International Women’s Day: An Ode to Swim Moms

Photo Courtesy: Tour The Triad/Flickr

International Women’s Day (IWD)

To mark International Women’s Day, Swimming World is rolling out a series of features this Sunday, fresh and from the archive, to highlight the achievements and work of  pathfinders in swimming and raising issues that continue to have a massive impact on women in sport.

Here’s an ode to Swim Moms, among the unsung heroes of the world.

So far in our celebration of IWD 2020:

By Danny Whirlow, Swimming World College Intern – May 12, 2019

It’s race day. The team cheer was energizing, yet you still feel like something is missing. You scan the densely packed stands: it is full of familiar faces, though none stand out. Then a voice pierces through the roaring crowd. It is your mother. She waves as she calls your name, joyfully wearing your team’s colors. As she sits with her fellow swim moms, she texts you – almost as eager as you are – to find out your events. You smile. It is going to be another exciting meet.

As another Mother’s Day comes and goes, it is paramount that we, the swimmers, thank our swim moms for their incredible contributions to our success. But where to start?


Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons, MasterFinally

Perhaps at the very beginning, when they took us to our first swim lessons. How innocent we were then, oblivious to the bigger picture. But they always knew what we would learn in the pool then would be impactful now. Regardless of what shape our journeys took, they knew the value of a strong foundation.

Or maybe we should look to the days of our first club practices, our first meets and our first trophies. When we were still learning the butterfly from the breaststroke, our swim moms drove us day after day to practice. They made sure our races were clearly written on our arms and had snacks at the ready for our inevitable hunger.

Mom & I

Photo Courtesy: David Whirlow

And what of our high school years? Through new trials and tribulations, our swim moms kept us grounded with sage advice, helping us rise even when we wished to sleep through those early morning practices. They studied nutritionists so they could cook the most beneficial meals, and they continued to tirelessly drive us to practice until we learned how to drive.

Even as we set out on our own to begin our college journeys, our swim moms stayed ever faithful; no distance was too long to travel to see us swim, and we were always welcomed home with warm hugs and kisses.

It must be noted that even the greatest athletes this sport has ever seen owe their mothers a great deal of gratitude. Several familiar Olympians publicly thank their mothers in this video compiled by USA swimming:

There may be no moment that warrants greater gratitude over another, but this should prove that without the unconditional love and support of our swim moms, our journeys as swimmers and as people would be very different.

So thank you, mom, for all you have done and all you continue to do.

How do you express gratitude to your swim mom?

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


  1. Anita Sisneros

    Megan Sisneros Tatge should have Gavyn read this

  2. Allison Gober

    Crying! ? Love being a Swim Mom! ??‍♀️

    • Kathy Hartman

      Kimberly Keller Stolarczyk thank you ❤️

  3. Ariana Lugo

    Aida Rodriguez cuando me tatuabas todas mis pruebas

  4. Sarah Joy Haley

    Maureen Tom Haley thank you for being the best swim mom! ❤️??‍♀️

  5. Joanna Provines

    Swim mom & swim coach…It was the best! My daughter just retired from swim ?‍♂️

  6. Mojca Švonja

    Včeraj tekma, sojenje in vmes gledala, ponosna na svojo 20 letno plavalko.

  7. avatar

    Seeing our children happy and successful, like writing for a swim magazine, brings joy beyond measure. An article thanking us, icing on the cake.

  8. Pam Kirsch Magnan

    18 years.. 3 kids, summer league, YMCA, club, high school, JO’s, districts, sectionals, states, Jr. Nat’s, Nationals, NCAA’s,Olympic Trials, all 3 D1, lifelong friendships, lifelong families.., ???

  9. Marj Dickmann

    Margo Normoyle Jane Buono Woodward Renee Prince Katy Bob

    • Katy Bob

      Marj Dickmann ❤️

  10. Jayne Burke

    Richard Clare Mary David Toureg Celina Scott ??

  11. Pam McHenry

    My mom was very supportive.

  12. Claire Kennedy

    Nearly 14 years!! 10 years of driving to the pool and back home on a daily basis!! Loved every minute of it as long as my daughter wants to go. Met some fantastic people along the way, lifelong friends and shared many ups and downs. It’s a tough sport for our swimmers and parents, not just swim mums but dad’s too in some households! However the lessons our kids have learnt along the way hopefully will set them up for life ! Each swimmers journey is different, but where ever they end up I’m always immensely proud of the commitment, dedication and tenacity my daughter has shown throughout her journey! I’ve never regretted any of the time spent supporting her. ?‍♀️?❤️

    • avatar
      Craig Lord - Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

      ? ? ?

  13. Sara Scallon Bartz

    Going on 7 years for me… seems like much longer! I’ve got 4 more if both my daughters stick with it!

  14. avatar
    Kelly Anderson

    Best 16years of my life. I never missed a swim meet until college. 3000miles away was tuff, but I went as often as I could afford. Loved every second. The Journey was amazing. Good times, bad times and yes some very hard/sad times. Would not take it back for anything. My daughters had a strong tight community of MOM’s who loved them, cheered for them and sometimes even yelled…”Punch it.” just for them I LOVED being a swim MOM. Blessed with Amazing coaches and some awesome swim friends for life. The time has come for College Graduation and I still cry every time I drive by the Club Pool. #GWSCROCKS #URIswimanddive