The Evolution of a Swim Dad

June 12, 2015 2 min read


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

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