RICHMOND RAPIDS SWIM CLUB

The Rules of Pool: Navigating Etiquette at Swim Meets

Drew McClure
Feb 27, 2019

The following article was written by Andrea Phillpotts, a writer, teacher, and Rapids parent. A Chinese translation is included below.


The parent was huge, easily over 6 feet tall, leaning over the bleacher guard rail and projecting his immense voice across the SFU pool to where his child was racing, peppering it with whistles and chirps.  He wasn’t a Rapids parent and I didn’t recognize him.  I can’t remember what his instructions were to his child but his whole delivery was intense.  Like back away intense.  Not only myself but the other nearby swim parents moved away in variations of “what the heck?” and “I’m staying away from that guy.”  He had me thinking of the rules of the pool and our role as swim parents.

With the Provincials, Swim BC Winter Age Groups, Time Trials, Pass Meets, and Mini Meet swims on our minds, I figured it would be a great time to remind Rapids members of etiquette at swim meets.  Whether your child is competing for fun or the exhilaration of competition, parents are likely to spend hours poolside; understanding the “do’s and don’ts” makes everything run more smoothly.

I contacted a couple seasoned Rapids parents for their input.  Gina McCallum has two daughters in the competitive stream of Rapids and has been with the club for a whopping 13 years.  That’s a lot of meets.

For parents, Gina has some excellent “to do” tips:

  1. Volunteer for timing right away.  Not only does this help out the club but timers have the best seats in the house!  Also, check in at the beginning of a local meet; sometimes extra shifts become available at the last moment.
  2. Encourage your child to sit with their teammates rather than the family; this is great for team bonding and in Gina’s words, “a happy swimmer stays a swimmer.”
  3. Let your child figure out their heats and lanes; if they mess up, it’s a chance to learn.
  4. Bring healthy snacks and water and allow swimmers time to rest before finals.
  5. Encourage all Rapids swimmers and try and stay for the whole meet, not just your child’s events. Everyone appreciates a cheering committee.
  6. Be positive even if the meet seems to go on forever; your child will grow up soon enough and you’ll miss these precious hours!

There are also some things to avoid at meets:

  1. Don’t go behind the blocks or on deck.  This place is for swimmers only unless you’re timing or officiating (see #1, above) Your child can find their own towel and there are trained volunteers available to direct them to where they need to go next.
  2. Don’t coach your child before the race or do the “drive home of doom” where you analyze each and every completed swim to a tired child.
  3. Don’t hover over your child and their coach.  Space is good.  Let coaches do their job. Volunteer or hang-out in the bleachers with the other parents, instead.
  4. If your child is part of a relay, don’t leave early.  This could be devastating to the other swimmers who are left in a lurch.
  5. If you’re overly nervous about a race, try not to transfer this on to your child.  Go for a walk or grab a cup of tea from the concession.  It will do both of you good.

Another parent and past Rapids President, Dawna McIver, is in her seventh season with Rapids.  She confirms Gina’s advice, seeing swim meets as excellent opportunities for growth for kids: “Parents need to be parents; let the coaches be coaches.  The first people that your kid needs to talk to after a swim in the coach.  Feed them and love them, but how to swim… that’s the job of the coaches.” 

The independence that children can get from swim meets can be transformative.  Dawna comments on this, “Part of what we trying to do as parents is allow our kids to be as independent as they can.  It’s important to stand back a bit.  A lot of the practical thingsfor meets (for example dressing appropriately) our coaches are looking after.  [Rapids] is a safe place for my kid to fly away from me …. working on their sense of independence and autonomy.”

And with that excellent advice, I wish you and your child a fun and fast swim meet.  May you and your child both “find your wings.”

And as for that booming parent in that fall swim meet, I hope he finds his peace too.


探议家长在游泳赛池边的行为礼仪

作者:Andrea Phillpotts 翻译:Lihua He

在SFU游泳池的看台上,一位身高6英尺多身材魁梧的家长,俯身在看台护栏上,冲正在游泳池里比赛的孩子大喊大叫,夹杂着哨声和尖叫。他不是Rapids的家长,我也不认识他。我不记得他冲孩子嚷嚷什么,但他的嚷嚷令人紧张,让人避恐不急。我和旁边其他几位家长纷纷退避三舍,忍不住想“啥毛病啊?”“我还是离这人远点吧。”这位家长的行径令我深思家长们在赛池的行为规则礼仪和游泳队员家长的职责。

随着Provincials,Swim BC Winter Age Group,Time Trials,Pass Meets, 和Mini Meet这些比赛的到来,我觉得这是一个很好的时间来思考Rapids俱乐部成员在游泳比赛中的礼仪。无论你的孩子是参与娱乐性比赛还是竞技性比赛,父母都可能在游泳池边度过几个小时。知道什么可为,什么不可为,可有助于赛事的顺利进行。

我咨询了几位经验丰富的Rapids家长。 Gina McCallum的两位女儿在Rapids参与竞技比赛,并且已经在俱乐部工作了13年,经历了很多比赛。

Gina建议参赛队员的家长可积极参与:

1)及早登记做记时志愿者。这不仅有助于俱乐部,而且计时员有观看比赛的最好位置!此外,也可以在比赛开始前去登记处问询。有时在比赛开始的最后一刻或有空缺的记时员位置。

2)鼓励孩子与队友坐在一起,而不是与家人一起。这有助于团队合作。用Gina的话来说,“一个快乐的参赛队员就应该保持游泳队员的状态。”

3)让孩子清楚他们的比赛项目和泳道。如果搞砸了也不要紧,这正是学习的机会。

4)准备健康零食和水,保障参赛队员在比赛前有足够的休息时间。

5)给所有Rapids参赛队员加油,并尽量全程观看比赛,而不仅仅是在你的孩子比赛结束以后就马上离开。每个人都会感谢你的加油呐喊。

6)即使赛事冗长,也要保持积极乐观;孩子们很快就会长大,不要错过这些宝贵的时间!

在赛事期间尽量避免以下行为:

1)不要走到游泳池两端或池边。这个地方仅供参赛者使用,除非你是计时员或赛事官员。不用担心,孩子们可以找到自己的毛巾,并且有训练有素的志愿者指引他们。

2)不要在比赛前指导你的孩子或者驾车回家的路上给疲倦的孩子作赛后分析。

3)不要在你的孩子和他们的教练周边滞留。保持距离,让教练做好他们的工作。家长可以做比赛志愿者,也可以与其他父母一起在看台上观看比赛。

4)如果你的孩子要参加团体接力赛,请不要提前离开。不然,其他队员将无法完赛,陷入困境。

5)如果赛前你过于紧张,请尽量不要将情绪传给孩子。可以去散散步或者喝喝茶,这会有助缓减紧张。

另一位家长同时也是前任Rapids负责人Dawna McIver,在Rapids已是第七个赛季。她同意Gina的建议,认为游泳比赛是孩子成长的绝佳机会:“父母承担家长的责任,让教练完成教练的工作。每次比赛后,你的孩子首先需要与教练交流。培养他们,给他们关怀,但至于如何提高游泳.....那是教练的工作。”

孩子们从游泳比赛中学到的独立性是通用的。Dawna对此评论道,“作为父母,我们努力让我们的孩子尽可能独立。在游泳比赛中,家长保持适当的距离这一点很重要。我们的教练知道如何负责各种具体事项(比如要求队员穿着得体)。 Rapids是一个孩子可以展翅试飞的安全地方,孩子们在此可以逐渐提高他们的独立性和自主性。”

我希望这些好的建议帮助你和你的孩子度过一个速捷有趣的游泳赛季。愿你和你的孩子“找到飞翔的翅膀”。

我也希望SFU比赛期间那位焦虑的家长,能保持心平气和。

(请注意,本专栏中的所有观点并不代表Richmond Rapids或任何其他机构的观点。如果您有任何故事、观点或问题,请联系publicity@richmondrapids.com)


(Please note that all opinions in this column do not necessarily reflect those of the Richmond Rapids or any other organization. If you have any story ideas or questions, please contact publicity@richmondrapids.com)