Consociate Relationships and Community in Youth Swimming Clubs

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Swimming is a sport that takes an incredible amount of commitment from youth, parents, and coaches. Spending such an extended period of time with the same people—between 3 hours and 25 hours training per week, not to mention the all weekend long competitions—youth swimmers developed friendships and consociate relations (Dyck 2002) with their fellow swimmers, as one would with work colleagues or classmates. One example of community in youth sports are these momentary, ephemeral ‘communities’ that form out of consociate relations between athletes, coaches, and parents, often for a season of play or during a road trip (Dyck 2002). Consociate relationships may form through the everyday interactions that kids have with other swimmers, parents, and coaches in their own, and with other clubs at swim meets. Noel Dyck describes consociate relationships as requiring “putting names to known faces and telling stories about mutually shared experiences in the world of community sports” (2012, 67). Following Dyck, I would argue that youth swimmers use these relationships to further their own ends. They forge new relationships with peers and competitors in other clubs and construct their identities through shared practices in training and competition. They can also choose to cultivate these relationships and develop them into other types of friendships. Swimmers who go to the same meets are able to share their stories of victory or defeat in their races against their club peers and those youths from other clubs.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019
EventInternational Union of Anthropologists and Ethnologists 2019 Inter-Congress: World Solidarities - Poland, Poznan
Duration: 26 Aug 201931 Aug 2019


ConferenceInternational Union of Anthropologists and Ethnologists 2019 Inter-Congress
Abbreviated titleIUAES 2019


  • consociates
  • community
  • youth
  • swimming
  • relationships
  • embodiment
  • identities


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