Welcome back to Taylor Untamed! It’s been a while since my last post here, and after taking some time away, I’m back and ready to take you along on some of my greatest adventures yet.
While I was gone, I not only finished my last year of collegiate swimming and completed my degree, but I also felt a longing to get back outside. Now that I’ve retired from the sport I love and have moved to a new state, I’m ready to start a brand new journey, and I hope you will come along with me.
Here, I wanted to tell you a little bit about what I’ve been up to for the last year and give you a brief overview of how I got to where I am today.
When I touched the last wall and turned my head towards the score board, I smiled. It was the semifinal race of the Women’s 200 Meter Butterfly at the United States Olympic Trials, but little did many know, it was also the last race I would ever swim.
It had been a tough year swimming in the NCAA. New rules and cancellations made my senior year much different than I had envisioned. Along with training for a championship season that was still uncertain, I worried everyday about testing positive for Covid, effectively ending my season and career.
Nonetheless, I set out to make my last year of swimming my best one, regardless of the limitations put on me. I reached a milestone in my best event in November and cried tears of joy as my teammates showered me with love and support. And at the SEC and NCAA Championships, I was honored to achieve the goals I’d had since I was a little girl: becoming an SEC medalist and an All-American, a real life dream come true.
Now, I was at my final meet of my career: the United States Trials for the Olympic Games. I’d qualified for the semifinals that morning by placing in the top 16 of the event, and I was now racing for a top eight spot to swim in the finals. I sprinted to the finish, swimming one of the fastest final laps in the field.
Rather than look at my place in the heat, the first thing I saw when I took off my goggles was my time. My grin glowed beneath the stage lights that covered the pool. After nearly five years of struggling to reach my lifetime goal, I had finally surpassed it. Regardless of how I ranked relative to my competitors, I was happy. I was relieved. I was proud.
I barely noticed a few seconds later when my name flashed onto the screen, declaring me ninth. I was only a few tenths of a second from making the finals, but I didn’t care. I had finished my swimming career on my terms, leaving the sport with my head held high.
It was a bitter sweet moment, walking off of the pool deck for the last time. I cried as I held my teammates, my coach and my family close, mourning the chapter of my life that was now over. But it wasn’t long before I felt a new excitement bubbling in my stomach: my next chapter was beginning.
Although I missed the sport that had dominated my life, I began exploring my new passions eagerly. I was no longer restricted by the athlete lifestyle. I could do whatever I wanted, be whoever I wanted. I refocused on my nutrition and fitness, looking for new ways to stay healthy. I finally invested time in creative writing, a passion I’d had for a while but never had the time to pursue. And, of course, I traveled. A lot.
To celebrate my retirement from my sport, my entire family visited Colorado Springs where we explored this unique part of the Rocky Mountains, hiking in nearby parks and rafting down the Royal Gorge. I also took a girls trip with my mom where I got to explore my very first national parks: Bryce Canyon and Zion.
At these one-of-a-kind destinations, exploring some of the most magnificent places in the world, I was reminded of my outdoor passions. The beauty of the Colorado Rockies, the marvel of the Bryce Canyon hoodoos and the grandeur of the Zion cliffs were now viewed under a new lens. After changes in my own life, these majestic natural formations had a new, invigorating effect on me. Suddenly, their splendor became more than just beauty. They were an opportunity.
For the first time, I was experiencing these locations with nothing holding me back. I didn’t have responsibilities that forced me to focus my attentions elsewhere. I didn’t have other goals that I needed to reach before I could return. I suddenly realized that my next goal to pursue was right in front of me. It was time to go all in with the passion that I’d been toying with since I first started Taylor Untamed.
Sitting on the top of Angels Landing, looking out at the wide valley before me, I felt the call to take on the world, to go out and see all that nature has to offer. It was a new challenge, one I’d never had the chance to pursue before. I wanted to go on a new adventure, my greatest one yet.
And it starts here, where I will document my next journey. So welcome to the Taylor Untamed reboot! I’m so excited that you’ve chosen to join me in this exciting part of my life. Come along as I visit new places and take on new adventures. Follow me as I share each step of my new endeavors. There will be a few changes around here, but the result will be a new and improved reading experience.
As I move to a new state, I hope you will take the time to follow along with me. If you want to be a part of my next journey, you’re in the right place.
I encourage you to go beyond reading my posts. I want my own adventures to inspire you. Try something new! Go somewhere different! Get out there and take on the world with me!
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Have any ideas for my next adventure? Have a question about outdoor activities like hiking, swimming or rafting? Send me an email or Instagram DM and let me know! You can reach me on the Contact page of my blog.
I can’t wait to share my stories with you and help you make some of your own meaningful memories outside!