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End of Season Swim Coach Gifts: What Coaches REALLY want

Somehow, faster than ever before (or so it seems), we have reached that time again: the end of the high school and year-round short course swim seasons (i.e. time to think about swim coach gifts!). Swimmers, coaches, and parents alike have survived the annual trek—swimmers crushing hours upon hours of training, coaches ceaselessly analyzing times and metrics, and parents producing endless meals to feed their athletes’ insatiable hunger. All parties working together to cultivate success.

However, whether this was your swimmer’s best season yet or a learning experience for next year, their coach stood by them day in and day out. Listening, advising, critiquing, and contributing to their development as both an athlete and growing adolescent. Given the importance coaches hold in our swimmers’ lives, you may be wondering how best to exemplify your appreciation. What will make the best swim coach gifts?

Luckily, SwimTopia has taken the mind-reading out of gift-giving! After polling Austin, Texas-based high school, club, and summer swim coaches, we discovered the following would make stand-out gifts! 

Top Voted Swim Coach Gifts

  1. Handwritten letter or card (ALWAYS a keepable winner!!)
  2. Jolyn gift card (Because some of us lady coaches still swim ourselves!)
  3. Food/money/gift cards (Most of us never grew out of the swimmer habit of eating any and everything we want!)
  4. Cash/gift cards/closed practices with parents off-deck (Ha ha ha)
  5. Promised volunteers for timing (I meannn….We absolutely wouldn’t say no)
  6. Money or food—gift cards or home-cooked food (Do you bake?? Because we love bread and muffins and all the carbs!)
  7. Cash (Classic—can go towards anything at all! Meals, athletic gear, a new watch! Anything!)
  8. Framed team photo with swimmer signatures (Personal, and also serves as wall décor- oooh!)
  9. No to Starbucks gift cards (To each their own)
  10. Yes to Starbucks gift cards (Again, to each their own)

Though it certainly looks like money and gift cards are winners based off this SwimTopia poll, so too are handmade gifts (food, cards, pictures, etc.). When it comes to gathering cash for an end-of-season gift, best practice is to start contacting parents before season’s end. Let them know you will be collecting money (remind them of how amazing the coaches have been this year!!) and send plenty of reminders (you know very well how busy parents can get!). Gather funds through Paypal, Venmo, cash, or check, and then pool together and divide amongst coaches. Typically head coaches get the bulk of the donation (50-60%), and the remainder is split between assistant coaches.

We at SwimTopia hope this helps as you start thinking about end-of-season coach gifts! Hats off to another excellent short course and high school season.



Mariah Harper, besides working in SwimTopia’s Sales and Marketing department, has been both a summer recreational and year-round club coach in the Austin, TX area for 8+ years. Her top three favorite end-of-season gifts over the years have been: home-baked sour dough bread, a Wonder Woman coffee mug, and cash money!

Max Lucas, pictured above and also a member of SwimTopia’s Sales and Marketing team, has been coaching club and high school swim for 3 years in Maryland. He proudly holds his end-of-season gift from this past year!