Proud mama stays afloat with praises for team

I can’t swim.

I am not being modest or exaggerating for emphasis.

I can’t swim.

I am 48 years old, the daughter of a man who was a longtime YMCA swim instructor and rescue diver for the sheriff’s department, and a woman who spent many of her formative years on the shores and in the waves of Lake Erie.

I took lessons at the neighborhood pool as a kid. I’ve been snorkeling several times. We have a boat. I love being on and near water.

And still, I cannot swim.

I attribute it to a near-drowning incident when I was about 8 and waded into the lake a little further than I should have at the family picnic one fateful summer. Luckily, my sister’s best friend saw me and dragged me back into shallower depths. Guess that’s what I get for trying to follow them around after they told me to buzz off.

To this day, PK requires floaties even to collect seashells.

That’s what makes this next revelation such a happy irony: My son, Kyle, is one awesome swimmer.


He is one quarter of the swim team which busted both their 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relay high school records this year — and which is, by the by, ranked ninth and eighth respectively in those events in the state of Ohio’s Division I high school swim rankings, thank you very much.

Did I mention that his best friend took third and seventh place honors in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events last weekend at the state meet in Canton, too? Or that he’s the 20th top butterflyer in the Buckeye State?


Am I a proud Mom gushing about her son, his best pal and his two awesome new buddies / teammates? Um, yes. Yes, I am.

Here we were, Boardman High, this little school from the Mahoning Valley, going up against goliath swim teams from Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and just about everywhere else in Ohio. Four boys going against gaggles and hordes of swimmers from mammoth programs supported by incredibly considerable means.

Heck, our high school doesn’t even have a pool.

And yet, here we stand, proud bearers of the aforementioned titles as well as 20th-best breaststroker. Guess what? Our area also produced the fourth-best backstroker in Division I, the 10th-best 200- and 400-yard freestyle relay teams in Boys Division II and the sixth-best diver in Girls Division II.

Who’da thunk it?

I’da thunk it. Because I wanted that boy of mine to be the polar opposite of his mom.

And so he is, a strong, tough-guy swimmer like his grandfather.


Yep, the last few weekends, husband Kerry and I and our swim parent pals have seen the absolute cream of the crop at sectional, district and state level swim meets. The competitions certainly brought out the best in the athletes. Some of the fans, on the other hand, yikers.


To the dragon lady from districts a few weeks ago who nearly eviscerated the poor dad from another school who tried to claim a few spots near the 542 seats she was saving for herself and her closest pals, you are a big meanie mean person. I hope the other six of your heads have since retreated to their day dwelling place.

To the gentleman from that same meet whose Cyclops view mistakenly took my friend Jen’s reunion with her two children for a line cut, please find an oversized contact lens and retract your fangs. We got up at 4 a.m. to drive to the natatorium and wait in line for an hour and a half just like you did.

And to the fire breather spewing nastiness toward just about every swimmer in the pool, please swallow a fire extinguisher. Everyone was swimming their hearts out — and each of them is somebody’s baby, you big stupid face.


On the bright side, some really nice folks from the Jerome Swim Team in Dublin were a pleasure to meet and sit beside. And I hope I have the chance to see them all next year. I promise to help hang that banner again, too!

Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist whose kid will kill her for bragging on him. But she’s just so stinking proud. Contact her with adult swim lesson information at