21 January 2014

Transitioning back into Wheaton College...

Wheaton College
This is a heartfelt-update blog post...vulnerable...so bare with me :)

It's been 3 weeks from today that Jeffrey and I finished our last races at the US Speedskating Olympic Trials in Salt Lake City and now we find ourselves enrolled back at Wheaton College, immersed in the college life once again along with our youngest brother, Johnny and two cousins, Justin and Mikey Swider. Haha, it's definitely a family affair and I love it. How many other people can say they go to college with 4 other family members who span age-wise over 8+ years? Not many, if any.

Now many of you have asked how I've been transitioning since the Trials, and being honest, it has been tough, even though I couldn't have asked for a better community to have jumped back into and learn alongside. To me, as I have been in and out of Wheaton since 2006 and working on graduating amongst my speedskating career, there has been no better place for building a network of friends (present & past) that have built me up and have kept me accountable all these years than here at Wheaton. So much appreciation for this institutional community has come from taking my time to graduate. And I know it's been by prayer (friends, family and mine) and by my faith that I have been able to work through the last weeks with a positive attitude and a smile on my face and seeing that the trials I've been though in the last 4 years are shaping and equipping me for what the Lord will use of me in the future for His service. But that hasn't stopped myself from having sad and/or lonely days...though, I have come to embrace these moments, learning how to turn to the Lord for complete comfort as my Savior. Like I quoted on my FB yesterday (sent to me originally from my best friend Renée Shear, from a devotional book called 'Streams in the Desert') this excerpt reveals the power of being at a low point in life:

"Sorrow, under the power of divine grace, performs various ministries in our lives. Sorrow reveals unknown depths of the soul, and unknown capacities for suffering and service. Sorrow is God's tool to plow the depths of the soul, that is may yield richer harvests. Sorrow makes us more more slowly and considerately and examine our motives and attitudes...God never uses anyone to a great degree until He breaks the person completely. Joseph experienced more sorrow than the other sons of Jacob, and it led him into a ministry of food for all the nations." -Streams in the Desert. 

With everyone leaving for Sochi (mom/coach leaves Thursday, training partner Brian Hansen is leaving today), yesterday was just one of those days where I was learning to be at peace amongst heartache. Learning to lean on the Lord, giving it ALL to Him because only He can be our strength. Surprisingly, it is one of the best states to be in...but truly tough. Being human, we can never see the bigger picture, but with the Lord's knowledge of the future and what is best for us, how can we not trust Him to know that current frustrations are for our own good, to prepare us for the future? 
I think this is my 6th (and last!) Wheaton acceptance letter?

Now I am set to graduate from Wheaton College in December 2014, praise the Lord! Haha, finally. As for Jeffrey, he still has 2 more years before he graduates, majoring in Art. He is currently still training for a couple more speedskating races mid-February and has continued to drive up to Milwaukee these last weeks to keep up his training at the Pettit National Ice Center.

Other TeamSwiderPeltz updates: Our training partner Brian Hansen will be competing in the 500m (Feb. 10), 1000m (Feb. 12), 1500m (Feb. 15), and Team Pursuit events in Sochi, which begins with the opening ceremonies February 7th!

And if you have not watched yet the recent (and very vulnerable on my part) segment on TeamSwiderPeltz as a family training group, you can catch it online here: http://www.csnchicago.com/article/inside-look-swider-peltz-family

God Bless,
Nancy Jr.

1 Corinthians 9:25

03 January 2014

FCA article on our Family

We are honoured to have had FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) feature us in an article recently posted about our faith, sport, struggles, history of speedskating, family, etc. Thank you Chad Bonham for your work! If you haven't been able to check out do it now...here's the link:


God bless,
Nancy Jr.

1 Corinthians 9:25

02 January 2014

Peace Out SLC...

Delay delays delays...

Just sitting here at the Salt Lake Airport waiting for our plane to arrive and sorting through the emails I neglected during the Olympic Trials. One was from the DailyMail who had asked for pictures to use for an article, thankfully Jeffrey responded because they wrote up a nice piece (collectively put together from other interviews) on #TeamSwiderPeltz pre-1500m race. Sadly the outcome was not making the Olympic Team, but enjoy reading below (thanks Daily Mail!):


Then I finally had some time to read Kelly Gunther's article that just came out in USAToday...its amazing and a must read. Her struggle, missing out in 2010, pain, and frustration over these years has made this comeback so sweet, and seeing her make her first Olympic team, a dream of hers, is one of those Olympic stories that brings you to tears. And a story that will bring you to your feet as you cheer her on in Sochi 2014. Again, congrats Kelly, proud of you friend :)


On another note, racing for the Short Track Olympic Trials begins today with time trials, but check out this live NBC schedule for their full on racing tomorrow. Watch them! It is rare that one gets to watch elite level speedskating live on TV...


Time (ET)
Fri., January 3
Men’s & Women’s 1500m
8 p.m.
Sat., January 4
Men’s & Women’s 500m
4 p.m.
Sun., January 5
Men’s & Women’s 1000m
4 p.m.

God bless, and so looking forward to HOME and seeing friends and family who've given us SO much support!

Nancy Jr.

1 Corinthians 9:25

01 January 2014

Post US Olympic Trials...my thoughts

This is truth: "Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure (and lots of failure, ha)...than to take rank with those poor souls who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." ~Theodore Roosevelt

photo cred: Hilary Barreto
As many of you know by now...the Road to Sochi for #TeamSwiderPeltz to compete with TeamUSA ended yesterday. Jeffrey gave his all in his 1500m yesterday, skating a well executed race which unfortunately ended up disqualified. The DQ was because of a new rule that doesn't make too much sense-crossing the line on the straights. You can cross it once and be ok, but 2x will get you DQ'ed. But he was happy with the race, leaving nothing on the line, though hoping for 1.5 seconds faster.

For me, reality is that I've not been able to get back to the shape I was in 4 years ago after the injuries that have plagued me these last 4 years, even though my body is currently free of injury. But that didn't stop me from racing my heart out these last days and trying to prove I can overcome obstacles...I "died" trying, as my uncle would say. My 1500m yesterday was nowhere near my potential. Not being able to race a race that I know is Olympic potential is heartbreaking, especially when I know what it takes to make an Olympic Team. But though my races were mediocre, getting messages from people back home and across the US who were cheering us on throughout the Olympic Trials/screaming at the TV while watching us was the coolest. We were blown away from all your support...I just wish Jeffrey and I could have made this 2014 Olympic team as way to say thank you for all your support over these years. :)

my back MRI...fall 2012, with 3 degenerative disks
Some history...to those that don't know about my injuries, in the fall of 2010 I severely tore my left hamstring that I never fully recovered from due to a misdiagnosis. I struggled in training for a couple years because of that scar tissue, prohibiting mobility and causing nerve pain. I then partially re-tore that same hamstring this past spring, which ultimately tore that old scar tissue and as result I am back to normal. It's a miracle. In the fall of 2011, I came down with a tibia stress fracture from which I came back to make the World Cup team. And then last year, I was doing some foam rolling recovery when I clamped up my back, forcing us to get an MRI and finding out I had an old chipped vertebrae from a short track fall 6 years ago. That had caused my back to spazz up and over these last 6 years, wore down 3 discs that are completely degenerative now. It's taken a full year, but with amazing therapists I've worked with, I can honestly say I am currently in no pain and the body feels great. But after all those trials, my consistency in training and building a good skating base was jeopardised. 

I don't regret the path I've taken...sure it's been terrible at times and I've been on the verge of walking away from speedskating, but there is nothing like persevering when you're at your worst. It only makes you better...
Romans 5:1-5: "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."
photo cred: Hilary Barreto
So what now? well, that is up to the Lord...both Jeffrey and I are currently discussing our next endeavours. If that'd be going back to school to finish off our college education at Wheaton College, skating the rest of the season, doing some sort of sports ministry, or for me, possibly helping out in Sochi, Russia for a company that would want a past Olympians experience, it is yet to be decided. And we are praying for that direction...

We will continue to keep up this blog for sure...giving you continual life experiences from our lives via video, pictures, words, and lessons we've been learning along the way. And who knows, you just might be seeing #TeamSwiderPeltz train for the next Olympic Team in PyeongChang 2018. It is definitely a possibility :)

photo cred: Hilary Barreto
Again to our sponsors, those who gave their services, and the people who gave to #TeamSwiderPeltz financially...thank you for getting us to the Olympic Trials. We were racing for you this past week and it brought us joy that you were able to watch us on NBC...may your journey with us not stop here, but continue on. For we cannot live life on our own...your support has meant the world to us. You'll always be a part of #TeamSwiderPeltz!

To God be the Glory forever and ever...

God bless you all and Happy New Year's! 

Nancy Jr.

1 Corinthians 9:25