11 Coaches Reveal the Funniest Excuses They Have Ever Heard

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Chandler Brandes, Swimming World College Intern.

You’d be lying if you said you’ve never racked your brain to come up with any–and I mean any–excuse to get out of going to practice.

“I’m sick.” Chances are you’ve already used that one…more times than you’d like to admit.

“I’m too tired.” True, but that one won’t get you out of anything.

“My shoulder hurts.” Please, be a little more creative than that.

“My alarm didn’t go off.” Oldest trick in the book.

Although excuses are the easy way out and act as a barrier to success, I’ll admit, sometimes the most creative excuses result in a good laugh.

Here are 11 of the funniest excuses college coaches have ever heard:

1. “I had an athlete who was heavy into astrology and informed me that they could not make practice as their daily horoscope had forewarned them of an accident awaiting them. I didn’t see them for three days until the ‘danger’ had passed.”

Woody Woodard, Head Coach, Colorado State University

2. “I had a first-year swimmer who texted me to tell me that he could not start preseason with us because he got a tattoo and ‘it went bad.'”

Eileen Hall, Head Coach, Saint Michael’s College

jack Bauerle Bob Bowman

Photo Courtesy: Peter Bick

3. “I had a swimmer leave me a voicemail at 4:15 a.m. telling me the airline called to say that her flight was going to leave two hours early, which meant she couldn’t make the last workout before winter break.”

Brad Burnham, Head Coach, Bowdoin College

4. “We actually had a kid this past year look at us and say, ‘I was just hanging out with friends.'”

Jason Hite, Head Coach, University of Indianapolis

5. “I had an international swimmer tell me he missed practice because of bad dreams.”

John Brooks, Head Coach, Brigham Young University

Photo Courtesy: Hayley Good

Photo Courtesy: Hayley Good

6. Coach: “Did you train over Thanksgiving?”

Swimmer: “No.”

Coach: “Why not?”

Swimmer: “It was too cold out.”

Coach: “How cold was it?”

Swimmer: “I don’t know. Maybe below 60 degrees. I didn’t go outside.”

Leslie Shevlin, Head Coach, Willamette University

7. “The swimmer was too full from the trip us coaches took them on to the Cheesecake Factory.”

Jamie Platt, Head Coach, La Salle University


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

8. “The best one from last year is ‘Sorry I couldn’t make practice, I had to break up with my girlfriend on Skype.'”

Heidi Voigt, Head Coach, Northern Michigan University

9. “The swimmer came to the pool and realized that they left their suit and equipment bag back in their dorm. They went back to the dorm and it was locked so they did not come to practice.”

Richard Sybesma, Head Coach, Texas Christian University


Photo Courtesy: Brian Jenkins-Vermont Athletics

10. “I had a swimmer tell me they couldn’t come to practice because they were up all night long studying. It was a Saturday.”

Gerry Cournoyer, Head Coach, University of Vermont

11. “I had a swimmer, in the middle of winter, wipe out on his bike on his way to early morning practice because it was too slippery. When I asked why he rode his bike in the snow, he admitted it was to hopefully wipe out and not be able to practice.”

Jon Carlson, Head Coach, Gustavus Adolphus College

Props to these swimmers for thinking of these creative excuses, but my guess is that they didn’t go over too well with their coaches.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.


  1. Bruno L

    What’s your’s Monique Mangion Den Heijer ? 🙂

  2. Katie McNerney

    Had a swimmer in college say she couldn’t make morning practice because she had to feed her cat….

    • Meghan Swirzcki

      Haha that is funny! My favorite is I didn’t leave cuz it was too cold! How cold was it? I don’t know I didn’t leave the house ?

  3. Rhonda Nunnally Brownrigg

    Ron Katie Jensen & Stanton Dennison we’ve heard some good ones too.

  4. Andrew Jklp Cipriano

    Heard this multiple times from the same swimmer. There was traffic at 4:30am.

  5. Olga Chami

    Livia Cascao

  6. Shaa Na

    “I have a cut on my finger and it stings when I pull”
    – every 8 – 12 year old ever.
    I now keep bandaids handy so their excuse doesn’t work.

  7. Beth Suchman Muckerman

    Amy Amy Bilquist would not offer up any of these excuses!!!

    • Dave Gomez

      Exactly. That girl never gave an excuse in her life. Not sure how they came up with her pick.

  8. Hannah B. Giles

    Kristina Davis-Giles for your swimmers? Lol ?

  9. Edwin Bonilla

    I have to practice right now at 4 pm. But I feel like not doing anything today.

  10. Conner Andrews

    “My mom made me go to a haircut appointment” -newly named senior captain of a high school boys swim team on missing the first practice

    • Carla Fernandez

      ???me se muchas y muy variadas, como estoy devastada y no voy!, o me dio tos no creo pararme temprano se me quita al rato, ??? y muchas mas como la de la pesadilla

  11. John Martin

    11 is by far the best

  12. Katie Freeland

    Mike Dominick none of us used these ??

  13. Emily Elaine

    We might have a few to add, Heather Stout Budak …

    • Josh Stahl

      I really needed some new excuses and now I think I’m all set!

  14. Miranda Emaus

    Jason A. Davis Yes I know this is swimming but it’s funny.

    • Jason A. Davis

      I’ve heard the “I have to study” one more than once. I usually don’t react well.

  15. Sophie Strangio

    Jesse O’Rourke Jasmine Besanko-Farrugia Abby Angeles better than the old cramp story

    • Abby Angeles

      “Sorry I have swimming” Sophie Strangio

  16. Jeanine Putnam

    Mara Campbell Pawlenok..thought these would make you smile.

    • Madeline Hiller

      The last one is such a Chris thing ?

  17. Megan Lewis

    I died my hair yesterday and I don’t want it to bleed. And my suit was in the dryer.

  18. avatar
    Mary Margaret

    “Sorry I missed warm ups. I was eating.”
    “There was a volleyball game at school.”

  19. Sid Bayer

    I forgot there was practice this morning

  20. Bryan Cheuk

    Stephan Königsberger 5

  21. Sarah Aksamit

    Brent Moore i like the last one ?

  22. avatar
    Lori Woodbeck

    “my dog had a heart attack”

  23. Rachelle Hobbs

    Andrew Hobbs Claire Mattocks Hobbs

  24. Jennie Page

    Kristian Whitmarsh ???

  25. avatar

    I had a swimmer tell me he didn’t make morning practice because there was a bear on his front porch eating from the bird feeder so he couldn’t leave his house all day

  26. Gigi Goesling

    #9……Cathy Boyd Lin Kendra Bryant Coleman Nicole Paquette Willingham

  27. Kaare Edvardsen

    Gustav Westerlin Larsen nr 5 ?

  28. avatar
    Rubén Arévalo

    There’s a lot of excuses coaches said when it’s pupils didn’t perform as they expected. Since: he/she couldn’t warm up the Best, to: he/she is changing category.