This past weekend, I had my first meet since my official diagnosis of Celiac Disease. Oddly enough, it was the last meet of my swimming career, since I am a senior in college and my four years of NCAA eligibility are up. I had several concerns going into the meet. What was I going to eat when the team stopped at Jimmy Johns for lunch on the drive to the meet? What was I going to eat for dinner the first night when the team had pasta catered to the hotel? What would I eat during the meet, when I got hungry and the snack tub was full of gluten-filled bars?
I decided not to stress too much about my concerns, considering this was the last meet of my entire (15 year) swimming career. I wanted to focus, and I was interested to see how eating gluten-free would affect my swimming. I had been feeling stronger leading up to the meet, but I was unsure if that would carry over to the meet.
Lucky for me, my coaches worked hard to make sure I was well-fed during the meet, and I ended up having the best meet of my life! I swam times that I only saw in my dreams. At the end of my races, I felt like a completely different person than how I had felt before my diagnosis. I felt alert and strong throughout my entire races.
I am so thankful that I found out about having Celiac Disease before my last meet, and that I was able to fix the problem. I ended my career on a better note than I could have ever expected. Not only did I have a great meet myself, but my team also had an exceptional meet. We won our fifth conference title in a row! I am thrilled to report that being gluten-free helped me swim fast and exceed any of my expectations.