6 Reasons Your Swim Team Becomes Your Family

By Emma Foster, Swimming World College Intern

Swimmers are a special breed. Even most non-chlorinated people understand that. On college campuses around the country, swimmers are the ones known for bringing that squeaky-clean chlorine smell into the classroom, eating an unprecedented amount of food, and always traveling in packs.

When a non-swimmer questions how swimming can be a team sport, they are always met with a blank stare. To swimmers, it is completely obvious. Teammates are what make the hours and hours of training worth it. Swimming the 400 IM or the mile and knowing your best friends are going to be on the side of the pool cheering you on is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Equally as amazing is knowing that even in your deepest disappointments your teammates are going to be right there to pick you up and help you get back on track.

In college, being away from home can sometimes be hard. A little homesickness is normal, but your swim team can help make the transition a lot easier. The bonds you form with your teammates make your team feel like a second family. You would fight to the death for every single one of them. Here are six of the reasons your swim team becomes your family…

1. Quality Time

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Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien

Swimmers spend A LOT of time together. It comes with the territory. Not only do you spend an incredible amount of time training with your teammates in the pool and in the weight room, they are some of the only people that can appreciate that you are sometimes just too tired to do anything but watch a movie. Swimmers can spend quality time just napping together, but on the rare days they have some extra energy, they are just as excited to dress up and paint the town together.

2. Family Dinners

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Photo Courtesy: flickr

On the subject of spending time together, it doesn’t get much better than your entire team piling into the dining hall eating everything in sight. Many an hour can be spent at the dinner table sharing stories, food, and replenishing the fuel that was drained during practice. These family-style dinners can give a taste of home to any homesick college swimmer. Mealtime also creates lasting memories, as years later you all remember when Bobby consumed thirty pancakes and then went back for seconds.

3. The Worst of Times and Best of Times

Apr 15, 2015; Mesa, AZ, USA; North Baltimore Aquatic Club teammates Allison Schmitt and Michael Phelps check their goggles during practice session at the Arena Pro Swim Series at Skyline Aquatic Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher/Arizona Republic via USA TODAY Sports

Photo Courtesy: Arizona Republic-USA TODAY Sports

As most swimmers know, there isn’t anything much more attractive than your 5 a.m. face. Teammates see each other in some of the worst situations: early mornings, wearing the same clothes that they’ve worn the last three days, puking in the gutter. There’s no judgment because they’ve all been there too.

Swimmers understand that as much as we all love to swim, swimming can sometimes be brutal. Inexplicable plateaus, goals missed by hundredths of a second, or the wear and tear of everyday practice can be crushing. Luckily, the teammates surrounding you can pull you out of feeling badly for yourself and help you to stay on pace to reach your goals.

On the other hand, your teammates are there for all of your victories. Whether it is crushing a hard practice, hitting your pace, achieving a cut, or winning a college championship, your teammates have been beside you the whole time and know just how hard you all worked to get there. There is nothing better than the absolute joy of celebrating with your teammates and knowing everything you all did to get to where you are.

4. Family Trips

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Photo Courtesy: Kelley Baylis

Otherwise known as training trips. For the lucky college swimmers who get to go on them, training trips can be some of the best times you have in your swimming career. Certainly you will be beaten down in training, but getting to fly somewhere warm and soak up the sun between practices with your teammates makes all the hours of training a little less daunting, and creates lasting memories for years to come.

5. Small World

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Photo Courtesy: Alison Bartlett

The swimming community is a small world. That is one of the coolest things about being a swimmer. One swimmer can spot another in a restaurant, bookstore, or crowded airport and instantly have something to talk about. Every swimmer can understand what its like to go through the grind of training and feel a connection even if they swam on opposite sides of the country.

This connection is there long after you’ve hung up your competition suit. Not only will many a swimmer have a wedding party full of former swimmers, but connections are made in the outside world as well. Swimmers are used to looking out for each other, and whether that is in the pool or on the job hunt you can be sure that the swim community will have your back.

6. Teammates for Life

Photo Courtesy: Peter Bick

Photo Courtesy: Peter Bick

There’s something special about being around a group of people for so many hours a day. You get to know someone pretty well when you spend most of your time with them half-naked, reaching for goals you might not share with anyone else. Swimmers learn to support each other inside the pool, but that support doesn’t stop once you enter the real world.

Just like swimming, life can be brutal. There are many ups and downs and sometimes tragedies strike. As a swimmer, you know that whether it has been one month, or ten years, if you call your old teammates needing something they’ll be there. Because that’s what family does.

13 comments

  1. Floriane Gaspard

    Sophie Poujat Maelle Montagnon faut juste que je comprenne ce qui est dit

    • Sophie Poujat

      1: le temps passé ensemble
      2:les repas
      3:les bons et les mauvais moments
      4:les voyages
      5: un petit monde
      6: équipiers pour la vie

      En vrai vous êtes trop ma 2ème famille !!

  2. Ahmed Yasser

    Omar A. Eid Hany A. Hesham Yasmine El Assal Farida Ahmed Eid Mohamed El-Galla Tarek Mohamed Ali Ayman Sayed ❤?✌?

  3. avatar
    Caroline

    Emma!!! Love this article!! So proud of you, teammate!

  4. Paula Castellanos Maria Alexandra Castellanos Carolina Ruiz Carolina Adelle Rodriguez

  5. Sandra Samacá

    We were the champions my friend. None could beat us! Ha! Los mejores momentos clavados en el corazón y en la piscina. Un besito Gilma no te pude ver 🙁

  6. Ashley Slayton

    Emma Petersen Ben Sweeton Hannah Wright Alexa Shea Fults Lili Christine