10 Things Swimmers Say to Each Other They Can’t Say to Their “Normal” Friends

DSC_0600 (2)Thanks to special correspondents Caroline, Victoria, Madeleine, and Isabelle Lepesant for writing the following article:



Swimmers have a language unto themselves. The way we talk to each other is different from the way we talk to our non-swimmer friends. Here are ten examples:

1.  “Oh! I didn’t recognize you with your clothes on!”

Swimmers spend somewhere between 20-30 hours a week nearly naked. We get so used to seeing each other with wet hair, wet skin, and bare midriffs that we don’t always recognize each other when fully clothed.

2.  “Are you going to finish that?”In N Out

Swimmers are notorious eaters. Which makes it a lot of fun to go to restaurants with our non-swimmer friends who may or may not be counting calories.

3.  “Yeah but they were suited and tapered.”

Like a handicap in golf, swimmers have their own code for leveling the playing field.

4.  “Ew. That team has so much swimcest.”

It’s just weird when people from the same team date each other.

5.  “Yes! We get ten seconds of rest!”

In any given set, the difference between 5 seconds of rest and 10 second of rest is huge. The harder the set, the more important it becomes.

6.  “He’s such a Sallie-Save-Up!”

Swimmers don’t have a lot of respect for anyone who bags the first half of practice so they can look good beating everyone else in the dive set.

7.  “My shoulders are too big for this dress.”

Just about every swim girl’s worst nightmare. If we could just get it past the shoulders, the dress would fit fine…

Grocery shopping during taper.

Grocery shopping during taper.

8.  “Will you shave my back?”

At their taper meet, boys have shaving parties. Because every hair creates drag and you can’t shave your own back.

9.  “I can’t…it’ll ruin my taper.” 

The greatest week in a swimmer’s year is taper. Can’t walk up a flight of stairs. Can’t bring in the groceries. Best excuse in the world for neglecting our chores.

10.  “I’m SwimSwam famous!”

Being retweeted, regrammed, and/or shouted out by @SwimSwamNews…. There’s just no way to explain this one to non-swimmers.

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bobo gigi

Funny. 🙂


1. “Oh! I didn’t recognize you with your clothes on!”

ya, try having this said to you by the president of your University, he used to be a swimmer that’s how I got to know him. He said that to me at a Formal banquet event for alum to meet a few current students that hold leadership positions. Needless to say the 2 alum swimmers with me laughed and everyone else seemed to turn a bright shade of red. Had to explain what he meant after that.

Kirk Nelson

As the “old guy” swimming with a bunch of teenagers I think it’s in my best interest to steer well clear of #1!


I accidentally said this to two of my swimmers (teenage twin sisters) when we ran into each other at a restaurant a few months ago. I had just sat down to eat and they walked up and said hi. Didn’t recognize them at first, but then they said who they were and I blurted out that comment. They and their mom, who had walked up behind them, just laughed. No harm with them…but we did get strange looks from the other folks in the restaurant!


I had my mom say that to me when I said hello to a teammate of mine in the mall. I had only been swimming with the guy for 5 years by that point but hey curly hair looks different when its dry,

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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