Rachel & Anna Zilinskas: A Very Special Trip

by Josh Huger (MrUtopia)

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Created June 28th, 2012 02:48:52 PM

Modified June 28th, 2012 02:48:52 PM

Written by Anna Zilinskas, Rachel's sister and an avid swimming enthusiast.

Read more of Anna and Rachel's entries from this week


Day 4

This trip has been very special. Special for all of the reasons I have previously stated in past posts but I think the biggest reason is because my family has been together. Almost two years ago Rachel and my mom, Susan, moved to Blue Bell, PA so that Rachel could focus on her swimming and academic career at Germantown Academy. However, my dad, brother and I stayed at our home in Indiana, PA since Rachel's high school swim career had only three years left. I like to call this the "ultimate sacrifice" that our family made to benefit EVERYONE- not just Rachel. It hasn't been easy; not a day goes by that we don't struggle with missing each other or wish we could be together. However we are tough and we are happy. My parents have showed us what it means to be in a strong and loving marriage and they have shown us how much love they have for their children. They have showed us what it means to make a sacrifice for a family and how far a parent will go to benefit their children. 

While this may be a "big story" in our small hometown of Indiana, at the Olympic Trials we are not alone. At the Olympic Trials  we are seated next to people who have made similar sacrifices. At the Olympic Trials we are seated next to people who may not have made sacrifices as extreme as our case but nevertheless understand and know the life of a swimming family. They know the early morning drives, the long hours at the pool, the many invitationals, the traveling, and the expenses. They understand the individuality of the sport and the great pressure it puts on the athletes each and every day. They understand the joys of personal bests and the elation in winning even just a heat. These people sitting next to us are the brothers, the sisters, the moms, the dads and the grandparents of talented swimmers and they are just like my family. Knowing that we are surrounded by people who are "like us" is comforting. We are relaxing and enjoying our time that we have together. Unfortunately, at the end of this week my mom and sister will be back in Blue Bell, and the rest of us will go home to Indiana. With that thought looming over us throughout the week, we are sure to relish every moment. 

Our hope for Rachel, as the hope of many other families for their athletes here this week, is for her to do her best. We hope she lives in the moment and "works her dream". My Grandma Shirley always comes on our swim meet trips with us and she always brings a bag of Dove dark chocolates. We have one or four with almost every meal, and enjoy the messages on the inside of the wrappers. I had one yesterday that was so fitting for this week...



Rachel does not swim until Saturday so she is enjoying her couple of days off and may even get to write a post here soon about her experience. She got to come up into the spectator seating with us last night to watch a little bit of finals. It was so good to spend that little bit of time with her. Finals Session last night was incredible with Michael Phelps beating Ryan Lochte out for the 200 Free Championship. It was really cool to see all four of the men who will be representing the 800 free relay in London during the awards ceremony as well. Beeja Larson's reaction to her first place finish in the women's 100 meter breastroke was emotional and a true joy to see. It was also fun to celebrate with Matt Grevers as he punched his ticket to London last night as well. We are looking forward to another night at finals again tonight and the arrival of my Aunt Linda and Uncle Jimmy tomorrow. #SwimTrials12