I grew up playing mainstream sports like baseball, basketball and golf. Swimming was a summer recreational activity for me. I took some lessons and may have raced a few of my friends ( and almost certainly lost ). And while my younger sister swam in high school I rarely thought about the sport of swimming.
And then I married a swimmer. Life progressed somewhat normally until our children came of swim team age. My wife thought our oldest kids should give swim team a try. I didn't really know what that meant. So they became members of The Wave. After my first 5 hour summer league meet I knew those people were crazy. The chaos blended with long periods of waiting was overwhelming. I knew this was not for us.
20 years, 5 summer leaguers and two division 1 swimmers later my views have changed a bit.
My evolution as a swim dad is evidenced by the following:
1) It is absolutely normal to spend 5 full days watching my son swim for 9 minutes and 45 seconds.
2) I no longer scream at my children when they swim. I finally understand they can't hear me.
3) I stretch in streamline.
4) It seems perfectly normal for a grown man to wear a size 24 Speedo.
5) Mental conversion between long and short course times is pretty easy.
6) I get angry when people say swimming isn't a real sport.
7) I watch YouTube videos of the U.S. relay winning in the 2008 Olympics.
8) My 7 year old daughter and I play false start and streamline games in our pool.
9) I can put a on cap my daughter like a pro.
10) I have grown from a nervous summer league timer to a stroke and turn judge that comfortably DQed my own 8 year old daughter.
My appreciation for the SPORT of swimming has grown tremendously. My admiration for the dedication, commitment and athletic skill demonstrated by aquatic athletes is immense. I love the sport and appreciate what it has done for my children.
Proud to be a Swim Dad
By Allen Sockwell