3 Mistakes Swim Parents Should Never Make

by SwimSwam 11

June 28th, 2018 Lifestyle, Opinion, Swim Mom

Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham

During 15 years as a swim mom, I’ve watched parents make mistakes with the best of intentions. Maybe there are perfect swim parents out there, but some of us need to remember that swimming offers many life lessons. Step back, let your kids learn and have fun. You will, too.

Here are three tips on what swim parents should never do:


Take your swimmer’s side all the time. Your child tells you the coach was mean to him. Singled him out, or yelled at him. Your first reaction? Get really upset with the coach. Your child would never do anything wrong. After all, they have been perfect their entire lives.


Don’t bother to find out why—or what happened. After you’ve expressed your frustration about the coach to your swimmer, tell your child you’re going to have a word with the coach. Your child begs you not to.


Talk about it on deck. You follow your swimmer’s wishes and stay out of it. Instead, you talk about it with other parents on deck, during a meet or practice. You get sympathy, but you’ve dampened the team’s morale and undermined the coach.

The story doesn’t end there.

How about taking your complaint directly to the club president or write a letter to your LSC? Or, the A.D. if it’s a high school coach. Whatever you do, don’t talk to your kid’s coach and find out the entire story. If you did, you might find out something that you didn’t want to hear.

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/.

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Joanie Johnson
5 years ago

Great articles. Thanks Elizabeth!

5 years ago

I’m so old that I remember it being AAU instead of US swimming. I think AAU divided swimming into regions as well. They also had more indpt novice swimming back in the late 1960’s and 1970’s.

Swim Giggles
7 years ago

It’s hard when the mama bear instinct kicks in, but this article shares some tough love all parents need to keep in mind. 🙂

7 years ago

I would add one more: say you are going to find another club/team to your swimmer or on the deck. Some will welcome it, your child will fear it and the morale will drop even lower.

7 years ago

And yet…worse thing I ever did was NOT follow up when the coach WAS yelling, berating & verbally abusive. Your child’s mental health is so much more important than your parental reputation. Be sure to listen & willing to support them.

7 years ago

Good advice!

9 years ago


9 years ago

I like the picture!!