Monday, December 8, 2008

Blurred Win Avenged

The stage was the NCAA Championships in 2006 at Georgia Tech. It was the the third and final day of the meet and this was my favorite day, the 100 free. As I stood behind the block before my race I watched a teammate get disqualified for a false start. It was difficult to see and I think it made me subconsciously think about false starting myself. I got up on the block. As the starter said, "take your mark," I prepared myself to explode. However, the gun went off and I did everything but explode. I stood there on the block and when I realized everyone was already in the air, I jumped. I distinctly remember seeing the guy on my right going into the water when I was still in the air...I barely made the final, I was eighth. I was simply thankful to have made it into the final and was bound and determined to do well at night.

Up to this point in the meet I was pretty dissapointed in my performances. I got 9th in the 100 back and 8th in the 50 free. I was not about to finish NCAA's like this. As they marched us out for the final of the 100 free I was more determined and focused than I could remember ever being. I got up on the block and literally exploded. I had the fastest reaction time in the field. As I always do, I took it out fast. I was first to the 50 at 19.9. The third 25 I remember telling myself to keep my stroke long. As I turned for home I closed my eyes so that I wouldn't loose focus and take a peak at my competitors. My legs were burning and my arms felt like sandbags. This pain had better be worth it... I touched the wall and as I took my goggles off to my surprise I saw nothing. Somehow my contacts had come out in the last five meters. Desperately I looked around for someone to tell me what had just taken place. I looked up at the timers and yelled to ask them what just happened. They looked at me like I was speaking some form of underground language they had never heard before. I looked to the stands and there was nothing but blurred color. Finally I saw Ben Wildman-Tobriner, my friend from Stanford who had competed with me on the World Championship team the previous summer. He had raced a few lanes over and had come over with huge excitement on his face. Finally someone was close enough for me to actually see and talk with...I asked him what happened. He said, "Dude you won and I got second." I barely believed him. Was this a joke? Did I really win? Was he telling me the truth? I proceeded to smile and get super excited. This was my first individual NCAA title!

This past Saturday I swam the 100 free at the US Nationals at Georgia Tech. I made the consolation final. I was happy with this because at this point in my season I really don't care how I place. However, I needed to see that 1 on the board for a 100 freestyle at the Georgia Tech pool. Going into this race I was determined to have that one placed on the board next to my name. I felt like I missed out on something last time I raced the 100 free there. My prelim swim was 43.5. I wanted to go at least 43.3.

Earlier in the day I talked to Randy Reese, an old coach of mine, and asked him what to do differently for the final. He said work the 3rd 25 harder. He said, "the 3rd 25 is where most people ease up a bit." I did exactly what he said and went 42.67. I was thrilled. Not only was this my best ever in-season time...it was faster than I thought I could go...and the 1 was finally visible to ME on the board! My peace had been made:)

40 comments:

Patriciagirl said...

Oh my gosh Garrett you brought tears to my eyes.. so happy for you! Many congratulations so much hard work..I'm so proud to know of you!!
Patricia

Woodrow said...

You rock!

Sam Sotiropoulos said...

Good stuff man! More often than not, challenges are mental. If we can approach things with the right frame of mind, we are apt to surprise ourselves with what we can do. Congratulations, and keep up the winning attitude.

Donna Binkholder said...

Sweet Action and a million Halves...Gonna have you the Galenaitor...lol..

Lauren Ashley said...

AH! CONGRATULATIONS!!! I've seriously been waiting to see how you did ALL DAY! I'm glad you won, and even more so that you were able to savor it and see it! I'm so happy/proud for you! Keep up the good work!! :P

Mark said...

Dang, Garrett, obviously I was there in 2006 and you still brought a tear to my eye.

Garrett said...

Wow...I don't think I've ever brought tears before...sorry haha

You are exactly right, things are totally mental.

haha Dad

Sparkl0413 said...

Way to go fella. Congrats on the win. There is always something about being able to SEE what you have accomplished instead of just hearing about it. Very moving stuff.On a personal note i hate walking around when i forgot where i put down my glasses after taking out my contacts. I see nothing but fuzzy colors and shapes. I always wondered if swimmers wore contacts in the pool. Do you wear them during training or just go out blured?

Donna Binkholder said...

Welp Garrett I'm sure alot you bring a lot of tears to peoples eyes...like ur die hard fans....lol...

glad u are in that zone of ur's keep on keeping on

Sarah said...

How did your contacts come out with goggles on? I know, another random fact that I just had to ask. : )

Woodrow said...

You need prescription goggles.

Garrett said...

I sure hope I don't make people cry haha...

I guess some water got in both of my goggles when I put my head down at the end of the race and my contacts just popped out.

Prescription goggles work for some people but there really aren't any good racing goggles that have prescriptions.

KZA said...

That's amazing, dude! Congrats on the title! My buddy from my high school swim team, Juicy, could tell you all the best wins happen with obstructed vision :P

I actually may enroll at Georgia Tech, if so, I shall totally engineer the sickest prescription racing goggles and you'd be the envy of the swimming world. haha

Sparkl0413 said...

Maybe that would be something to talk about with speedo? Read about your pre practice meal today. Sounded yummy here at home me and mom are having stew that's been cooked in the crock pot all day. So yummy. Roast, potatos, carrots, and onion. Hope practice went well. Oh and thanks for answering the question about the goggles.

Lauren Ashley said...

Sometimes, it's good to make people cry!

I was talking about you all day - anyone I saw I was like did you hear Garrett won NCAA's?? lol. Congrats again!

Garrett said...

I will totally take some sweet prescription goggles haha...

There are tons of cool things we can all do to make healthy food that tastes good:)

Haha thanks for the support. Winning that 100 free was very special for me

Donna Binkholder said...

Lauren so did I...at work actually and 2 my friends...lol..they had no clue who i was talking about and actually it's funny that in the podunk town i live in wal-mart starts carrying olympic swimmers calendars and all this...im like WHOA!!! since when did this happen...??

Hahaha Garrett you make me cry everytime you win a race. If I ever make it to the Olympics..seeing you will bring tears to my eyes because it's all unreal....and my craziest dream I need to reach ever!!!

You know one way to correct the problem is Lasik surgery...lol...I kid..I am actually getting that done soon because even with contacts my eyes are very very bad...like 50/50 vision....

crystal said...

congrats on the win Garrett :) don't really know what to say about all the wardrobe malfunctions you had in atlanta(suit + goggles.... contacts aren't considered wardrobe but close enough.)

but i'm really glad you were able to leave the meet pleased with your times.

Garrett said...

I have thought about lasik but I want to wait until it has been out for longer...

Yeah the wardrobe malfunctions were a pain in the butt...oh well...nothing you can do about it I guess

Donna Binkholder said...

I agree with you there. I have to wait a little longer because most places don't like to do the surgery on people younger the 25.

Sarah said...

Ok just since Lasik was brought up on here, I'm going to deviate from topic and tell you TO DO IT. I did it 2 years ago and have had 20/15 vision in BOTH eyes since the first 12 hours of the operation which is the easiest thing you can ever do. 5 minutes per eye, then you sleep the rest of the day...done. Perfect vision forever...unless you end up needing reading glasses for later. I HIGHLY 100% recommend it. And its been out for a very long time. : ) Go for it. I never realized how much of a pain contacts were until I didn't need them anymore. As well as how much money you save each year NOT having to buy them. There's my 2 cents for you.

crystal said...

i've worn glasses since the 2nd grade. i can't wear contacts because i can't stand touching my eyes lol it takes me about 4 mins to put eyedrops in when i need them. and i'm too chicken to try lasik.

seeing-goggles for me for life :)

KZA said...

With regard to the growing conversation on Lasik, my physics teacher had told me that athletes are at greater risk following Lasik due to the subsequent presence of a "flap" in the cornea. I do not know how much of an issue that would be for swimmers, but water leakage in the goggles may introduce debris to the incision.

However, there is PRK which actually reshapes your eyeball and has lacks the effect of the flap, but has a longer healing time.

And then there's just having no corrective surgery at all, which is a direction in which I might lean.

Kait said...

Wow... let me dry the tears in my eyes, haha... that is very inspirational! I'm definitely going to keep that in mind when I feel discouraged. You can do anything you put your mind to! Congratulations and thanks for sharing that with us!

Lauren Ashley said...

I'm gonna have to say I agree with Sarah - my dad had it done and his vision has been better than perfect ever since. It's totally worth it. :)

Garrett said...

I will still wait longer to have it done. At least until after I finish swimming...

It's wonderful that so many people have had so much success with Lasik! My dad has thought about getting it but feels the same way I do...let's wait a bit longer...

Sparkl0413 said...

http://men.webmd.com/features/10-key-facts-to-know-about-lasik

Thanks to WebMD a little more infro on Lasik.

Lauren Ashley said...

If you don't mind me asking - and this is purely because I'm curious - why do you want to wait? Are you worried it might interfere with your swimming, or do you just not want to mess with it right now???

Again - just curiosity getting the best of me. (phew, good thing I'm not a cat!)

Miss Melanie said...

I think the reasons behind anyone's medical decisions should be private.

Congratulations on a great race. Any races coming up on the East Coast?

The shirts look great. I know I had the idea for a hoodie, but how about... an apron! For the eating right part of the slogan.

Do you avoid caffeine? Do athletes as a rule tend to avoid it?

Donna Binkholder said...

I do understand why you would want to wait. I've been wearing glasses all my life and I'm thinking Lasik because I don't want to deal with contacts.

Garrett said...

I'm happy with my current situation...I don't want to mess with anything.

Wow the idea of an apron is AMAZING!!! I'm gunna get right on that.

I avoid caffeine. I don't want to put anything in my body I would have to rely on.

Lauren Ashley said...

"I'm happy with my current situation...I don't want to mess with anything."

That makes sense. :)

I'm sorry if it seemed like I was trying to pry - I was just curious is all.

Garrett said...

haha it's ok. I really don't get offended when anyone asks me anything. I will tell it like it is. If you have questions...ask???

Lauren Ashley said...

I'll keep that in mind.

And thanks for being such a good sport! So many people get touchy when they get asked too many questions. :)

But don't worry, I'll try not to ask too many. :)

Miss Melanie said...

Ok, I'll be looking for that apron! Maybe it will have a little pocket to hold a container of "Garrett's Kickin Spice" that hopefully will be available soon. I'm thinking of making the Shrimp Etouffee for New Year's Eve.

Still looking for that Babbo report!

Have an awesome day.

Garrett said...

Ask all you want...

I'm seriously going to get on the apron idea...The pocket is also a great thought.

I have not forgotten about the Babbo report...SOON:)

Miss Melanie said...

I'll make you a deal - you post the Babbo report, and I'll order a t-shirt!

I have another idea - a beach towel!!

From Miss Melanie, the completely unauthorized and unofficial product development idea creator for GWG logo items...HA!

Lauren Ashley said...

What's the Babbo report?

Garrett said...

beach towel also a pretty good idea...

Babbo is the restaurant I went to in nyc...post today

Donna Binkholder said...

beach towel kinda reminds me of picnic basket...lol...don't ask...u need a chef's hat to complete the apron...lol..


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