Tag Archives: swimming

Real life after playing competitive sports

With the Olympic Games happening this week, the world is watching the world’s most elite and dedicated athletes compete for the status of being an Olympic medalist. For some of them, it will lead to short term glory, an endorsement deal and being a household name. For the majority of them, however, the ‘real world’ that we all live and work in awaits them when they hang up their gear. Let’s face it — the majority of athletes are not Michael Phelps.


In this vintage photo, you will see a super skinny girl in the second row on the far right. That’s me! For ten years of my life, competitive swimming was a huge part of my life. I joined the swim team because I thought it sounded like fun. It was — I still have special bonds with all of the people I swam with to this day. The first year I swam I was terrible — and I have the third and fourth place ribbons to prove it!!

That year, however, was when my competitive spirit kicked in. I wanted to be better and I knew if I practiced hard enough that could happen. I knew I couldn’t be selected for a relay team if I wasn’t a team player, yet I couldn’t be considered for one if I wasn’t doing my personal best. I had a lot to learn and a long journey in front of me. So I practiced many hours (many, many, many hours) and swam up to 8,000 yards a day six days a week, and ultimately became an excellent swimmer. There was drama, laughter, successes, and losses — just like the real world.

But I was no Michael Phelps. (Who is?)

In the real world (life after chlorine) I started a business in 2002. The feelings of anticipation were the same as when I started swimming all those years ago — I had to start somewhere. I wouldn’t be good at first but with dedication, practice and being a team player, maybe I could become a success. Around that time I began seeking out established mentors in my industry who could share their knowledge with me, their personal journey, and their lessons learned. I set up my business plan, website, packages and marketing materials. I sat back and watched all the drama (not just with brides — those vendors have a way of creating their own drama in the industry!), learned, and focused on how to make the business a success.

I swam competitively for ten years — a term that spanned through high school and college. By the time I stopped, the big ‘swimming fish’ had made a name for myself in her little pond. However, I was primarily known as ‘the swimmer’ by most people in my ‘pond.’ The whole time I was swimming I had earned decent grades, so my focus and that same discipline were then applied just to my academics. 

I officially hung up my competitive swimming goggles 20 years ago, and a lot of new techniques and technology have made swimmers even better and more efficient than in my days. It is very exciting to watch all these Olympians destroy these records and swim these incredible times!

Today, eleven years into being a wedding planner, the entrepreneur journey has parallels to my swimming days. It took a lot of practice, learning, and being a team player. Like swimming, the journey has had lots of ups and downs, triumphs and losses. Today many know me as ‘the wedding planner,’ just like 20 years ago people knew me as ‘the swimmer’ in my little pond of Ohio. (That is exactly the reason I started this blog — there is so much more to me than just weddings! Yet another journey!)

I truly believe that playing sports gave me the foundation for the person I am today. It taught me discipline, teamwork, and gave me the confidence to know that hard work and focus can pay off in high rewards. 

Statistically, 2% of all high school athletes will play in college, and of that total 2%, 1% of them will play sports professionally. So the odds are, if you are a college athlete, you’ll hang up your gear when you graduate from college, just like the other 99% of the people in that statistic. (I hung mine up after Freshman year of college, but hung up my goggles during college nonetheless!) On the internet I found a copy of the last article written in the school paper at LeMoyne College about my last swim meet. (After that I transferred to Xavier to become a life long Muskie!)

The real world is a fun place too! Life is great off the court and out of the pool as well!

Kpl 🙂

Safety at the pool

Pools are a great way to cool off during the summer, exercise, and create memories with your family!


Back in the day, I was a competitive swimmer and lifeguard. (Trivia — my high school 100 backstroke record stood for 19 years!) So today I want to talk about safety at the pool, in particular HOA, backyard or community pools that don’t staff a full time lifeguard. 

These tips will keep you and your family safe(r) when you’re at the pool!

(1) Use a zipped life preserver on children who can’t swim well, or who are under 4. (Please don’t buy the inflatable arm floaties, they can easily be poked, creating a slow leak, that can catch an unprepared child off guard if you aren’t paying attention! Those make every lifeguard cringe!)

(2) Walk around the pool — no running. Every time you go to a public pool you hear a lifeguard blowing the whistle asking people not to run. There is a good reason for it. Puddles make pool concrete very slippery and easy for anyone running to slip, break a bone or sprain an ankle or wrist. Kids tend to run when they get excited, just discourage them from running.

(3) Don’t swim alone. This is a universal rule for children and adults alike. It is dangerous to swim alone — anything can happen while you’re in the pool, such as a leg cramp, that can impair your ability to swim to safety. Depending on the posted pool rules, a child under 14 or 16 may require supervision. 

(4) Pools with no lifeguard are at your own risk. So you are responsible for anything that happens to you or your family while you’re there.

(5) Stop texting when supervising. This rule didn’t exist in my day, but it certainly does now! Anything can happen in a matter of seconds — like a 2 year old wearing blow up arm floaties can drift into the deep end of a pool where it doesn’t belong!

(6) Drink responsibly, if at all. Drinking impairs your judgement and reaction time. This can put you in danger at the pool. This is especially important in hot tubs where your heart rate is impacted with the combination of the excessive heat and the alcohol.

(7) No glass. Period. Bring plastic cups, plastic or beer cans, and paper plates. You can injure yourself and the people around you.

(8) Speak up to your HOA or community if the pool water doesn’t look right. If the water is cloudy, green, excessive amounts of debris floating, doesn’t smell of chlorine or smells to the point where is is overpowering, stinging your eyes or making your skin red or excessively itch, say something to the powers that be! Readings for chlorine should be between 2-3, and pH 7-8, at safe healthy levels. You can also call your local health department for the latest report.

Pools are a refreshing way to cool down and enjoy the summer sunshine. Just be safe!

Kpl 🙂