Grace Ariola Gives Raw Perspective on Chronic Fatigue, Medical Retirement

In the SwimSwam Podcast dive deeper into the sport you love with insider conversations about swimming. Hosted by Coleman HodgesGarrett McCaffrey, and Gold Medal Mel Stewart, SwimSwam welcomes both the biggest names in swimming that you already know, and rising stars that you need to get to know, as we break down the past, present, and future of aquatic sports.


We sat down with Grace Ariola, the NCAA All-American and Big-12 champion from Texas who has been out of the pool for the last 2+ years and recently announced a medical retirement due to chronic fatigue syndrome. Ariola goes into detail on what her last 2.5 years looked like after getting a viral illness and never fully recovering, including how her mental health was affected just as much as her physical health. Grace offers a lot of perspective on not only what this dark place looked like for her, but what tools she used to work her way back to a place where she felt like herself again.


Music: Otis McDonald


Opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the interviewed guests do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the hosts, SwimSwam Partners, LLC and/or SwimSwam advertising partners.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ol' Longhorn
2 months ago

Sorry this happened to her. COVID sure has sucked in a zillion ways, but it may unlock insights into how to treat chronic fatigue syndrome. NIH just poured a ton of money into RECOVER to set up infrastructure to investigate PASC (post-acute sequela of COVID) — long-haul COVID, which bears a lot of similarities to CFS.

2 months ago

Thank you for sharing your story, Grace. Definitely not an easy road. Our family knows how challenging and isolating dealing with POTS and post viral fatigue can be (Our daughter (who is also at UT) was diagnosed with this just before COVID hit.) It is encouraging to hear that you are feeling better and finding new activities for your many talents. Please know there are many still cheering for you. Hook ‘Em!

2 months ago

Briefly had the pleasure of working with Grace years ago, what a charming, articulate, bright, caring young lady. She’s grown up wonderfully. Wishing her the best.

Jenny H
2 months ago

Grace-you are amazing! I’m so grateful for being able to she you swim. Best of luck in everything you do💙

2 months ago

This is the greatest interview Coleman has done yet. I love how he explains in the interview why he gets into different things and takes the time to acknowledge the significance of the things being explained by Grace and giving her feelings the respect they disserve.

Great credit to Grace for being so vulnerable and for Coleman for presenting it so well.

Thank you.

Daniel Smith
2 months ago

Wow, SWIMSWAM interviews get better and better! Thanks to Coleman and Ms. Ariola for dealing with a difficult subject with sensitivity while keeping it on point. We need to hear more about this from other athletes. Difficult enough to be a collegiate athlete, much more so when your career takes a hard turn you did not expect with an uncertain outcome. Glad Ms. Ariola came though it well, and is recovering, with good things ahead of her, including college graduation!

Ms. Ariola: one piece of advice, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it(the gift) away.”
― Pablo Picasso

Much luck to you as you find your gift(s); I hope Mel… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Daniel Smith
2 months ago

I dig that you guys are following up with some of the swimmers after they announce their retirement. Much better than kicking them to the curb to be forgotten

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

Read More »