Olympian Ashleigh Johnson’s Mom Says Her Kids Are Grateful She Insisted on Swim Lessons: ‘Every Day It Was a New Excuse’

08/12/2016 at 02:30 PM ET

For 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Water Polo Team goalie Ashleigh Johnson, there’s always been one person in her life who wasn’t going to let her lose her passion for something she loved.

“Now that [my kids] are older, they say, ‘Mommy, we’re really glad you insisted that we swam,’ ” Ashleigh’s mom Donna Johnson tells two other mothers of Olympians (and one former Olympian, Lindsay Davenport) on PEOPLE’s Mom Talk.

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Ashleigh Johnson Competing
Mark J. Terrill/AP

“They used to find all kinds of excuses not to swim,” Donna continues. “[They’d] never carry a swimsuit, even though they [knew] they had swimming. The coach started to bring swimsuits to practice for them.

“They’d never have a towel,” she adds, smiling while counting off the demerits on her fingers. “No cap, no goggles. Every day, it was a new excuse.”

Dale Craig, mother of Ashleigh’s teammate Kami Craig, admits that she can relate to Donna’s woes a bit.

“I [used to say], ‘Well, you gotta get in the pool. And when you get out, if you still don’t want to do it, then we’ll think about it,’ ” she recalls telling her ambitious daughter.

“And then she’d go and have a blast,” Dale adds with a laugh.

Jen Juneau

FILED UNDER: Mom Talk

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Hilde Larsen McConville on

They have to learn how to swim, it can save their life one day !