5 Things This Club Swimming Mom Will Miss

by SwimSwam 13

May 10th, 2015 Club, Lifestyle

Courtesy of Swim Mom Margaret Blood

Why don’t you put the kids on the swim team? It was 13 years ago when a parent from my summer pool club said these words to me. Those 10 words altered the course of my family’s lives for the next 13 years – in a very good way. Summer swim lead to winter swim, which lead to long course then High School swimming and finally today, to both my children swimming for Division I college teams. During this time I have laughed, cried, complained, driven to the far ends of our state, and watched thousands of swim races. Looking back I would not have changed a thing. Now that my time as a club swimming mom is coming to an end I have realized that there are 5 things I will truly miss.

1. First Warm-ups

Yes, those warm-ups that occur very early in the morning before the sun comes up. But the reason may surprise you; a cup of coffee. There is no better tasting cup of coffee then the coffee obtained from the only coffee shop open at 5am on a Saturday morning in January, with the threat of a snow storm on the horizon as you drive to a first warm up at a pool an hour and a half away. That cup of coffee rivals any glass of fine wine. This is when you really understand the power of a cup of coffee. All other cups of coffee pale in comparison.

2. Time standards

Time is a funny thing. Seconds, one hundredths of a second, one thousandths of a second go unnoticed every day. Things are not affected by this small amount of time. However, to my swimmer in the pool and me cheering in the stands a great victory was celebrated over .01 of a second. I’ll always remember the day my daughter swam a 59.99 in the 100 freestyle after a whole season of swimming a 1:00 plus. I celebrate the day they made their first JO cut by .01, the day they got their first national cut by .01 and the day they set their first pool record by .01; nowhere else did one one-thousandth of a second mean more to me then when they were in the pool.

3. Morning Practices

Getting up at 4:45am to drive to my children to the pool for a 5am morning practice is never fun but the reward can be great. The words I dreaded most from my teenager on a Friday night were; I’m going out. Those words become more dreaded once they began to drive. However, mix 3 days of 5am practices, 5 days of afternoon practice, all weekend swim meet with finals, homework and a little thing called school, and many a Friday night at my house the most wonderful words to hear became; I’m going to bed. Music to my ears.

4. All Weekend Swim Meets

It was always a great feeling when I set up my beach chair in a hallway or gym or I found that perfect seat in the stands and I realized that for the next four, maybe five hours, I could just read. That was exactly what I did. Sure I would watch my kids swim but for the bulk of the day they were also sitting on the pool deck. So, my time was my own. I have read hundreds of books. I have shared book titles with those around me and received many a great book suggestion. I have even been part of an impromptu book club right there in the stands with parents from the other teams when they saw what I was reading.

5. Long Drives

Now some of you may be thinking I am crazy and I would have even said I am crazy for thinking this just a few short years ago, but these drives became uninterrupted time with my children. We were trapped in a car together and there was nothing else to do but talk. I learned about their school life, their friends, and their musical tastes. I learned a whole lot about swimming and other swimmers. I gave my encouragement for the meet ahead, gave my advice about a problem they shared, and was even able to sneak in a little real music; Bon Jovi, Bruce and Bono.

I am far from done with swimming. I still have two children in the MAAC college conference, swimming at different schools so I will still be pool side for a while longer. Except now, it will be every once in a while when the meets are close to home. I’ll go well after warm-ups and the focus will no longer be on their time but rather on the team’s score. But rest assured, I‘ll be the mom at our summer pool club who says to another mother with young children; “why don’t you put your kids on the swim team. It just may be the best 13 years of your life!”

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You had me at ” able to sneak in a little real music; Bon Jovi, The Boss, and Bono.”
Great story about how the family of swimming thrives and lives on by word of mouth…

Water is fabulous stuff


You lost me at #4 “So, my time was my own.”. Seems like you missed the most important part of a swim meet from a parent’s perspective – putting in the time to make the meet happen, forging friendships with other parents through timing / officiating / manning the concessions booth / etc., and showing your swimmers the value of volunteering.


I would agree if this was an every meet thing. Truthfully, if you’re at an away meet or unless you opt to officiate, there’s not much for a visiting parent to do. Sure they can always use timers but most of the clubs in our LSC assign times to the various teams so you could still have a lot of down time on your hands. And, depending on the size of your team, a parent may only have an hour or two of concession stand or other activity while at home. Not everyone enjoys volunteering and consider it a necessary evil and only do it because it’s required by many teams. We don’t know if that’s the case with this… Read more »


Wow, what LSC has the luxury of excess volunteers? I want to travel to one of those meets just to bask in the awesomeness of hosts not wanting or needing any help at all! We consistently put in announcement after announcement for timers – including half-hour delays to session starts – because we can’t get two dozen grownups (out of several hundred warm bodies in the stands) go to the trouble of holding a plunger while the kids swim their hearts out. This happens at almost every open meet in our LSC and even happens at our championship meets (both prelims and finals). Considering that it takes about 100 volunteers to make a 600-swimmer meet run well (although we can… Read more »


It’s not an excess of volunteers so much as pre-assignment. In my LSC (same one as the author) the host club generally provides all non-Official manpower for a meet. This typically includes one timer per lane. Visiting clubs are assigned timing responsibilities to man a second timer per lane. One week prior to the meet a communication goes out to all participating teams informing of a) any change to schedules, b) warm-up assignments (if applicable), and c) timing assignments. So club XYZ might be assigned Lanes 1 and 2 for Session 1, and Lane 5 for Session 2. It’s then up to the club to manage how they fill those assignments. Only rarely do we have a significant issue. There’s… Read more »


Add to this list above, “Judge Other Parents.”

No kidding! I bet this Mom does a lot for her team but occasionally gets to sit and relax. I volunteer at meets hosted by our club but we don’t ask for volunteers from the other clubs. I have never had a meet held up because of lack of timers. Love it was assumed she doesn’t volunteer just because she didn’t list it as something she will miss. I will definitely not miss being a meet Marshall. A job that requires you to tell children all day long to quit having fun.

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