It was a long hard road, literally. We drove across 3 state borders and many miles, to travel back and forth to swim practice and swim meets. Each day, my daughter could not wait to go to swim practice. Her hard work paid off at Junior State Championships.
I noticed that my daughter gained more than a chance at States or Junior States; she gained character. This has been a tough season for my daughter. Through a sudden departure of a head coach, the exodus of friends, the increased injuries, and unscheduled illnesses, she kept going to swim practice. She persevered through this year and I am so proud of her.
There were times she had to dig deep inside herself and muster up courage to face her fears. When her times were stagnant, she would say, “Well, you know what that means? I just have to work harder.” Yes, she gained so much this year. Unfortunately, coaches and fellow swimmers will never observe most of what she achieved. What she gained was confidence, integrity, and perseverance.
She gained so much more through the triumphs and the trials that abounded. The Lord has been with her through every step, every tear, and every stroke. He knows her heart and her passion for swimming. He brought her through this challenging year.
As I stood on the swim deck timing the 500 Freestyle, tears of joy filled my eyes for her courage and her love for her sport. Yes, my daughter, you are a champion in more than a swim meet; you are a champion of the heart. Congratulations, my dear daughter on 5 out of 6 best times at the Junior States Championships!