Jon Denton-Schneider's story isn't necessarily new. After all a number of aquatics athletes have come out of the closet in the last several years. Think Australia's diving star Matthew Mitcham (the first openly gay man to win an Olympic gold medal), or the U.K.'s Tom Daley. Nevertheless, the example set by the current PhD student and former swimmer at the University of Arizona is an important one for all, aquatics athlete or not, to hear.
Although he previously told his close family and friends he was gay in 2010 and 2011, Denton-Schneider didn't share this with the rest of the world until after attending a conference on LGBT issues earlier this year.
As he recalls in a story published in Tucson News Now, he was inspired by the the founder of a media company hosting the LGBT event, "If you can come out without hurting yourself professionally or putting yourself in danger, then you have a responsibility to."
In it he wrote:
"While I was in high school, the idea of coming out as a gay athlete absolutely terrified me. I didn't know of any openly gay swimmers who had successful swimming careers...I assumed coming out would mean I could never swim for a top Division I program."
"There was no separating my life at school from my life at the pool. I swam, studied, ate and lived with my teammates. We were the Wildcat family, and it was impossible to keep anything from each other. I realized I would eventually have to come out."