When your child is a gifted athlete

When your child is a gifted athlete
Boy wonder Michael Phelps won six gold medals at his first Olympics while still a teenager.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Last summer, Kate Douglass qualified for the 2016 US Olympic Team Trials in swimming - at age 13.

"She probably started swimming competitively at about six-years-old, and she had a knack for it," said her mother, Allison Douglass, who lives in New York. "Now she's 14, a freshman in high school and she's training seven days a week. We fly all over the country for various meets."

As thrilled as she is for her daughter's success, being a parent of an elite swimmer requires a full family commitment. There are expenses for coaching and travel, the time spent on swim competitions and practice, and then there's the fact that she's not an only child.

"She's the oldest of three kids, and I don't feel like her brother and sister should have to suffer," Douglass said. "I would never make them sit through a five-hour swim meet, so it's a lot of split time where I'm at a meet and my husband is with the other two."

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