A teammate for life

Courtesy of Jessica Hardy

Jessica Hardy spent lots of time in the water during her honeymoon in Phuket, Thailand -- sometimes up to six hours a day.

It’s official! After seven years together, I finally tied the knot with my best friend and fellow swimmer, Dominik Meichtry.

After the world championships ended in August in Barcelona, we had a small reception in Dominik’s home country of Switzerland for those who wouldn’t be able to make the main event Oct. 5. When we returned from Europe, the wedding countdown began.

Though I somehow managed to stay in shape during that time, I definitely had what I would call an “unconventional” training schedule. Anyone who has planned a wedding knows that it can be stressful trying to make everyone happy before the big day. Let’s just say I too was excited to reach the finish line.

Courtesy of Jessica Hardy

Jessica Hardy married fellow swimmer Dominik Meichtry on Oct. 5. Their dog, Duke, served as reluctant ring bearer.

Our relatively small, laid-back ceremony took place on dry land at the Long Beach Yacht Club in California, but the water wasn’t far away. The venue is located right on the ocean, and we even recited our vows poolside. Our mutual sponsor, Speedo, was nice enough to make us custom “Mr. and Mrs.” suits and caps. We did a fun underwater photo shoot just a few days before the festivities.

As far as the wedding day itself, I only have one complaint: It went by too quickly! The highlight was the ceremony. Dom and I convinced our coach of many years, Dave Salo, to officiate. His speech was short, sweet and absolutely hysterical. He also was very helpful in guiding our dog, Duke, down the aisle as ring bearer.

Afterward, we headed off to Phuket, Thailand, for an awesome 12 days. Though I didn’t know much about the area going in, it was amazing. You could just as easily relax by the pool as ride an elephant or go white-water rafting. And it was so affordable! We got fantastic massages for less than $20. Of course, the food is always a big part of any honeymoon, and we had our fill of the super spicy Thai cuisine, too.

Believe it or not, Dom and I got plenty of swimming in while we were there. When the hotel staff heard we were newlywed Olympians, they upgraded us to a room with a 47-meter private pool! Between that and the ocean, we were swimming up to six hours a day. Let’s just say that the honeymoon didn’t set us too far back as far as training goes.

We haven’t gotten to ride any elephants since we’ve been back in California, but nonetheless, it’s been nice to settle back into our routine. I will be competing next month at the Dual in the Pool event in Glasgow, Scotland, where the U.S. national team will face off against a group of European all-stars.

Given my inconsistent training lately, I’ll be going in with no expectations -- I’m just looking forward to the challenge. After that, I plan to shift my focus to next summer’s Pan Pacific Championships.

In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying married life. I’ve heard that some people experience a letdown after the wedding and honeymoon, but so far we seem to have avoided that. We love the fact that we are officially teammates for life.

So often the media portrays pro athlete relationships as a negative -- a distraction -- but I see it differently. Not only does Dom understand the unique challenges I face on a daily basis, but he has also been there to support me through some major highs and lows (believe me, there have been plenty of each in the last seven years!).

If anything, our relationship has renewed my perspective. In fact, I now know there’s a lot more to life than swimming. Or at least, if you’re going to swim all the time, you might as well do it in a private pool in Thailand!