The swim parent lifestyle is a soggy, herculean and often thankless one.

There are all of the early morning practices, the weekend-long swim meets, the fundraising, helping with the board, chaperoning, the fees, the carpooling, and the food, ohmagod, all the food. 

And most importantly, there is the most fundamental and irreplaceable role you have as a swim parent: cheerleader and support staff to your little athlete.

I get a lot of emails from parents who want the best from their swimmers, for them to enjoy the process of improving, but are often unsure what to do. It’s an awkward two-step of wanting to encourage their kids to be better, but to be better without having to be necessarily pushed.

Some recent research on elite athletes have shown that top performers have parents (and coaches) who are supportive, but who still allow the young athletes to own their sport and subsequent performances.

With that in mind, here are some ideas on how to be an awesome swim parent: