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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Amen to that!
6 years ago

So true! I can add a few more to this but the reality is folks, this is your kids sport. If you can’t handle your little darling learning how to be on a team and yes, taking some knocks – move on. Sooner or later Jr. will have to figure it out or be that jerk teammate nobody can stand.

6 years ago

This article should be listed under ‘fact’, not ‘opinion’.

Jeffrey Conwill
6 years ago

I actually love when these parents do this. Keeps me thinking that what I am doing is for the kids and their families and not all about furthering my career. I loved that old my club team was like this.

6 years ago

I like the picture!!

6 years ago


4 years ago

Good advice!

4 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.

4 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.