For the past few weeks, we’ve been so fortunate to spend time with many great young swimmers from all over the world. While teaching and coaching, we get to know the swimmers as far more than athletes, and learn about them as people.
One thing we know is that being an athlete is temporary, but during that brief time in our lives, chasing excellence makes each moment special and worth it. Sometimes, it’s hard to imagine spending your time without the dream of ultimately reaching something greater, and living each day in pursuit of those dreams means the time we’re here is valid, no matter how long… or how short.
These two pictures feature Natia Gorgen with some of her friends, Hannah, Eliska, and Dana. Natia had a great personality at camp, worked hard, and continued to pester me about helping her with her "funk" in breaststroke. She was always trying to improve something, even though last year she was one of the stars of her team. Swimming wasn’t her only skill. She rowed on the school team, and was a member of the National Honor Society… so an athlete with brains!
Natia flew home last Sunday, after many weeks training at Pine Crest, and last Tuesday morning, on her way to swim practice, was killed in a tragic auto accident. There are no words to describe our sadness, or our sorrow for her family and so many young friends. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers this week.
Thank you, Natia, for allowing us to work with you. Your smile and focus reminds us why we do what we do. It’s because of young people like you, so dedicated and committed, that we love coaching and teaching so much. We’ll not forget your smile.
Memorial donations can be sent to establish a swimming scholarship in Natia’s name c/o Betsy Silverstein, 11 Whitehouse Road, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601. Or to benefit the Karachev Children’s Home in Russia, c/o Evelyn Doyle, 3 Kimball Road, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601.
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