SwimMom Musings: Being An All-Star Swim Parent

by SwimSwam 11

March 12th, 2018 Swim Mom

Courtesy of Donna Hale

As we all know, the most important people our child encounters in their swim journey are teammates and coaches. The coaches are there to teach, and to bring out the best in every swimmer.  And teammates should be there as supportive friends through the ups and downs of a swimming career.  But what about parents?   What is the role we play in this swimming lifestyle we embraced so many years ago.  What makes an all-star swim parent?

1.  All-star parents first and foremost teach kindness.  Kindness matters most of all. This should extend to teammates and opponents during all stages of a swimmer’s journey. In order to teach kindness, we must be role models.  And it is not always easy.  It starts with us.  As the saying goes, in a world where you can be anything, be kind.

2. An all-star parent teaches sportsmanship.  We taught our daughter at four years old that every race should conclude with a handshake. Win with grace. Lose with dignity.  Frankly, nothing else is acceptable in our sport. Parents you must do the same. Don’t let whether your child loses to or beats another swimmer change how you behave.  Your swimmer is watching you.

3. The best parents teach their kids that swimming is a team sport. When teammates succeed it makes everyone better.  Team spirit matters more than the score.  More than winning. When you are creating memories it is imperative that the destination does not overshadow the journey.  We all want our kids to be superstars.  Not everyone can.  But every swimmer can cheer for others, make practice fun, and help create lifetime memories.  Parents we too should be held to this standard.

4. All-star parents teach resilience. The clock is the ultimate judge of a great swim or a mediocre performance. Once a swim is over you can’t get it back. Swimming is about moving forward through all the moments that define an athletic career.  Sometimes all you say is try again tomorrow.  The clock does not define you. But how you respond does.  Winners never give up.

5. Finally great swim parents remind their kids that character matters — all the days of your life. If you are blessed with a gift then you are responsible for passing it on. Though my swimmer is now in college, her Club Team taught her this.   Share your love of swimming with others. Treat teammates and opponents with respect.  And parents you must do the same.  Your children are watching.

Donna Hale has been a swim mom for 14 years.  Her daughter is a freshman swimmer for the Davis & Elkins Senators.

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Dianne
4 years ago

One of the greatest articles I have ever read. It applies to every sport, not just swimming. Thank you for sharing it!

Arthur Curry
4 years ago

>>As we all know, the most important people our child encounters in their swim journey are teammates and coaches. The coaches are there to teach, and to bring out the best in every swimmer.<<

What this article completely misses is that the absolute, no question, number one priority of every swim parent is to make sure your child is safe. Over a decade of experience with swim coaches has taught me that a parent cannot simply trust a coach with the safety of their child. The sexual harassment and abuse scandals plaguing USA Swimming are merely the worst and most public symptoms of USA Swimming's philosophy, reflected in the effusive tone of this article, calling on parents to give blind… Read more »

Another View
Reply to  Arthur Curry
4 years ago

This is true Arthur Curry. This article was really about parental behavior and their role in teaching character. It was not saying to blindly trust coaches. As matter of fact this writer has written pieces on just this fact that you are referencing. Go read How Will You Be Remembered. Parents should be careful about safety and about where they place their kids. But they should not interfere in what kids swim etc.

Flyer
4 years ago

The sad truth is the parents who need to get this won’t ever imagine it’s all about them

Swimmer!
4 years ago

But what about parents of all stars? We have a lot more to deal with than parents of average-below average swimmers. Can someone make another article for us?

Coach John
Reply to  Swimmer!
4 years ago

you forgot the “/sarcasm” at the end of your post

Flyer
Reply to  Swimmer!
4 years ago

It’s the same for most parents. Probably applies even more. To you all-star athlete parents. And somehow the parents of the greatest already get this and live it anyway.

Coach
4 years ago

I think this is something all parents AND coaches should understand:
percentage of top 100 swimmers (USA) who become top 100 at 17-18:
10-Under- 7.4% boys/5.8% girls
11-12 – 10.4% boys/19% girls

O_O
Reply to  Coach
4 years ago

Is that top 100 all-time, or top 100 for a season?

Coach
Reply to  O_O
4 years ago

It was presented as all-time.

Coach John
Reply to  Coach
4 years ago

how does .4 of a kid make the top 100? kidding….