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. Is it wrong that many women were hoping she wouldn’t resurface?)
Each country club swim meet has its own unique vibe that not even the rules and regulations of the CCSA (Country Club Swim Association) can micromanage. For example, one less pricey country club will be working a more laid back chicken fingers and beer atmosphere while the old money, fancy pants club will be all about the poulet frit and Coudert Clos de la Roilette Fleurie. Though as different as 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 Targets 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 ass.”
The Fashionistas: 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 color motif. Accessories are also important. Jewelry is coordinated to match the team’s colors and just to be sure their family and friends remember who they are the Fashionista loves monogramming. Look for her initials on everything from her phone case to her car.
The Party Girl: 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 and 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 to drinky and they may want to switch to hydrating themselves with a liquid that wasn’t 80 proof. Also, throwing back a Tequilla shot every time a kid gets DQ’ed (disqualified) for not doing a two hand lane touch is just going to lead to another person taking an unintentional tumble into the pool. Safety first parents.
The Flirt: 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.
The So Busy: Do not walk but run away from this mom so fast your flip-flops will sound like artillery fire. The So Busy’s sole purpose is to prance around acting confused about what is going on. For example she’ll say, “Wait, are all the kids doing the 100 meter Butterfly relay?” Her primary purpose for asking questions is so she can follow-up with, “I should know this but I’ve just been SO BUSY . . .” A) Redecorating my summer home B) Vacationing in Europe C) Traveling with a child(ren) doing multiple national level “select” or “elite” sports competition D) Buying a private island or E) All of the above. There’s no bigger summer buzz kill than listening to this mom make sure you know she’s “living the dream.”
Shamps Time: The holy grail of the swim team season are the championships usually held in July. This one event can define your summer. The championships rotate every year from club to club. Although in country club vernacular they are referred as shamps. Not champs, which is the industry standard as the abbreviation for championships but shamps as in you’re saying the first syllable in shampoo and adding an s. 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.
**For more Snarky check out my book Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School.
Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good. Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival. If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you.
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