4 Comments That Come With Life As A Female Swimmer

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Photo Courtesy: Singapore Swimming Federation

By Grace Hoffmann, Swimming World College Intern

I believe that life as told by a female swimmer varies a lot from the male swimmer’s story. From having to explain to school friends why your hair is always thrown up in a ponytail, to those broad “swimmer shoulders” that everyone comments on, it is very easy for a female swimmer to blame a good amount of their daily problems on swimming.

My teammates and friends have been swimming for a long time. These girls have made swimming one of the biggest parts of their life. For better or worse, they chose swimming and all the idiosyncrasies and comments that come with it.

1. “You have big shoulders.”


Photo Courtesy: Lillian Scott

I laugh the most when I hear this. How does one respond when told this? Thank you? I think girls should take it as a compliment. I’m glad that someone is noticing the hard work we’ve been doing, in and out of the pool. Yes, being a girl with ‘big’ shoulders does mean that clothes fit differently. But, that does not mean that clothes do not fit. They still do, it may just take you a little longer to find the right size or the right store.

2. “Your hair is changing colors.”


Photo Courtesy: Annie Grevers

Swim caps can kill hair. Chlorine and hair salons must have a secret agreement. I find the effect that swimming has on hair to be one of the biggest annoyances. Does a swimmer girl like when her hair freezes? No. Is green hair optimal? No. Also, do you think that bobby-pinning little strands of hair that are cut off by a swim cap is fun? No! Lastly, using a hair dryer takes time. Putting hair over sleep should be illegal. It’s time for the swimmer bun to be the new hair fad.

3. “You need to shave.”


Photo Courtesy: Mary McDevitt

No shaving in-season is really a blessing in disguise. Tights are a nice addition to your winter dance dress. When the big meet comes you will thank yourself for sticking to the taper plan, not shaving included. Yes, non-swimmers may find it very disgusting. Don’t listen to them.

4. “You are never around.”

Photo Courtesy: Kalina DiMarco

Training 20 plus hours a week, sleeping, and doing homework on top of that, it’s hard to find time for friends outside of the pool. It’s hard to be a swimmer girl. Finding friends who understand swimming and the time commitment is challenging. The good friends will know that you’re not making up excuses for why you can not hang out. Trust me.

Sometimes those who are the most successful have to sacrifice the most. Whether the sacrifice is big or small, it can be hard to come to terms with it. As petty as it may sound, after a tough swim practice in the winter time, I dread walking outside and my hair freezing (even with a parka/hat on). The life of a swimmer girl is an interesting one. Know you’re not alone– there’s a whole world of female swimmers growing their leg hair out with you. Some days, you just have to embrace it.

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


  1. Swim Giggles LLC

    Thanks for a fun article! We remember all of these and they do not change. 🙂

  2. Liz Hinley

    “Putting hair over sleep should be illegal. It’s time for the swimmer bun to be the new hair fad.” Yes!! I love this. Rocking the wet hair bun right now!

  3. Remi Neeno

    Banah-Jena Fakhoury
    Sandy Zureik
    Carole Zureik
    Faten Nassar
    Number 5 : you smell like chlorine haha

    • Sandy Zureik

      Number 6: how do you put all that hair of yours in that cap?

    • Faten Nassar

      Number 7 : you throw ice cream on a truck driver Remi Neeno بوظة بوظة مين بدة بوظة

    • Remi Neeno

      miss raja2 , ban yas , farouj , ضفادع ، rings any bell ? Hahha
      10 3alamat 3al tawjihi that i never used ??

    • Faten Nassar

      HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHmisssss rajaaaa2 my sleeping partner can’t believe I ran away from the balcony ???????

    • Rasha Ghosheh

      Hahahahhaha hahahahahahah the boot camps in dirty swimming pools hehehehe he they forgot to mention

    • Remi Neeno

      Hahha Rasha do you remember how you used to wake me up ???

    • Remi Neeno

      By Simply throwing me off the bed , Hadak il singing Kan 3al beach Hahhaha

    • Rasha Ghosheh

      Hahahahha ahhhhhhhh and il singing kan before going to bed hehehehv

  4. Mary Frawley

    I’ll say, I kinda hated my body when I swam in hs and I needed a formal dress. Nothing fit over my big muscles!! Now I wish I still had that problem.

  5. Susan L. Lansbury

    Debbie K Jaeger, Julie Lerner Nations, Meg Andronaco, Ariel Lotz, Alice O’Leary McClenahan…..heard it ALL, right?????

    • Ariel Lotz

      Yep especially the “big shoulders” comment

    • Debbie K Jaeger

      Pam Jones Wyatt when you are in the middle of training (high school or college) you don’t shave your legs until the championship meet usually in March .. Even less drag and better feel for the water .. Psychological too

    • Susan L. Lansbury

      Debbie K Jaeger you go to college formals with hairy legs and if more committed, hairy armpits too….

    • avatar
      Meg Andronaco

      awesome. gotta share this…

  6. Carol Goodey

    It forgot a biggie though, ‘you still swim when You have your period wow, that’s gross!’ So many ignorant people still!

  7. Kat Walker

    I still have my shoulders. They’re nice.

  8. avatar

    As a coach of high school girls I couldn’t be prouder of the athletes who work day in and day out unconcerned by the comments of others regarding their appearance and healthy lifestyle. Yes, wet heads in cold weather can be a problem. My only request.; girls, wear caps outside after practice. Fun read.

  9. Courtney Hiett

    I’m going to share this with my daughter?! These are all things she encounters!

  10. Charlene Tallen

    I’m a swim mom and I’ve heard EVERY one said to my daughter!

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