The Support of a Teammate Cannot Be Overestimated

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The Support of a Teammate Cannot Be Overestimated

Do you find it ironic that a blind journalist uses a quote by Helen Keller to begin an article? Well, consider this, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller.

No, do not worry, I am not going to use this particular quote to write about being blind, but to illustrate how important it is for us, as swimmers, to support our teammates. It is always important for teammates to support each other through the highs and lows of training and competition, but it is even more important that swimmers give continuous support to teammates through thick and thin.

From an age-group swimmer to Olympic and Paralympic champion, the love and support of a teammate can make any bad race better and any hard practice a little easier. Even though each race is our own, a teammate’s support and encouragement can push one faster and further than ever thought possible.

Courtney Jordan, 12-time Paralympic medalists, recognizes the need for strength from others.

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“Although swimming is an individual sport, I don’t think it can be done without a support system,” Jordan said. “My teammates brought out the best swims in me; they pushed me harder in practice. They were there to celebrate with me when I won medals, and they consoled me when I didn’t. I think that people are stronger together and the bonds that you create as teammates are crucial to reaching your full potential as a swimmer.”

When training alongside peers with similar goals, dreams, and attitudes, it makes the end goal feel even richer when achieved together. Olympian Katie Hoff, three-time Olympic medalist and author, knows exactly what it feels like to have the endless support of her teammates when trying to achieve Olympic success.

“Your teammates and friends are all you have sometimes,” Hoff said in an interview with Swimming World. “They understand what you’re going through more than anyone because they are doing the same. Their goals are similar to yours, so you’ve got to stick together! Sometimes the sport can be so demanding that you just can’t get through it alone. It’s also not as fun to persevere and win alone!”

Six-time Olympic medalist, Missy Franklin, has had some of the highest highs and lowest lows that any athlete can endure. From winning four gold medals at 17 years old to shoulder surgery resulting in an ultimate retirement from the sport, Franklin has seen and experienced all the trials and tribulations a swimmer can face. Throughout all her endeavors in and out of the pool, she has had the continuous support of her teammates behind her.

“There are endless amounts of ways for athletes to support their teammates,” Franklin said in a Swimming World interview. “I think for me, the most helpful were having my teammates cheering for me every race, giving me a hug when I finished no matter what the results were, and just to help me through some of my toughest races and practices by reminding me of my own strength and determination, when I, myself had forgotten.”

Photo Courtesy: Peter H.Bick

Rio 2016 did not go the way that Franklin had hoped. As most swimmers would agree, we all have “those” days. Franklin’s happened to be on the biggest stage in athletics, with the whole world watching. Even then, Franklin says that bravery is asking for help, and giving support to those that need it.

According to Franklin: “It is so important that we support each other because we accomplish so much more together, and it makes it so much more meaningful when you achieve your goals and dreams with people you love and care about. We all need help at times, and to be someone who is brave enough to ask for help and strong enough to give it is an incredibly characteristic for a teammate.”

If you do not want to take the advice of Helen Keller, then heed the advice of these three Olympic and Paralympic champions.

“Lead by example! Show up, work hard, support and get it done! Sometimes actions speak louder than words,” Hoff said.

1 comment

  1. avatar
    PHIL CORTE

    MS MCCLAIN YOU ARE THE PERFECT EXAMPLE OF ONE WHO SUPPORTS HER TEAMMATE….THOSE WHO ARE ABLE TO COME IN CONTACT WITH YOU WILL TREASURE YOUR SUPPORT FOREVER…KEEP IT UP,,,,AND PLEASE CONTINUE YOUR WONDERFUL WRITINGS….THANKS….