Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham
I’ve read some stories from softball and soccer parents about how happy they are when the season is finally over and they no longer have to drive their kids to practice and games. One mom blogged about how happy she was because life was finally back to “normal.” As swim parents, we don’t have that luxury. We don’t have a “season” of swimming like other sports parents. We have short course and long course seasons and a couple-week break. We definitely don’t have a “normal” schedule for our families. I wanted to tell the softball mom blogger that she’d never cut it as a swim mom.
One of the happiest moments as a swim parent is when our child drops time. We’re happy when our swimmer reaches a goal of a coveted Age Group, JO, Sectional or Junior cut. It’s easy to smile when our kids are elated, right? We also need to be encouraging when things aren’t going so swimmingly. I truly believe that if we enjoy the process, our kids will, too.
Here are my tips on how to be happy as a year-round swim parent:
Don’t treat each meet like it’s life or death.
There will be good meets and bad meets, good swims and less than stellar ones. Don’t get too caught up in the moment, but look towards the big picture.
Don’t compare your swimmer with teammates.
It’s easy to wonder why your kid isn’t making the same progress as their friends. All kids are different and they learn and develop in their own time. I promise that comparing your swimmer’s times with others will not make you happy.
Cheer loudly for other swimmers.
Being enthusiastic for your child’s teammates will help you focus less on your own kid. Spread positive energy on the pool deck and encourage other swimmers’ success.
Invite the team over to your house.
Some of my favorite swim mom moments were having the entire team over for a potluck, cooking spaghetti for the senior group, or having the girls over to paint t-shirts for a big age-group meet. Make some happy memories.
Get your swimmer to practice consistently.
Your swimmer will not experience success and will be frustrated if their practice is hit and miss. The only way to get better in this sport is to be there and put in the hard work on a daily basis. There are no short cuts.
Busy parents are happy parents. I believe that being involved will give you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that you’re giving back to your team and this great sport.
WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS ON HOW TO BE A HAPPY SWIM PARENT?
Elizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog.
Missed the meeting.... here are the notes... Thanks Kim !
Parent meeting Information - October 3rd and 5th
- Your Blue Fins account – please update ALL YOUR INFO on your online account
go to the Blue Fins website https://www.teamunify.com/Home.jsp?_tabid_=0&team=canwlbf and log on (left side of page) , enter all of your personal info – starting next year we will be using this site to register rather than the paper registration.
You can also find your swimmer’s results here from various swim meets.
- Watch for a confirmation email from Swim Canada – when it comes, open it and act on it to complete your registration. If you haven’t received an email from Swim Canada by the end of this week, email Chad and let him know and he will look into it.
- Swim Meets – all meets are listed under the Important Dates tab at the top of the webpage. A, AA, and AAA time standards are listed there as well. New this year swimmers need 2 AA or 3AAA to qualify – see Chad for more details. Note that the date for the Quesnel meet may change slightly.
- Term 1 Swim Meets
- Kamloops Development Meet – Oct 24 (or Kamloops Distance Meet Oct 23/24 for A,AA,AAA swimmers). The development meet is a relaxed meet and a good one to start the season. Register by October 10 on the website (see instruction #5). Senior and Intro to Senior - TEAM TRAVEL if you would like -Sign up and email Sr group coordinator if you need a ride and or hotel room for your child -and just send them with us. Group coordinator - Stacey Stewart - email@example.com
- Prince George - November 20-22 – This meet is a good medium challenge level meet - good for all levels of swimmers.
- Home mini meet – Dec 6 – not sanctioned, you can swim even if you aren’t in competitive, may be followed by breakfast and a movie – a fun meet!
- Kamloops – Dec 11-13 – a more challenging meet, this is what we work toward in term 1.
- To sign up for any meet or event, go to the website and log in – on the homepage toward the bottom there are events (meets) and functions (social events, fundraisers, etc). Click on the link for the event or function, then click on your swimmers name and select attend or decline, then save. Chad would like all swimmers to sign up for all events using this website. If you sign up for a swim meet and do not choose events, the coach will choose all of them, if there are a few specific events you want to swim –choose these and the coach will look over them before submitting them to the meet entry system.
- All Seniors and Intro to Seniors have been given homework – parents are asked to go over the “blue book” with their swimmer – it is due next Tuesday. The sheets in it are for goal setting purposes and also ask the swimmer to look at their sleep habits, nutrition, etc. Chad will work on creating a simpler version of this booklet for the Junior swimmers who are interested.
- Fundraising – you have already paid your fundraising commitment but you can earn credit on your account by participating in the 2 major fundraisers this term:
- Christmas Tree Sales – we need people to come out and “hunt”/collect the trees, as well as people to sign up for shifts to sell the trees. You earn credit for each shift you do. This is a good fundraiser for our club but also offers a service to the community so it is great for everyone to get involved. Watch for sign up emails/notices.
- Operation Red Nose – our club will be assigned dates in late November and throughout December and we will need teams of people to sign up to drive merry –makers home from their various holiday gatherings. This is organized through community policing and is very safe and professional, as well as fun! Again, this service is an important one for our community and it is great that our club gets to be one of 4 who are invited to participate. The clubs involved divide all of the donations given over all of the nights. Please sign up for a shift – it helps keep our roads safe and you earn $50 credit per night (or more for New Year’s Eve). Again, watch for sign up emails/notices.
- Purdy’s chocolates – if you are interested in selling Purdy’s for Christmas, please see Andrea Christensen – Andrea will organize this fundraiser if there is enough interest.
Any questions? Call or email Juniors Coordinator Kim Nowotny 250 296-3143, Kimberly.firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a great letter created by an Australian Swim Coach...
By Wayne Goldsmith
Dear Swimming Parent,
Firstly let me thank you for being a swimming parent.
Without you – we have no sport. There is no swimming without you. Clubs and coaches could not
exist without your support.
I appreciate everything you do – the early mornings, the late afternoons, the rush to get dinner
ready at night for hungry, tired kids, the long weekends of time keeping and team support. For
everything you do, I thank you.
I wanted to write and show my appreciation by giving you something in return; to thank you for all
you give the sport.
I am going to give you some ideas and advice to help you be the best swimming parent you can
be and to help you help your kids enjoy their swimming to the extent of the talent and to the limits
of their dreams.
Your child is not a swimmer. They are a person who swims. And as a person, who they are
impacts on every aspect of their swimming. Real progress in swimming comes not from size,
strength, speed and hard training – it comes from the development of the whole person: the
character, their values, their personality AND of course their speed, strength, endurance etc etc.
The training alone is not enough – the development of the person is far more important and far
Speed, strength, endurance, power, flexibility and technique are all important.
But not as important as integrity. Or honesty. Or sincerity. Or humility. Or courage. Or a strong
work ethic. Or the ability to accept responsibility for their own actions. Or the ability to work
cohesively with others to achieve a common goal. Or self discipline. Or the ability to maintain a
sense of humour under pressure and stress.
These things not only impact positively on your child’s swimming but on every aspect of their life.
And not just now, but for the rest of their life and in everything they do.
I love swimming. And I would love your child to be a world record holder and Olympic champion.
But I would prefer that your kids become better people through the experience of being involved
in this great sport. If they happen to also swim fast…..that is a bonus.
Your child’s coach
Coaching is a tough business. Early mornings. Long weekends. Late evenings writing programs
and developing coaching strategies.
Coaches are passionate souls who live for the opportunity to work with like minded swimmers
and families intent on achieving success and enjoying involvement in a great sport.
Coaches want to change lives – swimming is just the avenue. Great coaches possess the
communication skills, empathy and compassion to change people – they just chose to use
swimming as the vehicle to do it.
You, your child and your coach form a team. A team with a single goal – to provide the
opportunity for your child to enjoy all the sport of swimming has to offer.
And as with any team, achieving this goal is dependent on all members of the team working
cohesively, honestly and with unconditional trust.
Chose your coach carefully. Meet with them. Talk with them. Regularly communicate with them
(away from the pool and outside of training times). And once you have made the decision to
entrust the development of your child to a particular coach, give that coach 100% total
commitment, dedication and support. If you can’t…find another coach. Partial support will not
withstand the ups and downs of competitive swimming. 100% committed support – the same
support you give your child and the same 100% committed support you want FROM the coach
must also given by you TO the coach.
Your role as a swimming parent – how you can help.
Let the coach do their job but there are some things you can do to help your child that only you
Let me tell you a story about a swimming family I know.
I was asked to stay with the family and enjoy a few days with them. The kids both swam and
asked me if I would be interested in getting up early with them the next morning for practice. Of
course I said “yes”.
I set my alarm for 5 am, got up and dressed.
It was then the strangest thing happened.
Another alarm went off……….in the mother’s room.
Mom got up. Got dressed. Rushed into the kitchen and made a cup of coffee for herself and two
mugs of hot chocolate for the children. She then rushed around the house gathering up swim
gear, towels, swim suits, goggles and filled water bottles. She then put all of these things in the
kids’ swim bags and put the bags near the front door.
She then tapped gently on the kids’ bedroom doors and said, “Darling, it is time to go to
The kids responded, “I’m not going. I hate swimming. It’s too cold” and some other stuff.
Mom then reversed the car out of the garage, carried both swim bags out to the car. Meanwhile
one of kids was still in bed and had rolled over and gone back to sleep. The other was sitting on
their bed saying “I’m tired. I’m tired” over and over again.
Mom helped both kids out of bed, helped them put on their track suits and warm shoes and
helped them out to the kitchen table. The kids weren’t even drinking their hot chocolate….they
were sitting and moaning and groaning and complaining about swimming and being cold and how
it was “too early”.
Mom then helped the kids into the car – one laid down in the back seat and went to sleep while
the other put his head on the car window and fell asleep.
Mom and I talked about this and that on the way to the pool.
When we got there, Mom jumped out, helped the kids out of the car and carried their bags to the
front entrance of the pool.
The kids trained ok and I enjoyed watching the practice while Mom went off doing something
After training, Mom came back, embraced the kids with “Hi my angels. How was practice?” The
kids answered, “OK” and then sat quietly all the way home listening to Eminem on their CD
When they got home, the kids went in to shower, while Mom emptied their swim bags, made their
breakfast and ironed their clothes for school. I was a bit surprised she didn’t also do their
Sound familiar? I suspect these scenes or something very similar were also played out in your
own home this morning.
You don’t swim. Your kids do. Don’t do it all for them. If people get opportunities easily they do
not appreciate them and never take full advantage of them. “Holding the hand” of your kids may
seem like the loving, caring parent thing to do but it isn’t. It does not teach them self responsibility
or self management or self discipline. All it does is teach them to expect life to be unrealistically
The most important thing you can do to help your child achieve their swimming goals is to help
them develop as a person with real independence and self management skills. You prepare them
for life……let the coach prepare them to swim fast. The three of you – parent, coach and child –
working together is an unstoppable force!!!
Once again sincere thanks for your involvement in this great sport and on behalf of everyone in
swimming, my appreciation for your contribution and ongoing support.
The copyright for the above article is owned by Moregold Sports Pty Ltd.
Authors: Wayne Goldsmith
Moregold Sports Pty Ltd
This article is proudly brought to you by:
Australian Swimming Clubs
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