Monthly Archives: September 2015

6 Rules For Becoming a Better Swim Parent

Coach - Play - Cheer (2)

The start of a season is a good time to review some of the basics. And the first one is the role of a swim parent.

Before I start, I should point out that most swim parents are actually pretty good when it comes to interacting with their kid’s competitors, officials and coaches, at least in comparison with other sports. In fact, swimming didn’t show up in any of the top 10 list I could find for worst sports parents. And this makes sense. Swimmers can’t hear parents during competitions, when the worst behaviours come out. And we don’t have an official that controls the course of the competition the way so many other sports do.

But just because we don’t have baseball or hockey-style parents physically attacking each other in the stands, or hear vicious verbal abuse of officials, coaches and opposition, doesn’t mean that swimming parents aren’t a problem. Ask pretty much any coach and they’ll tell you that dealing with problematic parents is the worst part of their job.

Here are 6 basic rules / suggestions that can help a parent become an asset to their team, and a positive force in their child’s life. The first two are directly from USA Swimming.

1) Be your child’s biggest fan, no matter what. Be positive and supportive, and help them feel better about themselves, especially after a poor swim.

Your swimmer will feel enough pressure from their coach, their peers, and especially themselves that they don’t need more pressure from their parents. In fact, swimmers perform best when they are relaxed. The perfect scenario is when they know that they can mess up in a race, and they will still be loved, supported and encouraged afterwards.

2) Don’t coach.

Coaching involves critiquing, and that implies criticism. Your job is to support your child no …read more

Source: Rick’s Blog

A Glimpse Into the Future: Comparisons of Junior and Senior World Championships

Junior versus Senior

A few weeks ago I wrote about US dominance and international parity in swimming, and how it has changed over the years (here). For the last decade or so we’ve pretty much had status quo, with 30-35 countries typically making finals, and the US only slipping slightly in terms of percentage of swimmers making finals.

With the 2015 World Junior Swimming Championships over, it gives me the chance to compare those results with the Senior results, and perhaps see where the world is heading when these juniors reach full maturity.

International Parity

Since the Senior analysis was based on finalists, that’s where I’ll start.

Take a look at that chart, and now look at the same chart for Juniors


We can see right away that the US Juniors did much better, making finals in 75% of their races compared to 61% for their Senior compatriots. But also note that most of these top 10 numbers are higher. In fact, when I go back to the data I can see that the top 10 countries at the Senior Worlds accounted for 68% of all finalists. While at the Juniors, the top 10 countries accounted for 81% of the finalists.

In other words, there is far less parity at the Junior Worlds than there is at the Seniors.

When I broke this down by gender, and the results get even more interesting.

2015 – Top Ten Countries – Finals %


Junior: 78%

Senior: 73%


Junior: 88%

Senior: 74%

The big surprise there is that 88% of the Junior Women finalists come from only 10 countries. That is an astonishing concentration of success in a few countries. And without the 2 swimmer per country limit, that % would most likely be well into the mid-90s.

To determine if the 2015 World Junior Championship was an anomaly, I also looked at the 2013 …read more

Source: Rick’s Blog