D3 NCAAs Cancelled: Notes From a Dad/Coach

Courtesy: Mike Murray

Thankful Thursday!

I think Thursday is an important reminder, no matter what, to be mindful of the things we are thankful for in our lives.

Last evening, we received the devastating news that the NCAA Division III Championships have been canceled for the second straight year. This leaves our daughter, Savannah, currently ranked 3rd in the Nation in the 400 IM, without the opportunity to race for an individual National Championship and likely, an NCAA team title.

Emotionally distraught and fighting through tears on the phone, I said “You must feel so angry.” Her reply was masterful “I can’t think about this right now, we’re going sledding.”


I am learning all the time as a coach and as a Dad. In 30 seconds, I discovered I did not need to try and fix things.

Savannah, at almost 20 years old has this setback under control. She and the seniors on the team are going sledding. They are going to compartmentalize this hurt together as a team. They will, for lack of a better term, celebrate this setback as a family of athletes.

As parents, we are inherently wired to create soft-landings and security, mostly out of love but also out of a need for control. Our emotional responses are indicative of the human experience and they often manifest themselves in ways that can potentially inhibit growth in our children.

After ending our phone call an involuntary smile swept across my face, signaling perhaps my own moment of stark realization that I am not necessarily needed as I once was, but now my job is simply to listen, accept and support.

Accolades, academic, athletic, or otherwise are not when we are most proud as parents. Our most profound moments of pride begin when our children no longer require the emotional safety net, and the fluorescence of their adult lives becomes more evident than ever.

Create time and space in your life as a parent to recognize these signs as validation for how you have developed strong-minded, thoughtful, and independent people.

Our legacies as teachers, coaches, and parents should be most concerned with a genuine, collective goal of long-term development, empowering our children to explore the world without fear of failure, and with the curiosity to create a better future for the next generation.

Have a fantastic Thursday!

Mike Murray is the Program director and Co-head coach of Victor Swim Club.

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1 year ago

Also a swim Dad here… This was a sweet read! I have four daughters at various stages of swimming and becoming adults. It hit home and brought a couple of tears. Silver linings are really good these days!

Tom Hayes
2 years ago

I just read “Thankful Thursday” and it reminds me of our four amazing children growing up. At an undefined point in our parenting journey my wife and I realized that our job was more about preparing them to get along without us than coddling them through everycontest and trauma in their lives. It is far more important for a child to develop a strong sense of independence than for them to be constantly looking for us to be their “fixers”. Providing them with guidelines to make good, conscientious choices is our mission. The Great oxymoron of parenting is, from the moment of our child’s birth, our mission becomes preparing them to leave our cocoon of safety. God bless and thanks… Read more »

Last edited 2 years ago by Tom Hayes
Little dude
2 years ago

Many of us parents laugh because it seems D3 and smaller schools are more susceptible to covid than large powerful D1 swim schools and programs. They apparently don’t transmit virus and will have conference meets and ncaas. But this dad has an amazing daughter. She is magnificent that she can accept the decision and appreciate her journey!

Last edited 2 years ago by Little dude
Reply to  Little dude
2 years ago

Is it that they’re more susceptible?

Or is it that they have different priorities?

Maybe they’re not as willing to pull money away from academic programs (which is what happens at most colleges) to fund a massive testing program for their athletes. Maybe they believe it’s more important for their athletes to focus on their unusual academic circumstances.

If you commit to swim D3 and you missed the GIANT sign in GIANT BLOCK LETTERS on the door on your way in: D3 has different priorities than D1. D3 believes in a different balance of on-field vs off-field. I know that the coach sold you on “you can be just as fast here as a D1 program,” but that’s just not… Read more »

Reply to  spaziebahhh
2 years ago

I get tested 5 times a week. d3 schools (MIT, JHU, etc) tend to test more than bigger schools. They show more cases as a result.

I’m sure Big Ten and SEC has many more cases but they haven’t done the asymptomatic testing to know the numbers.

2 years ago

We need to be kind to each another and respect that all feelings are valid. My guess is that any swimmer my own included is grateful for all chances to compete and do what they love. She’s embracing each moment has it comes. With joy and a grateful heart. See FInd the Joy

2 years ago

And cancelling or not having swim meets at any level due to COVID is ridiculous. It has been proven for months now they can be safely managed & executed. It’s been almost 11 months and I’m sick of the excuses! People must learn how to function and operate with the virus because it’s not going anywhere soon!

Reply to  SwimMom/Offficial
2 years ago


2 years ago

First of all, if she competed in less than 50% of meets then she gets another year. Second of all she fulfills that condition so she does get another year. Third of all she’s a current sophomore so don’t get your panties in a wad. Fourth of all she could’ve taken the year off like a handful of swimmers across all divisions did and this wouldn’t have affected her. So yeah while I, a d3 swimmer as well, am somewhat disappointed they aren’t gonna have NCAAs, this was always inevitable. Also I just don’t see Emory losing to Denison now that KT is gone lol.

2 years ago

It’s honestly pathetic how l Division 3 as a whole just rolled over this season. Athletic Directors might as well have told the seniors who gave 3 years of hard work to their schools to go screw themselves.

2 years ago

Whiskey time