Dan Syroid Inspires Me!

“Write about someone in our team who inspires you,” we were told just before practice one week night. “And, just remember, it doesn’t have to be someone fast, it can be any one of us.”

As we got in for warm up, I began thinking on this. I initially thought about the two or three married couples who take turns coming to the pool and staying home with young children. This commitment to both family and training is admirable. I also thought about the many, many swimmers in our midst who hold Provincial, National, and even World records in various age groups. This kind of athletic achievement is something that quite a few of us aspire towards, but will only ever dream of. And I though too of our fabulous coaching staff, with decades of experience and several coaching awards between them. And then I thought of Dan.

Dan Syroid broke his ankle quite seriously some months ago. When he first reappeared on deck, he showed us a swollen, inflexible ankle, and some impressive X-ray images that made a few of our swimmers a little queasy. He has been through surgery, and is now on the long journey back to full function both on land and in the water. I have seen him on deck for months now, at first hobbling along, lingering on the outskirts of the team but not really able to swim with us. I often noticed Dan swimming in one of the public lanes, slowly moving along, being cautious when pushing off the wall or with kick. There has been a noticeable progression lately towards more pool time. Recently, I have seen Dan walking more smoothly, and just last night I saw him join in with the team. This brought a smile to my face.

As with every feel-good story, Dan is also an amazingly nice guy. He strikes me as a warm, quiet, generous man, willing to offer a “hello” to teammates no matter what lane they swim in. Dan shared with me once that if him and his wife had had kids, he imagined that he might have a daughter about my age. I jokingly replied that she would hopefully be better behaved than me, but I was truly touched by his openness. On another occasion, after returning from the Middle East on business, Dan presented me with a t-shirt from his travels. I was very impressed by his thoughtfulness and generosity.

So, the swimmer from the Victoria Masters who inspires me most is Dan Syroid. His friendly attitude and his calm, steady demeanour are traits that I value highly within any team or group. And his patient, dedicated work rehabilitating his ankle have really impressed me. I haven’t seen him give up or get frustrated throughout this time, which I respect greatly. I am excited to see him at the pool, to watch his progress as he returns to his place on our team.

– Alex Cape, Victoria Masters Swim Club

Have a story about one of your lane mates you would like to share? Send it to editor@msabc.ca

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