Senior Speech - Hallie Anderson

Mark Imig

As they have previously said, my name is Hallie Anderson.

As I am sitting here, Ifs hard to accumulate all of my swim memories into a short speech, but here is my attempt. I began swimming purely because of my mom wanting me to not drown at my grandpa's lake house. As a youngling,these times were especially scary for my parents because they did not want little 3 year old me to fall headfirst into the murky water of the lake of the Ozarks, with no ffoaties, and not knowing how to swim. So as soon as possible they enrolled me in swimming lessons. And let me tell you, as soon as I stepped into the kiddy pool for the first day of class, my infatuation with the water came to life.

Now I was never the fastest swimmer, but I was never the slowest either. I spent years doing summer swim and soon the seasonal pool trips transformed into a year-round stay. Before coming to CSP I was with another team, where I found one of my best friends. I however did not find a family there.

In these past 3 years, I have found a family I know I can always come back to. A place where I am accepted as I am. I would like to thank all the friends I have made on this team and for the group of girls who originally helped me to feel comfortable on the team. We may not see each other much or talk much anymore, but you made a big impact on me. To all the friends I swam with every day over the years, I thank you for the endless laughs, jam sessions while doing hard practices, and never failing to make my day better.

And now is when the tissues are going to come in handy. I would like to thank my coaches. Most of all I want to thank Mark. You have been my coach ever since I joined CSP. You were the first coach to ever make me feel okay about asking for what I need. You helped to transform a girl, who felt like a burden to coach, a person who was never going to be able to achieve their goals and a person who felt like a failure, into a person who now holds their head high and knows that they are not a burden and that they are no longer a failure. One memory I will never forget is when you drove up to Indiana to be my coach at time trials for ParaPans. My mom and I had been at the pool since Monday, and at one point I was ineligible to swim. Even though we did not know if I would be able to swim, you still drove up anyways. You made sure that I was always prepared for my races and helped me so much around the pool. My first big para meet would not have turned out as good as it did if you were not there. As my journey continued you helped me prepare to go international. My time in Peru would not have been the same without the help of every coach on this team. You prepared me for an extremely intense competition and now you have prepared me to start my college career as a swimmer.

Lastly I would like to thank my parents, you mean the world to me. Ever since I was young I was a sick baby. You took such great care of me, pushed me to always be my best, and always had me define my limits not others. You have treated me like an equal to some extent, so I knew my opinions always matter and that I should never be afraid to speak my mind. Mom, you taught me how to handle tremendous amounts of disappointment and setbacks. You taught me to walk through hell with a smile on my face and come out of it stronger and more beautiful than before. You taught me how to handle situations with grace and how to stand up for myself. Thank you for becoming my best friend, the person I can always run to, someone I can tell my secrets to. And to my Dad, I know as I am growing up I am no longer the small, shy girl I was before. However, no matter how old I become I will always be your little girl. You have never tried to limit me or tell me my dreams were impossible. You had faith in me when I didn't, you taught me how to live life to the fullest. I know that you sometimes feel bad because of all that I have endured in my short life, but I want you to know that I wouldn't have it any other way. To know that I have someone who will always understand what I am going through is a once in a lifetime kind of thing. Yes, what I have may impose limits on my life, but you have taught me how to shatter the glass ceiling that surround me, and the boxes every doctor has tried to put me in. You show me every day that the impossible is possible. I now live my life with less fear of what I can't do and more fear of not knowing what to experience next Thank you for all the wonderful life lessons you have taught me and all the opportunities you have shown me and given me throughout my life. As I take the next step in my swimming career I will never forget the place I have come to love. The place where I found hope and my love for swimming again. 

As I take the next step in my swimming career I will never forget the place I have come to love. The place where I found hope and my love for swimming again. Thank you

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