My Support System: People Keeping Me Going

Swimming is often referred to as a lonely sport. But nothing is ever done alone. Yes, there are times when you are blissfully unaware of anything besides clocking up miles along the continuous black line. The mind drifts and slips. There is no reliance on another player, as there is in team sports. When swimming, there is nowhere to hide.

I was blessed with a wonderful swim partner, Charl Cilliers. We would find any water to swim in: Rivers, dams, lakes, ponds, swimming pools, splash pools, waterfalls, the ocean, warm or cold water... We would make plans for weekends and holidays around some kind water hole.

Often, hours would go by during which we looked into each other’s eyes every other stroke. Through veiled and fogged goggles, we saw into each other’s souls and it didn’t take more than a wrinkle on the face to know where we were at in that moment.

Besides the deep bonds that you develop with every person you spend time with in the water, there is the support: That person that knows you better than you know yourself.

In my case, this person is Audrey Ashmole. She has looked into the depths of my essence and seen me wanting. To me, she is that person who knows your desires, strengths and weaknesses. That person who goes through as much as you do, but gets no acclaim and asks for no reward. That person you trust implicitly. That person with smiles, words and gestures of encouragement that reminds you of your “why”.

And then there are also those whom you train with: the boatsman; the spotter; lifeguards; the admin and management people behind the scenes; the guy making sure the pool is clean to train in…

These people (and more) are my team that contributes to my success.

Clinton le Seuer