By Mike Watkins//Contributor | Friday, June 14, 2019
They tell corny jokes. They teach you how to catch the big fish. They tirelessly drive you to and from practices and meets. They are there with a hug and support you through the good and the bad race outcomes.
Sunday is Father’s Day, and these U.S. National Team members have special messages for their fathers.
There are so many reasons why I’m thankful for my dad. Before I had my license, he would drive me to practice every day and give constant support and tips on the rides to and from the pool. Now, my dad is always there for me in every part of this sport and beyond. He always makes me the best food after practices and is so invested in helping me be the best I can be. My dad didn’t grow up swimming so the sport was very different to him at first but now I think he knows more than I do! It’s very comforting to know that my dad has done all of these things out of pure love and support. I couldn’t ask for anyone better.
Thank you Dad!
Thank you for your endless support through my swimming career. You never were the most coherent with swimming times, but that doesn't stop you from being proud of us no matter how we do. You are always the loudest in the stands even when you were filming the wrong kid. From driving us to meets and practices, face paint and wigs for NCAAs, to becoming a meet official, you really showed how much you cared.
Most importantly if it hadn't been for your words of encouragement at the end of my college career I never would have had the fortitude to continue swimming. You convinced me I was making the right choice even when I doubted myself. No matter how many times I failed you kept me going. I will be forever grateful for the lessons you have taught me along this journey and for helping me find my true potential. I can't wait to have you and mom in Korea this summer to finally see me race internationally.
Happy Father's Day!
Zane (Grothe) (and Natalie and Rachael and Alexis)
Everything you do is for Mom and us kids! Your life has been so full of milestones – being a surgeon, professor, backpacker and now an Ironman – but what makes me most in awe is your thoughtfulness! You put so much care and healthy discipline into whatever you think, say or decide, and you’ve always brought me to the right mindset. You taught me what I can and can’t control, to chase excellence rather than perfection, and that dedication and to always be grateful, which are the three things that have made the biggest difference to me in and out of the pool. Thank you for always seeing me and loving me just as I am. I am thankful for you every day! I love you so much!
Happy Father’s Day!
Anyone who knows you knows that you are my biggest swimming fan. You are one of the only people I know that gets excited to sit at hours-long swim meets and pore over the results and statistics afterwards. Even though I sometimes think you like swimming even more than I do, I appreciate your constant enthusiasm and engagement. Whether it was summer-league meets or the National Championships, I could always count on you to be my biggest supporter. I have watched you bend over backwards to watch me, Clayton, and Mitchell swim, and it means so much to know you are always watching and cheering me on. Whether I have a good race or a bad one, your consistent support is something I am lucky to have after each race.
As much as you are my biggest fan in swimming, your support in the rest of my life is even more important to me. I can always count on you to help me keep things in perspective when I’m feeling overwhelmed, and there have been so many times when you believed in me more than I believed in myself. It means so much to me to know that I have you no matter how things are going in my life.
I love you! Happy Father’s Day!
Thank you for your endless support and love for me both in the water and out. No matter what endeavor it is, you are always there to support me and make sure to remind me that “it’s all about the journey.” The journey has definitely been a long one and filled with more trials than I thought were possible but you are there for them all and more than that, you are my rock through them. Whenever times get hard, I can always count on you to not just get me through them but also make me better for them.
Thank you for making sure that through this journey above everything, I’m happy. Beyond all the awards and records you’ve cared most about my happiness. After every race you ask me “well, did you have fun?” and although most times when I lose the answer is “no,” I appreciate knowing that that is what you care about most. I always know that no matter if I win or lose, you will still be there after my race to hug me and tell me that you’re proud of me. Although I may not always be in the best mood (especially after a bad race), I hope you know that I value your support more than any race. I appreciate that more than you’ll ever know.
I love you!