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No Regrets
An Olympic bronze medallist, Claire Carver-Dias pursues balance in her life by trusting the Lord, working hard, and sharing her faith.

Twelve years of training had finally paid off. When Claire Carver-Dias stepped off the Olympic podium in Sydney with her synchronized swimming teammates sporting the bronze medal, it was the culmination of years of dedication, hard work and tenacity.

Claire had always assumed that a prophetic message that the Lord was going to use her powerfully meant during the Olympics.

Considered old by swimming standards, Claire first stepped into the pool when she was 12 years old. By the time of the 1998 FINA World Cup in South Korea, she owned several national titles and was considered one of the Olympic squad leaders.

"She has good work ethics and the ability to push herself," said Sheilagh Croxon, Claire's coach. "Most people have peaks and valleys, but she's risen to the top of our group." Claire found it easy to see the Olympics as a future goal, but was still shocked when she realized she actually made it. "I never doubted that I wouldn't get there," Claire said. "But when it dawned on me that I had enough talent to go, I was surprised!"

In Sydney, her team competed to the music of Chariots of Fire.

"Like a good actor, you've got to make it seem like it's really happening," Claire said. "The judges can tell if it's stale because of the reaction of the crowd. When you hear them clapping, it pumps you … the spectators pull you along."

Being the smallest member of the Olympic team has its advantages, as Claire was the one hoisted by the others out of the water during their performance. She could sense the crowd following their every move, but out of the thousands in the stands, Claire first recognized the voice of her husband, Douglas. "I could hear him and his voice cheering me," Claire said. "If you watch the footage, you can see him waving his flag so dramatically."

Maintaining a weekly fellowship with her church, Evangel Pentecostal Church in Oakville, ON and being separated from her husband for weeks at a time presented a stiff challenge for Claire. "Swimming was stressful on my personal life," she said. "It was a challenge to remain balanced, to remain a complete person. Success for me is maintaining a balance in the midst of everything. Be centred spiritually, take care of your body and strive for balance."

When Claire returned from the Olympics, the excitement lingered. Between the media and her family, she found it difficult to return to her regular life. But with success comes a platform for God's glory. Claire had always assumed that a prophetic message that the Lord was going to use her powerfully meant during the Olympics. She never dreamed her bronze medal would be just the beginning of her testimony.

Between speaking at schools and countless interviews, this Olympian's schedule is full. Claire wants to use her testimony to glorify the One who allowed her to reach the 2000 Olympic Games. "All of a sudden, people want to listen to me. They think I have something to offer," Claire said. "So many people want hope. I think God has given me this platform."

Normally an outgoing person, she has found no difficulties in witnessing, but does confess to being intimidated by successful people. All that has changed now that she realizes everyone is on the same level.

"Most successful people have an empty spot in them," Claire explained. "Now when I mention my faith there's an immediate interest. They think that this isn't just another churchgoing, pew-sitting person."

Even before making it to the Olympic Games, Claire's motto for life has been to live each moment to the fullest. "Live in the moment. Don't have regrets," Claire said. "It's so important to realize this and to make the best of it."

Gillian Clair is a student of journalism at Humber College.

Originally published in Testimony, March 2001.




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