The day Dara Torres hit the water in her fifth Olympics, my reentry to swimming began. She swam a sub-25-second 50 freestyle while I clung to the wall like a terrified 4-year-old on the first day of lessons.
They say diplomats who serve in Kabul, Afghanistan become hunks, skunks, drunks, monks, or chunks. I was determined to become the former and not the latter, so when I heard there was a pool on our embassy compound, I made a beeline for it.
In the summer of 1977, my half-brother Henry was living in Bloomington, Ind., having moved there a couple years earlier after his parents’ divorce and our father’s marriage to my mother. I was not yet born, but would be by the end of the summer, and I imagine Henry was spending that summer like most 13-year-old boys do: mowing the lawn, swimming at pools, and talking excitedly about music and movies with our other brother, Greg.
Your teammates are your family. Our tight-knit community bonds swimmers together across miles and years. Whether you’ve hung up the suit or continue the journey, your teammates and the experiences you’ve shared will last a lifetime.