Summer Secrets of Swim Team Moms
Let’s be honest. First and foremost, having your child involved in a country club swim team is all part of your Summer 2014 Kid Avoidance Plan. What with morning and evening practices, you’re lucky if you see your precious love bugs more than a couple of hours during the heat of the day.
Swimming in lane #2, right next to kid avoidance, are the social aspects of a country club swim program. In fact, having your kid “summer swim” will pretty much dominate your social calendar until the middle of July. While the kids are competing or waiting to compete at a meet, many parents find themselves enjoying what could be described as sorority and fraternity mixers — the middle-aged years.
Just like there are many different calibers of swimmers on a team, there are also many different kinds of moms lurking around the pool at practice and meets. From the party girl to the obsessive year-round swim mom right up to the country club climber — there’s always something to watch.
And I’m not talking about the kid who did an illegal flip turn. I mean really, who cares who won the boys 12 and under 50-meter freestyle when you’ve got a mom whose Roberto Cavalli tube top maxi dress got caught on her Valentino espadrille wedge platform sandals causing her to plunge head first into the deep end. Luckily the woman’s spring break breast augmentation helped her to stay aloft.
Each country club swim meet has its own unique vibe that not even the rules and regulations of the CCSAKC Country Club Swim Association of Kansas City can micromanage.
For example, the Country Club of Leawood (formerly the Leawood South Country Club) is a laid back chicken fingers and beer atmosphere while the Kansas City Country Club is poulet frit and Coudert Clos de la Roilette Fleurie. One has a social membership that costs less than $100 a month the other, well, let’s just say if you have to ask you can’t afford it.
As different as the local country clubs are, the personality traits of the moms that roam the poolside stay the same.
The Hard Core Swim Mom
It doesn’t matter if this mom has on shorts from Target or Gucci; her identifying trait is the stopwatch she carries. She’s constantly timing her kid and has graphs of his/her best times on her phone along with the app “On Deck” to update her 24/7 on the competitive swim scene. The stopwatch surveillance wouldn’t be so bad if she did it in stealth mode. But, no, usually the Hard Core Swim Mom has a set of lungs so powerful a blue whale might get a severe case of envy. She shouts, she screeches and, if that’s not annoying enough, she’s been known to utilize noise-making devices like a bull horn or cow bell as she paces the pool lane bellowing instructions and blasting sound effects at her child. She’ll tell anyone who complains that her noise-making is a way to encourage her kid. But everyone knows it’s code for “you better move your ….”
For these moms, it’s not a swim meet. It’s a fashion event, and there’s no better way to cheer on your kid than by wearing matching Lilly Pulitzer outfits that fit in with the club’s swim team’s color motif of green and white. Accessories are also important. Jewelry is coordinated to match the team’s colors. Lucky are the Carriage Club moms who are also Kappa Kappa Gamma alumnae. That means they already have loads of diamond and sapphire jewelry to go with the team’s blue and white.
It’s hard to blame parents for losing track of how many mojitos they’ve imbibed. The swim meets last for hours, and it’s usually 90 degrees in the shade. We all know Fun + Sun = Rum. This means you can count on there being a contingent of parents participating in a medley relay of booze. If you’ve ever wondered what someone was like in college, their swim meet behavior is usually a pretty decent clue. Teams have in the past (like last year) had to gently remind parents that their club was getting the reputation of being a little too "drinky" and they may want to switch to hydrating themselves with a liquid that wasn’t 80 proof.
This is the only mom who actually wears a swimsuit to a swim meet. She’s got on a bikini, a beachy straw cowboy hat and, of course, a sandal with a heel. When not bending over a pool lane to cheer her cherubs on and affording everyone poolside an unobstructed view of her charms, she’s busy flirting with the dads. Her scorecard is not how many races her kids won, but how many men bought her drinks.
The Club Climber
The grass is always greener at another country club. Or at least that’s what this club aspirational mom thinks. She’s uses the “away” swim meets as a chance to work the poolside and begin her campaign to find a country club proposer and sponsor. She’ll need at least two to help her wedge her Tory Burch flip-flops a rung higher on that club-climbing ladder.
For the ultimate swim team mom congregation, you need look no further than the swim team championships held in July. This is the pinnacle of the swim season, and the championships rotate every year from club to club. Although in country club vernacular, they are referred as shamps. Not champs, but shamps.
This event is resplendent with an opening ceremony that has, in the past, included bagpipers, circus performers and bands that have performed at the Super Bowl. (Take that, Sochi.)
If you hear women this summer saying shamps over and over again you can correctly surmise they are a country club swim team mom and not suffering from a speech impediment. Smile at them and be kind. These poor souls are having to wear makeup and heels to the pool.