Olympic Trials

Four more years have come and gone and the swimming world will be back in Omaha next week for the 2012 Olympic Trials.  Additionally, our sport has taken a significant step forward this time around–every finals session will be covered live on NBC.  Click here for details (NBC Schedule is EST).

I will be competing in the 400 Free as well as the 200 Free which span the first three days of the meet (6/25-6/27).  I’m looking forward to a great opportunity to use the gifts I’ve been given to the fullest!  Tune in to watch some great racing by our country’s best swimmers!

Brazil

I had the privledge of representing Brazilian club Fiat Minas at last week’s Maria Lenk Trophy Meet in Rio de Janeiro.  I competed with my fellow [iX3]sports and Jacksonville, FL based teammates Diogo Yabe and Fabiola Molina.

The five days of racing served as terrific preparation for the US Olympic Trials–now less than two months away!  The highlight of the meet was watching Fabiola qualify for her 3rd Olympic Team, winning the women’s 100m backstroke.  Enjoy the pictures from the week!  Thanks again to Fiat Minas for the opportunity to compete at such a great event!

 

Passion & Purpose

Recently, I spent the afternoon working on a project that was completely unrelated to my life as a professional swimmer.  At the conclusion of the day, I came home, satisfied with how the work had gone.  As I rehashed the days’ events in my mind, I was overwhelmed with how passionately I had tackled this new project.  If my older brother was the catalyst for the beginning of my swimming career, I had no parallel to draw to this new endeavor.  Seemingly, no mentor or external seed had been planted to help push me into striking out in this new undertaking.  I really could not pin point any reason for feeling so passionate towards a brand new pursuit.  Yet the satisfaction I felt from the new work, although in its infancy, was the same sense of accomplishment I feel at the end of a great race or great workout.

Surprised that the new project had conjured up a passionate sense of drive I usually get from competing as an athlete, I asked myself a deeper question.

If I can enjoy the same passionate drive in two forms of work that are totally unrelated, where does the root of this passion come from?

And, moreover,

What is the purpose of my swimming if I can find the same passion in different areas of my life?

Though I know the answers to the stated questions, it was the first time I had thought about my gift from God in this particular way.  I have always been thankful for the way He has blessed me with my swimming ability.  My passion as a swimmer comes from placing my purpose in Him.  No doubt that if my trust is in Him, and he provides me with the gift of swimming, then the purpose of my gift is to deflect any glory derived from swimming straight to Him!

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving.   Colossians 3:23-24

Acknowledging that He is the root of my swimming passion poses two seemingly incongruent thoughts.  On one hand, I am totally aware of the insignificance of this temporary pursuit of swimming.  Whether or not I win a medal or break a record is utterly unimportant.  This should be a somewhat deflating discovery, right?  However, I place my purpose in Him—and not in the swimming itself, receiving from Him a passion for the sport I could not otherwise enjoy.  Acknowledging the relative insignificance of swimming is really a burden lifted off me, allowing me to appreciate my swimming gift to the fullest.  With this understanding I am able to achieve at my highest personal level!  Because the sport itself is not the root of my purpose, I am not subject to the roller coaster of emotions that tend to come with an obsession over one’s personal career advances.  I cannot hang my hat on nor allow myself to be defined by that which was merely a gift in the first place.  A gift can be taken back.  I could lose swimming tomorrow.  How many more days do I get to enjoy my life as a professional athlete?  Who knows!  Indeed, it is because of this acknowledgement of uncertainty that I am able to approach my work as a swimmer with a renewed since of passion daily—and attack it with a reckless abandon!  The passion is visible between the lane lines because the purpose resides in something greater and unseen.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.   2 Corinthians 4:18

Kicking 101

The year before I arrived at the University of Michigan, Coach Bowman had the guys do a 400 kick (LC) for time.  We had some very talented kickers, and when I got to school, it was a thrill to challenge my Michigan and Club Wolverine teammates in kick sets.  Yesterday, I finally got around to doing a 400 kick of my own.  My time was 4:56

This is a great challenge–swimmers of all ages can try this one out!  According to Coach Bowman, the fastest 400s kick he is aware of are, Phelps/Thorpe: 5:08; Erik Vendt: 5:04; Chris DeJong: 4:56

Training Trip to Miami

iX3sports enjoying a morning practice in Miami

This week, we at [iX3]sports have taken our talents to South Beach.  We have enjoyed the training, the South Florida sun, and the camaraderie of teammates who all share similarly high expectations of what’s to come in 2012.  I have been challenged in many new ways by our coaches, Sergio Lopez and Gustavo Calado.  With only six months until U.S. Olympic Trials and seven months until the Olympic games in London, we are preparing for exciting things to come!

Risk averse swimming–not ProDual1 athletes

ProDual1 held in Ann Arbor, MI was a success–probably one of the brightest spots of the year for swimming. The stands weren’t full, and the format of the meet didn’t turn the sport on its head.  The wheel hasn’t been reinvented.  But two things happened because of ProDual1 that indicate untapped potential (in the athletes and the sport):

  • 30 men participated in the competition

I believe nine of these athletes represent Club Wolverine.  That is, 21 Olympic caliber athletes were willing to fly to Detroit, get a ride into Ann Arbor, secure lodging for the duration of the meet, and compete in front of a guaranteed crowd of precisely 0.  Assuming a round trip ticket to Detroit for $400, only 7 athletes made enough medal money to break even (winnings of each individual).  This of course excludes any costs associated with food, lodging, and ground transportation.

These 30 athletes actions represent a desire, and possibly, a need for a better stage for our sport.  The motives that spurred these 30 men to compete in ProDual1, if uncovered, would reveal a lot about the professional potential of swimming in this country.

  • ProDual1 created an environment where I saw more personality from individual athletes than I’ve ever seen at a swim meet.

The meet was fun (Bobby Savulich did a great job both organizing and competing in the event).  We woke up mid-morning, ate breakfast at Benny’s (the best diner in Ann Arbor), briefly warmed-up at the pool around 11am, played video games, and awaited the great races that began at prime time.

Whatever the factors were, I observed athletes reveal much more of their personalities (myself included) before and after races.  Guys were giving waves and other personal salutes to the crowd prior to competing.  This was a breath of fresh air!  Those individuals who give us memorable athletic performances should be celebrated!  Having a stage where personality and individual success are championed are crucial. ProDual1 gave us this invaluable insight.

[iX3]sports

Today and tomorrow in Ann Arbor, the Canham Natatorium and Club Wolverine is hosting Pro Duel Meet 1.  Looking forward to some great competition and an exciting atmosphere.  Look for me in the silver cap as I will be representing the newly formed club, [iX3]sports.  At [iX3]sports, we have a professional mission of our own and are excited to participate in a meet designed exclusively for professional swimmers.

Looking forward to fast swimming and earning a little bit of medal money. Stay tuned for pictures from Pro Duel Meet 1, the inaugural meet for [iX3]sports!

2 More Days of Racing in Guadalajara

Conor Dwyer, Charlie Houchin, Scot Robison & Matt Patton–Gold Medal, Men’s 4×200 Freestyle Relay

Last night was the last evening of competition for myself, but Team USA still has some big races left to go.  Swimming competition here at the Pan Americans Games will conclude tomorrow night–be sure to be cheering on the four guys who will be representing us tomorrow night in the 4×100 Medley relay!