Embracing Life as a Swim Parent: It’s Worth the Demands…Even That Laundry Pile


Adjusting to Life as a Swim Parent: It’s Worth the Demands…Even That Laundry Pile

Swim parents play a vital role in their children’s involvement in the sport. Mileage on the car increases. Arranging meals becomes a balancing act. Yelling chants with other parents becomes a normal part of meet attendance. If you are new to the world of swim parenting, here are some things that you can expect in your future – including everything from changes in your laundry pattern to your cell phone usage.

Here’s a look at some of the changes on the horizon.

Increase in Laundry

You can count on an increase in used towels on the pile of dirty laundry. You’ll find yourself running additional loads, although a few towels will probably prove elusive as they remain in the swim bag and potentially serve as a moldy breeding ground. Washing practice suits will also become a norm, as will the smell of chlorine in the house. 

Many Needs/Wants

Seeing team-gear order forms for your swim club arrive at home is to be expected. So will demand (or wish) for the newest line of goggles or tech suits. A swimmer might reason that due to the wear and tear of the sport, a new suit is always on the horizon. The flowers or interesting designs might slowly disappear with age, but the desire for a new suit remains. 

Lost Gear

It is inevitable that as you start in the sport, there will be a period of getting used to all the gear that is needed – goggles, suits, kickboards, fins, etc. With the need for equipment comes the guaranteed loss of a parka or pull buoy. It’s going to happen, so take a deep breath and accept reality. The good news? There is a chance the lost item might surface when you deep clean the swim bag.


Not every time from your child will be a personal best. There will be ups and there will be downs, and understanding the roller-coaster nature of the sport is key. Learning how your swimmer reacts to race outcomes can help you support them better. Be open to conversations with your swimmer when they need to vent or need to be lifted. Give space when necessary. More, engage in a positive relationship with the coaching staff, and allow them to do their job. It will make the experience much more enjoyable. It also reinforces your role as a parent, not a coach.

Daily Craziness

There will be times when a suit is forgotten or when school activities clash with practice. Sometimes, you’ll zip into the parking lot for practice dropoff because of the preceding day’s rush. Hey, it is all part of the process. Some of the most seasoned swimmers in your swim club face these hiccups.

Even though your camera roll will now be filled with swim pictures, or you might be tired from the adjustment to early morning practice dropoffs, remember: Your kids will remember your role in the process, and how you provided this opportunity. And just wait until their Senior Meet. There won’t be a dry eye found. 

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