Swim Mom Musings: What the Soccer Championship Does for Girls & Women in Sports

Courtesy: Donna Hale

We watched in awe as the USA Women’s Soccer team won another championship. The media coverage and aftermath propels girls and women who compete foreword in so many ways — and that includes swimming.  It’s not a secret to any person that loves all sports that the fight for equality is real.  But every athlete and each new horizon not only closes the gap but broadens opportunities.   Here are a few reasons why.

1.  All women’s sports need more role models. Katie Ledecky, Missy Franklin, Simone Manuel as well as those who have come before them have no doubt given swimming a fresh new face.  The stars of our latest soccer championship are doing the same.  Our aspiring athletes that dream of being champions are inspired.  Every little girl can see something of themselves in these talented women.  Every girl can – if they have the will.

2. Equality is about more than the money.  Now this matters.  But we are now raising a generation of girls and boys who not only expect more. They will fight for it.  The tides are turning.  A decade from now we will wonder why it was ever a question of whether men’s and women’s swimming should have ever had different Olympic events.   It will be as natural as breathing properly during freestyle.

3. The media will finally do more as will sponsors.  Kudos to Nike for their great ad celebrating success.  Women are consumers too, and we want more.  We want those powerful ads like Under Armour produced for Phelps.  But we want to see Ledecky, King, and the yet to be realized stars of the future.  We want our daughters and granddaughters to see their future on the internet and on television.

4. More and more sports will become a vehicle for social change.  So many athletes I know, including my own daughter, are social
activists.  We would have never seen some of the images we saw this week a few decades ago.  You can expect more. That’s a wonderfully profound step forward.

5. Sports give athletes a voice.  Now more young girls will be proud to use theirs to rectify the Injustices of our time.   That is progress. This will lead to more women in leadership roles in swimming – all the way from an increase in club ownership to prime NCAA coaching slots to more power in USA swimming.  As I am known for saying:   Fly Girls Fly!

I believe that we can win.  We already have.

About Donna Hale

Donna Hale has been a swim mom for 16 years.  Her daughter is s competitive swimmer in NCAA.

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

Wait, i was told this site was about swimming and we wouldnt have to think about social injustices and race relations. My allegiances have been forever altered. #Yulia&Yang2020

PS Rose Lavelle’s goal was a thing of beauty!

1 year ago

I say talk softly and carry a big stick or let your swimming do the talking. So I don’t care for Rapinoe much. I think the discussion needs to be about the treatment of Simone Manuel. I just wonder if corporate America is giving her the same opportunities that a Missy Franklin was given prior to Rio. Does our sport do enough to promote her? A big lost opportunty was this whole Janet Evans declining a FINA position thing. I really hope she reconsiders or USA swimming can promote another female for the position. Maybe they can fast track Maya Dirado or some other qualified female I don’t know about. Sorry Maya I just nominated you to be a swimming… Read more »

Reply to  Taa
1 year ago

I definitely think Simone is a super marketable athlete, and I think we will see a lot more of her heading into 2020, especially if she wins another individual gold at worlds. But when it comes to accomplishments, she’s not quite at the level missy was at yet. Her stretch from 2011-2013 was incredible.

Reply to  Taa
1 year ago

From a recent interview, i got the impression that Simone was happy with her sponsors and that her time commitments toward those sponsors were adding up to point where she wanted to be more selective with further opportunities

Reply to  Taa
1 year ago

As fast as she is, Simone is not the heavy favorite to win individual golds, so you can’t expect corporations to pay her quite as much as Ledecky now or Missy Franklin at her peak.

1 year ago

FWIW, the allocation of NCAA scholarship money in swimming skews heavily towards females, if this website (http://scholarshipforathletes.com/swimming/) is accurate. Hard to argue based on the numbers that there is rampant discrimination at the college level against females in this sport. MEN’S At the Division 1 level, 136 universities have swim teams for men. There are 9.9 scholarships available per team to be divided among the players. A total of 1,346.4 scholarships are offered in Division 1 swimming for men. At the Division 2 level, 67 universities have swim teams for men. There are 8.1 scholarships available per team to be divided among the players. A total of 542.7 scholarships are offered in Division 2 swimming for men. There is over… Read more »

Reply to  Nick
1 year ago

Well, for openers, the numbers are significantly overstated. Because a school has an athletic program does not mean that it fully funds the sport. There are a lot of schools with no swimming money, so simply multiplying 136 schools by 9.9 is a quick, easy, and very wrong.

And the fact that “the allocation of NCAA scholarship money in swimming skews heavily towards females” is the result of 100% of NCAA scholarship money in football skewing towards males.