One constantly hears “Swim Mom” and “Team Mom” being thrown around to describe the dedicated parent of a swimmer or team. However, “Swim Dad” is often overlooked. For many of the club meets of my youth, it was my dad who would drive me to my swim meets and cheer me on in the hot sun for hours during every single race that I swam. It was my dad who would clear the tears from my face after a bad swim. It was my dad who would buy me ice cream after a long meet. It is still my dad who makes as many of my college dual meets as he can. I asked my dad a few things about being a Swim Dad, and here is what he said:
What were the greatest moments?
“There were lots. You getting your first Junior Nationals cut was pretty special. It was fun for us to see you reach your goals that you had set for yourself. Seeing you enjoy yourself with your friends and coaches were fun moments. Watching you swim a 25 freestyle in a bikini and goggles that didn’t fit during your first summer of swimming was pretty funny.”
What were the hardest moments?
“There haven’t been many, honestly. Watching you try to transition from high school to college swimming was tough. Living away from home, we knew it was hard for you, and it was hard for us knowing that. You trying to figure out why you weren’t going fast was also hard. The hardest moments for you were the hardest moments for us too.”
How did me swimming change your life?
“It was something that I did as a kid growing up, so it wasn’t unusual for me. It was our social life for a long time. Our friends, our trips, our vacations; they revolved around swimming. We made lifelong friends too. Seeing you guys have a sense that being healthy is important made us really happy as well.”
How do you think swimming changed my life?
“It made you a more confident person. It exposed you to a lot of different places, people, and ways of life. It helped you figure out how to budget your time and how to set goals and work for them. You made amazing friendships through swimming, and you were given amazing opportunities through it.”
What would you, as a Swim Dad, have done differently?
“Not much. But I wish I could have separated myself from your experiences, seeing that they were more of yours than ours. I wish that I had realized that sooner. I wish we had maybe left you alone a bit more. Swimming was also time-consuming, and we missed out on some family vacations, but that is a minor thing. Overall, it was, and still is, just plain fun to be a Swim Dad.”
C.W. – Thank you Dad!