11 Signs You Are Officially a Swim Parent

by SwimSwam 33

May 26th, 2017 Club, Lifestyle

Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham

It didn’t happen overnight, but there was one day I realized we’d made the leap to become a full on “swim family.” It was years ago when I stopped racing between Scouts, tennis, karate, piano, ballet and to the pool. By cutting out a lot of those activities, our lives became streamlined. My kids were the driving force to say they wanted to focus on swimming.

I remember with embarrassment when the president of our swim team called and asked if we could volunteer more hours at a home meet. “Sorry, but we have a life,” we said. Little did we know what our life would become. A year or two later, I joined the swim team’s board and my husband was meet manager. Our kids went from seasonal part-timers to dedicated year-round swimmers.

Here are my 11 top signs that you’re officially a swim family:


You have a car large enough to haul your kids, their friends and pop up tents to meets.


You do more than three loads of towels per week and own a ridiculous number of swim towels.


Your family vacations are planned around championship meets.


You look forward to out of town meets to catch up with your friends, who honestly, you only know from meets.


You’re on a first name basis and friends with swim officials and administrators.


You and your kids’ drawers are overflowing with an abundance of swim t-shirts, not only from their team, but from various meets.


You’ve joined Masters and are working on stroke count, balance and rotation.


You know who Katie Ledecky, Ryan Lochte, Matt Grevers and Nathan Adrian are. (Seriously, ask a non swim family—they might be able to recall the names Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin.)


You know neighboring cities from their pools.


You have apps on your phone called Deck Pass and Meet Mobile.


You read SwimSwam.com daily and subscribe to SwimSwam magazine.

What signs say you’re officially 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.

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5 years ago

Guilty of 10 out of 11 of those items on the list. Do I revert back to “normal” next year once they’re both swimming in college or morph into something even worse?

Reply to  SwimDad
5 years ago

If you’re anything like my parents, you basically become the assistant coach/manager in terms of looking up recruits and scoping out meets/the competition…except you keep it all to yourself and do it for fun, not for actual use.

Trenise Washington
Reply to  SwimDad
5 years ago

I am a active participant of at least 9 of the questions.

5 years ago

You watch replays of Swimming events like World Championship, and Nationals on your Smart TV, through YouTube on a Sunday, cause that’s the only day of the week when there is no practice.

5 years ago

Yup. Sounds like us. Except the Masters part.

Swim dad
Reply to  Barbotus
4 years ago

All the points fit us…planning for masters also

5 years ago

Number 12 – You license plate since 1986 says SWIMFAM

5 years ago

Guilty except 5&7 ?
Someday when my kids are no longer at our swim club I can try the masters to spare them from embarrassment ?

5 years ago

you can pick out your kid in the middle of a crowded warmup session by the way their arm comes out of the water in freestyle

Reply to  Mary
5 years ago

So true…

Reply to  Mary
5 years ago

Oh the truth in that statement!

5 years ago

(We moved states) Contact your daughters last club coach to see if she can practice with them when we visit.

5 years ago

All that you know about neighboring cities is where the pool is and where the quickest nearby carb restaurants are.