Izzy and the Tennessee Aquatics Invitational


Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

This weekend we went to Knoxville for your second Xcel swim meet of the year, Izzy. We always stay at Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Roy’s cabin in Farragut when we travel to Knoxville – and this time they were home making it even more special. You kids love the cabin, it’s rustic western furnishings, books about battles and generals, wildlife and cowboy/indian art, and it’s surrounding woods.

We left home Friday afternoon , and after a stop for dinner at Cracker Barrel, arrived around 8:30pm at the cabin. You had woken us up at 2:00am Friday morning with an ear ache, Izzy. Mommy took you to the doctor in the morning to find that you had an infected ear drum. She gave you medicine and said that swimming was going to be up to you; water wasn’t going to make it worse, so it was just a matter of whether you still felt like competing. And you did, so we went on with the trip. I was exhausted having run 20 miles at 5am that morning, so we all went to bed early once we arrived in Farragut. We all woke up at 5am again on Saturday morning because you had to be at UT for a 7am warmup. 

You stopped in your tracks when you walked into the impressive Jones Aquatic Center

jones aquatic center


ready to warm up

ready to warm up

“Wow,” you said quietly, your eyes wide. 

“Maybe you’ll swim here one day as a college swimmer,” I whispered back.

That morning you swam 4 events finishing 1st in 50 backstroke, 3rd in 50 freestyle, 2nd in 100 butterfly, and 1st in your favorite event the 100 individual medley. We were all thrilled with your results, of course, but you being the humble kid you are took it all in stride. That afternoon we learned that are now only 2 seconds off of your Southeastern qualifying time for the 100 butterfly – an impressive thing considering you’ve only swam the event once.

all smiles after winning the 50 backstroke

all smiles after winning the 50 backstroke

Day 1 finished!

Day 1 finished!

After cleaning up at Aunt Carolyn’s we went to Disney on Ice in Knoxville and then out to dinner with the swim team. 

We woke up at 5am again on Sunday morning for day 2 of the swim meet. You and I went early, Izzy, so that mommy, Max, Kate, and Aunt Carolyn could sleep a little later. They arrived in time for your first of 4 events on day two. You had another great day: you finished 4th in 100 backstroke, 1st in 100 swimming up an age group against 11-12 year olds, 5th in 50 butterfly, and 7th in 200 freestyle. 

Max, you passed time playing with your action figures in the breezeways

Max, you passed time playing with your action figures in the breezeways

It was a busy weekend of swimming for you sweet girl and you did great – sick and all. We gave you the option not to swim, but you chose to push through. As usual, I learned a lot about life and competing from you this weekend. You don’t seem to worry about the odds or the competition – instead you race your race every time: you won the 50 back from an outside lane, you nearly qualified for Southeasterns in your first try at the grueling 100 butterfly, you won the 100 freestyle against 12 year olds after being told that “it’s just for more experience and finishing last won’t be a big deal.”

I've never been a UT fan, but the color and the idea is growing on me. You look good in orange.

I’ve never been a UT fan, but the color and the idea is growing on me. You look good in orange.

You continue to persevere and I continue to want set an example for you in how I compete. I’m often confused about who is leading who though. 

After the meet we went back to Aunt Carolyn’s where you kids played on the trail and in the woods gathering sticks, acorns, and walnuts. I alternated watching you play and reading one of Uncle Roy’s books about the massacre at  Wounded Knee.

walking the log in the woods in front of the cabin

walking the log in the woods in front of the cabin

These are the days we’ll all take with us as memories when you kids are grown. Mommy and I will sit in our chairs, and remember together the trips to the cabin, the swim meets, and the pride we feel in watching you kids grow. Whether it’s swim meets, gymnastics meets, school programs, vacations at the beach or trips to my races – family time is precious to us and I hope you remember someday. I don’t write as often as I used to, but I hope my occasional letters still bring back memories. 

I love you,

– Daddy


Thurs: swam 1000

Fri: Ran 20 miles in 3:13

Sat: none

Sun: none

Mon: biked 17 miles easy