Last Saturday, we attended USC’s “Swim With Mike” fundraiser to benefit physically challenged student athletes. It was a rare opportunity to workout at USC MacDonald’s Swim Stadium, and rub elbows with some folks I’m used to seeing on ESPN or Versus. It was a perfect day for five chicks who like sports way too much — me, Sandy, daughter Nikki and her friend MacKenzie, and Gail who enjoyed her longest outing yet since her latest bout with cancer.
While we worked out in the pool, music blared from a live band, the Coveralls. The kids swam underneath us in the deep pool like sea creatures. Nikki often spooked me with delight.
I swam my farthest yet of the season — 2000 yards — but the real test came when I tried to pull myself out of the pool that had an unusually high ledge. I struggled, I strained…then Gail got up out of her wheelchair to offer a hand. The role-reversal made us laugh. All winter, I’ve been helping her out of cars and up and downstairs. Payback was SWEET, even though it wasn’t quite successful.
I spotted Ironman triathlete and Amazing Race star Sarah Reinertson and asked if she wouldn’t mind meeting my friends. She graciously came over and spoke to our group and posed for pictures. We found out she’s planning to do 14 Olympic distance triathlons this year and try out for the Olympics in July. (Good luck Sarah, we’ll be cheering for ya’!)
Sarah was a recipient of a Swim With Mike Scholarship when she attended USC, so she seemed quite content to be back on campus.
After the swim, USC had a really nice barbecue for us. The tables and chairs were set out right in front of a scrimmage field. We were able to watch the USC football team practice while we ate lunch. They even had, Traveller, USC’s mascot come on to the field for more pictures. (A high point for Sandy, a USC alum, too.)
Little did we know this was only the beginning of the entertainment that lead up to Carroll versus Ferrell. USC’s football coach, Pete Carroll swam against comedian and USC alum, Will Ferrell, who donned a Speedo and bright yellow swim cap for the 50-yard dual. The USC Marching Band got the crowd warmed up with their classics. Then, there was some trash talk between Pete and Will before they entered the pool. In the end, Pete won!
I couldn’t have been happier for the former Patriot’s coach. I’m also pleased to report this event raised over $800,000 for physically challenged student athletes at USC and across the country.