Swimming With Your Siblings: A Unique Experience

gretchen walsh, alex walsh - siblings

Swimming With Your Siblings: A Unique Experience

With the NCAA Championships occupying much of the past two weeks, some people might have noticed last names repeating themselves in the results: Gretchen Walsh and Alex Walsh, Jake Foster and Carson Foster… Having siblings who swim with you is a common circumstance. Some people may love that their sibling shares the sport with them, and others may feel differently at times.


Anyone with a sibling knows the struggle of having to share everything growing up. In swimming, unfortunately, this obligation does not disappear. Suddenly one of your suits goes missing, and when you get ready to jump in the pool at practice, your sibling has a brand new suit that looks suspiciously like the one you lost. Maybe your brother or sister comes home from college, and needs to go practice, but — oh no! They seem to have forgotten a cap and goggles in their locker at school. No worries, they can just use yours.

Sharing with your sibling isn’t always bad of course. You may never have to travel to practice alone. When your parents are bugging you for information about an upcoming meet, you can always share in the pain of having to answer. When you share a team, if you’re a younger sibling you might already have a sense of home the second you join because of that pre-established connection. And, if you’re ever in need of a cap, you can always use theirs; it already has your name on it, after all.


Something people might automatically assume when they hear about siblings is that one sibling must be faster. They probably then go on to think that the sibling who isn’t faster is constantly comparing themselves to the other and trying to live up to their standards. This is not always the case, however. Siblings certainly have rivalries, and sometimes may feel down when they see their brother or sister be a little more successful in the pool than themselves. But at the end of the day, I think, or at least I hope, every sibling realizes that they have just as much to offer as their brother or sister. It just may come in a different form than times on the clock. There’s never any lasting disappointment seeing your sibling do great things, and no time should ever get in the way of a sibling bond.

A Built-In Friend

I’ve witnessed all sorts of sibling relationships through my years in swimming, and one thing I’ve noticed is that the sport seems to bring siblings closer, whether they like it or not. Spending endless hours in the pool and car together with your brother(s) or sister(s) as you grow up forces siblings to learn to like each other. My brother and I only really got to know each other when he got his license and had to drive me to practice. I’ve seen sisters embrace behind the blocks, and play-fight with each other during sets. I’ve watched older siblings be immensely and selflessly proud of their younger sibling that reaches their goals. Not every sport provides opportunities for brothers and sisters to spend so much time together for so many years. Most other sports get split into girls and boys teams, and only specific age groups early on. Swimming provides a unique place for siblings to be together before they go their separate ways.

Every sibling could probably rattle off 20 things that annoy them about their brother or sister when asked if they enjoy swimming with them. If you asked them what their favorite swimming memories were, however, I expect their sibling would show up in quite a few. It may take the oldest sibling leaving for college to make them admit that they actually might like each other a little bit. They also could have been best friends all along. Whatever the circumstances, there’s no experience quite like swimming with your sibling.

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Aaron Rospierski
Aaron Rospierski
2 years ago

This hits home. My youngest daughters are (almost) 15 & 16.

They have a love for swimming, and challenge each other to do better, and are there for one antoher when they need xonsoled. So Happy they swim together!

2 years ago

Who is the transgender?

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