The Swim Parents We Don’t Want To Be

by SwimSwam 5

December 05th, 2017 Lifestyle, Swim Mom

Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham

Most swim parents are amazing. Theyre encouraging, helpful, and ready to volunteer wherever theyre needed. They are fun to be around and we all like having them in our circle of friends. They truly care about their childrens success and the other families around them. But, then there are a small number of swim parents who arent so much fun. Maybe youre lucky and havent run into that parent. But, if you have, you may also have noticed how quickly their negativity can spread across a pool deck.

Here are five traits of that swim parent we dont want to be around:


They are never happy.

If their kid gets a best time, theyll be unhappy that he or she didnt win their heat. If their kid wins their heat, they wont be happy their child missed getting a best time.


They complain a lot.

Youll hear them grumbling in the stands. Theyll complain about the team, the dues, the volunteer requirements, the coach, having to drive to meets and practices. Theyll complain their kid isnt getting the attention he or she deserves and those complaints may spread throughout other parents.


They won’t volunteer on their own.

This is not the parent who stands selflessly behind a hot grill for six hours, because no one steps up to relieve him. Nor, is it the nurse who worked all night and shows up after her shift to help out at the swim meet. No, this is the parent who has to be hunted down to fill a timing chair for a 30-minute turn.


They are super focused on their child.

If you get in a conversation with this parent, youll hear a nonstop monologue about how great their kid is, how theyre dropping time right and left, or how many cuts they have for the big meet. Never once will they ask how your children are doing.


They know everything.

Have you met the know-it-all? I knew one whod say I know, I knowbefore I finished a sentence. I wondered how did she know, when she didnt know what I was going to say? Also, these parents are experts on technique, know everything about everyone on deckand definitely feel they know more than the coach.

Do you have any of thoseparents on your team and how do you interact with them?

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.

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4 years ago

How about instead of avoiding these parents, you relentlessly teach them? Share the love, the knowledge and the responsibility. And, to those who are already “toxicly” involved as officials and other volunteers, teach them that their behaviors are unacceptable. Don’t let them exist in this “platonicly” parallel universe where they are able to wreak havoc on children’s feelings and self esteem. Call them out in the nicest possible way…

“Is it really nice of you to tell your child to not let her teammate go ahead during practice? Your child isn’t as fast as the others.” Smile, smile, wink, wink.
“Parent X has been volunteering for 3 hours…I know you took a 30 minute stint at 8a but maybe… Read more »

4 years ago

I wear headphones to all meets and practices so i can avoid these parents. We have a huge team with several of the parents on your list, they can ruin the experience so I just avoid conversation and play shy.

4 years ago

How about “that parent” who knows your kids times better than you do ….

4 years ago

I’m so happy we don’t! Most of these parents left to go to a different team. What a relief that I won’t be hearing anymore of their complaints nor we have to hunt them to volunteer in the timing chair.

Swim dad
Reply to  SwimMom
4 years ago

What are these ‘chairs’ I’m hearing about? Timing, and officiating *should* be painful …