Swimming when you do it for leisure is pretty harmless. In fact, it is a good and healthy vocation for the body and the mind. But, when it is taken as a sport, it kind of transmutes into something else. Swimmers seem like a different species altogether. They are focused, private individuals who are interested in just three things: swimming, eating, and sleeping, not necessarily in the same order. In that way, swimming as a sport is something quite different, it is an abiding passion that not only sucks in the sportsperson but also their folks, their parents.
Sometime between when the kid is practicing in pools and participating in local meets, a strange transformation takes place with the parents. At some ill-opportune moment, they transmute from normal fun-loving folks to an obsessive passionate lot. Called as the Swimming Parent (a Swim-Dad or a Swim-Mom), these are pretty normal beings most of the times but shows traces of abnormalities in the proximity of a water-body like a swimming pool or a sea. Abnormalities include garrulous or loud behavior, a fascination for trivialities like splicing or leg movement, and obsession over lap-times. The inflicted one is not shy and inhibited in showing his/her excitement or disappointment to the world at large. At meets, the Swim-Dad can be seen nervously timing the different heats and thunderously timing the ones that have his kids. Usually, he or she does not swim yet, knows the nuances of each stroke. He or she is well aware of dietary practices even though their body might not reflect it. He or she is obsessed with timings, records, and tournaments. And usually is not much liked by officials and coaches. The good thing is that, once away from the pool, the Swim-Dad displays normal tendencies, but now and then, some mutations occur and the Swim-Dad is equally obsessive even in while sitting in the living room.
To know whether you are afflicted by the syndrome, here’s a list of statements of the primary traits. Count how many the number of traits that you agree with and then compare it with the result at the end. So, let’s find out if you are a Swim-Dad (or a Swim-Mom). Here goes:
If pools excite you, 50 mt makes you happy, 100 mt makes you ecstatic and anything less than 25 Mt is disappointment
If keeping records of your kid’s performance is your favorite hobby, or better, your only hobby
If you go to meets armed with your camera, clipping all races for posterity
If your weekends are planned based on local meets and office PLs spent on outstation meets
If someone tells you they are into swimming and you immediately start having an animated discussion with them
If your idea of a day well spent is, sitting by the pool and watching your kid do those endless laps with fins, drag-shorts and pull boys
If the walls at your home are plastered with photos from swimming competition
If Butterfly is not a beautiful insect and Dolphin not an intelligent mammal
If microseconds are more important to you than hours or months
If you like the smell of chlorine, in fact, you find it addictive, say like petrol
If you are an expert on nutrition and things like slow absorbed proteins, even though your body is extremely out of shape
If your favorite websites are swim vortex, swim gala and swimindia
If a majority of sportsperson that you follow on Twitter are Olympian swimmers
If watching swimming videos on YouTube is your idea of a relaxation
If buying goggles, caps, and accessories is a monthly ritual
If you have a set of printed swimming shirts at home somewhere
If you judge a country’s sporting prowess by its strength of swimming team, which also makes you sad about India
If you are constantly cribbing on the lack of swimming infrastructure in India and wish someone would do some about it
If you are more at home with FINA rules than say BCCI
If cricket and other team sports don’t excite you as it does not inspire an individual to push harder to greatness
If you believe Michael Phelps is way bigger sportsperson than Sachin Tendulkar. Heck, even Virdhawal Khade is bigger than Tendulkar.
If you score a YES on more than (or equal to) 10 pointers, well then congratulations, you have evolved into a Swim-Dad/Swim-Mom.
If you score more than 5, well, bravo you are on the way.
Anything less than 5, means you and your kids have to work harder to join the elite gang. You are still normal humans