SwimMom Musings: Long Goodbyes

Courtesy of Donna Hale

Today is my birthday. My 14th Year as a swim mom and I’ll spend it at a meet.  No steak and lobster dinner or spa treatments. But instead grilled burgers and a traveling taco.  It will be spa-like if you count the sauna conditions.  It’s my last one as the mom of an age group swimmer. In six weeks she is off to the NCAA and a huge part of my life and that of my family is ending in about 4 weeks.   I’m a Swim Mom. We are a different breed. As these final weeks fly by, I have been reflecting on what I have learned and what I cherish. Here are some of my favorite things about Swim Mom status and things to consider.

1. You belong to an extended family that few can understand. But the bonds run as deep as blood. They are held together by friendships that can not be explained but simply cherished.

2.  Your child grows so much from being a swimmer. But you grow too I used to be so obsessed with the outcome. Now I love to see her win. But I now enjoy every moment. It shows me what my baby is made of — defined not by her butterfly but her character. It moves me to tears to see the young kids respond – once her -and for her to pass it on. Passing on passion, courage and sportsmanship.

3. Every moment counts. Don’t miss any opportunities to share this sport with your child and the friends you make along the way. It really does end.  Can’t imagine my new summers without “take your mark.”

4. Take pictures.  Tons of pictures. While I can still remember the four year old doing her first backstroke and the razor thin victories and defeats, I wish I had more pictures.

5. Swimming slows us down. Probably sounds funny when the point is speed. But we race everywhere.  Meets take some time. You talk to the volunteers, learn about your neighbors and enjoy the traditions.

I miss it already. But am blessed to have been part of this amazing sport.

Donna Hale is swim mom of 14 years.  Her daughter is a high school senior and will swim next year at Davis & Elkins College. She swam for The Potomac Marlins, Lake Braddock Swim & Dive and the Burke Station Destroyers.

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4 years ago

Love this, our daughter started swimming at the age of 6, went through 4 years of college. Wish I had taken more pics!!

Pat Pitter
4 years ago

Joyce, I’m intrigued how other humans can swim like fish, when I swallow water and sink real fast. I’ve followed u and ur daughter over the years on Facebook, and I can appreciate the enormous effort u both have put into this endeavor. Kudos to u, swim mom and swimmer, as u transition into the Olympic phase. Gold, silver, bronze, or nothing at all, u are winners and my heroes!