For me to really understand the origin of the drive, I had to go back to some of my oldest memories. Growing up, I was an only child and I lived with my grandma for much of my childhood, because my mom was going to college. None of my grandmother’s neighbors really had kids my age, but I remember one of our neighbors had a basketball net, and that was my first exposure into any sort of sports. As a young kid, I did all tons of sports, my only real interaction with other kids my age outside of school. No siblings and no neighbors my age wasn’t the most fun thing, so I put a lot of my energy into sports as a way to have fun, and also to fuel and feed my competitive drive. I played soccer (football, for anyone outside of the United States - I was a midfielder mainly, but I played every position, including goalie), ran track, and tested the waters of baseball, football, tennis, and eventually swimming. Originally, I did not want to swim. I really enjoyed playing soccer/(not American) football (I’m sorry, I don’t know what terminology to use), but despite my efforts, I joined the swim team. I both swam and played soccer for a few years, not necessarily excelling at either but I wasn’t bad either, but it was beginning to become a lot. I was given a choice - I could go year round in soccer, or I could go year round in swimming. I had begun to really enjoy swimming around this time, and pain in my knees while running drove me towards the pool.Swimming was extremely fun, but I still wasn’t really exceptional in any sense. I was incredibly average, but I wanted to get better. My mom wanted to enroll me into a swim program at her old high school, where she had swam as a kid, and the program that helped coach her to achieve an Olympic Trials time. Similarly to when I first started swimming, I initially rejected the idea of going to a new team, but soon grew to really enjoy the new team and environment. The new team pushed the idea of a hard work ethic, something that wasn’t really foreign but also something that wasn’t really explicitly taught in any of the other sports I had done in the past. I had sort of hopped from sport to sport, team to team without much improvement. I used to find drills annoying and tiring, a chore that I didn’t want to complete. My new swim coaches would not allow that, and forced me to work hard, teaching me that even though hard work, sweat, tears, and pain was extremely undesirable, sometimes it is necessary to improve.