12 Tips for Parents about College vs. Club Meets

by SwimSwam 39

November 06th, 2016 Club, College, Lifestyle, Opinion

Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham

After 15 years as an age group swim mom, this is my first year as a parent of a college swimmer. I love both roles, but there are big differences between the two. Especially at swim meets.

I’ve discovered 12 things that are different at college dual meets:

One

Parents sit in the stands above the pool. There is no way down to the pool deck.

Two

They won’t ask you to time.

Three

You aren’t driving your swimmers to meets or staying with them in hotels.

Four

The meets are really, really short.

Five

You can’t ask your swimmer after each event, “How did that feel?” or “What did the coach say?”

Six

It’s rare to see parents make spectacles of themselves.

Seven

There’s no snack bar and no breakfast burritos.

Eight

You can’t check on your swimmer to see if he gets to the blocks on time. Or needs water or gatorade.

Nine

You’ll watch your “too cool teenager” enthusiastically yell during the team cheer.

Ten

Your focus will be on team scores. Not your individual swimmer’s times.

Eleven

No parent volunteers are required. No set up or tear down, either.

Twelve

You won’t even think about talking to the head coach about how your swimmer is doing during a meet.

What differences do you see between college and age group swim meets?

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/.

AB

39
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GOBLUE

You forgot about tailgating!!

dmswim

Be prepared to coordinate parent T-shirts, swimmer gifts, and signs for the championship meet and don’t be surprised if you are asked to wear body paint for finals!

cpswims

All true! As a former college swimmer from the 1980’s, I had not attended a conference dual meet in 20 years prior to taking my then Age Group swimming kids to an event at my Big 10 alma mater few years ago. I was stunned to find the stands full of parents & fans from both teams all dressed in school colors leading cheers. In my era, we were lucky to get a half dozen friends – mostly from other “Olympic” sports to show up! All the parents were very polite and made us feel at home.

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