3 Reasons Why Swim Parents Get A Bad Rap

Written and courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham

Weve all seen the parent who comes unglued at a swim meetor perhaps weve been that parent ourselves. With emotions running high, swim meets can be a hotbed of outrageous behavior. Ive watched parents berate their children for adding time and storm out of meets. Last week, I watched in horror as a parent yelled across the pool at a coach. Where do these histrionics come from?

When were wrapped up in how our kids are performing, sometimes the worst comes out in us. In my opinion, its the traits that make swim parents so great that can be a double-edged sword and spark an action wed like to take back. Dont get me wrong, swim parents can be the most generous, enthusiastic and fun people. Occasionally, a swim parent has one of those momentsthat gives us all a bad rap.

Here are three traits that make swim parents the bestbut can cause problems if left unchecked:



I love swimming and being a swim parent. I think swimming is one of the best activities our family has ever been involved in and has shaped my children with grit, personal responsibility and determination. We have to be passionate about swimming to volunteer, drive to the pool before sunrise, and tailor our schedules around practice and meets for years.



Swim parents are involved in their childrens lives. We all want the best for our kids, academically, socially and athletically. We volunteer in the community, school and at the pool to make our world better. Ive rarely met swim parents who arent involved in their kids’ lives.



Often swim parents are former athletes themselves, and usually are pretty successful in their work. Even without athletic backgrounds, we may still have that competitive bug. Have you ever noticed how many A-typeparents are running around the pool deck?

What traits do you see swim parents having that can be viewed as a blessing and a curse?

Elizabeth 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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5 years ago

Those aren’t the reason parents get a bad rep. The reasons are
1) intrusiveness
2)coaching with no knowledge
3) complaining ​instead of supporting.

5 years ago

I think it was Gary Hall Sr who said something like…let the kids have their own expierience without the parents around. It’s not like parents are showing up at math tests etc…