Editor’s Note: 2008 Paralympian Tom Miazga has announced his retirement from competitive swimming. Miazga is the current American Record holder in the 50 free, 100 free, 50 back, 100 back, and 200 back in short course yards for the S8 Class.
Tom has been a great friend to SwimSwam since we launched in 2012, and we hope he will continue to be a great friend. Simply put, he is one of the most genuinely nice and universally liked people in swimming at any level. Because our relationship makes it difficult to remain neutral, we’ll give him the floor to share the news in his own words.
For the longest time, I never even imagined that there would be an end to my swimming career. However, with a content, humbled, and extremely grateful heart, I announce my retirement from competitive swimming.
While the timing may seem weird to some, I am so happy to be going out on my own terms, and going out on top. I dreamed of finding “redemption” from missing London by making Rio, but I found it in far more gratifying way in Bismarck last week. Unlike 2012, I left Bismarck happy. I got to swim my last race in relay fashion (100 back, very fitting!) with my inspiration, Rudy Garcia-Tolson, and cheer my two, up and rising teammates as they began their journey of a lifetime. As our relay won by .01, the joy we shared together told me that swimming is irrelevant, and that the true passion comes from our actions with and upon others. I find the most gratitude now from the other side, as a mentor and coach. Life is now giving me so many new opportunities through teaching and coaching; I knew it was time to fully embrace it. Besides, finishing my last swim on the top of the podium isn’t too bad!
It’s impossible for me to write every thought and emotion I’m experiencing right now, but my gosh, what a journey it has been. When I look back, I immediately think of the relationships I have built. To all my coaches, teammates, friends, and support, I am nowhere without you. I feel obligated to thank each and every single one of you, and I plan on doing so. You have molded me, through every triumph and failure, to continually find the limitless potential we all possess. I cannot wait to use all that you have taught me to do the same for those around me. My life on deck is nowhere near over, in fact just beginning. I hope to experience everything this sport has to offer and help others achieve the goals I was personally unable to accomplish. Who knows where life will take me, but I can confidently say my swimming and relationships have given me the necessary traits to be successful, and I could not be more ready for what is in store.
So, what time is practice?