Olympic swimmer Madeline Groves scooped two silver medals in Rio and her mum, Claire Brinkman, was watching in the stands.
“I never, ever thought: ‘I am going to raise my child to be an Olympian’,” said Brinkman.
“I always wanted to raise my child to be happy and independent and that was my goal. How they choose to do that is up to them.”
Out of her three children, her only daughter was the sportiest.
“She did dancing, she did hockey, she did water polo. There was stuff happening in her life every day of the week. She had friends, she had sleepovers and when she started to take swimming more seriously when she was in her teens, there were massages, there were physio appointments, there was the podiatrist – you name it,” she explains.
“But this isn’t anything unusual to any other parent. Just about every kid has appointments with podiatrists and so on.”
Madeline Groves posted a message of support on Instagram.
Brinkman admits the early years involved a lot of juggling. There were Madeline’s swim commitments and her siblings, Matthew and Andrew, had social lives and interests too.
The mother of three knew there was real potential in her daughter, but she never forced Madeline into the pool.
“I would set the alarm and go in and wake her up [for training] but she would bounce out of bed.
“I never, ever, had to push Maddie and I believe very strongly in that. I always said that once I have to nag her to get out of bed, I won’t be waking her up. She’s always been very self-driven and my job was purely to support what she wanted to do. I never ever pushed her, I never had to.”
The Brisbane mother put years of support into her daughter’s swimming career but believes her commitment is no different to any parent.