The excitement is building in our hometown this week. One of our own, Katie (Hursey) Zaferas, will be racing triathlon at the Olympics on Saturday. Katie swam on the swim team I now coordinate and still holds twenty team records! It’s not often that a swimmer comes along that has that kind of longevity. Katie stopped swimming for the Piranhas in 2006, so for a decade now, her records have stood the test of time. Most of those records aren’t close to be threatened.
In addition to being an elite swimmer in Maryland – the same state that generated Phelps and Ledecky – Katie was also an elite runner for one of our local high schools. My running coach from Flying Feet, Dave Griffin, had the honor of working with Katie when she was a high school athlete here. You can read his article in this week’s Carroll County Times about that experience.
With a childhood resume as an elite swimmer and runner, it’s easy to see how she fell in love with the sport of triathlon.
As a swim team, track and field AND triathlon family, we are glued to the TV (or at least the On Demand listings) to watch #TeamUSA in Rio. We’re so proud that so many of our swimmers have come out of Maryland teams, teams we swim in our summer league. But, we’re even more excited that a local family will get to watch their daughter, Katie, this weekend knowing that the hometown and county that she grew up in will no doubt be filling local venues to cheer her on.
As a parent I can only imagine the pride that must come from watching your child rise to the level of international sensation in the sports they love. All those early morning practices. All those all day meets. Waking up at 5am to drive two hours or more to a swim meet, a track or XC meet or a triathlon and then standing in the blistering sun for hours. All the electrolyte drinks, sports nutrition, and extra food to fuel their nutrition. All the tears shed for joy when they pushed themselves to break their record. All the tears shed when they didn’t do what they thought they were capable of doing that day.
Both the mental and physical toll that athletics takes on our children and on us as parents can sometimes get overwhelming. But, there is nothing better than watching the joy on your child’s face when they break through their own limitations and achieve their greatness!
Congratulations to all the #TeamUSA families for reaching the pinnacle of sports and inspiring the next generation of athletes!