We Can All Learn a Lesson From 4-Year Old Swimmer Avery

Meet 4-year old Avery.

Avery’s dad Shawn Panther is a teacher the men’s golf coach at Charlotte Catholic High School in North Carolina.

Charlotte Catholic High School is home to one of the most dominant high school swim teams in the country. Until finishing 3rd last season, the girls’ program had won 15-straight North Carolina State Championship meets.

Avery, however, is a long way from joining that legacy. She is 10 years from entering high school, and is participating in her first season of summer league swimming.

And yet, in this swim, 4-year old Avery demonstrates a lesson that is crucial to all swimmers, including those swimming at next week’s U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska.

Anybody who swims or coaches long enough will miss a taper. No number of backstroke wedges or towels will keep you from ever slipping on a block. Sometimes, you’ll spend hours visualizing the perfect race, and where your mind is ready, your body won’t cooperate. Sometimes, you’ll get more nervous than you should, and miss your best time at your biggest meet.

Sometimes, we could all use a little more Avery in us, in the pool and out of it. This 25 yard freestyle race didn’t start off well for Avery. But after the rough entry, Avery shook the water out of her eyes, took a deep breath, regained her bearings, and pressed on. She didn’t win the race, but she made the best of a bad situation, didn’t hang her head (though her coach might’ve wished she did-so a little more, in a literal sense), and didn’t quit.

Good luck to everyone racing next week, from Charlotte to Omaha to Rome to your neighborhood swim league, and everywhere in between.

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Joel Lin

Best part of my day was seeing this. Thank you.


This was terrific. Give her a few more years, and she’ll be saying “You kick YOUR legs, Mom.”

Steve Nolan

The lesson I learned? How to make GIFs.

comment image


actual LOL

Joe Bagodonuts

I STILL have days that start this way. Unfortunately, Avery, this won’t be the last time your foot slips off the block in life! Gotta give her a ton of credit for sticking with it.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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