A Fun | Informative | Interactive | Interesting | blog about youth competitive swimming

March 1
by Tammy
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Welcome to swimmom.org. This site is about youth competitive swimming and it is going to inform you ~ educate you ~ tell you stories and share advice ~ and maybe even make you laugh and cry at the same time. We cover everything from drills and technique to fitness and nutrition and of course all the human aspects of being a swim mom (or swim family) ~ the highs and lows and everything in-between. This is an interactive blog… so feel free to join in and share your stories or tips or tricks. So sit back, make yourself at home and enjoy the site and tell all your friends about us. We have a a lot of features and are adding more constantly so keep checking back. In the helpful links section we have links to sites that we think are either either essential reading or maybe great swimming videos. We also have a few affiliate links that swimmom recommends.


January 26
by Tammy Guinan
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Wrapping up a Fall Swim Season

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I can’t believe that we are 4 meets away from the end of another season. It’s been a crazy one (as noticed by my lack of updates).  So i figure I will wrap up each of my kids sort of individually.

Youngest – she started swimming competitively over the summer and this was her first full season.  We had our ups and downs with her, but she was only 6 when she started this year.  We noticed she LOVES the meets, but not the practice.  We watched her strokes develop and watched her drop time.  It’s really cool to see them at this age because they almost always drop time.  We started the season with a goal of her just swimming legal – get through the events and get a time – any time will do just something we can use as a base for improvement. As the season progressed, we watched her go up and down in her strokes.  She was awesome at the free until the end of the season when she decided to incorporate a dolphin kick to everything she swam.  We could spot her in the water as she was the swimmer sticking her butt up and trolling the bottom for jewels. The coaches decided that she will be an awesome butterfly swimmer at some point in her life. Her breast stroke has come along nicely, she doesn’t stay underwater and uses her hands correctly.

We have had to work on making sure everything gets home that went with her.  We have lost goggles and caps in the middle of meets and then lost back up pairs as well.  We have lost bathing suits and shoes.  Fortunately, all things have been recovered. She makes everyone smile on deck and also keeps a few on edge as she is rarely where she needs to be when she needs to be there.  We have a “deck mom” that is usually frantically looking for her to get her to clerk of course.  She is usually on deck doing something goofy and getting the team pepped up and happy.

Not sure what the future holds for our youngest swimmer, but it will be a fun ride and never a dull moment.


Middle – our middle swimmer aged up this year.  We were a little on the fence about how that would go.  No more 25’s for her – all 50’s and the 100 IM.  She did amazing this year dropping time and working hard.  She is our gymnast as well. She will tell you that she only swam this year because she was going to have to be a meets anyway so she might as well suit up and swim.  She also realized that swimming was a good work out and would help her gymnastics too.  Her true passion (for the time being anyway) is gymnastics, so our schedule for her was a bit different that the rest of the swimmers in the house.  This was the first year that we had to split up and one of use needed to miss a swim meet. There were a few conflicts with gymnastics and swim but we are handling it just fine.  The good thing about my middle swimmer is that no matter what she does she gives her all.  She may not really want to be in the pool, but when she is there she is coachable and puts forth 110% and it shows in her times.  She isn’t the best swimmer but she can show improvement, which is awesome!


Oldest – my oldest swimmer is at that point in her swim career where she isn’t sure what she wants to do.  Her times have sort of plateaued and it’s a bit frustrating.  We noticed about half way through the season that she should be focusing on the fly a little more, as she was swimming it very fast.  She was not altogether enthused by that revelation since the fly is not her favorite stroke. We have changed her dive from a track start to a 10 toe dive and it seems to get her off the block a little faster.  Now if we could just string together all the little pieces from each stroke that are amazing and put them into her breast stroke she could be amazing!  She has been staying consistent with her breast stroke all year but that doesn’t help her drop a second and make zones.  I guess it’s good that she is not gaining time really, just not dropping any significant time either. So hard to be the Mom of a swimmer that is amazing in the pool but she doesn’t see it because she looks at the times and they are not dropping.  She is also 13 so there’s that to deal with too.  I’m glad we have a good coaching staff that sees these frustrations and has her focus on other things without loosing sight of her goals, just giving her something else to focus on.  That’s how we noticed how awesome she was in the fly-we were taking a break from the breast stroke and decided the fly would be the most beneficial to her and her breast stroke as well.  Turns out she is really good and will be focusing on that too.

Not sure what the future of swimming holds for her.  She goes through periods of not wanting to swim and periods of loving it. Hopefully she can drop some time and re-energize her swimming gears.  She is looking toward high school and beyond so there is lot going on.


Divisionals are coming up in the next couple weeks.  I can’t wait to see how well the girls do.  In our divisionals you have to finish in the top 16 I think out of 3 divisions and you make it on to championships.  This will be the youngests first attempt at making it to champs.  Our middle one will not be at the meet, she has a gymnastics meet the same day and the oldest will be swimming for times.  This is the hardest thing ever.  For the first time ever, we as parents, have to split up and watch the kids do their thing.  It’s so hard because we have always been to everything and this time we have to separate and someone is going to miss something. I HATE missing them in their events ans stuff.  I’m afraid they are going to have the best meets of their lives and I wont be there to see it!  I don’t ever want to miss their big moments like that – EVER!!!


So have you ever had issues like these?  What did you do?  Would love to hear from you!!


Remember – if you have a lane you have a chance –


Splash ya later-

Swim Mom


October 3
by Tammy Guinan
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What does Fall Swim Season Mean to You?

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Well, you know what fall swim means to me?  It means a lot of things and here are just a few:

1) This year it means I have 3 out of 4 of my kids on the team!  Why not the 4th you ask? Well, he wants nothing to do with swimming. He doesn’t like getting is head wet so anything other than walking along the bottom is out! However, he doesn’t like the meets either.  He says they are long and boring.  The logic that worked on the other kids just didn’t work on him.  We told our younger swimmers that since they had to be there anyway, they may as well get wet.  Well, they did and they were hooked!  This fall is my 6 year olds first full season of swim.  She swam in the summer, but its a short season and it’s just a different atmosphere, so we are anxious for the fall to start and see how she does.  We are swimming with the YMCA this fall, and it should be interesting.  The middle girl is swimming when she is not working with her gymnastics team.  So far, we checked the calendar and there will only be a couple conflicts between the 2 schedules!  I think they are pretty big meets though, but we will cross that bridge when we get to it.It’s going to be nice to have everyone in the same place at the same time, so I and swim dad can watch them all swim!!

2) Everything old is new again!!  Now is the time to forget old goals (hit or missed) and start over with new ones!  Past times are just that PAST, time to hit the water with a fresh attitude and clear mind.  Old habits are done and its time to make new ones, better ones! My oldest swimmer has decided that this year is a new focus, a new dedication and a new determination to set goals and push herself to achieve them.  She is looking at high school and knows the importance of this year if she wants to swim in high school. (WOW, high school is only a couple years away – yikes) She has also come to the realization that this may be her last year of YMCA swimming and they she is at a talent level that will require her to move to USA if she wants to continue to improve and become a stronger swimmer.  We made the decision to go back to Y swimming this year for a few reasons.  YMCA Zones (for those who don’t know, is a meet where the best of the best compete in each stroke they qualified in.  Our zone is 5 states and last time she went she finished 15 over all in the breast stroke) you qualify for zones at the age you are at on December 1.  In USA you qualify for their Zones at the age you are the day of the Zone meet.  Well, she ages up about 2 weeks before the Zone meet in USA and as soon as she hits 13 there is no more aging up,until 15.  Given that information we thought it would be good for her to swim Y for one more year to be able to compete and make zones in her age group and not be “defeated” so to speak before she starts.  I would like to say that she should just aim for the higher age group time and then it wont be a problem, but she is only 12 and that is a great concept for me, as her mom, to digest, but as the swimmer, I would imagine it can be a little disheartening to always think you are just a little behind the eight ball. So, hears to new beginnings and new goals and new successes!!

3) I am officially an Official!!  I was an official for SSL (summer swim league) but that doesn’t carry over to YMCA or USA so I had to go take another training class and get certified for YMCA.  It was on my birthday and that stunk!  I spent 4 hours in a classroom on my birthday!  It was well worth it though!  I learned a lot and had a bunch of questions answered that I thought about in the summer.  There are so many rules and I must admit that the rules and officials are there to help the swimmers.  We are taught that if we can’t, with 100% certainty, make a call, then we are NOT to make it.  So all the times my kids have been DQ’d I now think they had to have done something obviously wrong.  It also helps the coaching staff.  The reasons for any DQ are given to the head coach (or are supposed to be) and they can then see what’s going on and help the swimmer to fix it.  My only issue, and it was in the summer too, is the 8u kids.  Those kids that are 6-7 years old work so hard and most times are not legal in anything (except the free) it’s heartbreaking to tell them they got DQ’d and their time doesn’t count.  I have mixed feeling on that!!  Part of me thinks there should be no official DQ for a child under 8 but they should get slips written up so the coaches know what needs to be worked on, but the kids still get times.  The other part of me realizes that the kids need to know about DQ and what it means.  The rules have to be fair for everyone. I can’t wait to work my first meet!  I’m also very excited that by being an official I get to be on the pool deck for every meet and that is where I LOVE to be!!

4) It means that the 4-6 day practices start and the weekend meets!  I actually look forward to meets.  Getting together with other swim families and celebrating our wins and comforting our losses.  The “swim family” is really like no other in sports that I have ever experienced.  Since our YMCA doesn’t have a summer team so in the summer, those that choose to swim summer go to various teams and they are not always together.  So when fall starts it’s nice to have the kids back together and get the back with the families. It’s also very cool to see how the kids have changed in their swimming over the summer too.  Since the kids go to different teams and we don’t have a summer team, the kids all go to different coaches.  While strokes are strokes and there are specific rules about how they are to be swam, it’s interesting to see how different they are taught and the different drills and training aids are used on different teams.

5) Finally, it means to me that my children are doing something they love!  Watching them succeed, even in the small victories is why I am a Swim Mom!  I got my new bag for hauling gear and LOVE it!  My search for the perfect pair of racing goggles will begin this weekend as my oldest swimmer has decided that the type she has swam with for the past 4 years (the Aquasphere k-180’s – which are great) is no longer what she wants. I also need to find chew proof straps that aren’t bungees for my younger ones as they still chew on the straps while they are prepping for races and when they are bored waiting their turn at practice. It’s  a process I don’t usually enjoy because we have to purchase several different pairs till we find the right one and I am left with a bunch of “in a pinch” goggles that just take up space in my new gear bag.  So, if any of you have recommendations for goggles that your swimmers use and really like, I would more than love to hear from you!!!

(Don’t’ forget to use the links on the page to either Amazon or Swim Outlet – SwimMom is an affiliate with both, your price is still the same but we get some dough to help maintain the site.)

In closing, I received the coolest thing from a company called GemLights.  I will be putting up more info on that in the next or so, but wanted you all to be able to check out the site in the meantime click here.

Swimmom.org Swimmom.org

Remember – if you have a lane you have a chance!

See you on the pool deck- Splash you later,

Swim Mom


August 11
by Tammy Guinan
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We are the Champions!

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WOW, did this summer season fly by!!  First the good news, the team the girls swam for, The Marlins, won championships for the SSL 2014 season!!  YAY – we have never been a part of an experience like that and I can tell you it was amazing!  They announced the winner at the final day of championships, and it was close.  We had been going back and fourth with another team that whole day, so every swim counted and had to be done right.  It seemed to be a lot of pressure for us parents who were watching the scores and trying to keep track on our own, but not for the kids, they  were having fun and just doing what they do – swim!  While we’re biting our nails and “shushing” everyone when the announcements were made so we could hear what we needed and where we were, the kids were all running around from camp to camp and just having a blast!  The whole experience was great – one of my non competing daughters spent most of her time in another teams camp playing and selling hair stuff. Even though the teams were very, very competitive, for the most part all the swimmers knew each other from other leagues and teams and many swim together in the fall. I am putting a few pictures on the blog of our experience.

On day 1 of champs, it started out sunny and very hot, they had a D.J. jamming and kids were cheering. Then the weather turned – we got to sit through what seemed like a hurricane! High winds, thunder and lightening, and oh about a thousand kids. Our camps were like 1/4 mile away from the pool in an open field of a high school.  The city had the road closed so the kids could walk around from the pool to camp without being in any danger so that was nice and gave it that carnival feel! I felt like I was at Woodstock in the rain! I’m going to put the video up as well!  The wind was blowing tents and the rain was coming down in buckets, it was crazy!  The league wanted to get as much in as they could on day one so we waited it out for about 3 1/2 hours.  There were a couple things that really stunk about the rain delay, aside from the obvious. The first was that once my 6 year old saw tents blowing and people heading for shelter she began to flip out.  I love storms and was perfectly happy standing in my tent watching the rain and thunder and lightning, she on the other hand, was not so OK with it!! They opened the high school so everyone could go in. As soon as she got inside, she curled up with her blanket and fell asleep!  It had been a long morning for her, even though the 8u kids didn’t swim on day 1, she was still there and cheering for her team and the stress of the storm was a bit much for her to handle! It was a bit much for my 12 year old too.  She only swam 1 individual event on day 1 and 1 relay and they were both at the end of the day.  So that rain delay was prior to her ever even getting wet! We arrived at 7:00am and she finally got in the pool at 4:30 for her first event. It was a bit of a mental work out for her to get back up for her swims, but in true fashion she did an amazing job and dropped time and scored points for the team! It was a bit of a challenge, but the sky’s cleared up just as she was ready to swim and it was awesome.

Champion Rains


On day 2 we were at a different pool so a little different set up.  Our team camp was right by the entrance, snack bar and pool!  We loved it there!! The pool is a city pool so there were some additional amenities there which made the day a little better. For a mere $5 I bought my 2 non team swimmers a wrist band and they were allowed in the lazy river from the time the meet started till the final event of the day!  That was the best feature ever and it was right next to the pool so I always knew where they were at and it was close to our camp so they knew where to go if they needed a rest. I had to work on day 2 and I was given a job I had never had before.  I was charged with the task of writing the  DQ’s as they came in from the officials. I was so totally stressed out about that, visions of 6 officials all talking in their head sets at the same time and me trying to write what they are saying and get it correct was enough to send me into a bit of a panic.  When I got there the head official said there was a problem with the radio’s and they would be using DQ slips instead of the head sets so my job was to collect the slips and get them to the scorer.  As much as that stinks to not have the head sets, it was like a blessing for me, I was immediately unstressed and focused on the swims!  Our head official came to me and said that he had talked to other officials and they had nothing but good things to say about my performance so he wanted me to try a new job and get used to something else – so next season I will be able to do more things.  I was pretty happy about that, thought it was cool that other people thought I did a good job.  Made me want to maybe become a Y official for the fall season, but that is another adventure for another day!

Swimming on Day 2 was amazing.  Our team showed up to win and it showed.  They did amazing.  My 2 swimmers were especially impressive (at least to me).  My 6 year old dropped time in her free, fortunately she only had to swim a 25.  She also swam the fly in the medley relay for the 8u girls and not only did they finish but they finished legally AND scored points for the team!  She is one of only two six year olds on the team.  My 12 year old dropped time in all of her events as well, and finished with ribbons or medals in most of her swims!  Her races were amazing and some were really close.  That always helps her out, she swims better when she is pushed by the swimmers next to her.  It was just an amazing weekend for swimming.

After all the swimming and hard work comes the party to celebrate the season.  This year they had it at the pool where the kids practiced at and it was so fun.  They have a water slide, diving boards, a wiggle bridge, water basketball, and of course just a pool to swim in.  The whole family was invited and we had a pot luck dinner outside, awards and then when the pool closed to the public and the kids got to take over! It was so cool, the pool was all lite up because it was dark and there were kids everywhere.  It was nice to see the team together all just playing around instead of the usual working out. They all talked about where they were going to swim in the fall and who would be with who and who wanted who to go where.  It was like they were all seniors in high school trying to decide what college they would be attending.

On to fall – and three of my girls competing…. If only my son liked to swim.

Remember- if you have a lane you have a chance!!

Splash ya later-

Swim Mom