“Ohana” means Family

“Quitting swimming was, to me, probably my greatest failure….…I started when I was four years old with the local club team in Panama City. My older sister played basically every sport, and she was really good at most of them. I wanted to be like her, but more competitive, so my drive started with wanting to beat her at them all. My mom was afraid to put me into any contact sports at first, so she opted for swimming. I fell in love with the team atmosphere and individuality of the sport and stuck with it ever since. The cool part, to me, wasn’t even about being in the water and swimming at the meets, it was about your individual success. If I lost a race, it didn’t take away from the team’s points. If I won, it helped my team. I would be really nervous to mess up.. sometimes I goofed real bad. My coach was my absolute favorite part of the team, he kept us all close and kind of served as a mentor more than coach even. He coached me since 7th grade when I was moved into the senior group, where I swam until I quit my senior year. My coach always preached about ‘Ohana’ and ‘family’, and he left us out of nowhere, nobody saw it coming. I resented him in a way after that because swimming for me was never the same, the team was never the same. My senior year I hurt my knee, and I also had family issues going on at the time, so I decided to leave. It wasn’t easy, I missed my old coach and team and they definitely kept my head leveled and distracted when it came to life outside of swimming. I became sort of distracted and felt like I needed more purpose to the things I was doing. I had to find a different niche after that, so I focused on my future and dove into school.”

– Fallon Gelsleichter

Finding her niche.

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