I’ve been a swim mom for so long that doing the math makes me feel old. I didn’t know a thing about the sport when my children first joined the team. It was all new to me, and it was humbling to rely on others for help. A group of experienced parents told me everything I needed to know during that first season—or so I thought.

As my children grew up, my questions surrounding swimming started to change. Now I was looking for practical advice about how-to balance sports and school, reduce overall costs, support siblings with different skill levels, and eventually pick a new swim team.

These are all personal topics, and I knew better than to mention them to the people I sat with during meets. Come on, you know how fast gossip spreads!

That’s when I turned to the Internet. Everything can be found online, right? Nope. There are plenty of websites focusing on coaching, technique, and cross training, but nothing to help parents guide, support and meet the practical needs of their swimmers. At the end of the day, I had to make the tough decisions using trial and error.

Like every sport, the swim culture is unique. It takes time to figure out how things work on paper and behind the scenes. The wrong decision can be detrimental to your swimmer’s mental and physical well-being or ability to reach their potential.

Being a swim parent can be overwhelming. To keep your head above water you need to ask questions, learn how others are coping, and trust yourself to do what makes sense for your family. That’s not always easy.

I am going to be honest with you about my family’s good, bad, and ugly experiences in swimming. I will also give tips, ideas, and information that may help you today or down the road. Please comment, link, or share my posts with anyone who may benefit from them.

After all, what’s the first rule of water safety? Never swim alone.