Many, Many Thanks

Many, Many Thanks

By Mike Watkins//Contributor  | Wednesday, November 22, 2017

It’s Thanksgiving once again (which explains all the turkey), and with that, we really start to identify all the things for which we are thankful.

Following are what swimmers and coaches are thankful for – and they’re not all related to swimming. 

As you read them, think about what you’re most thankful for this year.

Katie Ledecky 

"I am so thankful for all of the wonderful friends I have made through the sport of swimming, and the outstanding teammates I have had the privilege to swim alongside, all of whom have so greatly contributed to my love of the sport."


Cierra Runge

“I’m most thankful for the support of my friends and family. They’re always there for me and I love them all like crazy. I’ll add on some little things that I’m thankful for like a Good cup of coffee in the morning (can’t function without it), fuzzy socks when your feet are cold, and really good naps.”


Peter Vanderkaay

“I'm thankful that I am a swimmer. Since I retired from competition, I love to swim and it’s something I can do the rest of my life and it truly is a lifelong sport.”


Rhi Jeffrey

“This Thanksgiving, I am most thankful for my family and my swim team. Without my family’s love and support (especially my father) I would not be half the person I am today nor would I have been as successful in this sport as I was. Without my husband I would have absolutely lost my mind, he reminds me every day how important it is just to be myself and it has given me a sense of peace I never thought I could have. And lastly, I don’t even want to think of where I would be without my team and coaches. They give me a different and more important purpose and drive than I have ever had before. They make me feel like what I am doing will actually make a difference in the world, at least somewhere. We are all members of (what I believe to be) the greatest sport in the world and for that we should all be thankful.”


Ben Wachtel

“This year, I'm thankful for the dedicated and hardworking coaches I work with, the athletes who contribute positivity and fun to our team culture, and the support of our community of parents and alumni who help us continue to grow.”


Nancy Hogshead-Makar

“After seven years of working on sexual abuse in club sports, there are about to be two new developments that should make athletes markedly safer. First, SafeSport was launched in March. Frankly, I’m not hearing that they’re efficiently investigating and sanctioning abusive coaches, but it is a positive step in that athletes aren’t dependent upon NGB employees – the same people they need help with for sponsorships or a berth on the team. Second, Congress is about to pass legislation that would make all members – including coaches, club owners, parents and volunteers – mandatory reporters. That means that abusive coaches can’t slink off quietly to the next team, the police will be involved. While making sure SafeSport and the legislation are effective is still on my “to do” list, I think those are enormous milestones that should be celebrated. I couldn’t do this work without the unfailing support from my dear family, especially my husband Scott. Blessings abound!”


Hans Dersch

“This year I am most thankful for escape. For most of us swimmers, time in the water is an escape from the stress and challenges of life, especially while growing up. It's also an escape in that it opens doors and leads to opportunities you would not otherwise have had. Later, swimming provides an escape from the trap of a sedentary lifestyle that is so easy to fall into.”


Kristy Kowal

“This year I am most thankful for my amazing family and friends as they supported me in my decision to take a half year sabbatical from teaching to go on amazing adventures and live at the beach. And coffee I am thankful for coffee!”


Jessica Hardy Meichtry

“Good health has always been something that I’m thankful for. This was for my swimming days and even more so now that I am a soon to be mom. I’m also thankful for the friends I’ve made from swimming. These are relationships that go beyond the pool which is something that I treasure.”


Lenny Krayzelburg

“I am thankful for having my health, being in position to provide for my family and waking up in the morning to pursue my goals and dreams while making a positive impact on other lives.”


Mike Barrowman

“While we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving down here in Cayman, I’m still thankful for the experiences that swimming gave me. Having lived life to the fullest, with one of the strongest purposes possible was a fantastic gift. The people that worked with me toward those goals and helped me to achieve them are also uniquely special gifts that I am extremely thankful for. Looking back so many years later, it is a life that I hope many others can experience.”


Elizabeth Beisel

“I am thankful for the friends I have in swimming. I have had the ability to travel a bunch over the last year, and every single country I have gone to I have met up or traveled with friends from swimming.”


Ali DeLoof

“I am thankful for my family. They support me all the time and motivate me to be the best that I can be. They really are my foundation!”


Bob Bowman

“I am beyond thankful for the privilege of working with wonderful athletes and colleagues at Arizona State University every day. Also, I treasure my family (Boomer!!), dear friends and the blessings of good health. Life is good!”


Melanie Margalis

“I’m thankful for sunrise swims – watching nature’s beauty while doing what I love!”


Andrew Gemmell

“I'm most thankful for the relationships I've been lucky enough to make throughout my swimming career. I was able to travel a lot this fall; to weddings, college football games, golden goggles, etc. And every time, I was struck by how fortunate I was that I was able to surround myself with such good people during my career. Having those friendships and relationships for life is something I've always been extremely thankful for.”


Michael Andrew

“A few things I’m most thankful for are the incredible support I receive from my family, as well as from amazing fans around the world. I am also so thankful for the special relationships that have been created through competition and traveling with swimmers from around the world.”


Katrina Konopka

“I am incredibly thankful for my family and my friends. It has been such a fun year filled with amazing experiences, but I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much as I did without having people to support me and live these experiences with me. Happy Thanksgiving!” 


Amanda Kendall

“I am most thankful for getting to train and be a part of the Indiana University. My teammates and the staff are incredible! And for getting to represent USA Swimming this year. Obviously, my family and support system because I wouldn’t be where I am without them.”


Emma Reaney

“I’m most thankful for a family who supports me in my ridiculous gallivanting all over the world. I’m currently in Vietnam, and I know it’s not easy not knowing where I am all the time and not having the whole family together for holidays, but they continually encourage me to chase my dreams and to chase adventure. I will never be able to repay them for that. I’m also thankful for Vietnamese food. If I can’t have classic Thanksgiving food, pho and banh mi are pretty good alternatives.”


BJ Johnson

"I'm most thankful for living close to my sister and her family again (in Chicago). I miss California, but nothing is better than getting to watch my niece and nephew grow up. I'm very thankful for the support of my friends and family. Transitioning to a new phase of life is hard, but it's a lot easier when you have a strong network of people around the country you can continue to rely on.”


Seth Stubblefield

“I’m thankful for new beginnings – a year of marriage to my wonderful wife, our new puppy and medical school…and of course, my family.”

Dakota Luther

"This year I am most thankful for the opportunity to pursue my dream in such a great country, surrounded by some of the best athletes that have ever come through this sport. I'm so grateful for the people that have taken a chance on me and believed in me along the way because not everyone did."



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