To my Graduating Seniors,
I have so many thoughts running through my head when I think of all you have accomplished and the amazing opportunities that lie before you. I have so many memories of little boys and girls who just loved to be in the water. There was something about swimming that drew you in, and while it has been a hard road in many ways, here you are. I think of all the struggles that each of you have had to deal with. I think of how you have fought hard, worked hard, made sacrifices, made mistakes, and learned from those mistakes. I also remember the laughter, tears, hugs, encouragement, and triumph. I want you to know that I have swim every lap with you, I have wanted nothing more than for you to find success in swimming that you can carry on with you for the rest of your life. I have learned something from each of you. I often reflect on how I entered into coaching/teaching because I wanted to have an impact on young people. But what I realize now more than ever is that you have impacted me in ways you will never know. You all have given me experiences that I would never trade for the world. Thank you for the opportunity to coach you, get to know you, grow with you, and change with you.
Now for my parting words of wisdom (but let’s be honest, probably not my last to you) – take advantage of this next chapter in your life. Savor it, enjoy it, soak it up. Please hear this: don’t wish the next 4 years away, and PLEASE don’t waste them. You each have a unique opportunity to swim at the collegiate level. What an honor! What a privilege! It won’t always be easy, it will make you work harder than you ever have, but it will be worth it. Give yourself the chance to see what you can accomplish. You all are so much stronger than you often give yourself credit for. Live the next four years with purpose and you will never regret a moment.
I love you all dearly. You are always a part of the ATOM family, no matter where life takes you.
ENJOY THE PROCESS. EMBRACE THE GRIND #ATOMNATION