Military family life helped Olympian Chloe Sutton adapt during swimming career


At 6 years old, Chloe Sutton knew she wanted to be an Olympic swimmer.

The next 10 years — which were full of travel, sacrifice and hard work — that dream came true.

Sutton reached her first Summer Olympics as a 16-year-old in 2008 in Beijing and repeated the feat four years later in London.

However, after retiring from competition, the 24-year-old discovered a passion that she enjoys more than competition — imparting knowledge to younger swimmers across the country. Sutton made her first journey to West Texas where she is hosting a swimming clinic at Permian High School for the Odessa Aquatic Club.

“I feel so much more joy helping a kid to find confidence or believe in themselves,” Sutton said teary-eyed. “Having that kind of impact on somebody and making a change on their life in such a positive way. A lot my swimmers’ parents tell me they get bullied at school, and they don’t have any confidence when they are swimming. They feel like they want to give up, and I help them through that. They become not only better swimmers, but better people all around. It means a lot to me to have that kind of impact.”

Sutton is no stranger to traveling around the country. Her father, David, was in the Air Force with space and missile defense and retired from the military as a colonel. Her father was also in the Pentagon during Sept. 11. Sutton, who was born at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, said their family moved up and down the east and west coast.

Moving around often, Sutton had to adapt at making friends quickly. That adaptation to meeting new people and experience different surroundings helped when Sutton became a professional swimmer.

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About Author

Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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