Eve and Candace: The Ultimate Swim Fans

Photo Courtesy: Eve and Candace

By Kaylie Noll, Swimming World College Intern

Unlike other sports that may be more glorified and advertised, the sport of swimming is more condensed both in its number of participants and spectators, making for a tight-knit community.

With strong performances in the Olympic Games and increasing coverage on social media and television, our sport is growing, and what those within this group forget to realize sometimes is that the circle that encompasses the swimming community is growing as well. No longer is a swim fan merely someone who has swum competitively, coached, officiated, or watched friends and family members from the bleachers.

A New Breed of Swim Fan

Now, people with a less-than-traditional swimming background are getting seriously hooked on the sport. Eve S. and Candace S. are a part of this new breed of swim fan, teaming up under the handle @EveandCandace to share their experience within the swimming community and promote the sport that neither of them could live without.

“I took Red Cross swimming lessons in New Jersey where I grew up,” says Eve, admitting that it her four times to pass the ‘advanced beginner’ group. She never swam competitively, but underlines, “For as long as I can remember, I have always made a point to watch the Summer Olympics, especially swimming.”

Candace, born and raised in New York, has her father to thank for her interest in swimming.

“My father grew up in a coastal town in Peru, so he always loved being in the water. He had my sister and me in the water at a very young age. Going swimming meant waking up early and waiting in line at John Jay Park to get into the public pool, and you would practically have to drag us out of the pool after hours of swimming.”

Like her counterpart, the Olympics intrigued her, especially “the build up to the Beijing Games, because it was just all-consuming and inescapable.”

The Beginnings of @EveandCandace

What really brought the two together and drew them irrevocably into the sport were the amazing performances at the 2008 Beijing Games, including Michael Phelps’ outstanding culmination of eight gold medals. Eve explains that “after the Games ended, most people went back to their lives, and we wanted to keep talking about Phelps and the sport of swimming.”

So in January of 2009, the two of them decided to make a video together. After three years of successful videos, they joined Twitter, right before the 2012 London Games.

“The Olympics in general and swimming in particular are a great fit for social media because of the ability to search hashtags and see what people are talking about,” explains Eve.

Candace agrees, adding, “I remember when Twitter started. I thought it was such a silly thing; who would read that stuff? But it became such a powerful tool.”

The duo soon realized that Twitter was a new, increasingly easy way to connect with athletes of all levels and take a peek into their daily lives, rather than waiting for their next appearance at the Olympics.

“I think we and other fans have reached a point where we want more attention on this sport, and social media is a great way to help build a community and keep it engaged with more content,” Candace said. Eve also points out that while swimming happens year-round, the general public is generally not aware of what is going on compared to the die-hard fans. Thus, social media is there to bridge the gap.

Not Professional Fan Girls

Social media is not what the two spend all of their time on, however. Eve teaches yoga and works in the field of maternal and infant care as a birth and postnatal doula, while Candace has a full-time job in communications. Though their daily lives may be busy outside of their social media platforms, Eve and Candace constantly try to keep up with the swim world to the best of their abilities.

“Social media allows you to backtrack and catch up,” Eve says. “But sometimes when I am engaged at my other jobs, a story will break or something fun will happen that we don’t get to right away and there is a sense of ‘aw, darn, we missed that.’” The two also have Google alerts set up, but don’t overwork themselves—they allow themselves break to “keep it fresh” for themselves and their followers.

On their Twitter account, Eve says that the duo occasionally RTs and highlights tweets from swimmers that are not quite at the level of national recognition outside of the sport.

Candace defines their material as “not-so-serious,” adding that “swimmers are also people and we’ve found that they don’t always want to talk about their athletic accomplishments. We’ve been lucky enough to do some interviews with swimmers, and they seem to appreciate some of the more lighthearted content we’ve developed and questions we’ve asked them because it allows them to show their personalities and talk about other aspects of their lives outside of the pool,” which is exactly what swim fans want to know. “We have had some amazing opportunities to travel and attend meets and events like the Golden Goggles, which is not something we take for granted,” Eve says.

Swim Fandom is the Best Fandom

Eve is quick to show her evident strong feelings for swimming and what she does with the sport.

“I really love the athletes and community in the sport,” Eve says. “We have met so many incredible people, whether it be the athletes, their families, coaches, volunteers, and of course, fellow fans. I really feel from an outsider’s perspective that swimming is a sport where if you put in the work, you get results and if you don’t, you don’t. The way meets are designed– you get to observe the athletes before, during, and after their races. I find the rituals, the procedures that have to be followed, and the highs and lows that the athletes go through fascinating.”

Candace agrees.

“The athletes and their families are such amazing people. They work so hard, and seeing that is inspiring. The families that we’ve met have always been so kind to us, and it’s really moving. It astonishes me how nice everyone is. I always think ‘they can’t really be that nice,’ but they are! It’s also just an incredibly inspiring sport to watch. I mean, have you ever watched pre-race montage and not gotten choked up? If you say no, you’re lying to yourself.”

Regarding their duties as active, vocal swim fans, what they like most about their social media platforms is how it connects the swimming community.

“I think what I like most about what we do is seeing how much people have embraced us,” reflects Candace. “It still surprises me when we meet a swim parent who thinks we’re funny or is excited to meet us or find us on twitter. Recently, for the first time, I met someone in a store who watched our videos, and it was so cool to realize that there’s this widespread community of fans all over!”

Thinking about your role in the swimming world is truly some pretty deep stuff…pun intended.

Advice from the Social Media Savvy

Eve and Candace also shared their swimming advice for Swimming World readers.

Eve hits on social media, saying, “I definitely encourage swimmers to use Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms to give fans insight into their lives as athletes, as well as people. That being said, use common sense and pause before you send something out!”

They also give tips on going to watch big meets. “

If you have the opportunity, do it! It’s so much fun to connect with other fans and see everything in action,” Candace says. But Eve warns that while meets are full of chances to see athletes up close and take pictures, talking to a swimmer before their race is probably not the best time.

“For national team members and professionals, swimming is their job and a meet is like their office, so you want to be sensitive about that.”

Overall, Eve and Candace enjoy using their social media platforms to further strengthen and highlight swimming and its community. Candace gives one final testimony to that statement.

“If you’re a fan, shout it from the rooftops! This sport needs your love and attention, and it needs attention from other people. Have some friends who aren’t fans? Show them a picture of Ryan Lochte. It’s the first step.”