Hall of Fame

Reflection. Nostalgia. Analysis

I headed home to be inducted into my high school athletic hall of fame. I’m now fifteen years removed from that period of my life and I’ve reached a point where looking back isn’t something I do often. It seems we are always looking ahead. Planning – for wherever the Navy will take us next. For the cycling season. For business strategies at work.

Looking back happens for a brief moment each day. Typically that’s through the Facebook memories with either a ‘omg why did we think it was a good idea to post these college party photos’ or ‘I miss San Diego’ feelings. High school? What was that like?

Focus. Drive. Determination. Fun. And success. In 2001, I became my high school’s first state swimming champion. An enormous amount of work and help went into this achievement. I still don’t think I’ve worked as hard towards something as I did for that state championship. Ironman training was 6 months. This was 17 years in the making. It had been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember. I wished for it every day at 11:11am {I had my Timex watch alarm set.} Every yard swam was for that one moment. Every achievement leading up to that was a step towards this goal of winning state. Its crazy to think about how much pressure I put on myself to win something that took less than one minute. It’s also crazy to think that I knew I was going to win. There were no doubts. No worries other than a few helpful butterflies. Focus. Drive. Determination.

I like to tell people I’m from the middle of nowhere, Northern Minnesota. I’m proud of my roots and am thankful to have grown up in a place with many opportunities to shine. To play. To learn and grow. I had a very normal childhood, and feel blessed to have grown up with an amazing support system.

To my parents – thank you from the bottom of my heart for the believe you instilled in me. The “positive mental attitude” speeches before my races helped calm my nerves. Thank you for every mile driven, for watching every swim meet of my career. For the splits taken and cheers shouted. For the pb&js, orange slices, and red vines. The swim camps, swim suits, race suits and parka. For wiping the tears and giving the hugs when best times were missed or false starts were made. For the celebrations – you made those victories even sweeter. Your unconditional love shines bright and for that I couldn’t be more appreciative.

To my coaches {Mr Casey, Ryan, Cheryl, Colleen, Jim, Mavi} You watched the work. You coached me to these times and finishes. Your sacrifice to make me into the best swimmer I could be is immense. Your time on the pool deck, your instruction, discipline, and your support were incredible. You clearly don’t coach for the money or notoriety. I can only hope you feel pride in my accomplishments. The lessons I’ve learned go far beyond the technique and mileage. And to my Uncle Al – thank you for letting me live with you in Minneapolis for two summers to swim club team at the U.

My teammates {including my sister, Megan} – Swimming is recognized as an individual sport. But there is no way I would’ve stood on that top step without you! Hard work must be balanced with fun. My lane 2 buddies gutting it out, day in and day out. Jock jams, Thunderstruck, spitting {don’t ask}, yelling, cheering. Bus rides, morning practices, the varsity locker room, my backstroke sisters. The list of memories is endless when you spend that amount of time together. The bond we had as Thunderhawk swimmers went deep.

59.14 – that’s how many seconds it took to be able to stand on the top step. To receive the medal that meant more to me than most anything. A validation of the work put in, the sacrifices made. That race was a cumulative capstone with so many moments and individuals who went into making me into the woman I am today.

Forever grateful for being a 2017 inductee into Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame.

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