Swim Mom Musings: Enough – Let Them Swim

by SwimSwam Contributors 72

September 06th, 2020 Swim Mom

The opinions of this article reflect the feelings of its author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SwimSwam nor its owners.

Courtesy: Donna Hale

How long will many of our student-athletes suffer because our nation mismanaged a pandemic? How many will be robbed of the dreams they worked their whole lives for because we cannot figure this out. I know the virus is serious and even deadly, but so is our willingness to throw in the towel. To quote John Lewis, it is long past time we made “Good Trouble.” If we don’t share our collective voices the consequences for so many will be tragic.

Look at what is happening already. Swimming programs rich in history are announcing closure. And don’t think we are likely done. Just today another D1 program is gone. Enough! It’s just become too easy for schools to do this in all sports.

Again this is in no way intended to minimize the seriousness of the coronavirus. But, we should be figuring out how we live with this new reality instead of hiding in the locker rooms. Many college sports can be played and safely compete with the right protocols in place. Cancel is not the right answer for everything we treasure. Just because a high contact sport like football maybe cannot go on does not mean all sports disappear. Now I know this is going to make some of you angry. The deaths are tragic. But so is all we have lost.

Obviously we all care about the safety of athletes. But, why can we not figure this out without throwing in the towel? As I said, I know this will be controversial for many.

But the collegiate athletic experience is unique. It’s worth making “Good Trouble.” We owe it to the students to do what we can. Many have devoted their entire lives to their passion. If we let this season just go what are the real long-term consequences? They have sacrificed many hours, worked hard, and looked forward to their collegiate years. What is the cost to their mental health to have it taken away so easily? Yes, the things we are losing matter. The mental health of our student’s matters. Perhaps they deserve more voice in the choice. No one in any sport should be forced to compete. But maybe — just maybe  – the athletes deserve a bigger voice and to make their own choices within reason. I do not envy any coach or conference.  And I don’t know the answer but do believe we ought to ask all the questions.  This is my plea:   Let them swim if it can be safe.   Even if it is different.

Testing, social distancing and strict protocols make sports like swimming, diving, and tennis possible.  These are just examples.  There are others.

Let’s make “Good Trouble.” Challenge the NCAA and conferences nationwide to figure it out now. Are we really planning now so they can compete in the spring or is this kicking the goggles down the road? We are getting good at that when it comes to this pandemic. Not only in sports but in all aspects of life. I understand the virus is serious. Do we really understand the choices we are making and what they mean?  The mental health anguish? The lost opportunity? Even the very future of college athletics?

I will take the heat I know is coming because I believe in what I am writing. For a sport like swimming, the economic ramifications are huge. How many students will continue with their clubs if they don’t see signs we are trying? Will they just give up because it appears we have? Will more college programs disappear What about the industries that depend on swimming sales? This is about economic fallout as well as long-term consequences.

Will we lose more college and club teams? I am betting yes. And on it goes. It’s already bad enough. This means lost jobs. Will we lose all the progress we have made in drowning prevention because we are taking away opportunities to learn to swim?

I’m just a mom but have been around this sport long enough to spot the unintended consequences of no action. They are profoundly real. This is intended to be about what is possible.

Let’s get in some “good and necessary trouble” to protect not just our athlete’s health, but the pure joys and critical experiences that make a life. When will all we lose be too much to bear?

Donna Hale has been a swim mom for 17 years. 

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1 year ago

I suggest making ‘good trouble’ for the feckless leadership that has failed us. Would I like swimmers to get back to the thing they love? Of course. Have their fellow citizens made the hard choices and sacrifices to make that a safe and reasonable option? No. No we haven’t. I am appalled that a nation that pulled together through a Great Depression, whooped Nazis and rebuilt Europe and Japan has revealed itself to be populated with so many ignorant, anti-science weak-willed whiners. We only need look in the mirror to see why we–alone among the world’s advanced democracies–have failed to contain this virus.

It is hard to truly acknowledge that we can’t have and do the things that really matter… Read more »

1 year ago

There is absolutely no comparison between my daughter not being able to swim for her college team and people dying from COVID. And using the term good trouble related to a predominantly white middle class sport doesn’t even deserve further comment. My daughter is learning perseverance and resiliency. She is learning that sometimes things go haywire and you do the best you can. Do I wish she could be at her dorm, having that freshman experience? Absolutely! But she is able to continue her academics and that is even more important. I was a college swimmer, as well as a USA and College swim coach for over 20 years. You use these opportunities to help your athletes to learn and… Read more »

Remain calm
Reply to  3swm1cch
1 year ago

No one said there was

Kim Krueger
1 year ago


Last edited 1 year ago by Kim Krueger
Karen Royce
1 year ago

I am disabled and the only exercise I can do is water exercise. I have 2 pools I paid for and haven’t been able to use since March 1. Open the dam pools.

Remain calm
Reply to  Karen Royce
1 year ago

People are so off target in making this political. Exercise matters. Go do some laps people

Reply to  Karen Royce
1 year ago

Do you want them to open the dams? Or the pools? Or the dam pools? Just a little levity… I hope you get back in the water soon.

1 year ago

Let them swim after tested for COVID-19:


1 year ago

It’s just Swimming, Mom.

1 year ago

It’s the governs of the states, of this nation, at fault, for where we are today with the pandemic.
Tell them to wake up and smell the roses.

Justin Thompson
Reply to  JessChavez
1 year ago

I agree, but what did California do that you disagree with? They had strict lock downs and wasn’t that supposed to be the answer?

K Elizabeth
1 year ago

Not to be Trite, But Amen! My Daughter’s Dive Coach and Team got her through the pandemic and lock down. We laughed as her little sister and I did work outs with her, we danced one evenning a week with her team mates, she laid on the floor and talked to her friends. Dive nights ( even by Zoom) she was more bearable, mornings after she was more focused. Her dive career may end with high school, if she is lucky she will have a well in her life, because it has been her stability since she was 9 and decided she would be an Olympian. Her father and I knew that was probably a dream, but we paid because,… Read more »