Bolles School alum Lauren Neidigh has been the leader of a growing national movement of support for Clare Blackwell, her former coach who was injured a few weeks ago in an Ironman Triathlon. Clare was struck by a passing ambulance during the bike portion of the race, where she was competing in that race to raise money for the Children’s Cancer Fund of Dallas.
Now, Neidigh has decided to organize a fundraiser to enact what she learned from coach Blackwell. Here is Lauren’s mission:
Clare didnt just coach me to swim faster, she coached me to be a teammate. The most important thing she taught me is that unfortunate things are gonna happen to us. I don’t have to love the fact but I do have to appreciate it because while these hardships chip off the weaker pieces of me they expose something stronger. Unfortunately I fell off that mentality for a little while as this freshman year at Florida was a learning experience. This accident has inspired me to take Clare’s lessons and use them to improve for the people around me as well as myself. Of course I’ll also carry this strength with me to school in the fall. When i was in my first years of high school i was nothing but unsure of myself. Clare really helped me to become someone that I am proud of. I know that I’m not exactly an Olympian but I believe that if I can pull myself together and do my personal best right now then that will be something great in its own. Every swimmer in USA swimming makes a difference and this is how I want to make mine. Letting everyone know what an inspiring person Clare was to us means more to me than any medal ever will. As Clare was a huge supporter of Bolles and of course Team USA I just ask that people from Jacksonville and beyond in the swimming community help me make this special in Clare’s honor.
In honor of this mission, Neidigh and some of her former Bolles teammates will be raising money for best times, all of which will go to the Children’s Cancer Fund that was Clare’s passion. They are asking for fans around the country to pledge to donate for each best time that a group of Bolles alum swim at their taper meets this summer. The group participating will include two Olympians, and will give everybody a little extra rooting interest in two weeks. We’ll check back in and check on the progress of each as the meets happen.
If you are interested in pledging even a few bucks per best time, please send an email to [email protected] for details.
Joseph Schooling (2012 London Olympics)
Megan Fonteno (2012 London Olympics)
Ryan Murphy (Florida Senior Champs)
Patrick Murphy (Florida Senior Champs)
Colin Hamilton (American Long Course Champs)
Lauren Neidigh (Florida Senior Champs & American Long Course Champs)
Ali Talwar (Florida City Champs)
Kourtney Gavin (River City Champs)
Eric Vanden Noort (Florida Senior Champs)