I like to think I carry a quiet confidence into the water because of my relationship with Christ. In athletics, where emotions can run high, low and everywhere in between and performance is everything, I think understanding your relationship with Christ keeps everything on an even keel and gives perspective about what’s important.

Swimming is everything in a lot of ways, but it pales in comparison to things like a relationship with Christ and doing what is important in terms of eternal life.

I started my relationship with Christ at age 10 while riding home with my father after visiting my grandmother in Knoxville. We usually listened to “GT and the Halo Express” cassettes, and my dad asked me if I understood what they were talking about. I said I did and we talked, then I prayed to ask Jesus in my heart.

I grew up going to a church in Raleigh, and it was a great environment. The way my family approached faith was to make it an integral part of our growth as kids. That had a tremendous impact on us spiritually. I have tried to approach my faith like I have everything else, trying to grow spiritually every day.

I am involved in a group called [iX3]sports, which is a message to the sport of swimming and sports in general. [iX3] stands for the individual (lower case I), the cross (X) and the trinity (3). [iX3] is about approaching swimming or whatever sport you are in with a faith basis, where your primarily objective of your performance is to put Christ first and your faith up front and everything else below that.

Photos courtesy University of Michigan