A Letter to my Closest Teammate

Dear best friend,

Thank you.

Thank you for holding me when I cry after those horrible races.

Thank you for reminding me I’ve come this far, and that I can keep pushing. There was never a time when you didn’t listen to my negativity when I needed someone, even throughout the highest points in your career.

Instead of agreeing, though, you always told me that such a mindset would get me nowhere. From you, I learned I am stronger than I give myself credit for. You were the epitome of success when I thought it was unattainable.
And when you struggled, you shared your frustrations.

Thank you for making me feel less alone. You showed me that even the most talented athletes aren’t invincible, and that success doesn’t come easily. Being a swimmer requires sacrifice, sometimes with little gain, and you are no exception.

Thank you for making me unbelievably proud to call you my best friend. Being able to live the ups and downs with you has been the most incredible journey. Your work ethic and positive attitude will forever inspire me to be better in everything I do.

Thank you for working so hard and achieving your goals. You taught me that resiliency and success are synonyms. Very few things in life bring me more joy than seeing you reach your goals because you earned it.

Thank you for always being ecstatic for my excitement. For constantly reminding me that I’ve given all of myself to this sport. You’ve shared some of my best and worst moments with me, and I wouldn’t want anyone else there through it all.

Thank you for being genuine. No matter what, you are the person I can count on to be real with me when I need a reality check. You always want the best for not only me, but everyone around us. That will carry you so far in life.

And don’t forget the little things, like helping me pull my tech suit over my butt and eating thousands of judgement-free calories with me. Some of my best nights have been the sleepovers we had on nights before morning practice (watching Mean Girls at midnight with you beats a party–any day). There is no one I’d rather swim 200 fly next to (reminding myself the entire time you are enduring the pain along with me, and that we will survive). No one can make me laugh quite like you can (especially when you read my mind and articulate my unwillingness to get in the pool better than I can).

Thank you for giving me something so amazing to miss when we move onto our college teams. I can’t imagine myself as a swimmer without you as my teammate. I can’t wait to experience our futures. Miles apart, but together. Always together.

But most importantly, thank you for showing me the importance of teamwork in a sport that is fundamentally individual. In and out of the pool, our two-person team has fought so many battles.
And, so far, we are undefeated.

Swim Friends Definition: two aquatic athletes bound by the mutual experience of pain, and the mutual respect for the others perseverance through very, very, very long swim practices, often in highly chlorinated pools, on nights when their other friends were out at parties.


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Joel Lin

Bryana’s bio needs an edit in the last line. She is a journalist who makes lives better with words.

Bryana Cielo

Thank you so so much. This comment made my year. You have no idea how much that meant to me thank you 🙂

Alicia de Torres

Bryana, your beautiful friendship with my daughter and all of your teammates is stated so vividly and poignantly in Dear Best Friend, Thank You. I have loved everything you have written but this one is particularly special to me. I love the woman you are and your infectious passion for all you do in your life! Love from one of your biggest fans and the proud mother of your best friend!

Wes Daniel CrawfishAquatics

Someone should write something like this for Guys?

About Bryana Cielo

Bryana Cielo

Bryana Cielo Shortly after Bryana Cielo’s birth, she developed her love of water at her family beach house–and hasn’t stopped since. At the conclusion of her swim lessons at age 7, it was recommended that she try out for the local summer swim team. After her first season, she won the …

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