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Austin Parrish is gay freshman swimmer at Eastern Illinois

Gay swimmer Austin Parrish struggled coming out to his parents. Bridges are still being built.

Austin Parrish is a freshman swimmer at Eastern Illinois University.
Austin Parrish is a freshman swimmer at Eastern Illinois University.
EIU Sports Info

Eastern Illinois University freshman swimmer Austin Parrish struggled a lot in coming out as gay to his family. His mother is a devout Christian and found it difficult to accept that her son is gay. His father, who suffers from memory loss due to a virus, prefers to not talk about it. Still, Parrish has come to accept himself as a gay man, as have his swimming teammates at Eastern Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News chronicled Parrish's journey in a lengthy article centered around the swimmer's relationship with his mother. Luckily, it has a good ending:

As for his mother, Austin said the two are closer now than they have ever been before. The two talk every day, as he makes it a point to send a text or make a phone call back home.

At the last meet of Panthers' 2014 season at Eastern, the Summit League Championships on Feb. 19 in Indianapolis, Ind., Cindy was there to see her son.

Austin's mother watched from the bleachers, as he achieved career highs in the 200-yard breaststroke, 400-yard individual medley and the mile freestyle.

"She is going to support me, no matter what, in everything I do," Austin said. "It means so much to know that she still cares."

Check out the full article on Parrish and his mom. You can also find Parrish on Twitter @swimmer_2013.