How Traditions Strengthen Team Performance

team cheer-kate-smarjesse
Photo Courtesy: Kate Smarjesse

By Ailish Dougherty, Swimming World College Intern.

“Ooooh…aaaah…Midd is on the warpath! Oooh…aaah…Midd is on the warpath! Ooh! Aah! Midd is on the warpath! Go, Midd!”

“Ahh! Bei! Boomba! Sah! Eureka! Angawa! Tufts got the power! Go, Tufts!”

Team cheers and traditions are one of the most unifying aspects of swim meets, whether you are an age-grouper, a high-schooler, or a college swimmer. Many people remember their own cheers, and can chant them proudly, reliving the feeling of anticipation and confidence they provoked before a big competition.

Even as college swimmers, cheering is a vital part of the energy of a swim meet. From the signature team cheer at the beginning, to teammates cheering on teammates at the end of lanes, vocal support ups the hype and gives the pool deck a buzz that usually leads to fast swimming.

Cheers also contribute to the intimidation factor – a team that is loud, proud, and united gives off a bold intensity that has the power to lift up each team member’s confidence and get them ready to race their hearts out, and the other teams know it.

As a swimmer in the middle of a race, seeing your teammates standing up and screaming in support of you, instead of sitting listening to music or talking to each other, is the ultimate motivation. You know how much they care about your race, and now you have something to race for that is bigger than your individual goals.


Photo Courtesy: Sue Borst

Team support and encouragement is just one of the traditions that increase camaraderie and unity, helping teams perform to their best ability. Others may include naming a “Swimmer of the Meet,” who wears a special cap for their races and is praised as an example of hard work and dedication. This tradition not only provides the chosen swimmer a boost of confidence, it provokes them to swim extra fast to prove their worth, while also inspiring the rest of the team to work hard so they can earn the honors for the next time.

Another example of a team ritual that strengthens performance is a championship guidebook, in which every swimmer includes a special message for the rest of his or her teammates, for the team to read on the way to a big meet. The personalized chance for each teammate to tell their friends how much they mean to her, how hard they’ve worked, and how excited she is to race alongside them is a huge mood and confidence-booster.

Team bonding activities offer the chance for teams to come together. A team that does not have a common goal or is not united will not perform as well as a team that supports each other and shares their passion with each other. What traditions will be key to your team’s success this championship season?

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


  1. mama g

    @IUSwimAndDive @AquaPats awesome article!