The Dittmers are more than proud Durango grandparents; they’re Olympic proud.
And they’re headed to London to watch their oldest granddaughter swim in the 2012 London Games.
“This is her only shot to go the Olympics; we’re leaving (immediately); her first qualifying is July 30,” said granddad Paul Dittmer, who lives in Durango West II with proud grandmother Beverly Stacy Dittmer.
Their oldest granddaughter, Erica Dittmer of Texas A&M University, will compete in the 200-meter individual medley at the London Olympic Games. Through her dual citizenship, Erica Dittmer will swim for Mexico.
“Her mother was an American born in Mexico because the family had a business there,” Paul Dittmer said of the situation that led to dual citizenship for Erica.
He said her mother’s family operated a steel mill in Mexico, one that opened during World War II to supplement Allied shipbuilding operations.
Erica’s mother was educated in Mexico and the United States. She met Jeff Dittmer, the oldest son of Paul and Beverly Dittmer, in graduate school at the University of Texas.
“My daughter-in-law’s father went to Mexico to run the steel mill. Erica was born there,” Paul Dittmer said.
Well aware of Erica Dittmer’s citizenship and standing as a top collegiate swimmer and a former high school All-American swimmer at Klein High School in Spring, Texas, near Houston, the Mexican swimming federation invited her to the Olympic Trials earlier this year.
The NCAA medalist not only competed, but Dittmer set four national records in Mexico. One national mark came in her specialty – the 200-meter IM (2:16.39).
That’s what she’ll swim in London.
“My mother was born and raised in Mexico, and I still have family there, so it’s really nice to compete for my family’s country,” Dittmer said in a recent interview with the Houston Suburban News.
“She’s been here to Durango several times over the years,” Paul Dittmer said. He and Beverly also spend part of the year in Grapevine, Texas, to be close to both of their large families.
The swimming phenom and pre-med major, who won two Texas high school state championships, will turn 20 next month.
“Her parents were absolute heroes for driving her all over for swim meets when she was younger,” Paul Dittmer said.
By age 10, Erica Dittmer was ranked nationally and making waves.
She will join two Texas A&M teammates on the swim team representing Mexico – Rita Medrano and Lili Ibañez.
Dittmer also plans to enjoy her Olympic experience.
“People keep asking me if I’m nervous, but this is the pinnacle of my goal for myself,” Dittmer told the Houston-area suburban newspaper.
“And I just want to enjoy it.”
Like her grandparents.
“Yes, we certainly are proud,” grandpa said.