Growing up surrounded by water you become naturally drawn to it. We never had to travel more than a minute to gaze over the oceans clear beauty. It was so vast and endless making each experience with the water was brand new. The smell of salt in the air filled our lungs with the freshness of life’s possibilities. We knew, that on and beyond our shores we could achieve life’s promises of glory and happiness.
The water could ease the soul with its sight and sound yet if not careful it was a very dangerous place. My parents
made sure that I knew proper water safety by learning to swim off of our many shores and in the pools of the more fortunate Bermudian population. With over three hundred days of sunshine and a lengthy warm season much of my time was spent swimming. It wasn’t long before I had become one of the strongest swimmers on the island and earned my position on the Bermuda National Swim Team. From that point I began to travel the world, meet new people and earn unforeseen opportunities for myself.
By the age of 16 I had traveled through much of the Caribbean, parts of the US, many cities in Canada and frequent visits to England. This was all an accent to become one of the few Bermudians to reach the Olympic Games. Representing my country at the pinnacle of the sport was always a dream I had which drew ever closer each day.
In order to raise my level of competition I went on to attend ‘The Peddie School’ in Hightstown, New Jersey. Here I would make immense improvement due to the regular heightened competition in training and racing. I would go on
to become an All-American (something unknown to me) and also be voted as team captain as a senior. My sights set on being a great leader of my team I trained vigorously and held my team accountable for their training. I made them push themselves as hard as I would on a daily basis to reach our goal of becoming Eastern Champions again, as we had done the previous year.
It wasn’t long into the year when I had received a call from home that my mother was dying and I needed to come home. From here my life, which was moving so smoothly would quickly unravel. Her ten-year battle with cancer ended only two months into my senior year. She was my guidance system and now she was gone. Life would change faster than I could keep up. It was the equivalent to being dropped into the middle of the ocean, and having to get to my next destination without a compass.
My next point of growth was supposed to be a strong career in an NCAA Division 1 University. I had little to no knowledge of what it entailed to be a part of this kind of program. My number one resource was gone from me and I floundered like a fish on land. I struggled in classes, which caused my grades to quickly plummet to a point of no return. My swimming suffered due to taking some time off to heal but really I had no time. I was dead in the water without any resource to remind me of what and how I needed to take the next step.
When I was going through these difficult times I needed a greater understanding of the how to grow into a successful student athlete and a better version of myself. A guidance system to connect with others who may have de
alt with similar situations and found their way back on a path of success. Instead I became a golf ball on a tee, smacked for a three hundred yard drive and left in the field to be collected by a machine with the others that had been forgotten and disregarded. To the system I was a dime a dozen with no connections anywhere.
Years later, my family has grown and my support system is greater than ever as I chase down my 3rd Olympic Games. Im proud of my journey and enjoying the process. Find what works for you and give yourself the opportunity to maximize your abilities. Fail faster folks. And thank you for all the support along the way.