Shouts From The Stands: It Turns Out It Was A Privilege

by SwimSwam 11

July 20th, 2020 College, Lifestyle, Opinion

SwimSwam welcomes reader submissions about all topics aquatic, and if it’s well-written and well-thought, we might just post it under our “Shouts from the Stands” series. We don’t necessarily endorse the content of the Shouts from the Stands posts, and the opinions remain those of their authors. If you have thoughts to share, please send [email protected]

This “Shouts from the Stands” submission comes from Ethan Moon, a former swimmer with both the Dynamo Swim Club and Dartmouth College.

We hear it time and time again: swimming every day is a privilege.

I distinctly remember having Coach Beth Winkowski talked about what a privilege it was that Dynamo Swim Club owned its own pool on Thanksgiving of 2017. Of course, to me, a junior in high school, there was nothing she could have said to make me excited to swim a distance set at 7am on a national holiday. About a year later, I found myself being told by Coach Ian Murray that staying an extra 15 minutes past when practice ended was a privilege – my teammates and I proceeded to laugh about that statement in the parking lot after we got out. After all, who wants to be the last one out of practice!?

It’s easy to forget what swimming gives us. As for me, I received some of the core tenets that have guided me throughout my collegiate career, and I expect that these same principles will stay a part of who I am forever. You would be hard-pressed to find another activity that teaches the lessons of sacrifice, commitment, and teamwork the same way swimming does.

Exactly 30 minutes ago, I sat in disbelief as I watched my athletic director cut the Dartmouth College swim team. My friends will attest that I was admittedly shaky about entering my third season; I had a back injury that kept me out of competition for most of the year. However, the swim team continues to be my closest group of friends. It was so easy for me to say to myself, “I’m here on my own will” or “I can leave at anytime if I want to” that I truly forgot what an honor it was to even be wearing a suit, swimming for a team. The thought of watching my coaches leave, the thought of never experiencing that post practice camaraderie, is heartbreaking.

I want to remind everyone – whether age group, senior, collegiate, or masters level – to cherish the wonderful sport that we all, at least deep down, love so dearly. Ultimately, the people we meet and the memories we make will influence our lives forever. Just remember that those stupid moments, the times where you rip a suit or eat your 5th muffin of the meet, are all part of a much bigger picture.

Right now, all I can think about is that time when Coach Beth told us that doing doubles was a privilege, and as it turns out, it really was.


Ethan Moon is a former Dynamo Swim Club and Dartmouth College swimmer. He began swimming at the age of 11.

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Swim Pop
6 months ago

Amen Ethan. Brilliant words and reminders.

6 months ago

Couldn’t agree with this more. Having the opportunity to swim even in high school (so many communities lack access to pools) is a privilege.

The opportunity to swim in college is yet again a privilege for those same reasons (especially in today’s climate when non-revenue sports are getting cut).

Your window to be an athlete is so short. Push it to its limit. Get the absolute best out of yourself. Have no regrets when you hang it up.

6 months ago

Well said, best of luck Ethan