Courtesy of Donna Hale
On Mother’s Day, we tend to reflect on the myriad roles we play in the lives of our children. From the moment they are born, our hearts explode with profound love and amazing joy. You are forever connected by a love so powerful, you know that your life with never be the same.
All moms rock! But, swim moms are truly a special and rare treasure – champions a long a journey filled with memories and milestones. As the mom of a swimmer who just finished freshman year, I must admit that I had no idea how my roles would change during her 15 years in the sport. Swimming changed her. But it also changed me. What are the best traits of Swim Moms – from summer league to the NCAA.
- Swim Moms are prepared! They can produce a new set of goggles in what seems like seconds when their kids break theirs on the blocks. They also have extra towels, lots and lots of food, and even an extra fastsuit in case their swimmer’s shreds in the locker room. (This happened to me!)
- Swim Moms are mini-swim computers. During my daughter’s early years, I could recite her times in her prime events down to the millisecond. I knew the cuts for every major meet by heart. I suppose one could argue that this trait it also a liability. But it was fun. And I soon outgrew it when I realized that despite all we hear, times are secondary. They are the icing. The experience is the cake.
- Swim Moms are cheerleaders. I can honestly say that I feel like I swam every one of my child’s races with her. I cheered her own to the top of my lungs and did the same for her teammates and even opponents. I knew the she had a pure and passionate love for this sport. It made me happy so I tried to be there for most of the moments. I never got it when parents dropped their off and returned after the meet.
- Swim Moms volunteer a lot. Swimming is one of the best family sports because of the sheet number of people needed for running a meet. I spent many a weekend going around and prodding parents to get out of the bleachers and on decks to make the meets run smoothly. And I am sure I hold records for t-shirts sold. Swimming gives you a chance to bond with other parents, make lifelong friends, show your kids that their dedication to the sport matters.
- Swim Moms support and love through the good and bad. Most kids who swim for a long time, experience both great victories and heartbreaking defeats. It is part of the experience. It is our job as parents, moms or dads, to hug them and support them every day. Make sure they are having fun. Make sure they are learning. Teach them to be awesome teammates and to give back to the sport however they choose. This is always easy to do because we all want our kids to win and be successful. But most of all we want them to make memories that they can cherish long after the adventure is over.
Donna Hale has been a swim mom for 12 years as well as executive of several nonprofit organizations. She volunteers regularly for her daughter Hannah’s USA Team The Potomac Marlins, summer team Burke Station Destroyers, and Lake Braddock Swim and Dive Bruins.