When asked where he draws his competitive spirit and mental toughness from, Craig Dietz told ADVANCE of his 6-year stint as a competitive swimmer, "I just keep going. There are times when I think, 'what am I doing?' But when I've trained hard enough, then I never question it."
Dietz has always had a passion for swimming. But, it wasn't until 2008 that he decided to start training for long-distance open water swimming and completed the 1500 meter swim in the Pittsburgh Triathlon in 40:20. After that race, he was hooked on the competition of triathlon and open water swimming.
"I spoke with someone who swam the English Channel and he gave me advice for when 'the witches come,' otherwise known as what happens when you lose your focus," Dietz shared. "I just take it buoy by buoy. Or in the case of the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, I take it bridge pillar by bridge pillar."
He has found that typically when he begins to lose his focus, it means he is at the end of his nutrition cycle and needs to get energy back so he'll take a gel or some Gatorade. "I just need to focus on the progress I am making and not look at the big picture," he explained.
As far as accomplishments on the home front, Dietz has had a system in place for years. Please check out the photos in our gallery for a peek into Dietz's life at home to complement the cover story "Defined by Abilities" that published Dec. 3.