I was recently thinking about Paolo Coehlo’s classic, The Alchemist, about a young boy seeking life and adventure finds himself coming home, full circle in the end. That’s how I feel about my life. Swimming was a gift given to me at a young age that propelled me to the highest levels of competition – The Olympic Games. I will never forget how the pool deck vibrated as our relay clinched the Gold medal in Olympic record time before an American crowd in Atlanta. It was a bit surreal to have a hometown parade held in my honor in New Rochelle upon my return. It was a lot to take in for an 18 year old.
After retiring from swimming, I wanted to prove to myself that I could do things outside of a sport and element that I knew so dearly and loved. I worked and studied abroad, took jobs that didn’t suit my personality, but I always gravitated back to swimming or coaching.
I’ve coached beginners, tri-athletes, and national elite level athletes. When I’m spending time helping someone else or I’m in the water, that is when I am at my best, or better said, I’m myself. This past fall, my full circle came to fruition.
Along with my equally community-focused husband, we opened a local swim school here in Greenwich, CT. Sweet Blue Swim Academy is focused on instilling a lifelong love of water in our swimmers by helping to build their self-confidence, resilience and self-knowledge. It’s not about the gold medal, but rather the technique and play in the water. Yes, play. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from becoming a strong swimmer is that it would not have happened without play- time in the water. When you deconstruct and play that’s when some amazing learning happens.
It feels good to be back locally. While we’re just over the border in Greenwich, we’re so grateful to be able to serve Westchester families and the greater Greenwich area.