Editor’s note: International Women’s Day (IWD2024) theme for 2024 is Inspire Inclusion. We asked our leaders to present their personal views and share stories of how their experiences support that theme.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, it’s fitting to spotlight the remarkable women who inspire us daily.

In my life, the embodiment of dedication, strength, and resilience is found in the pool with my daughter as she navigates the waters of competitive swimming. What makes her journey even more compelling is that her unwavering commitment finds its roots in the influence of her mother, a former collegiate swimmer.

Today, I’m happy to share this story of empowerment, determination, and the unbreakable bond between a mother and daughter.

From age four, my daughter had determined that swimming was “her sport.”  She quickly moved from swim lessons through recreational summer league and landed at her current club team by the time she was seven.

As someone who grew up believing that kids would never want to be this committed to a single sport at such an early age, I was shocked when she voluntarily began a training program that has her in the pool two hours a day, five days a week. I should have known better, considering her role model was not her languorous father, but her mother, who deeply understands the transformative power of the sport.

My wife’s journey in competitive swimming wasn’t without challenges. As a woman, she faced the same hurdles and stereotypes that demand both physical strength and mental fortitude to overcome. The lessons she learned in the pool were not only about mastering her stroke technique, but also setting goals and the commitment and discipline required to meet those goals.

It’s this wealth of experience that my wife continues to share with our daughter. From the moment our daughter committed to pushing herself to be the best swimmer she could be, her mother became her mentor, coach, and, most importantly, her inspiration.

The lessons of discipline, perseverance, and the pursuit of excellence are not only becoming  more of who she is as a swimmer, but who she is as a person as well.

Although it’s only been a few years of watching our daughter navigate the challenges of competitive swimming, it brings me immense pride in what she has already accomplished and even more optimism for her future.

After all, competitive swimming is no easy feat. It demands early mornings, grueling training sessions, and mental resilience to withstand victory and defeat. I’ve been so inspired watching her mother’s experiences passed down to her through stories from the past, empathetic advice after a bad race, or encouragement after a brutal workout.

The unwavering support and shared wisdom between mother and daughter has created a unique bond, fostering an environment where my daughter sees anything possible.

As we cheer for our daughter in the pool, it’s essential to acknowledge that the true victory lies not just in the time improvements, meet qualifications, and donuts after Saturday practice but in the values she carries beyond the pool. The spirit of competition is balanced with empathy, sportsmanship, and a deep understanding of the supportive relationships she has built with her teammates.

From balancing academics to maintaining a sense of humility in victory, our daughter is a testament to the values instilled by her mother. Values that will shape the woman she will grow into.

On this International Women’s Day, as we celebrate the women who shape our world, I appreciate the opportunity to recognize the power of generational inspiration. The journey from a collegiate swimmer to a dedicated mother and from a young swimmer to a confident and resilient young woman embodies the essence of empowerment passed down through generations.

As I watch my daughter dive into the pool with the same determination and focus as her mother did years ago, I’m reminded that the legacy of strong, empowered women continues to build, break barriers, and challenge the role of women in society.

Nothing makes me happier than seeing my daughter standing on a path to continue this movement in the right direction.