9 Ways to Tell You Are a Small-Town Swimmer

Photo Courtesy: Regina Dolphins

By Brian Palaschuk, Swimming World College Intern.

It can be tough to be a small-town swimmer. You usually only have one team to choose from, the pool space is limited, and you may feel out of touch with the national swimming community. These drawbacks can take their toll; however, small-town swimming has its perks too!

See if you can relate to these nine features of small-town swimming.

1. You Only Have One Pool


Photo Courtesy: Regina Dolphins

Big cities usually have a plethora of pool options, ranging from a few long course pools to many short course pools. In a small town, you are lucky to have one long course pool. Some are lucky to even have a short course one.

2. Your Swim Coach is Also a Swim Parent

It’s not unheard of for swim coaches to also be swim parents. In fact, many NCAA coaches have children swimming on their team. However, not many were swim parents before they were coaches. In the world of small-town swimming, a parent often has to step into the coaching role.

3. Your Swim Meets are Just Your Team


Photo Courtesy: Regina Dolphins

Any small-town swimmer understands this one. In-house meets where all the competitors are from the home team is not uncommon. With just a few heats racing against your training partners, it can either be really boring or a total blast! It all depends how hard the training was that morning.

4. Everybody Volunteers


Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien

When you don’t have a large pool of people to pull from, running a swim team can be tough. In the small-town swimming world, everybody volunteers. Swim parents learn to become officials, team managers, chaperones, assistant coaches and even head coaches! These volunteers are also known to continue helping out long after their swimmers become “swammers.”

5. You Have to Drive a Long Way to Practice


Photo Courtesy: Pxhere

Many small-town swimmers know the struggle of the commute. Does waking up at 3:45 a.m. to drive an hour and a half to get to the pool for 5:30 a.m. practice sound familiar? If you’re not a fan of early mornings, you may want to move to a bigger city.

6. The Community Support is Amazing


Photo Courtesy: Regina Dolphins

It may not be easy to be a small-town swimmer, but the community support can make it all worth it. The local news covers your exploits, and the whole team supports you at nationals. The elderly lap swimmers who ask if you are going to the Olympics help, too!

7. Small Group Travel


Photo Courtesy: Regina Dolphins

Small-town swimmers can relate to the feeling of traveling with a small group. When you make it to Sectionals, Nationals, or Olympic Trials, there probably aren’t going to be too many people from your team. Going to meets with just your coach can be great because you are their one and only priority. The only bummer is that you are always stuck with your coach’s bad jokes.

8. Team Bus Trips


Photo Courtesy: Regina Dolphins

The small-town team bus trip: The trip where you pack the whole club from age group to senior on a bus to get to an invitational. The trip is only five hours if you are lucky. If you aren’t so lucky, it’s a great time for a Harry Potter movie marathon. This one is about as fun as it sounds.

9. The Small-Town Olympic Dream


Photo Courtesy: Regina Dolphins

You don’t care that you are from a small town, that your mom coaches you, or that you are the only swimmer from your team to have a national cut time. You have an Olympic dream that is bigger than your city, and you know that the whole community will be behind you the whole way.

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

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4 years ago

Regina Rods Dolphins

4 years ago

As Jimmy Fallon said last night on the tonight show…”experience Regina”!

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