July 16, 2012
The 2012 Olympic trials was an amazing event, that I was incredibly honored to be a small part of. The pageantry and electricity of Trials is unmatched by any meet I’ve ever attended (yes Midlakes falls short). Walking in the first day and seeing the amazing facilities I was pumped, but I had been preaching to both Ed and Kim all year that we were here to have fun, that this was a no stress meet as they both had nothing to lose and everything to gain from the experience. So I continued the cool play until Sunday night when I was at the Coaches meeting.
Usually this is one of the least pleasant experiences of any meet, but it was mandatory so I reluctantly went. I’ve been to many national level meets before, so seeing the famous swimmers and legendary coaches is nothing new to me. But there was an atmosphere at the trials that was foreign to me. After going through the usual bureaucratic nonsense of the meeting, they starting talking about the selection process for the Olympic team, and I know this sounds odd, but it wasn’t till that moment that I realized that I was really at Olympic Trials and that they will be selecting swimmers for the US Olympic Team, and that 3 Bellevue Club swimmers (Ethan Hallowell representing Stanford) would be taking a shot at making that team. I had spent so much time trying to keep the meet in perspective for both Ed and Kim that I failed to really appreciate the situation I was now in.
It was at that point that I figured out what the new & strange atmosphere was. It was a combination of anticipation and nervousness that wasn’t emitting just from the swimmers as it normally does at big meets. It was coming from the coaches, officials, marshals, directors, security, street vendors, ticket scalpers and everyone else involved. That’s when I got nervous. Kim was our first race and I was standing next to a coach from North Carolina who swimmer was going to be in the same heat as Kim. I noticed my legs were shaking and I turned to ask him if he was nervous. He told me he was a wreck as well. “This meet is so big time” he said, and that really summed the event up, it was Big Time.
I’m so happy for Ed, Kim and Ethan for working so hard to be a part of this incredible life experience. I know it really opened their eyes as well as motivated them to improve upon their performances 4 years from now. They swam well, improved their places, but it didn’t satiate their desire for continued success. As Thomas Edison said, “Show me a truly satisfied man, and I’ll show you a failure.” These three are not truly satisfied.
My experience at Olympic trials was absolutely amazing. At first, the overall atmosphere of the meet was excitement, awe, and total admiration of the elite athletes. As the meet progressed, however, the feeling started to shift towards a more competitive, even stressful atmosphere. As I continued to watch the preliminary and final races of each day, more and more swimmers that were Olympic hopefuls made their dreams come true. Others, however, did not rise to their form of glory; the overall majority of the athletes at Olympic trials were adding time.
One of my most significant memories of trials was in the ready room before my race. Every swimmer was to sit in a separate room with 40 chairs in it (10 lanes, 4 heats). No one in the room was talking except for a couple others trying to tell themselves that this was their moment. As each person's race came closer, the stress level grew exponentially higher. Needless to say, everyone wanted to do their best, and maybe even more.
The Olympic trials was definitely an experience that I will never forget. I witnessed a huge swirling pool of emotions that in the end, begot either disappointing failure or overwhelming victory.
My Olympic trials experience was the most incredible experience I have ever had. That first day when I was warming up in the competition pool I could not stop turning and floating on my back to look around at the arena. There has never been another swim meet that could compare to it. What surprised me was all the security at the meet. The US national guard was there and stationed at every turn. Without your credential you couldn't get anywhere
As my race grew closer I became more nervous than I'd ever been before as I had to sit in the ready room with 30 girls all stretching, listening to music, shaking, or watching the heats prior to their own race. I went and sat where I was told and watched all the prior heats on the screen provided and enjoyed watching the heat winners faces zoomed up on afterwards.
In the ready room girls started freaking out because you’re not allowed to have a logo or a brand on your cap so they had to either get a new cap, flip it inside out, or have the officials draw with sharpie over it. Luckily mine had already been drawn on thanks to coach Andy. Funny thing was it calmed me down knowing the others were nervous too.
After my first race I realized how quickly this experience was going to go by and I couldn't spend all my time stressing over my next race, I had to soak up the experience. Overall I enjoyed every minute of my time at the Olympic Trials and it has inspired me to keep working hard and be ready again in four years.
Excerpts for the meet that the swimmers want to share:
- Leaving the warm-up facility to the lobby, you walk past a line of screaming teenage girls and swim fans behind a security barricade begging for autographs. Kim and Katie Kinnear from IST were sure to sign their names for all of their admirers, regadless if the admirers knew them or not.
- After finals, unbeknownst to Ed, he was walking just in front of Olympian Ricky Berens. The two exited the warm-up pool and they went past the fans and all the young girls were screaming “we love you”. When they got in the elevator, Ricky turned to Ed and said “You know they were talking about you right?”
- Kim ran into Rebecca Soni in the warm-up pool(literally) and Rebecca apologized to her
- Nathan Adrian went up to Kim to ask how she was swimming
- Kim and Elizabeth Beisel spent a while chatting up trials and how much fun they are.
- Megan Jendrick swam with a lot heart, and we’re pretty sure she was the only competitor in the meet to have had a Baby 8 months prior. She also was great with Kim and Ed in preparing them to race.
- Final rankings: Kim 21st in the 400 IM & 37th in the 200 IM / Ed 149th in the 100 Free