Swim team gets little love, but parents know truth

I was about 7 or so when it happened, I think.

It was my own fault, really. There I was, stalking my big sister, as always, in a desperate attempt to hang out with the older, cooler crowd. #LilSisIssues

On this particular day, we were at our family reunion picnic at a nearby lake. As I lurked not far behind Gina and her then-BFF Susie, who were a good clip taller than me, they began wading into some really deep water.

Like, five feet.

But being the shrimp that I was, it may as well have been 100. And before I knew it, I was literally in over my head… and sinking fast.

Luckily for me, Susie saw me and dragged me back to shallower depths, where I have stayed ever since. #FearOfDeepWater

Many moons later I wanted to be sure my own child didn’t share Mommy’s aquaphobia. So I started his swim lessons at age 3 — and voila! One heckuva swimmer was born.

Many accolades and broken records later, I’m watching him wrap up his high school swim days — and recounting some of the Top 10 things Swim Parents learn over time:

10. A heat sheet is NOT associated with illegal gambling.

This is a list of lane and heat assignments for all athletes competing at a meet. Don’t confuse it with a psych sheet, which lists all athletes but not lane or heat assignments, got it?

9. Swim season never actually ends.

Typically a winter sport at the high school and college levels but clearly a summer Olympic sport, the swim season is really just one long continuous loop from short course to long course to summer rec and back again.

8. Meters vs. yards: The conversion is real.

Short course refers to a 25-meter pool while long course means a 50-meter pool. If your child is swimming in a yard-pool, all bets are off. Well, their times will be, anyway. Do yourself a favor, take your eighth-grade teacher’s advice to learn the metric system.

7. DQ don’t stand for Dairy Queen, yo.

GULP. It actually indicates a disqualification. #Heartbreak

6. PR does not mean public relations (like it does at my day job).

Swimmers know it refers to their personal record.

5. Swim gets very little love … and even less press.

In a football-frenzied, beloved-baseball and hurray-for-hoops kind of society, swimmers do not get well-deserved respect despite six-days-a-week workouts, double-sessions and year-round training. I mean, you lose points for breathing, OK? #SwimmersAreTough

4. The dolphin kick has nothing to do with harming flipper.

It’s just a simultaneous underwater kick — or as we aquaphobes like to call it, a waking nightmare. #IdDrownIfITriedIt

3. Not only is swimming a legit sport, it is THE BEST ONE.

Sure, there’s the sweltering heat of the natatorium, the eye-burning chlorine levels, the constant wet stuff on your kitchen table, the $8,000 tech suits and the grocery bill that makes it seem like someone in your house has a tapeworm (swimmers eat lots, capisce?). But swim is that amazing sport in which strong means fast, not brutal, and competitors literally hug one another as soon as it’s all over.

2. Swim friends are the best friends.

This goes for the athletes and their parents as well.

1. Meets … are … looooong.

You wait hours to see your kid swim for 30 seconds. Enjoy each hot, humid meet, though, because before you know it, that little 3-year-old guppy will be heading off to college.

Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist whose last name dictated her kid’s sport. Visit her blog www.patriciakimerer.com.

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