I kind of decided I was going to make a comeback in competitive swimming when I was eight-months pregnant with my first son, Arlen. I was on bed-rest and I think I was just ready to move again. My dog, Mallie, has been there through everything with me. The early years when it was just my husband and I, through all of my wins, losses, and early morning practices and then right by my side for both pregnancies. Now, two kids later and to still have her wiggle and run to the door to go to workouts with me, it makes me excited to go to training just because of her excitement.
Becoming a mom, I learned a lot about myself and how I viewed motherhood as an athlete. I learned that being a mom wasn’t a set-back to my success and it wasn’t something that I had to overcome…it was such a power.
It really showed me what it took to succeed. I was faced with situations I thought I would never have to deal with at competitions and were only things that were challenging because I was a mom. But it also taught me discipline and better focus than I ever would have had before. I learned that if I don’t take care of my body, I can’t do what I want to do and I can’t be who my boys need me to be.
After everything I went through to come back to swimming after becoming a mother, to have such success winning a gold medal and becoming the first mom to win a swimming gold medal for the United States…there’s something special about that one. Out of all of my other medals, that one means is a bit indescribable.
Over the years, Mallie has put up with a lot – we have two rowdy boys and their favorite thing to do is to climb all over her. We’re a really active family and I want Mallie to be there for all of it. I want her on the bike rides, going on hikes, going on walks around the neighborhood, running around with the boys…and that is why we feed her Nulo Pet Food. It’s high in meat, low in carbs and it’s got functional ingredients like probiotics. It’s been incredible to watch Mallie’s transition as we’ve worked with her on her diet.
What I tell other moms is, you have to take care of yourself and your body to be the best mom that you can be. And it’s the exact same care I give to my kids and myself that my little Mallie deserves – we have to take care of her, too!
I want her to have a very healthy, happy life. We’ve had so many good years and I’m looking forward to many more.