Reunited: Ohio Swimmer Gets a Special Surprise From Military Father Before Race

Alyssa Haidet of the Westerville Aquatic Club stepped behind the blocks for her 200 breaststroke swim on Saturday evening at the Tim Myers Ohio Senior Championship at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio just looking for a good swim. She hadn’t, afterall, been a best time in the 200 breaststroke in two years.

What she got, though was even better.

Her father, Colonel Tom Haidet, had been deployed to Kuwait for 10 months in active military duty with the 371st sustainment brigade with the Ohio National Guard. They were deployed out of Springfield, Ohio.

As the names of the A-finalists were announced before Alyssa’s race, the announcer revealed to a sellout crowd that Alyssa’s biggest fan, Tom Haidet, was there to cheer her on. It was clear that the announcement was just background noise for the focused swimmer, but then she got a tap on the shoulder.

Her father surprised her, arriving in time to see her race, and the first time they’d seen her for 10 months. The storybook moment received a standing ovation for about 5 minutes, with not a dry eye in the house.

And just to cap things off with a perfect ending, Haidet swam a 2:25.43 – a new lifetime best.

As for the Colonel – who is a Miami University alum – he said that he’s looking forward to catching more of Alyssa’s meets. “Getting back to normalcy will be nice, I’m looking forward to being a dad again.”

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6 Comments on "Reunited: Ohio Swimmer Gets a Special Surprise From Military Father Before Race"

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Welcome home and thank you Col. Haidet; and congratulations on your PR Aylssa!

Nice story.

Wahoo Strong

This was a great story to share…better than any fast time is having your father arrive home safely! Congratulations to this family, and thank you for the sacrifices that you make for our country.

About Amanda Smith

Amanda Smith is a former swimmer at both Indiana and USC, where she earned a total of nine All-American honors at the NCAA Championships. Smith, a middle-distance specialist as a swimmer, was also 3-time USC School Record holder, a 2012 NCAA Woman of the Year nominee, and an Olympic Trials …

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