Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ft. Lauderdale

This weekend I'm traveling to Ft. Lauderdale to stay and visit with a great friend and Coach who made a real difference in my life, Jack Nelson. Coach Nelson was a 1956 Olympic Gold Medalist in the 200 Fly as well as the World Record holder. He was also the US Olympic swimming head coach for women in 1976. Jack is the only person in USA swimming history to both compete in an Olympic Games and be a head coach of an Olympic team.

Coach Nelson was one of the first coaches who really recognized my talent as a swimmer. When I was younger my grandparents lived in Ft. Lauderdale and I trained with Coach Nelson on Winter and Spring breaks. He really made me believe I could do something special in swimming as well as ingrained in my mind that you must work hard for what you want. However, there are two things Jack has always told me that have made a huge impact on my life: 1, it doesn't matter how tall you are in the sport of swimming. 2, as long as you are continually getting faster the place doesn't matter. I have never been the tallest among my competitors and at times I was a little discouraged about it. Obviously Jack was right about size not being a factor. Secondly, he made me believe that it's not always about place. If you are improving that means you are obviously doing something right and need to stay consistent at it. There have been many times throughout my career when I didn't place as high as I would've liked, but was still getting faster. Even though I would sometimes feel a bit bad about the place, I generally always left these meets encouraged by my improvement due to Jack's motto. Even today I think about what he told me and still remind myself of this when I am not placing as high as I may like.

This weekend Ft. Lauderdale is hosting their annual boat show which is the biggest and most famous in the world. I literally cannot wait. I'm sure some of you already know this but I absolutely love boats and being on the water! I have a dream to someday circumnavigate the world on my own boat. There is a particular line of long-range trawlers that I intend to make this journey on. The company that makes them is called Nordhavn. Nordhavn will be showing three boats in the Ft. Lauderdale show, the Nordhavn 55, 62, and 76. I am scheduled to see all three and can't even stand myself I'm so excited. The amazing thing about these boats is that they are specifically made to cross oceans. I actually met with a guy named Jim a couple weeks ago who just took delivery of a brand new 55. My heart-rate and adrenaline were literally elevated the entire lunch just talking to him about his upcoming journeys.

Nordhavn 76
Nordhavn 62
Nordhavn 55
The 62 is my all-time favorite!!!

Here are a couple sites/blogs you may enjoy checking out that relate to Nordhavn's and the journeys people have taken on them...
http://www.nordhavn.com/
http://www.nordhavn68.com/
http://www.alwaysfriday55.com/

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Getting Back in Shape

Since I returned to the water two weeks ago I remembered something I had forgotten since last fall, how hard it is to get back in shape...  Training these past two weeks has been tough.  I feel like every year I get older, it is harder to get back in shape.  Although this is a bit discouraging, it makes me feel that much better when I finally become fit again!


I'm really looking forward to this upcoming season.  I'm confident I can become stronger and more fit than I have been in the past.  Ed always tells us that the beautiful thing about the sport of swimming is that generally if you work harder and prepare more thoroughly than your competitors you can put yourself in a good position to beat them.  I see this upcoming season as just another challenge to take on.  We shall see how it plays out in July...I'm so excited!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Always Evolving

I constantly think about my stroke. I try different head positions, different angles of my elbows through my pull, change the pitch of my hands as they enter the water. I am constantly looking for something to make myself better.

One of the keys to continually getting faster in the sport of swimming is to become more fine-tuned in the small, technical things every season. We must always continue to evolve our strokes, and discipline ourselves to fix our imperfections. Luckily swimming gives us so much time and repetition to continuously fine-tune. I can definitively tell you what I have done every single season to make myself better than I was the year before. Can you tell me, or your coach this same type of thing? If not, start thinking about it more...

The reason I know I must continue to perfect my stroke is because my body still changes shape a little every season, because I continually get stronger, and because I never think my stroke is good enough. For example, my head position this summer might not put my body at the same position next summer, if I gain three or four pounds of muscle. Maybe I'm stronger now so I can have even higher elbows through my pull. There are a number of different things we must all look at in our strokes in order to adapt to the changes our bodies go through each and every season.

I will tell you flat out. If you want to be successful in swimming, work on your technique everyday. If you fail to work on your technique you will not improve in the long-term. Swimming is about being efficient, and maximizing every ounce of power and energy our body gives us. We cannot take anything for-granted nor waste energy. Start working on your stroke today so you can be more fine-tuned tomorrow!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Summer of My Life

This past summer was absolutely the most fulfilling, exciting, pleasurable and down right fun summer of my entire life. I want to share these special memories with all of you.

The summer started with my graduation from the University of Texas. I then went to Omaha for the Olympic Trials. From Omaha the Olympic team traveled to Palo Alto, California for an Olympic training camp. We continued our Olympic training camp in Singapore and finally went on to Beijing for the Olympic games. This is the time-line of my summer.

Remember this is a blog, part of this must consist of a dialogue between you(the readers) and me(the author). Post comments on the coming blogs. Ask me questions, tell me your thoughts. I want to know what you have questions about and what you're interested in.

Stay tuned as I begin to write about all the experiences that made this summer so spectacular!

Bevo

Hook'Em Horns!!!

This picture is of me and Bevo, the Longhorn mascot for the University of Texas.

Saturday was a day filled with lots of tailgating and football. I went to practice in the morning and actually swam for about an hour and a half. This was longer than I had planned because my idea was to increase my time in the pool by five minutes per day. Yesterday I was supposed to swim for only an hour and ten minutes. Twenty extra minutes doesn't seem like much but twenty more minutes in a workout run by Eddie Reese can be a lot more than you would expect or want.

I finished practice and began tailgating. I love tailgating, it's a time to eat good food, prepare for the game, make predictions and hang out with friends.

The game started and Texas looked awesome. Our offense was clicking and our defense was making big stops!

I was on the field for the second half of the game. It was great to be so close to the action. You really get a sense for how hard the hits are because you can hear the plastic smashing together and the grunts of the players when they collide. Derek Jeter and Roger Clemens were about ten feet away from me on the sideline. I got a picture with Jeter. At one point they showed Jeter on the Jumbo-tron and the entire stadium started to boo him. It was crazy! I really have no idea why the Texas fans booed him, but it was quite comical to say the least.

In terms of Roger Clemens, I couldn't help but think what his current legal situation must be. My guess is that other people wonder the same thing? Who knows if we will ever find out the truth of that situation? Either way, it's sad that one of the best baseball players of all time is now tarnished forever.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Twitter

Last night I became a Twitterer! Twitter is essentially a way for people to keep tabs on each other.

I can now be told on my computer or phone when my friends or family make status updates. The status updates give me a short blurb about what they are doing. You can all follow me on Twitter too! I will probably 'Twitter' more often than I will update my blog given the ease of updating. I can Twitter via my Blackberry.

If you would like to track me on Twitter my username is G_WeberGale.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fourth Day of Swimming

Wow...Today was my fourth day back in the water. Needless to say I almost forgot how boring training can be:( I am not in shape to train with the team yet considering I took two months off, so I am swimming by myself in the diving well. Training by yourself is lonely and tedious.

I did have a good set today though. I swam ten 200 freestyles on 2:30 and averaged between 2:03 and 2:05. Even though these are not that great of times in general, I was satisfied with my current fitness after taking such an extended break. At the end of the set I could tell that my arms were really starting to break down and get fatigued. I literally kicked the kick into high gear and tried to motor home. The great thing about swimming and working out in general, is that I always know it will get better. The harder I work, the more in-shape I become. The fitter I am, the less training and racing hurts. Although training is very strenuous on my mind and body, it's what puts me in a position to swim fast and achieve my goals at the end of the year.

I will keep ya'll updated with my swimming as the season goes on.

Luckily I stayed in the weight-room while I was on my break. The most important thing for me to do in order to get faster is to get stronger. The weight training I did in my time out of the water will help me lay the foundation for building greater strength throughout the course of this next season. Plus, I am not super sore right now which is always a huge positive!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

More White House Pics

Here are some more pictures from the White House visit...
Posing at the news conference podium, right before I addressed the nation...ya right:P
Shawn, Nastia and I in the map room of the White House where we shot the video with Barney. This is the room where Eisenhower planned the D-Day invasion.
Barney, Ms. Beasley and I just chillin' at the White House...nothin' out of the ordinary hahaha
This is the picture I told you about...unfortunately Bush Baby isn't looking at the camera:(

Monday, October 13, 2008

Recipe Contest Winners!

This little guy's name is Kevin, he's 12. Kevin is the first winner in the Kid Recipe category of our contest on gwgswims.com. I'm very excited about this contest because it will help us all share and learn recipes that taste good and are good for you! Remember, these recipes are meant to be quick, easy and flavorful. Y'all need to check out Kevin's recipe, he obviously understands what quick, easy, and flavorful means!

The winner in the Adult Recipe category is a woman from Milwaukee named Angele!

White House


As many of you know I visited the White House this past week with many other Olympians.  We had a big celebration dinner at our hotel the night of the sixth.  It was nice to see many people on the swim team and other teams that I hadn't seen since Beijing.  The US Olympic Committee made a really cool highlight video of the events in Beijing that we all watched and ended up getting really pumped up to!


The morning of the seventh we all woke up and left the hotel by 6:30 am.  It ended up taking us about an hour and a half to actually get to the White House due to traffic.  We showed up and went through security to get onto the front lawn.  

I was taken into the first floor of the White House because Michael Phelps, Shawn Johnson, Nastia Luikin and I were in a video with the First Dog named Barney.  The past eight years Barney has had a video where he takes viewers around the White House and shows them the holiday decorations.  All four of us had individual roles and then we had a role with our fellow teammate.  Michael and I talked about swimming and the relay of course.  Shawn and Nastia told Barney it looked like his decorating job was a perfect 10.  The lines were all pretty corny but it was fun.  At one point I was sitting on the couch with Barney and discussing the decorations with him.  

We finished the taping and went out to the stage on the front lawn where President Bush was going to speak to us.  Shawn, Michael, Nastia and I all had marked spots right behind Laura Bush and President Bush.  It was really cool to see them.  He came out and shook our hands.  We all listened to him speak and then he came and talked to us briefly afterwards.  I got my picture taken with him but unfortunately the person taking the picture took it before he was looking at the camera:(

At the conclusion of the festivities outside, Michael and I were escorted inside and got a private tour of the White House with a secret service agent and a White House representative.  The coolest thing about the White House is certainly the history of the building, much more than the beauty of the decor.  It is nice inside but just thinking about what went on in all of these rooms is incredible.  The room we did the filming of the video in was the strategic meeting room where President Eisenhower planned the D-Day invasion.  Wow, Amazing huh!!!

My favorite part of the tour was when I stood and got my picture behind the podium in the news conference room.  There have been a lot of important speeches that have been given there and I was at the same spot...


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bacchus Celebration Dinner



Wow I had the most perfect night on Monday!!!


A fine-dining restaurant in Milwaukee called Bacchus held an event of Olympic proportion in my honor and to raise money for the American Heart Association.

The event began promptly at 6:30pm.  Guests began to show up at 6:00 and were taken into the dining room at about 6:15.  In the dining room I set up a table of Olympic Memorabilia.  My medals were there as well as huge frames that are filled with Olympic tickets, credentials, pins, lanyards and other novelties.  

I began by talking to the audience about my Olympic experience.  I divulged the mystique of what the Olympic village was like, how phenomenal the Water Cube was, what the food was comprised of in Beijing, and of course how crazy that 400 Freestyle Relay was!  My talk at the beginning of the meal lasted for about 20 minutes.  I was really rushed because usually all that takes me at least 45 minutes to say ha ha.

The dinner consisted of four courses.  The first course was an Israeli Cous Cous with sugar snap peas, roasted peppers, roasted heirloom cherry tomatoes, a bit of crumbled feta, topped with spinach and a lemon infused oil vinaigrette.  The second course was a knock off of my Salmon recipe.  We had salmon with tomato, red onion, Parmesan cheese all on top of fingerling potatoes and baby carrots.  After these two courses I talked for about 15 minutes about the food that made up the menu.  I thought it was important to let the audience know that the menu was prepared with a healthy low-sodium consumer in mind.  The reason for this is because I have high blood pressure and try to maintain a low-sodium diet.  I really attribute a lot of my success to eating healthy.  During this time I also talked about the product line of low sodium foods I want to start in order to help others eat low-sodium diets too.

The fourth course was a bison fillet with a bison and red wine reduction sauce.  The bison was set on top of steamed spinach and garlic.  Accompanying the bison were sweet potato wedge fries that were grilled.  This was an outstanding creation.  Finally the dessert was a flourless chocolate cake topped with mango sorbet and an orange cookie.  On the side was a raspberry coulis and chopped pieces of mango.  The dessert really topped the meal off well.

During the course of the night I made my way around and talked to every table.  It was important to me that I got a chance to really speak to everyone and thank them for coming.  Bacchus really did a wonderful job, I couldn't have been happier!  

One of the most exciting parts of the night for me was at the beginning when the special events manager for the restaurant, John, presented me with a chef's jacket with the Bacchus logo and my name embroidered on the front.  I literally felt like a million bucks walking around in that thing!!!!  Maybe it is a sign???

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Nice Photos from ESPN site


on my way...

I am sitting on the bus waiting to go meet the President of the United States of America, in the White House...all the hard work and sacrifice has definitely paid off. I have done some really cool stuff. A new post will be made later with details of the experience.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Weekend of Contrasts

Kayaking down a scenic river on a stunningly beautiful day as fall sweeps across Wisconsin. Fish, turtles, muskrat, cranes, wood ducks...too much to see.

Taking about Beijing, smiling for photos, signing autographs, all to help raise money to find a cure for arthritis. So many people need help. This annual ball in Milwaukee helps support a kids' camp. It's a great cause.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Tomato, Basil and Cheddar Sammy

video

MMMMM There is nothing better than combining fresh-from-the-garden ingredients into a wonderful meal. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

"Chefs" on TV

Garrett with Bacchus restaurant Executive Chef Adam Siegel as they prepare to go live Saturday morning on WTMJ 4 to promote their "Dinner of Olympic Proportions."


Siegel is a winner of the prestigious James Beard Award for culinary excellence.


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