5 Things I Did Not Expect My Kids To Learn From Swimming

by SwimSwam 12

October 09th, 2017 Club, Lifestyle, News, Opinion

Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham

I look back on joining our local swim club as one of the most important things that shaped my kids’ lives.

We started our swim adventure when they were six months old in a “mommy and me” class at the city pool. After bouncing around in several sports, they both found their passion in the pool.

Besides the more obvious things that swimming has taught my kids, like water-safety, time management, goal setting, perseverance, accountability, character, fitness and grit, there were a few more things my kids learned—things I never imagined they’d learn from being soaked in chlorine.

Here are five other things swimming taught my kids:


Public Speaking

For both my kids, part of being on the team meant standing up and speaking. Whether it was at an awards banquet, talking to a local reporter at the pool, or announcing at a meet, their swim club provided many opportunities to work on this important life skill.


Talking to adults

A master swimmer told me she sponsored my daughter for our swim-a-thon because my daughter always exchanged pleasantries with her after early morning practice. Having good relationships with their coaches, officials and other swim parents has helped them become self confident around adults.



Every single day my kids had to be organized. Whether it was packing their swim bags the night before, or balancing homework with practice, they had to be organized to survive. One of my proudest swim mom moments was when my son organized an intrasquad meet and the coach let him run with it. Lots of organizational skill were learned then.



Being a member of a team means all kids are included. My favorite memories were at meets when the kids hung out under the pop-up tents playing Catch Phrase or Speed. Friendships were made from the six-year-olds to high school seniors.



Have you ever thought about all the numbers involved at the pool? My kids think differently because of the clock, lap counter, intervals, meters, yards, seconds, and hundredths of seconds. That’s a lot of numbers and statistics was easier for my kids than for some of their non-swimming friends.

What have your kids learned from being on a swim team?

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.

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Joel Lin
6 years ago

Swimming is simply the best sport for kids. I am biased, but I am also right. This sport and all of the people in it from the athletes and their parents are second to none. Youth sports is now fraught with youth pressures and diabolical parental behavior to an extreme that is just unhealthy. Soccer, AAU basketball, baseball, lacrosse, etc. Those sports have real problems. I love that swimming is a sanctuary for all that is good about youth sports. There’s no such thing as a bad swimming parent. Pre-dawn, sitting at meets for 6+ hour blocks, driving all those miles and eating at all those meals at swim meet tents and still smiles and still gratitude for what this… Read more »

Swim Giggles LLC
Reply to  Joel Lin
6 years ago

We’re biased toward swimming as well. 🙂 However, you make a good point about “no such thing as a bad swim parent.” Unfortunately, there are probably a few out there, but none that we have run into at practices or meets. None, that one thinks, “that person needs to leave.” Hopefully swimming can continue to stay a positive experience for all concerned. Happy swimming! 🙂

Reply to  Swim Giggles LLC
6 years ago

There’s some that put a lot of pressure on their kids…they take them to other pools to work on stroke technique, take them to additional “stroke coaches”, watch videos, take videos during practice, film every race and “review film” after the meet, etc. I’ve seen that work for them, but I’ve also seen some of those kids quit swimming or get injured due to overtraining.

Reply to  Joel Lin
6 years ago

Ha, I’ve seen a few bad swim parents. We had one control-oriented mom at a club that self-elected herself as team manager and would plan “team” events and exclude members of the team, make group hotel reservations and only tell her friends, organize team breakfasts but not allow others to contribute, and use passive-aggressive cliquey behavior toward parents she could not control.

I’ve seen other ultra-competitive parents, many that don’t understand swimming, and some that have unrealistic goals/expectations. The key is being willing to learn and adjust to the ability and motivation of the swimmer.

Be positive, your kid will be making lifelong friends and the parents can too.

But, also many good ones who are supportive… Read more »

6 years ago

Swimming is Math, and Math is Swimming. I coach and I tell my kids this all the time!

a swim mom
6 years ago

Totally agree that swimming is math! My 9 year old got confused recently on a math problem that involved multiplying 25 by something. The problem required her to do it in her head instead of on paper. But when she thought of it in terms of “how many yards is 5 25’s?” (i.e., 5 25-yard laps), she said, “Oh! That’s just like what Coach Susan says at practice. It’s 125.”


6 years ago

I love this article. My kids gained all of these benefits, and more! I had no idea iswimming would prove to be such a valuable part of their life experience. I’m be ever grateful that we first made the choice to get them into swimming, and then that we were all on board for the commitment it took to stay with it.

Swim/Tri momma
6 years ago

Agree about math. My daughter struggles until we put it in swim terms. Then she blows it away. Wish the math teacher could teach the entire year in “swim language”. A fit mind and body sport.

Eileen linciln
4 years ago

I agree with alm of your 5 points. My kids really learned respect. Respect for coaches, parents, their competitors and the records they broke. But it’s good to share all the experiences we parents shared in raising our swimmers. Thanks for your post.

4 years ago

I loved how the little ones watched the older ones and tried to emulate them and how in turn the older ones took the younger ones under their wings. After 10 years it gave full experience from hero worship to leadership.

Fred Wagner
4 years ago

the discipline required to make morning practice carries over into daily life in the working world.