Letting My Past Define Me

CMAS World Championships 2021

As I put 2021 to rest and the preparations for 2022 start to take hold, I wanted to recap the last 3 years. These last 3 years have in a way defined who I am and I’m quite proud of the person I am today. Let us run through the significant moments.

June 2019: The big C

If you’ve read my previous blogpost, you’ll know that I lost my father in January 2019 and moved to Oregon. It was a super tough year to begin with, so when I found out that I had stage 1 cervical cancer, I crumpled. I had a successful surgery 2 weeks later and still prepped myself to head to Roatan for the Caribbean Cup in August. It was the first time I competed since I lost my dad and I wanted to do him proud. About 10 days before comp I had to go back in as there was a complication from the surgery. I soldiered on. Sick, in pain and determined, I competed and set 2 national records.

Caribbean Cup, Roatan , 2019

March 2020: Lockdown

This was hard for all of us. We had no access to training and had to make do. I got married shortly after this, during covid. My husband and I made a great covid team and I am so proud of us for sitting through that. We crushed it Dan. We had to evacuate our house due to wildfires and were stuck later that year, in a 9 day ice storm.

Lockdown 2020, Oregon City

December 2020: What’s this now?

It was December 26th and I knew something was wrong. The Doctor had 2 surprises for me that day. Breast Cancer and Ehler’s-Danlos Syndrome. The cancer is manageable and surgery happens 14 days later, But this Syndrome is not. A degenerative connective tissue disorder….incurable. But it varies in degrees of severity and though no one can tell me, I decide I will be just fine.

January 2021 , Pre-surgery

May 2021: Tampa Bay Apnea Challenge

My first pool comp since 2017. I set 2 new records and make friends for life out there. I win this comp and 20min later get an invite to Vertical Blue. WHAT?!?..HOW?!? Is this real.

Tampa 2021 – photo by Aqua Optica

July 2021: Vertical Blue

I’m in the Bahamas with the best athletes in the world and somehow I’m doing really well. Does this mean I’m finally meant to be here. I’m meeting my idols and its overwhelming. 5th Place…unreal. 5 continental records and 6 white cards……unreal

Dean’s Blue Hole, photo by Daan Verhoerven

September 2021: CMAS World Champs

I’m in Turkey, alone and ready to try my hand at CWT. I do it – 4 more continental records. At this point its alarming how well this year is going. I’ve gotten sponsored by Double K, and so many people have invested in me. At this point I’m just so grateful.

Kas, Turkey – CMAS world Championships

December 2021: UNU Tampa Bay Pool Competition.

I’m exhausted. My season has been very long and unplanned but hey, why not? Who doesn’t love a good pool competition. 4 Continental records and to top it off, my husband gets two US national records under CMAS.

Athlete Claire Paris and Talya

There you have this Cliff notes. I may or may not be too tired to write anything more in depth herebut I will soon. Thank you to every single person who has walked with me on this journey. I could not have made it without any of you.

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