i suppose it all started when i was 9 years old. i was trying to swim laps with my dad, and i got tired in the middle of the deep end of the pool. my dad didn't know, as he swam along on his merry way, but i just stopped in the middle and started bobbing, and then sinking a little, and then calling for anyone who would hear me. then came the lifeguard, my dad, my mom, and all the embarassing attention i could ever call to myself. i'm pretty sure it was at that moment that my mother decided to sign me up for swim lessons at berkeley aquatic club. of course at 9 years old, i could only complain and yet attend begrudgingly - i mean, what self respecting 9 year-old goes to swim lessons, right? as it turned out, i think that if my mom and dad had any idea the long term commitment to swimming they were actually making by signing me up for those lessons, they never would have enrolled me. it wasn't even 5 years later, that they found themselves getting up at 4:45AM to drive me to morning workouts, and shelling out hundreds of dollars to send me to meets and training trips in st. croix, colorado, montreal, mexico, etc.
i love racing - be it, triathlon, swimming, or mario cart - i can't get enough. but i would not be able to do any of it without the loving support of those nearest and dearest to me. my mom, my dad, my sister, and of course emily continue to sacrifice, money, time, and i'm sure plenty activities more interesting to them so that for the last 15 years of competition, i could be fed while training, driven to workouts, allowed to rest when there were chores to be done, and of course so that i could have my own personal cheering section at countless races. i will always be grateful for the blessing they have all been to my competitive careers in swimming and triathlon.
that said - i have some rather entertaining footage that highlights the comical nature in which each of them has supported and followed my dreams of becoming a professional traithlete. this is a 3 part series, and part one is on my mom.
aggie nichols, chiefer, cook, and professional loud mouth was perhaps the initiator of my obsession with competition. as a child she registered for, and drove me to baseball, soccer, football, track and field, ball hockey, basketball, and of course, swimming. she shared the load of 4:45AM trips to the pool with my dad, sat in the 95 degree stands - often by herself - at countless swim meets, and made sure that i had the means to stuff my face with delicious food almost immediately after every workout. but you should know that despite devoting more hours of support to my pursuits than anyone else in my life, including emily (mainly because she's been around longer than emily - who is rapidly catching up - i love you honey!), she actually knows the least about the sports i compete in. case in point - listen carefully to my mom in the background of this video that emily took at the start of the mossman triathlon i did last year.
emily: go berto!
mom: does he know where to go in?
emily: haha, yeah he knows where to go in. look at him, man!
mom: well... what's this running for? he should just be easing in.
she must have attended at least 10 of my races by now, and yet she doesn't understand how a triathlon begins. mom, if you're reading - many races begin by running into the water, and then starting the swim... just so you know for the future. :-) i'm sure emily could offer many other priceless on-liners that my mom has thrown out there on the topic of triathlon, but i'm pretty sure that she'll keep them to herself, rather than risk her good graces with my parents as their favorite child. in any case, my mom remains inept to even some of the basic principles of triathlon because she's so busy being the loudest spectator out there. she may not have much useful advice to offer me in regard to race strategy, but she sure can shout "go brett" louder than the best of them. thanks for all the support mom!