By Mike Watkins//Contributor | Friday, May 10, 2019
She gave us life. She took our temperature when we were sick. She checked the closet and under the bed for monsters when we were scared and couldn’t sleep.
She came to every one of our swim meets. She got up early and drove us to practice. She comforted us when we lost, and cheered us when we won.
She loves us unconditionally.
The following are letters from several U.S. National Team members thanking their moms for all that they’ve done—and continue to do—for them every day in honor of Mother’s Day.
Read more National Teamers’ letters to mom in the Spring issue of Splash, in mailboxes now!
Because of you, I am who I am today. Because of you. I am independent, I am strong and I am driven. Because of you, I know that I can achieve anything I set my mind to. Because of you, I achieved my Olympic dream. My Olympic medals are just as much yours as they are mine. Thank you for the life you chose to live for Catie and me—putting us before yourself every time without hesitation. It’s a gift we will never be able to repay. You’re the greatest parent anyone could ever ask for. We’re proud you’re our mom!
We love you,
Cody & Catie (Miller)
There are not enough words to show you how thankful I am to have you in my life. I would not be who I am today without you, and I certainly would not have the swimming career I have without your support. For all of those early morning drives to practice, the many hotel room smorgasbords between sessions, the countless smiles and cheers on deck and the endless hugs after races, I cannot thank you enough. You would always be willing to do whatever it took to allow me to succeed in and out of the pool, and it truly is a blessing to have a mom like you. You have always kept the “innocent swim mom” mindset and supported me through all of my highs and lows, and have never once doubted me. You have taught me strength, love, compassion and selflessness, and have definitely kept me grounded through life. So, here’s to you mom, for all that you’ve done and continue to do for me, and all the smiles you bring into a room. I love you so much! Happy Mother’s Day!
I was 7 years old when you introduced me to summer league, where I thought it would just give me donuts on “donut Fridays,” but you knew it would teach me the value of enjoying who you’re around, even when you tackle seemingly impossible 500-yard warmups.
I was 9 when I made my first YMCA state cut, but you never idolized my talent, so I went on believing you loved me just how I was rather than for what I could do. It was my senior year of high school when you woke up at 6 a.m. to go with me to the lone pool open during a cold spell that wiped out northern Indiana. You did it never to make me feel obligated to swim, but to be completely invested in my motivation.
It was a particularly discouraging day my freshman year of college, and I wasn’t being grateful or loving, and even though we talked on the phone, you sent a long message in an email afterwards, which turned out to be one of many encouraging messages and letters over the years.
In my many memories with swimming, you never saw me bigger than I was, but you believed my swimming was a gift to enjoy, regardless of my results, and because of that after 16 years of it, I’m still learning and enjoying it. Thank you for being a mom who loves unconditionally with grace and authenticity.
I love you so much,
It is not possible for me to write down everything about you for which I am grateful. In and out of the pool, you have been the most influential role model in my life.
I remember telling people as a little girl that I wanted to grow up to be a 200 breaststroker and journalism major at Northwestern, and that I wanted to qualify for Olympic Trials—just like you. Hearing stories of you swimming in college filled me with excitement about my future in the sport and kept me motivated to continue.
Even though my path didn’t turn out exactly like yours, you encouraged me to pursue my unique swimming and life goals and never failed to support me along the way. I can’t thank you enough for all those times you threw me in the pool as a little girl so that I would learn to swim, all the times you made me go to early morning practice, even though I didn’t want to, and all the times you lifted me up when things were not going my way.
I pushed through those hard times of swimming because you taught me the value of hard work and perseverance. You have also been there to celebrate each of the big and little achievements that make it all worth it. I will never forget looking up from the podium at US Nationals to find you, my biggest fan, smiling in the audience.
But as much as these moments of celebration and struggle have filled our relationship, it is the everyday moments with you that have made it so special. Family dinners that you work so hard to prepare, morning practices when you would get up at 4 a.m. and swim alongside me, quizzing me for tests and now phone calls home for advice and flights across the country to watch me swim. These little moments are what I am most grateful for, and I can truly say I would not be where I am today without any of them. Happy Mother’s Day!
Thank you! I’m grateful for you and everything you have taught me along the way. I would not be where I am today, and I would not be who I am today without you. You have given me the best gifts I could ever ask for—unconditional love, support and strength. I will always be inspired by your selfless nature and your way of putting your family first. Whether it was countless hours you spent driving Marcus and me to practice, or the commitment never to miss a competition, your actions spoke loud and clear from day one. You lifted me up during the difficult times and taught me to be resilient in the pursuit of chasing my dreams. You taught me to stay true to who I am and to never forget where I came from.
I appreciate all you have given me Mom!
I remember. Did you think I would forget? I remember the first time I got disqualified in my favorite stroke—butterfly. You didn’t know as much about swimming at the time, but you still defended me to the official’s face. I’ll never forget his face when he realized you were right and that the DQ wasn’t for me, it was for the lane next to mine.
I remember the club team carpool. How I cherish those early days being driven around by you in our old minivan with my friends. You probably couldn’t stand us always causing trouble on our way from the junior high to practice, but you didn’t complain.
I remember when our three-way weekly calls turned into just you and me. I wanted so desperately for life to feel normal again. How could it ever be normal again without dad? You held it together. And when I wanted to compete at a dual meet in a different city just one week after dad’s funeral, you didn’t complain. You came with me. Still having you in the stands cheering meant the world to me. Because of you, our “new normal” wasn’t so bad.
I don’t know if you do, but I remember everything. Thank you mom. I have one thing left to tell you. One day, I’ll give back to you all that you gave me.
Happy Mother’s day!
You are a huge reason I am in the sport of swimming to begin with. I always looked up to you and your accomplishments when I was little. Now, you push me to be my best and have always taught me to dream big. You are my biggest fan in and out of the pool.
Thank you, and I love you,
Thank you for being a swim mom and doing all that swim moms do. From driving to and from practice, to washing loads of towels, to packing all the snacks, to spending countless hours at swim meets sitting, timing and cheering. You were always there to support me—in every shape that took.
Thank you for letting me go thousands of miles away to further pursue my dreams in college. You made a challenging transition manageable, knowing that if I was happy and where I needed to be, you would be happy and fully support me.
Most importantly, thank you for just being my mom. With you, swimming could always be just that, a sport I played. From the time I was 8 to 22, you never failed to ground me in my roots by asking if I still enjoyed swimming. This simple question reminded me why I fell in love with the sport, especially when life got crazy, pressure was high, and I was exhausted. For all of this and so much more, thank you mom. Thank you for going the extra mile for me. Thank you for just being my mom. I’m lucky to have you in my corner.
Love you to the moon and back,