|News for Swim Parents: Interview with a Masters Swimmer and Swim Parent|| |
May 11, 2009
Published by The American Club Swimming Association
5101 NW 21 Ave., Suite 200
Fort Lauderdale FL 33309
Swim Parents And Masters Swimming
Interview with a Masters Swimmer and Swim Parent
Leslie Osborne is a 35-year old swimmer and mother of three age group swimmers. Leslie, a member of the Michigan Masters, shattered the 35-39 age group national record in the 100-yard breaststroke with a 1:07.58 (7 seconds faster than her best time as a teenager!) in only her second year of Master's swimming after an 18-year layoff. Leslie's three children Josh 11, Leslie 9, and Brian 6 have swum with the Michigan Stingrays for 2 1/2 years.
Q: Leslie, has your perspective on being a "swimming mother" changed as a result of competing yourself?
Leslie: I never considered myself to be a high pressure swim parent, but I find I'm more patient and relaxed about my kids' swimming now because I'm not living vicariously through them. I'm able to go after my own goals rather than pushing them to accomplish things because of some unfulfilled wish of my own.
I also have a renewed understanding of the difficulties and frustrations they experience. I see quite a few parents who expect their kids to drop time at every meet they enter, and Master's swimming teaches you that you can't always drop time, even if you'd like to.
Q: What advice would you like to share with other swim parents?
Leslie: I hate to see when parents act negatively with their kids after a race. Sometimes I see parents, who are so fat and out of shape they couldn't even swim a 25, scolding their kids about losing a race, and I want to ask them how they'd like to try it. It's hard for the average parent to relate to a swimming race experience without having gone through it themselves. They should realize all the feelings of anxiety and putting pressure on yourself that swimming races can impose. They should know it's not such a great feeling when things don't work out. I swam a 200 breaststroke in a local meet this year, where I lost my goggles on the start and everything went wrong. Here I was an adult and I could understand it was just one of those things. Putting a kid in the same situation and having someone yell at them after the race is the last thing they would need. You learn a lot from those experiences.
The other side, when things go well, is the great satisfaction that you have of knowing that you've done your best, that your work and conditioning have paid off, that your training was successful regardless of whether you win or lose.
Q: What do your kids think of having a swimming mom, who really swims?
Leslie: My kids are really proud of me and they think my swimming is great. They made posters and signs for me before I went to nationals. They also enjoy my swimming friends a lot. They're like adopted uncles and aunts and they make such good role models, I'm always happy to have them come over and be part of my kids' lives.