This I Believe

Nikita - Ann Arbor, Michigan
Entered on January 17, 2008
Age Group: Under 18


A few years ago my coach inspired me with his motto, D3. Desire. Dedication. Determination. I believe in D3.

Three years ago, when I moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan I joined a swim team, Wolverine Aquatics. At around the same time I joined, the team had acquired a new head coach, Eric Namesnik. When I first met the person, he gave me the impression of a quiet but intense kind of person. He wasn’t very loud-spoken but he carried a strong message, D3. He told the entire team about how D3 had helped him become a two time Olympic silver medalist in the 400 meters Individual Medley, once in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and the other in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

I kept that motto in mind and started my swimming career. For the first year of swimming, I didn’t really think about that message. I had it hidden somewhere in the back of my mind and never brought it out. Then two summers ago, the summer of ‘07, I challenged myself to make state championships in as many events as I could. Earlier that year I had taken a three week trip to India, so my spring season had been ruined. The summer that I made the challenge to myself was the summer that D3 finally showed me its true meaning.

I worked hard that summer and made it to states in the 100 and 200 meters backstroke as well as the 200 and 400 meters freestyle. I remember looking at the rankings for each of my events at states and having the shock of my life when I saw that I was ranked 20th out of 40 swimmers in the 200 meter backstroke. This is where D3 finally played in. I knew that I had the desire and determination to make it in the Top 16 for the 200 backstroke. It was my dream. I also knew I had the dedication considering that I had trained for this event all summer. When I went to my event, the last thing I thought to myself was, “Alright Niki, this is it! Remember D3.” Just thinking of that gave me the drive to reach for my dreams and achieve my goals. In the end, I dropped six seconds in that event and ended up ranked 14th in the state for my age group. I must say that without D3, I don’t think that I would have ever made it to states that summer.

D3 has been my inspiration ever since I met Eric all those years ago. It certainly helped me achieve my goals and will forever help me achieve even more in the future. I hope that whoever Eric is coaching in heaven will find D3 as big of an inspiration as I did.