Canadian Olympic swimmer Markus Thormeyer publicly came out as gay in an emotional essay published last week.

Thormeyer competed in the 4 x 100 freestyle relay team at the 2016 Olympics.

In his essay, Thormeyer, 22, said that his “secret” held him back when he started training with his team in 2015.

“I wanted to keep it a secret that I was gay for multiple reasons. I was scared they wouldn't accept me. I did not want to create drama in the training group. I didn't know how they would react. I was scared of negative responses,” he wrote.

“I would feel a bit sad because they weren't getting to know the real me, just some surface-level shell I fabricated.”

It became “progressively harder every day” to keep his secret.

“Some days I dreaded going to the pool in fear that my sexuality would be exposed. … Having to deal with that was awful. Every day felt like a threat and not an opportunity.”

Thormeyer said that he eventually had an emotional breakdown and decided to casually come out to his teammates, who accepted him.

“Feeling safe in my training environment and having no distractions allowed me to push myself to new limits in the pool,” he wrote. “Training with them fostered relationships that will last a lifetime.”

“Life is much better when you fully embrace you for who you are,” he added.