I could tell many stories about him but this is a favorite.
He joined a year-round swim team the summer he was 12. He suffered from asthma and was a wheezy, underweight kid. We thought it would be good for him. It turns out we were right. (Score one for the parents!) By the end of the summer his breathing was so much better and he was less dependent on his inhaler.
Also at the end of summer was his first meet and he was swimming a 500 for his team. This means swimming the length of the 25 yard pool 20 times. It is a marathon especially for a beginner.
His swimming was much better after taking lessons and practicing all summer. Even so, he was no match for kids who had been in the program since kindergarten.
The 500 started and the other kids literally swam laps around him and the event was over. The official told him he did not have to finish if he didn’t want to.
The other kids were finished but he decided to stay in the pool and finish the job.
The other kids and the parents all waited while this lone swimmer, this little skinny kid, swam back and forth to complete 20 laps. He finished.
He exited the pool to applause and cheers.
He didn’t win any medals that day. but he was a champion.