Williams told the Orlando Sentinel he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma five weeks ago after a checkup. The bone marrow malignancy is inoperable and incurable but sometimes can be suppressed with chemotherapy.
"I've delivered many a motivational speech about the stuff you always hear about in sports," he said. "I've stood up there and told other people you can't give up and you've got to show courage, perseverance and will. Now, I get to live out the things I always talk about. That's a privilege."
Williams already has thought up a mantra to recite before his chemo treatments: "The mission is remission!"
"That is not an unreasonable goal," said Dr. Robert Reynolds, his oncologist at the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute. "There are no guarantees, and Pat realizes that. But if you know Pat, you know he has that 'it' factor that makes everyone believe in him."
Swim Week Miami Beach 2014 [PHOTOS]