Summer is a great time to head to the water to cool off. Whether you are swimming laps, laying out or just trying to stay cool, it can be fun to meet up with friends and family around the pool, lake, or beach. Two professional athletes that know the water well are Tanya Gandy and Gillian Gibree. Gandy is a former US National Water Polo team member who during her four years as an attacker at UCLA, led the Bruins to four NCAA titles, was named NCAA Division I Player of the Year and first-team All-America and scored 187 career goals, the fourth highest total in school history. Gibree is a Pro Stand Up Paddleboarder who uses her platform to raise awareness for other organizations. Risen Magazineinterviewed Gandy and Gibree in 2012 and talked to Gandy about how she keeps a level head and Gibree about how her experience as a lifeguard prepared her as an athlete.
Gandy shared with us how she keeps a level head.
“Time goes by and I tend to forget that I have accomplished all of that. It is easy to be humbled when you surround yourself with friends that treat you as a normal person. I have to keep things in perspective too and remember what is most important. I always try be the best player that I can be. I am always trying to improve so I try not to think too much about the past. Having a balanced family and personal life helps me to have a balanced professional life. I am always striving to do more. Balance is a huge key to keeping a level head.
Even though I didn’t make the Olympic team, I know that I am going to be okay. Over the past year, I have watched 15 girls get cut from the National Team and their dreams were shattered. I also know some other Olympians that struggle with who they are because their identity was only as an athlete. Then one day it stops and you are not that person. It is really difficult to have that pressure on you.
It is really important to stay true to yourself. The one thing I told myself when I started this whole process was that I am not going to change who I am. I have turned to my family, friends and my faith. There are times that I think about getting cut or having that last day of practice, because eventually that day will come. But I have to remember that it is just a game and be thankful for all of the opportunities I have had at UCLA, Rancho Bernardo, and with my professional team in Spain.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” John 4:11-15
Gibree shares how her experience as a lifeguard in New Zealand helped prepare her for her career as a professional Pro Stand Up Paddleboarder.
“Their season is opposite of ours, so our winter is their summer. The hardest thing I had to do was a body recovery on Christmas day. In the United States, you have towers spread out across the beach and everything is pretty condensed. When you call for a rescue, ten fire trucks come. However, in New Zealand, there is a lot of rugged coastline and less lifeguards and rescue teams. There is a lot more going on and a lot more responsibility. It was definitely challenging. Even though I considered myself a water person, it taught me a lot. It also taught me a lot about water safety…I have had to make rescues in crazy rips and surf and in dangerous conditions. It made me more comfortable in the ocean. Now I am confident when I am competing in races where you have to go in and out through the surf. In Hawaii, we will be in these down winders out in the middle of the ocean and the winds are 35+ mph. I now feel more confident being in water and those types of conditions. I also have the opportunity to teach certification to other people who want to teach SUP yoga. The biggest thing that they are lacking is water safety skills. Many teachers think that SUP is very easy and it is, but when you are bringing 10-20 people out in the water and the winds pick up without notice, you have to know what to do. I try and teach the instructors what to do in emergency situations.”
To read our entire interview with Tanya Gandy, click here and to read our entire interview with Gillian Gibree, click here.