’s greatest gift to their swimmer is helping them to maintain a balanced life, reminding them to “enjoy THEIR journey,” celebrat the accomplishments but maybe even more important, helping them to see and learn the many life lessons the sport of swimming offers along the way