Sophia and I at our first camp 4 years ago and Sophia and I at LEAD in 2017

LEAD sponsor gifts

It's hard for me to say what part of the LEAD Sports Summit was my favorite. Meeting all the Olympians, the in-pool lesson, the speeches, the bonding, the presents...
I'll have to admit, when my Justin's peanut butter was confiscated at the airport on my way back home, it almost brought me to tears. It. Was. Awful. However, I got through it and came back home with so many different memories, pictures, and amazing gifts (and a quick run to the grocery store for more Justin's)!
I've been to two different swim camps in my life but the LEAD Summit beats the other ones by a L O N G shot. I went to LEAD Summit because of my mom and Kara Lynn. She has been so good to my team the Woodmoor Waves (it's okay I know you have never heard of us, yet). Leading into the event, my expectations were low because I have been disappointed by camps and clinics before, but the second I arrived my expectations were exceeded! I'll never forget when I got the hotel on the first day, my best friend Sophia and I were getting checked in when all of the sudden Sophia turns around:
“Okay, Lindsee, stay calm, but I just saw Missy Franklin!”
“WHAT?!”
We had so many experiences with Missy, Kara, Elizabeth and the other mentors all throughout the weekend, I must have taken a thousand pictures from the trip.
“Oh look, Missy is taking pictures again! Want to get another one?”
“Of course!”
“Guess what Sophia! Elizabeth Beisel thought there were leeches in the lake so she got on my paddle board! It was AMAZING!”
And so many more crazy conversations, it was truly amazing. 
The second day of camp felt like Christmas...but better! It took all my willpower and strength to not start crying when I walked into my hotel room and saw the UGG slippers, Jolyn bathing suits and leggings, and so many other gifts! Literally the most amazing feeling ever!
At first, I was afraid the talks and seminars would be boring but I was definitely mistaken - I learned so much! Today, as I write this, I am drinking tart cherry juice, getting enough vitamin D, and getting my servings of beets (yeah beets, thanks Jenn Brunelli)!
Learning about being a leader was the most impactful for me. Recently my coach of 4 years left the team and we lost 3 graduating seniors. I didn't know what this would do to the team but I knew it was going to open a space for new leaders to step up. With everything Sophia and I learned from LEAD and Elizabeth's Leadership talk, I'm happy to report that the team is doing well and is stronger than ever. 
The most amazing thing that happened to me personally at this camp was Eva Fabian and Kara Lynn Joyce talking to me about open water swimming. I'm a distance swimmer but open water is never something I'd given much thought to. Eva taught me how to sight in open water at the swim clinic portion of the summit and Kara encouraged me to give it a try because it played to a lot of my strengths as an athlete. The week after I got back from LEAD I entered into a 2.4 mile swim in the Horsetooth reservoir. I was unaware CSU, UNC, and the Air Force were all competing as well, but nevertheless I worked up the courage and remembered all of the advice Eva gave me. It was the best race I have ever swam and I'm happy to report I finished in first place - I am in LOVE with open water swimming and I plan to do a 5k as soon as I can! 
I’d like to thank LEAD summit and all the amazing sponsors for the greatest EXPERIENCE I’ve ever had. I hope to come back!

Lindsee Newman, age 14.

First place finish in Open Water