Coleman’s Carpool: How To Talk to Olympians (Video)

In Coleman’s Carpool we get the insider’s perspective on your favorite swimmers. SwimSwam Head of Production, Coleman Hodges, invites swimmers to take a ride with him and talk about anything…except swimming. Mostly.

Anytime you get the chance to be around or talk to someone famous, everyone goes through a similar thought process. It goes something like this:


At Pro Swims, it’s a no brainer that you see a lot of fast swimmers. Whether they’re on the national team, Olympic champions, NCAA stand outs, or rising stars, you’re bound to see talent if you go to one of these meets. If you’re competing in the meet as well, this can be a rare opportunity to meet and talk with your swimming idols. And we at SwimSwam encourage you to do so! But, as I discussed with the swimmers and head coach of Canton City School, there is a right way, and definitely a wrong way, to go about initiating an interaction with your heroes. So we tried to write a playbook of what the right way might look like.

Step 1: Find an Opening

Right way: Approach a swimmer when they don’t look busy or about to race. Perhaps when they’ve just gotten out of the warm down pool or packing up their things.

Wrong way: Come up to a swimmer and demand their attention as they are stepping onto the blocks for their race.

Step 2: Initiate a Conversation

Right way: Introduce yourself and give them a compliment or say something nice to them. ex: “Hi, my name is Coleman. I really liked watching you race at the Olympics. You were my favorite swimmer to watch.”

Wrong way: Standing next to a swimmer until they notice you, then “I love you.”

Step 3: Engage the Swimme

Right way: Engage them with a question about themselves. It might be helpful to keep it swimming related, maybe about their next race or their swimming background. ex: “How are you feeling about your next race? Did you always swim that race?”

Wrong way: Asking them a question that they can’t exactly answer, or that might overwhelm them. ex: “Will you be my best friend?”

Remember: It’s important to note social cues. If the conversation is flowing naturally at this point, then it’s seems ok to continue the interaction. If the swimmer seems rushed or is short with their responses, then that is probably your cue to end the interaction.

Step 4: Wrapping up the Interaction

Right way: After you have conversed with the swimmer, now would be an appropriate time to ask for a picture (if that was your goal). Then you can finish the conversation with something like “It was very nice to meet you. Good luck in your next race!” Giving a high five, handshake, or fist bump would be an appropriate gesture.

Wrong way: “I still love you” *hugs swimmer*


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Engage the swimme


Cardinal Rule: Don’t talk to them when they are standing at the urinals.


But if their urine is a dark yellow color then tell them they didn’t hydrate enough.


Well of course you don’t ask a swimmer, Will you be my best friend? You ask the swimmer, Will you be my bff?

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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