8 Swim Moms Tips to Survive & Soar

by SwimSwam 12

May 10th, 2015 Club, Lifestyle

Courtesy of Swim Mom Donna Hale

20150505_191526I knew I was in trouble when my Swim Girl was nine months old. Hannah could already walk and before I knew it she had jumped in the deep end of our summer pool so drawn to the water she could not wait. That’s when this crazy journey of Swim Mom truly started. It was followed by lollipop races at three and USA swimming competitions at five. Today she’s 16 and still swimming strong. Hannah is a very good swimmer. She’s not a future Olympian and has to work very hard for her successes in and out of the pool. We always hear about what it’s like to be the mom of a Michael Phelps or a Missy Franklin. Truth is most of us mommies travel through this process with ordinary kids with extraordinary passion. If we are lucky we realize that for our kids, really all kids, it’s all about the journey. It took me many years to finally get this so here are my tips for surviving and soaring as the swim mom next door and what to tell your swimmer as you travel this journey together.

1. Choose your children’s coaches wisely.

Long after their last NCAA meet, what you want them to embrace for a lifetime is character. Be sure character trumps awards, credentials and everything in between.

2. Swimming should be about loyalty.

Loyalty to a team, teammates and coaches who give so much everyday. This is a life lesson. It applies to careers, relationships, and so much more.

3. It’s all about the friendships.

Perhaps more than any sport, swimming builds comaraidre. You spend more time with your teammates and other swimmers than you do family. Remind your swimmer to cherish every moment. These are your child’s best friends – the ones you’ll laugh with, cry for, and remember long after your 250 swimming t-shirts have faded.

4. Winning does not make you a champion.

Champions are the kids whose passion runs through their veins like chlorine through the pool. They practice hard. They rise above a bad race. And the are back to try again tomorrow. You don’t have to earn a medal to be a star.

5. Sportsmanship is everything.

At five years old, my daughter’s coach taught her that you always shake your competitor’s hand. As she has gotten older and developed friendships that span the nation, the handshakes are often heartfelt embraces. But the lesson remains.

6. Swimming is a lifestyle.

It’s going to school with your wet hair in a bun and in t-shirts and sweats most every day. It’s dozens of wet towels, never owning enough suits, and always looking in fridge for one more snack to fuel the grueling workouts. But it’s also being part of something only other swimmers get. You’re drawn to the smell of chlorine. You jump when you hear a beep. You’ve seen more sunrises than any of your non-swimming friends.

7. You gotta have the passion.

In other words, if you don’t love it and if you can’t live without it, choose a different journey. My daughter calls it an addiction. What she means is swimming is a part of her. There’s something about the water that draws a swimmer in. Maybe it’s the feel of the water as your body glides through. Maybe it’s the rush of reaching for wall on the 22final lap. I suspect it’s different for every child.

8. Savor the moment.

I have been at this so long that I’m not sure what I’ll feel when Hannah competes in her final race. I don’t know what she will feel either. Just remember you’re making memories. Be sure to embrace journey.

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7 years ago

Choose your Swim Parent Posse wisely! Avoid that psycho parent with the big binder, stop watch, and an encyclopedic knowledge of the times of every kid in the age group and how they relate to their own kid.

Avoid the complainers and the Negative Nellies.

Reply to  SwimMom
7 years ago

…and those parents who will tout the latest supplement that they give their 10 year old so that they can make their “A” time or a Zones Cut. Those parents’ poison will spread to you, your child, and everyone in their vicinity very quickly. Hang out with the people who have a perspective on the sport, their child’s age, and what it means to have fun with their team!

Midwest Parent
7 years ago

Choose your Children’s Coaches wisely
as well as the Club! Culture of the swim
Club as well as environment are key
contributors to instilling confidence,
character and will prepare them for
competition. Many quality life skills are
taught along the way. Athletes will enjoy the journey as well as the families
when this is in place.

Patrick W Brundage
7 years ago

Love, love, love this!

Savor the moment, for sure, regardless of what sport your child chooses, but the ultimate beauty of swimming is #6 as swimming is a LIFELONG lifestyle.

just got back from Masters Nationals where I saw four 90+ year old guys duking it out across multiple races.

Swimming is the wonder-sport.

7 years ago

Of course Coach Erik. Olympians work harder than anyone. My daughters knows and swims with several who are likely headed there maybe very soon. Terrific kids one and all

7 years ago

“She’s not a future Olympian and has to work very hard for her successes in and out of the pool.” How about, “She is not a future Olympian. However, like Olympians she works hard…”

I love the list and completely agree with the message you are trying to send, just not this one sentence. It can be seen as implying future Olympians don’t have to work as hard as she does for what success she earns, which is not what you meant, I am sure.

Donna Hale
7 years ago

To Mike. Winning is great. Yes we strive to win. But at the end of the day, if you don’ live like a champion, set the example, etc. then you may be a star but you are not truly a champion

Donna Hale
7 years ago

A shout out to Coach Bill Marlin from Potomac Marlins. I didn’t always get it! Many coaches don’t realize the impact they have every single day.

7 years ago

I’m pretty sure winning does make you a champion

Reply to  Mike
7 years ago

Yes, in the winning and losing objective of the competition.. However, you know that’s not where this swim mom is going with this, don’t you…