Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham
I’ve noticed that swim parents — myself included — get way too caught up in the moment — especially at swim meets. We are thrilled when our swimmers drop time and win races. It’s so exciting! Is there a better feeling than watching your swimmer come from behind and touch the wall before everyone else?
It’s disheartening to watch your swimmer swim slow, come in last, or not get a best time. My daughter plateaued for a year and a half several years ago. It was tough to go to meet after meet when she wasn’t getting personal bests. She stuck with it and managed to break out of that plateau, but I’m telling you it was a hard 18 months.
Even though her times weren’t improving, it didn’t mean she was at a standstill. Her character was growing. She learned how to handle disappointment. How to persevere. Sometimes the bad swims are the ones where our kids learn the most. I’m not a coach, but I’m hoping her coaches saw improvement in her strokes and ability to focus and work hard.
My tip of the week is to slow down, let go and enjoy the process.
Don’t compare your swimmer with teammates or competitors. They make progress in separate events and they grow and mature at different times. Why on earth compare your swimmer’s 50 free to her teammates and wonder why your swimmer isn’t as fast? It’s okay for your child to be competitive and push themselves by racing teammates — but parents — stay out of it!
Enjoy this unique experience we’ve been granted. Be a supportive swim parent through the ups and downs. Trust me. Your swimmer’s time will come. You’ll discover your time as a swim parent races away all too quickly.
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: http://bleuwater.me/.