6 Things Parents Like to Do at Meets

by SwimSwam Contributors 6

September 04th, 2018 Lifestyle, Swim Mom

Courtesy: Elizabeth Wickham

Some parents love meets, while others not so much. For some, meets are like a reunion of sorts, seeing old friends who are coaches, officials and other swim families. Meets can also be nerve-wracking, especially when you’re newer to the sport and don’t know what heat your children are in or when they’ll swim.

Here’s are six ways to get more enjoyment out of swim meets:


Volunteer. If you’re the busy type and can’t stand waiting for hours on end for your child’s 30-second swim, find a way to pass the time by helping out. Many parents who don’t enjoy being idle, eventually go through the process to become officials. Others volunteer and help organize their home meets and always take a timing chair when they’re at an away meet.


Sew. Knit. Crochet. I know countless swim moms who use the time on deck to create gorgeous scarves, hats and quilts for their swimmers. They’re organized, skilled and super fast at completing a project during the time they sit on deck.


Walk. I burned up my nervousness by walking laps on nearby tracks or around park trails. Miles and miles I walked at meets. I walked with my husband and other swim parents. We solved many world problems during our walking and talking sessions. Somehow we managed to make it back at the right moment to watch our kids swim.


Read or Work. It can be possible to find a small quiet place alone to read that book you’ve been wanting to return to. Or, bring your laptop and make some progress on that work project. We recently discovered portable batteries for our laptop and phones! How I wish I’d been aware of them years ago when they first came out!


Stay clear of gossip. There’s nothing that sours a meet more quickly than listening to an unhappy parent. Whether they don’t like the new suit rules or are aggravated at the coach, one upset parent can turn the entire meet experience into something ugly. Listen empathetically if someone has a problem, but have your radar out for that constant complainer or gossip.


Cheer and celebrate. Have fun with fellow swim parents and make a cheer squad. I’ve been fortunate to be with some of the loudest, most fun parents at meets. We’ve arrived with pompoms, noisemakers and even a vuvuzela, which strangely got broken quickly. The fun times with other parents builds the camaraderie of the team, embarrasses our kids, and is just plain fun.

What’s your favorite way to pass time at a swim meet?

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.

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2 years ago

Seems like watching the actual swimming, other than your swimmer, might be an activity at a meet. Watch the technique differences of various swimmers, how races progress thru laps, tight races with swimmers going stroke for stroke in any heat. Watch the looks on faces of swimmers (not just yours) as they reach the blocks for good and “bad” swims, watch as they go talk to their coach after the swim and reactions of coaches and swimmers. Look at the psych sheet at higher level meets to see how kids are performing during training versus best times. There is a lot of interesting stuff going on down on deck, and in the pool, between your swimmer’s swims.

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2 years ago

I have never seen anyone knit or sew at a meet.


I have. Many times. I had a swimmer that used to do it. Kept her calm.

Mediocre Swammer

My mom used to do cross-stitch, though I am not sure if she ever did finish that Christmas stocking.

2 years ago

I have 3 kids close in age so I never got to “take walks”. Often, I tried to sit in the stands. I could never focus on work because I felt selfish for not cheering along other swimmers. I enjoy cheering for everyone, but 2 or 3 days of it in multiple sessions left me flat. I absolutely love being a volunteer…especially when they really need it. It’s important for our children to see us as more than chauffeurs!! 🙂 Volunteer as much as possible!! It’s a great way to be connected to the athletes and team leaders.

2 years ago

I could never understand the comment, “They can’t hear you, you know,” whenever I cheered or whistled. It IS a sports event, why be there and turn around to fellow parents in the seats and say something like that? If you don’t like the noise then perhaps you should just stay away… 🤦‍♀️
The kids most definitely should be cheered on, especially after all their hard work!