a) watch/follow the swimming grand prix series;
b) are Facebook friends with someone who follows the series;
c) watch Good Morning America;
d) watch NBC Nightly News; or
e) read the Huffington Post
then you've probably seen the video of Olympic swimmer Matt Grevers proposing to his girlfriend, Annie Chandler (also a member of the US National Team), on the medal stand at last weekend's swim meet in Missouri. The YouTube clip of the proposal has over 1 million hits.
On USA Swimming's web site there is a lengthy article talking all about the new power couple of the swimming world. Being a sucker for a good engagement story, I took the time to read the article from beginning to end. And I am SO glad that I did.
At the end of the article, author Mike Gustafson talks about how this moment will be remembered forever by everyone at the meet. He goes on further to say:
Long after the records are broken and times bettered, long after the
last event has swum, I don’t remember the races. No one really does. We
won’t remember the heats, titles, or championships. We only remember the
people we met. The people we trained with. The friendships we made. The
people we loved. That’s swimming. That’s why our world is so unique.
I couldn't have said it better myself. What a beautiful statement about the sport I love(d) and completed in for more than 13 years.
I met and became friends with some amazing swimmers throughout my swimming career. I'm still in touch with teammates from my age group team. The same is true for many of my high school teammates as well as one of my high school coaches. As for my college teammates, well, they are near and dear to my heart. They are all some amazing people; I'm honored to call them friends.
What is also so true for me is that...
I cannot remember what my high school record time in the 100 butterfly was. Nor can I tell you what place my 400 freestyle relay got at the NCAA meet in 1998. What I do remember are all the hugs and congratulations I received from teammates and friends on other teams after I swam my last 100 butterfly at the state championship meet. I also remember my teammate, Jamie, jumping off of the awards podium - fully clothed - after we received our award for the 400 freestyle relay at the 1998 NCAA meet (it was her way of celebrating the end of her swimming career).
I have memories to last a lifetime.
Mike Gustafson was so right in what he wrote. It has been 12 years since I completed as a swimmer (exactly 12 years as this weekend is the NCAC Swimming & Diving Championships) and, truth be told, I only remember the people - my teammates and friends. Those that I trained with (who doesn't remember completing Coach E's b*stard set?!?). The friendships we made. The people I loved and still do.
And for all my swimming buddies reading this post, I love you. It has been an honor to be both your teammate and your friend.