This article was written by ANA Synchro athlete Libby McKinnon
At this time last year, everything made sense. I had an amazing team, great friends and a family that supported me no matter what. I made new friendships and experienced new activities that developed me into the person I am today. In synchro, I also have learned that with patience and strength, you can do great things. I will use these characteristics for the rest of my life, because with patience, comes the great thing that you’re waiting for, and strength, builds you up for the difficult times to overcome them and to push through.
On Thursday, March 13th, my team left the Andover / North AndoverYMCA thinking we would start training for US Nationals. We had no idea that after we left, we wouldn’t be able to return for months. COVID-19 was very hard on my teammates and me. We had to transition into Zoom calls and not being able to have face-to-face contact, our normal. During this time though, it has made me realize that there are so many important things in addition to synchro.
When an email came out including information about the Lawrence YMCA community needing help, I decided to help. My first goal was sending an email out to my home town telling them about how connected I am to my YMCA community and what we needed to do to help out. I told them all of the food and toiletries items needed and/or making monetary contributions. We set up boxes in our front yard and everyday, they would get filled to the top. At the end of this extraordinary road, we had 25 filled grocery bags. In addition, I learned that almost $1,000 was given to Lawrence. It felt wonderful to know that I could give back to the Lawrence community after everything they’ve helped me achieve.
I’m a year wiser today, and the world is still spinning on its crazy axis; but as long as I don’t lose my hope and spark to help people, I can make a difference. Making a difference is what USA Artistic Swimming is all about...our mantra “we swim as one” has evolved into so much more. As I often say to my coach, “Let’s Do This!”