8 Reasons Why Swimming Makes You a Better Parent

by SwimSwam 9

January 04th, 2019 Club, Lifestyle, Opinion

Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham

Swimming is a great sport for building character in our kids. As supportive swim parents, we rearrange calendars and vacations to accommodate the swim schedule. What do we get in return? I’m not talking about college scholarships, but how does being a swim parent make us a better person?

  1. Discipline.  We take our kids to practice all the time. Monday through Saturday—and for meets, Sundays, too. We also drive in the wee hours for practices.
  1. Volunteering. We step out of our comfort zones and take on new roles to help our team. Mine included asking businesses for donations—plus public speaking at parent meetings. You jump in and do what needs to be done. Volunteering makes us good citizens and role models for our kids.
  1. Less is More. We learn that the swimming pool is a place to step back and let our children figure things out for themselves. Sometimes, it takes a coach to give us a hint to do so.
  1. Patience. Swimming teaches us to be patient. We wait at practice. Wait for kids to finish their showers. Wait for best times. Wait at swim meets to watch our swimmer swim for a few minutes.
  1. Good sportsmanship. By cheering for other swimmers, we can model good sportsmanship for our kids. Also, by watching a few parents, we learn how not to behave.
  1. Humility. No matter how proud we are of our kids, we learn there are faster, more talented swimmers. Once you start going to meets, you find out about faster meets with more swimmers. It never stops. A record holder—at any level—will get that record broken.
  1. Appreciation. I’m impressed with how hard my kids work. They work to achieve goals without immediate success. I wonder if I could have been a student athlete?
  1. Community. Is there a stronger community than swimming? Swimmers and swim parents are family.

What have you learned as a swim parent to make you a better person? Please share.

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: http://bleuwater.me/.

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Retired swim-dad
9 years ago

Commitment. While I am grateful to the sport, the people, and the organizations; I admit–I must have been just a wee bit loony. I am happy we did it all, but I was more than willing to pass that baton when the time came.

9 years ago

Flexibility – I tend to plan ahead, usually to try to fit in the many activities my child wants to do. It’s ok to miss certain things, and I put the choices out there for my child. If she wants to participate in a school dance and miss practice, that’s ok. If she wants to leave practice 30 minutes early to get extra sleep before a big test, that’s ok. These are her choices.
It’s really stressful for me to wait until Friday afternoon to get a text for when weekend practices are, but that’s part of the process. We learn that not everyone is a planner, and that’s ok. It does give me flexibility and keeps me from overplanning.

9 years ago

9. PRIDE – I feel proud when I see my child work hard to accomplish a goal and achieve it no matter the amount of time it takes, number of meets to reach it, or obstacles in the way. I feel proud when my child begs for me to get her to practice early or to stay a few minutes longer. I am proud when my child cheers on her teammates or friends on other teams. I am proud of the example my child is setting for her little sister; showing her that to be the best you have to practice and work hard. I am proud when after a tough meet my child walks away knowing she left nothing… Read more »

9 years ago

Swimming taught me to appreciate everything happening around my kids. Taught me that not every meet is going to be a good one. There’ll be tears and disappointments, but with those tears comes a very responsible and strong swimmer. Strong mentally, physically and spiritually. Everyday is a learning experience both for our kids and mine, on deck and in every meet we are all in.
Thank you for another great article!

9 years ago

No matter how well I want my children to perform, I cannot swim the race for them. We are there to nurture and support. Therefore, we must exercise patience and understanding, for the journey is a long one. I certainly do not wish to have a heart attack in the stands because my child did not meet the goals I set for him. LOL We have had our share of miserable car rides leaving a meet. No more! Parents have expectations, but I realized long ago that I am lucky to be along for the ride!

7 years ago

You sound like a pushy parent

Reply to  Chloe
5 years ago

Some of us have made many mistakes and learned the error of our ways! I once knew all the times, had many comparisons, etc. Now I learn of best times when my kid tells me. When they ask how their swim looked, 90% of the time I simply say, it looked good to me. Other times its you looked tired at this point, or your pull outs look better. I made a gazillion mistakes to get here. Please don’t belittle our own process as parents. (eldest is a badger freshman) I get it Realswimdad!

Jennifer Looney
9 years ago

9. Trust. Trust your coach. Trust the process. Trust yourself.

9 years ago

Unless you have a dirty locker, than you’re a bad father.