by Olivier Poirier-Leroy. Join his weekly motivational newsletter for competitive swimmers by clicking here.
Being a swim mom is no joke. It’s a near endless cycle of driving, packing, planning, cheering, volunteering and more driving. On top of the kazillion weekly workouts is the fact that our season is so long that the break between the last championship meet and “training camp” was what amounted to an extra long weekend.
My mom managed it somehow, and looking back, I cannot possibly understand how she did it. Between myself and my two sisters we swam in different groups, at different times, at different schools.
To this day I imagine the only way she was able to manage the balancing act of working full time and car-pooling/volunteering/feeding us over the years was by driving between schools and pools like Jeff Gordon runs his race car
In the words of the late poet Tupac Shakur in his 1995 ode to mothers, “Dear Mama”: And there’s no way I can pay you back / But my plan is to show you that I understand / You are appreciated.
Here are 6 reasons swim moms kick a whole ton of butt:
1. Swim moms remember the small things.
A lot of things get dropped after a long day of distance workouts and school. Laundry, for instance. They remember to put your towel and suit in the dryer/wash after a day of two distance workouts. Not much worse than putting on a wet suit at the following morning’s outdoor workout, and then trying to dry yourself with a soggy, rolled up towel.
2. Swim moms act as the voice of reason early in the morning.
Even though we hated you for it at the time, when you come in to wake us up for morning workout by turning on all the lights, ripping our sheets off and threatening to wake up dad (who would come downstairs wielding a pitcher of water) we were certainly grateful for it the next time a meet came around and we pounded that personal best time into the next week.
3. The team swim moms got our back too.
Even if they aren’t our moms, it’s a nice feeling to get a “great swim!” from someone else’s parents after a big success. When things don’t go well, the “You’ll get ‘em next time” from a teammate’s swim mom is a bit of consolation in the face of defeat.
4. Swim moms are volunteers with MBA’s.
Like driving us to practice, making sure we are properly fed, and that we are packing all of our gear wasn’t enough, swim moms are also part of the machinery that makes the swim club work.
From fundraisers, to putting time in at late night board meetings, to officiating, to organizing meets, swim moms earn an honorary business degree while performing volunteer duties and time to make the team run.
5. Swim moms are our number one cheerleaders.
Sure, they might appear to lose their sanity a little bit in the stands screaming at us to swim harder (we’re trying, promise!), but we know it comes from a place of love, and even though we might get a little embarrassed by the attention from time to time rest assured that we will come to appreciate it very much.
6. Swim moms get bit by the swim bug.
My parents didn’t have a clue about the sport of swimming when I and my sisters fell in love with it. They both immersed themselves in the sport in order to support us in the best way possible.
This was a consistent theme with swimmers I grew up with; even today many of those former teammate’s parents are still involved at local meets even though their own kids long ago left the competitive side of the sport.
I know we all have our own reasons for throwing props to our swim moms. List yours in the comments below!
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I have never read such a true observation. Thank you for noticing Olivier! …and thank you for this article!
Swim moms take a lot of grief from other hateful parents and still maintain their responsibilities to their children and the program for the greater good.
We as a family, My wife and myself did all of the above things for many years as our boys went from the 6th grade through high school. After the last one went to college, we had to develop a whole bunch of new friends because our old friends were still swim parents. Our boys learn to be responsible and learn true work ethis as swimmers.
#7 They cok GREAT food when typical swimmer stomach kicks in. (Not all moms, some dads too, because some mom’s can’t cook No sexism intended btw)
Many moms on our team make some amazing food for the hospitality room.
This is a kind little acknowledgement. My husband does the volunteer and talks more about the sport, I take care of driving, laundry, and food. Divide and conquer. I like to keep the focus on the swimmer though, they do the work they should get the accolades.
Thank you to all the swim moms and dads that help support their children and teams. Regardless of your understanding of the sport, it is appreciated.
We had a rule in our house for our daughter – “If you don’t come and wake us we won’t be taking you training” it’s simple – if they want to swim they will wake you!