Dear Suzanne

Hello Champs.

Dear McDaniel,

The BBC will be broadcasting the closing ceremonies in 3D. Great opportunity to show off my new, pop-up McDaniel t-shirt.

Now, if I only had tickets.



A few favorite Olympic memories from some of our readers…

Being an assistant coach at Germantown Academy/Foxcatcher when we put four men on the 1992 Olympic team

-Bob Platt, Westside Silver Fins coach


Mark Henderson was a member of the USA 400 Medley team that won Gold and set a World Record at the 96 games. I remember watching him when I as about 5 years old during Summer Rec Swimming blow guys out of the water from the team that my family belonged to. Our league(which he still holds records) helped raise money to send him to the Olympics and I remember at 12 years old being so excited to see someone that I had the slightest of connections with win a Gold medal.

-Mark Wheeler, McDaniel Class of 2005/Swimming alum


Being at a swimming venue with the USA basketball team, two US Presidents, Henry Kissinger and Bill Gates and all of them cheering for TEAM USA! As I told a friend that is just another day at the Olympics. It’s a true world event.

-Sean Hutchison, Creator of IKKOS/2008 Olympic Swimming Coach

Thanks for sharing. If you would like to join in, and offer up your favorite Olympic memory, please feel free to post to comments.



In anticipation of the Opening ceremonies on Friday, I would like to take some time in this entry to thank all those who have sent me a message of  ‘good job’, or ‘I enjoy reading your blog’. Oddly enough, they all seem to have the same email address… thanks Mom.

Obviously, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to write the last few entries, nor document my upcoming trip to the Games, if it wasn’t for Suzanne. Thank you, Suzanne… you continue to be a perfect vehicle for my genius.

I have always enjoyed writing, and this latest project has been a lot of fun. It seems more often than not, I find the story already written, and all I have to do is ‘talk to the keyboard’. It happened that the first three entries to this blog were easy; the next entry arrived before the current one was even completed.  I only needed to wait a few days between postings to build some anticipation. But this entry has proven to be a little more difficult. I’ll explain.

For what seems to be the entire length of my coaching career I have been described as aloof, difficult to communicate with, or a man of few words (sometimes all at once). The majority of my career has been spent sharing the tools for swimming, but not much in the way of emotions.  So you might understand my surprise when this last entry came to me.


Dear Suzanne,

I always have, and always will tell my athletes that sport is about personal excellence. The reasons you strive to be your best on the field, in the pool, or in your case, on the back of a horse, are the same reasons you strive to be the best sister, the best daughter, and in the future, the best mother you can be.  It is our dedication to this pursuit of personal excellence that allows us to find out how great we truly can be.

Suzanne, you are there.


As you enter these Olympic Games, I wanted to share a few thoughts with you.

I am proud of you.

I said in one of the interviews that setting a goal was easy, but seeing it through takes discipline. This isn’t entirely accurate; it takes more. For those on the ‘outside’, they could see you training, competing, and ultimately making the Olympic team. But for those of us on the ‘inside’, we have been lucky enough to see the ups and downs throughout all the training, and competing. We have been able to see the terrible hands you have been dealt, and we have been able to see you play them out. You have been thrown from the horse (literally) on more than one occasion, and each time you picked yourself up, and got right back on.

Great athletes find a way

I want to thank you for being a great role model. I can see it in my own children, who are excited when they see you on the tv, and even more so when they spend time with you. The time you have taken to talk with them, and share with them, speaks volumes of your character. I can only imagine the sense of awe all the pony club members feel when they see you, and realize the connection they share with you.

You recognize the importance in giving back to the future of your sport. And that is powerful.

You have been, and continue to be an inspiration. Not only to the future pentathletes, but for all those who have been able to connect with you. And that connection has pushed everyone around you to be better, to be the best they can be.

During one of our interviews I was asked what I would tell you if I was standing next to you at the Games. I am sure you have seen the movie ‘Forrest Gump’. One of my favorite scenes from the movie is when Forrest is talking to Jenny about the time he spent running from coast to coast (and back again). While Forrest was in the midst of running, it seems to be a period when he ‘just ran’. But when he tells Jenny about it, he describes the sunrise in the desert, the stars at night, and the way the sky met the mountain lake. It is a great scene because what he remembered most was not the destination, but what he experienced on the way to the destination.

And Suzanne, this is what I would like to tell you. Enjoy it all. Find a moment during these next two and a half weeks when you can close your eyes, tilt your head back, and breath it all in.

You earned it!


I have had a lot of fun working with you these last few years, and I wish you every bit of success at the Games.

Your favorite swim coach named Jeff,



One thought on “Dear Suzanne

  1. We are all sooooo excited for you and Suzanne!!! You are making us proud. Give Suzanne a big hug for us!!
    The Frys of Georgia

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