A Perspective on Swim Meets

A Perspective on Swim Meets

If only someone had told me (warned me) about swim meets BEFORE we started this crazy swim journey. By the time I figured it out … we were all in. If you’ve landed here … at my first blog post for swim parents … you will either agree wholeheartedly or you are trying to figure out what to expect. Either way … welcome!

Typically a swim meet starts before or near dawn with the car loaded down with sleepy, grumpy kids who you’re trying desperately to get to eat a bagel or egg or SOMETHING before you get to the pool. You need a decent sized vehicle because, frankly, you are loaded down. Cooler, tents, tarps, half dozen towels, chairs, extra of literally everything because if a swim suit is going to tear it will be at a swim meet. If goggles are going to break, a swim cap rip … you name it … it will happen at a swim meet!

Mind you … once you arrive at 6:30 am (or some such obscene time), you scramble to get parked (usually 10 blocks from the pool unless you came super early to get a parking place, which simply means more time sitting and waiting for the races … but more on that in a minute), haul a garage full of stuff to a carefully chosen spot that either isn’t too cold (if you live in a cold environment) or you won’t bake in (if you live where we do) as the sun rises and sets with you sitting … waiting …

Next you scramble and nag to get your kid in the water for warm ups. After they scurry off … forgetting their goggles 3 times and not able to find their cap so you break out the reserve only to find the one lost in the swim bag … you put up the shelter. The shelter is a 4 person endeavor. It may SAY it isn’t but … it is. Once it’s finally up you shuffle around to get buckets of water to anchor the thing. Hey … with all those kids in the pool they won’t miss a few gallons, right? Now chairs up … kids’ towels at the ready … and … … … … the waiting.  So much waiting.

Basically a swim meet consists of rushing to get there … schlepping vast quantities of, well, stuff … and waiting.


Basically a swim meet consists of rushing to get there … schlepping vast quantities of, well, stuff … and waiting. Did I mention the waiting? Typically you will arrive about 30 minutes prior to warm-ups. Warm-ups last between 45 minutes and an hour and a dripping, shivering swimmer arrives to promptly make puddles, usually get you wet, and start eating. The eating goes on all day. If the eating doesn’t happen, we, as parents, forcibly remind the kids all day to eat … oh and drink … and eat … and drink. Next the kids cram in with you all for about 30 minutes until we all stand for the National Anthem. Patriotism and positive energy is coursing through the pool deck. This is THE day. This is the day your swimmer will emerge as a champion … conquering the pool in their quest for a best time!

Two hours later … you get up … film it  … scream like a maniac … and 30 seconds later the race is over.

It is about now that you realize your swimmer’s first event is number 17, and they are starting at number 1. Two hours later it’s finally time for their first race … a 50 yard freestyle. Woohoo! You get up … film it for inclusion on social media (because everyone should see the launch of greatness that is your swimmer) … scream like a maniac (your swimmer can’t hear you, but …) and 30 seconds later the race is over. The swimmer is off to talk to coach and warm down and you go back to sitting to wait for event number 29 … an hour and a half later. You end up staying to the end because the relays are at the end of that day … and whether your swimmer is swimming or not, they want to cheer on their team, and hey … that’s a good thing, right?

You pack up everything … and I do mean everything. Somehow you have a lot more stuff to take TO the car than you brought FROM the car. You have just spent 9 hours by the pool to watch 2.5 minutes of racing by your child … then you realize you have another full day of this, sometimes 2 more days.

Tomorrow … we are stopping by Starbucks on the way … PERIOD.


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