Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tears of Mixed Emotion

Sometimes we all just shed tears of mixed emotion. This was certainly the case for me tonight... I watched a short highlight DVD of the Beijing Olympics that my parents gave me for the holidays.
For those of you who don't know...Beijing was the most magical and fulfilling experience of my life! I fulfilled my dream of becoming an Olympic Gold medalist. What's more, I felt like I was a part of something bigger and more meaningful than anything else I had ever experienced...I represented the United States of America on the world's biggest stage. I never would have imagined how emotional and incredibly proud I would be to wear the Stars and Stripes...it was literally life changing for me. For the first time in my life I realized the Olympics was more than a sporting event. The Olympics was a time when all nations could set aside their differences for two weeks and enjoy coming together to watch the world's greatest athletes take the stage and compete. I had never and may never again be exposed to an environment that seemed so pure, so positive, so focused on perfection and so hospitable to others who don't even speak the same language as you. There was a sense that everything was right with the world. It was truly magnificent!!!

Imagine watching a DVD of something you lived through. Now imagine this time period being the most amazing experience of your life. Imagine being in the movie. Imagine a soundtrack that exudes inspiration, triumph, defeat, emotion, love, and a sheer will to win. Now you get an idea of what the scene was like in my room as my eyes were literally locked on the TV. I began watching while stretching my hamstrings on the floor. By the end of the DVD I was about three feet closer to the TV and crouching down on my knees with my hands on the floor in front of me. My heart rate had spiked while my brain had simultaneously released tons of adrenaline deep into my veins and muscles...I was ready to explode with excitement. I was enthralled. This was one of those times we've all experienced when you really don't want the movie to end.

While this was unbelievably exciting for me to watch I had some feelings of sadness as well...the Beijing Olympics are history. For me, watching and in a small sense reliving these moments that had surrounded me in Beijing was like thinking of the most perfect day...the day when everything went right...when the weather was perfect, the food was spectacular, the company was second to none, your expectations were exceeded...you were the happiest of your life and don't know if it will ever get any better...and you can never go back. That day can never happen again. You will never relive that experience. The only thing left is the memory that is in your mind...and that memory tickles your mind like it wants you to come back and relive some more but there is no possible way. This is the sadness I feel.

As I sat in my room I shed a few tears of mixed emotion. Tears of the happiest moment, the highest high, the dream come true and the tears of knowing that experience will never come back again...I will never be able to relive or go back to the Beijing Olympics.

So tell me...how would you feel?

Is this absurd or is there some legitimacy to my feelings?

I don't know?

As the year of 2008 comes to a close I think more and more about the best year of my life. The year I graduated the University of Texas, finally got my high blood pressure under control, had a great Olympic Trials and Beijing Olympics and finished it off by spending more time with my wonderful family than I had in years:) I wonder if there will be better years? Of course there will be. There will be different experiences, different joys and triumphs... I guess the difficulty for me is the uncertainty of not knowing what/if or when any of these things will happen.

Should Have Been Swimmers

Garrett and Michael were not selected as the NBC photo of the year. The admittedly cool image above was. Oh well, I'm biased (as a dad should be), but I still like swimmers best. Thanks to the thousands who voted!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Last Day to Vote for Photo of the Year

Garrett and Michael Phelps are featured as one of the NBC photos of the year. If you haven't already, log on, go to the vote section, find the skinny scroll bar on the right and find the photo of Garrett and Michael. Thanks.

Versions of that photo have already been featured in "Best of 2008" sections of the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, ABC TV San Francisco and many others.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Heading back to Tejas

Tomorrow I will be leaving Wisconsin and heading back to Austin, Texas. I must say I am a bit sad about leaving. My time here in Wisconsin has been wonderful. This break has been filled with great memories of spending time with my family and friends, playing in the huge amount of snow we had, snowboarding, cooking and getting a chance to just kick back and relax. I realize we must always return back to reality but it is still sad to leave all this behind me.

My training will begin abruptly when I return back to Austin. I get in late Sunday night and will be getting up by 6:20am on Monday morning to go swim. I have never shied away from work, sacrifice or training...however, this doesn't mean I like it. I completely understand that the work I have put in has taken me above and beyond where I could have ever been without it. There is still a bit of nervousness inside me about going back for winter training. This will be my sixth year training with Eddie and Kris at Texas...I know what winter training entails. We will swim two hours every morning and night. On top of this we will do weights three days a week. The difference in this training is that the coaches realize there is nothing else we are doing except training...they absolutely kill us every workout and every set.

Let me take a minute and clarify something.... I don't see this blog as a forum for me to complain. This is not its purpose in any way, shape or form. I want this to be a place where ya'll can get some insight into what I'm feeling and what my life is like as a professional athlete.

My point is that although I have been to the Olympics and have been fortunate enough to have had some success in my career, I am still as human as anyone else. I guess there will be times in all of our lives when we feel intimidated or even a bit apprehensive about things. Right now I think I am just dreading the dead tiredness, pain, and mental stress I'm about to be put into.

I have found the best thing to do in life is take things one step at a time. When I return to Austin and start training, I will think about the practice at hand...not the number of hard practices that are still to come. This mentality puts me in a better position to focus on the work I will be doing at that given time. There will be updates throughout winter training...check back soon!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season. I always love this time of year. There is no better time to be with family and friends. It doesn't matter what religion you are or what you believe in...the winter has always been a very special time to spend with loved ones.

The reason I love the holidays so much is because there is just a sense of happiness in the air that is different than any other time of year. Mixed with the joy of the season is wonderful food, beautiful lights and seasonal music.

The other night I went to the Nutcracker ballet with my family. The ballet was really a great time. It was different than anything I'd ever been to before...there is no talking. The costumes and the dancing were beautiful!
After the ballet we went ice skating outside in downtown Milwaukee. I'm not quite sure if my skates were really dull or what but I was slipping all over the place. The skates were rentals so I'm sure they weren't the best skates... Either way, my sister, mom, dad and I all had a really nice time skating outside. The park we were skating in was all decorated with tons of holiday lights. Some swim fans recognized me and we snapped the photo below.
Right now my dad and sister are making Beet Gnochni with a Parmesan Cream Sauce with Prosciutto. It is going to be absolutely spectacular...Seriously the food at the holidays is simply outstanding (if very rich on occasion). Remember, eat in moderation and exercise and everything will be just fine haha...
My holiday season has been very enjoyable so far. I hope all of you have also had a great time with family and friends:)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Snowboarding!!!!

Aaaahhhhhhhhh I'm soooo excited!!! I went snowboarding today for the first time in six years. I stopped snowboarding my junior year of high school because I didn't want to risk getting injured for swimming.

Originally I had planned on going skiing with my family this winter in Vail. When I was younger we went to Vail and it was literally my favorite vacation EVER!!! There were several reasons Vail was so amazing...I learned to snowboard, there was fresh powder every day and the Packers won the Superbowl while we were there. Unbelievable:)

Today my sister and I went to a small private ski hill in Wisconsin that our family used to be members of many years ago. Luckily we still know the man who runs the ski hill so he let us come ski for free!

We put our gear on and successfully got on and off the chairlift. We really didn't know what to expect because it had been a long time since we had gone.

Before I continue this story (That's us at left in Vail.) I must give ya'll some background info. Snowboarding has been the biggest thing I have given up for my swimming. Every winter I miss it. Every winter I dream about it and imagine what it would be like. Sometimes when I can't fall asleep or am at a meet and need to relax I close my eyes and picture myself carving down the mountain. As you can see, I love it. To me, there is nothing better than cruising down the mountain with snow falling all around and just enjoying the great outdoors!

As my sister and I prepared ourselves for the first run I was so excited I was about to jump out of my boots. I was standing at the top of the hill about to make my first descent. How many times had I dreamt about this? How long had I wanted this to become a reality? Answers: many and long. My face was grinning from ear to ear and I was screaming at my sister to clip her bindings faster so we could go! This was it. Here I go... The run was absolutely perfect. I was making great turns and felt like a million bucks:) seriously I think I visualized this so many times that I was just ready to go. It felt like I had gone last week not six years ago. This goes to show how powerful visualization can be.

The rest of the day was outstanding. I was carving all over the place with my sister. My heart was content...but now I want to go again...now I want to go to a bigger place and ski longer runs haha. My dream is to one day have a house in Vail and spend time with my family and friends skiing, snowboarding and playing in the snow. I know this can become a reality if it's what I really want! Wow life is so great!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Wisconsin Foodie Segment

Today I had a really fun and unique opportunity to be on a cooking show called 'Wisconsin Foodie.' This is a new show that focuses on the unique and flavorful foods Wisconsin has to offer. They have also had well known chefs, cheese makers and restaurants in their episodes. I was asked to be on the show and to bring a healthy and tasty recipe to prepare with the resident chef, Brian Moran. I prepared bison steaks seared with herbs and finished with a red wine reduction. Why bison? Because it's a flavorful red meat that is low in fat and high in protein.
We started shooting the show at about 10:00am and continued for a couple hours. It really was like being on something I'd watched so many times on the Food Network. At first we talked all about the preparation, the smells, the bison, the nutritional content of the meal etc. Then the cooking began. My recipe calls to pan sear the outside of the bison and finish it in the oven. All the while Brian and I were talking about cooking, food, swimming, and my training.
This was a great opportunity for me to get some experience cooking on a show and being in front of a camera crew in this type of setting. I really want and plan to get more and more into the food industry. Thankfully the producers of 'Wisconsin Foodie' Mark and Arthur invited me to be on the show and give me some exposure.

The producers plan to have the show run in the middle January. I will put a link to the show on the blog as soon as it is available!
Definitely check out the 'Wisconsin Foodie' website to get more of an idea of the show.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Whiteout in Wisconsin

Well, the snow slowed as day finally dawned. Basically, everthing is closed. Coaches were probably frustrated and age-groups swimmers were no doubt delighted. Garrett has been worried that our early-season snowfalls in Wisconsin would be gone by the time he got up here for a holiday visit. Well, I don't think it's going to be a problem. More is on the way.



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tough Morning

This morning was pretty tough...

Practice was killer. First off the pool is really cold. More than anything, I hate cold water. Cold water kills morale without a doubt. We warmed up for about thirty minutes, then jumped into a set of 10, 300's best average on 3:45. This means we did 10, 300's going as fast as we could possibly hold. The interval was 3:45. I was dog tired. My arms literally felt like they were tightening up more and more with every stroke. I mainly was trying to stay long in my stroke and keep my head looking at the bottom of the pool. I think it is always necessary to be thinking about our strokes, especially in hard sets like this. Many times we fall into poor technique when the work gets tough. When we begin to fall apart and get fatigued this is the most important time to keep our technique as close to perfect as we can. Our mind and muscle memory learns to hold this correct technique for our races when we practice it on sets like this.

Although this was a really tough set I left practice feeling energized and ready to go. There is something about working hard in the morning that just starts the day off perfectly. I ran some errands and headed home.

Before I got home I stopped at a gas-station to fill up. For some reason I felt enticed to go buy a lottery ticket...this is very out of my nature...in fact I think this is my first time to ever buy a lottery ticket. I asked for the ticket that was five dollars and gave me the opportunity to win a custom chopper motorcycle. I would love a motorcycle! I understand a motorcycle is not really in the cards right now due to my status as a professional athlete...However, I still want one haha:)

I pulled my credit card out to pay for the milk and lottery ticket. The man behind the counter told me that Texas State Law prevents you from paying for a lottery ticket with a credit card. I asked him why? He said, "it's probably to keep people from over-extending themselves..." Wow, I think that is a great idea! He added, "If so many people didn't over-extend themselves we probably wouldn't be in such a financial crisis right now." I had to agree with the man. What do you think?

I won the five dollars back!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Driven to Succeed: Freestyle Insight

Check out my new DVD! The focus of 'Driven to Succeed' is on Freestyle technique and important lifestyle tips that will help make you more successful in and out of the pool! You may now purchase the DVD on swimroom.

Here is the trailer for the DVD. I hope you like it!!!


video

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My Training Schedule

I'm often asked what my training schedule is...well here you go.

Monday: Swim; 6:30-8:00am, 3-5pm. Weights; 1:30-3pm
Tuesday: Dry-land; 1:45-3:00pm. Swim; 3-5pm
Wednesday: Swim; 6:30-8:00am, 3-5pm. Weights; 1:30-3pm
Thursday: Dry-land; 1:45-3:00pm. Swim; 3-5pm
Friday: Swim; 6:30-8:00am, 3-5pm. Weights; 1:30-3:00pm
Saturday: Swim; 9:00-11:00am

My weight workouts consist of many different exercises that includes but is not limited to; biceps, triceps, lat pull, bench, squat, leg extension, calf raises, rows, and core work...

Dry-land varies depending upon what part of the season we're in. Some of the exercises we do may include; pull-ups, push-ups, dips, running the stadium, medicine ball work, box jumps, and of course more core work...

In addition to what I do in the pool and in the weight room I do extra work at home. I generally do about 300 extra push-ups at home as well as modified dips using my coffee table... I am always trying to get stronger and like pushing myself to be better. My goal is to be able to do 100 push-ups in a row. Right now I can do in the 60's. Most of my sets are between 30 and 50 push-ups at a time. I know getting stronger is what I need to do in order to get faster...Needless to say, I will get stronger!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Crazy Volleyball Game--Good Friend vs. Horns

I currently have some friends in town from the good old state of Wisconsin. Their daughter is on the Iowa State volleyball team that played in the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA tournament last night...here in Austin.

I finished practice and immediately booked it over to the gym where the game was already underway. When I got there Iowa State had just lost the first set to Oregon. I sat down and they lost the second set. I looked to the parents of the player and said, "Let's keep our fingers crossed!" I honestly wasn't thinking anything miraculous was going to happen. I don't mean to sound down but to come back and win the next three sets would be a huge task.

BAM!! Iowa State started to get on a roll. Blockers started to stuff Oregon's front line and the Cyclones front line was heating up and drilling the ball into the ground!

About an hour later I was jumping in the air and yelling at the top of my lungs. The Cyclones pulled it off. This was one of the best and most exciting sporting events I've ever been to.

However, there's a problem...now Texas and Iowa State are playing against each other in the Elite Eight. Who do I cheer for? I'm pretty sure I know the right answer, but I'm now emotionally invested in Iowa State. My friend's daughter, a girl I've known since I was seven, is playing against my school. This is kinda tough. Haha not really, TEXAS baby:)

Even though I will be sitting with the Cyclone troop my burnt orange and love for Texas will show strong!

Hook'em

Thursday, December 11, 2008

T-Shirt Are Moving and Thanks for Your Ideas

Thanks to everyone who ordered a T-shirt on day one. If you haven't had a chance, be sure to check out G-commerce. And thanks for the new ideas on merchandise--apron, beach towel... what else?

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:)

Chiropractor

I've been having some problems on and off with my groin since April. It initially started after doing a ton of box jumps in the weight-room. It has been really bad at times. Thankfully it is doing really well right now with the help of a chiropractor I've been seeing in Austin.

I have to say I was a bit reluctant to go to a chiropractor for my groin but it has been great. In the past I have always gone to the same massage guy named Marc, and he has always fixed my issues. I call him "magic hands" because he is so good. However, after the Olympics I wanted to try something new. I decided to test this alternative out.

Much to my surprise, most of the work I've had done a the chiropractor is not cracking this and cracking that. Actually it is very little of that. A good deal of it has been unbelievably painful massage. Although I was basically biting my fist off this morning on the table...it seems to be helping my groin a ton. So far I would definitely recommend this type of therapy to others.

I will post again tonight about the final day of nationals. Sorry but I have been super busy since I've been back...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Back to Basics

I was trolling around on the internet and came across this concise article from Colorado State University on nutrition for athletes. It's a pretty good summary of how different kinds of foods fuel our bodies. Funny how you can sort of forget this stuff over time.


Look for Garrett back tomorrow with a new post.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Double Dose of Zipper Problems

As I was putting my suit on last night before the 200 free a guy came up to me and started to talk to me. I had no idea who he was but he was friendly so I chatted with him for a couple minutes. He told me how it was too bad that my zipper broke in the morning. I agreed and then proceeded to ask him to zipper my suit up. Once the zipper got about half-way up, it broke. He was like, "uh-oh, I think I just broke your suit..." I was stunned. I asked one of my teammates Dale to come over and take a look at it. They both tried to move the zipper and it was not going anywhere. I have to say I was pissed. Breaking once was a pain...this time I was simply mad. Not to mention, this was a brand new suit. The guy felt really bad, I told him not too worry, it wasn't his fault. All the while the kids who were volunteering at the meet were taking pictures of me putting my suit on with their camera phones. They think they're being sneaky but they're not at all cause they kept looking at me and laughing as they took my picture hahaha kids.

I went up to the blocks and people told me my suit was broken. I just thought to myself, "Uummmm yeah of course it is". As I was waiting for the starter to call us up to the block, my heart was definitely moving faster than it normally would. I just told myself I was going to win the heat and go faster than I did in the morning. This was like a man challenge...I could either be a little wimp and let this stupid zipper get the best of me...or I could pound this race and prove to myself that I can beat the tests put in front of me. In addition...the majority of my heat was younger than me so I really had to man up and pop something good off.

The gun fired and I dove into the water. In reality, there was actually less drag with the zipper half-way up than completely open. I wasn't sure how this would feel but it wasn't quite as bad as in the morning. I was out pretty fast at the 50. I went into the race wanting to build every 50 and make a consistent increase in my effort through every 50. I have difficulty holding back on the first 50 of 200's, partly because I get pretty excited. I was first to the 50 and the 100. The guy in the lane next to me beat me to the 150. At this point I flipped the switch on my legs and motored home. I won the heat and went 1:36.89, this is faster than I went in the morning. Once again I went at least in the range I had set out to do so I was satisfied.

Without a broken zipper I think I could have gone 1:35...oh well. I'm still happy with the time. Although this time isn't anything spectacular in comparison to what other swimmers are going in the country, it's good for me and that's all that matters. I can't impress enough upon all of you that it doesn't matter what everyone else is going. Compare yourself to what you've done in the past. As long as YOU are getting better than YOU were before...everything is all good.

As Eric, Dale and I walked out of the pool last night a guy named Bart came up to me and started talking to me about the relay this summer. I met him the day before when he gave me a swim suit...yes I forgot to bring a Speedo to the swim meet:( Bart owns a swim shop. He told me the first day of the meet as well as last night that he literally watches that 400 free relay from Beijing everyday. The first time he told me this I couldn't help but laugh and not believe him. Last night he told me again and I could tell he was totally serious. Bart described how his business has been dramatically increased by the summer Olympics and people come in talking about that relay. It's really an honor to have people say this type of thing to me. I'm glad so many people enjoyed watching that race as well as the Olympics in general. I jokingly told him he needs to cut me a check for all the help I've given his business. Bart replied by saying, "are you kidding me, where do I send it!" hahaha it was really funny and we all laughed. This is really one of the best things about competing and traveling, meeting new and interesting people!

I got a voice message from Josh Davis last night...he said, "dude, great swim tonight...I think I need to let you borrow my suit after you let me borrow your cap haha...I just got your message from this-morning and I'm gunna save it for motivation...you ain't gunna spank me no more boy hahhahaha!" it was a hilarious message. I'm trying to figure out how I can get the sound byte up on the blog. Give me some time and I will hopefully figure it out.

Friday, December 5, 2008

I want to swim longer...

Well the 50 free last night was not perfect, but it was in the range I wanted to go for this meet. I went 19.87. I wanted to go between 19.4 and 19.8. I can leave satisfied with that performance. I still feel pretty awkward in the water because I simply haven't worked on any speed thus far this season. When I finished the race all I wanted to do was swim a longer race. I half-way wished I had swum the 500 free instead of the 50.

The 200 free was this morning and I was really looking forward to it. Sitting on the deck before warm-up I was reading the heat sheet and noticed I was next to Josh Davis. I was pumped. Josh is a total legend in the sport of swimming, having won several Olympic medals at two Olympic games. Not to mention, Josh is a Texas boy...gotta love the Texas boys!

I immediately got on my phone and called Josh to find out if he was really at the meet??? I got his answering machine and left him a message that included,"I see you're entered in the 200 free at Nationals...I hope this is true cause I can't wait to spank you like a little baby hahahaha!" I've been great friends with Josh for about six years so he knows I'm joking:)

As I was warming up I saw Josh underneath the water coming up towards me. We both laughed and I told him we were next to each other in the 200 free. He was pumped to race with me too.

I made sure to do more in warm-up than I figured I needed to. Especially at this point of the season, you cannot warm-up too much. I've found through many years of swimming, weight-training and competing that generally our bodies are much tougher and resilient than our minds. As long as we're confident in what we're doing our bodies will support our decisions and perform.

As I was putting my suit on Josh came over and asked if I had an extra cap. I told him I did but it was a 'Weber-Gale' Texas cap. He said, "all the better." Josh and I were behind the blocks and one of the timers got a picture of us both wearing the same cap. I've never seen my name on someone else's cap before, but I must say, it looked pretty cool. I was super proud to have Josh wear my cap...seriously he is a legend that will always be respected and remembered!

As I dove off the block in the 200 free the zipper on the back of my suit popped open. It's amazing how much drag this adds. To say the least I wasn't thrilled but I was very careful to stay focused on what I was doing. I wasn't about to let this stupid problem get in the way of me swimming a good race. I was out in 47.0 and as I turned at the 100 I saw Josh a good bit ahead of me. In all honesty, I said to myself, "uh-0h I better pick it up...I'm not about to get beat by Josh, especially after I left that message on his phone haha..." Don't get me wrong, I respect Josh a ton but he no longer trains and I should be able to beat him. At about the 125 I started to really throw my kick in the mix. I consistently built every 50 and finished with pretty good force. I went 1:37.7. This was a great morning swim for me. I will look to go faster tonight, especially since in all likely-hood my suit won't be broken.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

First Race Since Beijing

This-morning I swam my first race since Beijing. I arrived in Atlanta yesterday afternoon. I warmed up in the pool and felt descent for having traveled. As I said before, I'm not quite sure what to expect from this meet. I know this is a good pool and I have had good luck in it. I won the 100 free here at the NCAA Championships my junior year, in 2006.

Warm-up was good this morning. I generally warm-up really slow in order to help my mind and body ease into the meet. As warm-up went on I started to do some build 25's and fast 25's. I felt ok but nothing to write home about. However, it doesn't matter how you feel...it matters how you look. Randy Reese always told me it doesn't matter what we feel like. He is right. There have been times when I have felt terrible and have swum awesome.

The 50 started and I had a pretty good start. What happened next was not as good...I was on the surface of the water before I even knew what was going on...I soon realized I needed to start swimming. Usually I will have a powerful breakout and transition very well into the rest of the race. Needless to say, this was not the case. I approached the turn and I found myself looking up to see where the wall was. My turn was ok and I could tell I was ahead of the people in my line of sight. I whipped off some fly kicks and broke out for home. The second 25 I just focused on blasting my legs. I got to the wall and went 19.91. I'm moderately happy with that as a morning swim. I made it back for the semi-finals, which is all that really matters to me right now. I don't care how I place. This meet is simply a way for me to gauge my progress and get an opportunity to race.

After the race I talked to Kris, our assistant coach at Texas. I was laughing when he walked up to me because it is funny to race when you haven't done it in so long. He said I looked like a guy who hasn't raced in a long time. I would have to agree with him. Kris described my swimming by saying, "your body was like Woooowwww I haven't gone this fast in a really long time." Very true. I know the meet will continue to get better with every session. I will keep ya'll updated...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mental Toughness

I thought ya'll might get something out of this article. My Q&A is down the page on the left...check it out!

http://www.utexas.edu/features/2008/11/24/athletes_minds/

Monday, December 1, 2008

First Competition Since Beijing

Wednesday I head to Atlanta for US Nationals. This will be the first meet I will have raced in since my competition ended in Beijing. I'm not quite sure what to think about it? I have been training pretty well in Austin and am happy with my progress so far. My strength in the weight-room is probably better than it has ever been, and I am getting more and more fit in the water everyday. How this will translate into racing remains to be seen.

Today I talked with Eddie about the meet and told him what I think I can realistically go. He told me he thinks I'm going to be on the fast side. I must say, it is such an amazing feeling to know how much confidence Eddie has in me! I work so hard for him and really listen to everything he says. There is no question that Eddie and Kris (Texas' assistant coach) have been the masterminds behind my success and have truly guided me like no one else could have. I have the utmost trust in what they tell me and the decisions we make together.

In terms of the times I think I can go at nationals...These are obviously not concrete but rather estimates of the range I think I should be in.
50 Free: 19.4-19.8
100 Free: 42.7-43.3
200 Free: 1:37.0-1:38.5
I would be happy with my performances if I swam within these ranges.

It is difficult to judge in swimming what is possible. The best thing to do is take a hard look at what you've done in the past and how you've felt on those particular occasions. Given my current level of fitness and strength I think these standards are both high yet attainable. Never make a goal that doesn't have both of those components. Goals must push us to be better while maintaining a realistic component that when achieved will give us greater confidence to do more in the future.

We'll see how this meet goes. I'm honestly really looking forward to racing and testing my body!


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