SwimSwam proudly presents a new series, called SwimMomMonday in which “ordinary” swim mom Anne Lepesant talks to “extraordinary” swim moms about the similarities and differences we experience in raising swimmers. Here Anne talks with Deirdre Twichell, mother of 2013 World University Games gold medalist in the 10K and 2012 US Open Water Nationals champion in both the 5K and 10K, Ashley.
1. What is your background? Were you (are you) a competitive athlete?
I play tennis, swim, enjoy working out, but never at the level of Ashley or my other kids, who all played sports in college.
2. When did you first realize you had an exceptional athlete on your hands?
As a little girl, Ashley loved the water- she could swim before she could walk, and couldn’t wait to get in the pool with her older siblings. She swam in her first swim meet at age 3. She stood out even then, but by middle school I think we realized that she had exceptional potential.
3. How have you managed to balance your athlete’s school / sports / social life / family life?
Our family time and activities always centered around the kids and spending time together. For Ashley, there was never a concern about missing classes or even multiple days for out of town meets, she was always able to keep up. We are also big believers that experiences outside of the classroom are valuable learning experiences as well, in addition to expanding social circles and making new friends.
4. How differently do you mother your other children?
I didn’t mother my other children any differently than Ashley. She is the youngest of four, so the only difference might have been that she was the baby of the family.
5. What is the best part about being a swim mom?
I suppose the best part of being a swim mom is watching my kids develop and grow through their experiences in the sport of swimming, and seeing them develop a sense of pride, accomplishment and confidence. I also have enjoyed traveling all over the country to watch Ashley’s events, as well as Portugal, Mexico, and Grand Cayman.
6. What has been your biggest challenge?
It is always difficult to stand by and watch as your child experiences disappointment in their journey, even though that is inevitable in the pursuit of excellence in any sport. However, even though she is passionate about swimming, she has balanced her life with other interests and strong family ties and friendships, so that she can take these disappointments in stride (probably better than me).
7. What is your favorite memory of your child’s swimming career?
There are so many great memories; it is difficult to pick a favorite, but probably her 2012 open water national championship in the 10k and 5k at Miromar Lakes, Florida.
8. Do you get nervous watching him/her swim?
Yes, I get nervous watching her swim.
9. How have you handled disappointing races/meets?
We follow Ashley’s lead following a disappointing swim/meet, support her and her efforts, and keep in mind that it is all part of the process.
10. What advice do you have for other swim moms?
My advice to other swim moms would be to remember that it is their child’s sport and identity, and that it is supposed to be fun!!
Anne Lepesant is an ordinary swim mom. Her four daughters have been with Swim Pasadena since 2004 and now two swim in college (Caroline is a junior at SCAD Savannah; Victoria, a sophomore at Princeton) and two in high school (Madeleine and Isabelle attend Pasadena High School). In this series, Anne explores the question: “ordinary” swim mom to “extraordinary” swim mom, what it’s like to raise truly exceptional swimmers? What experiences have we all shared? Where do our paths diverge? Stay tuned for some interesting #SwimMomMonday conversations.