2021 Olympic Trials- Day 3

Benji DeMotte

Omaha Day #3



Race Day! The whole reason that we were in Omaha and it was finally here. We met in the lobby at 7:00 and went straight to the pool as Spencer was hoping to get some time in the competition pool when it wasn’t too crowded. 

The first stop was the Toyota Good Luck Boulevard and we were greeted by the Senior 1 video which was very touching and put a smile on Spencer’s face. Having the support of his teammates, even when they couldn’t be there in person was a constant reminder of what the Excel Family is all about. 

We headed up to the pool and were in luck as it was almost empty. The emotions of the day were overwhelming. In the pictures below, you can see both a moment of reflection and another of pure excitement that he was about to swim in the competition pool, all alone. In fact, Spencer’s planning was so good, and the pool was so wide open, that he was asked to install the underwater camera for the tech crew. So every race on Monday was partly brought to you by Spencer!

After warm-up, Spencer and I met to go over the last minute game plans. We talked about soaking up every second of the experience, about the importance of consistency with his racing and about how my job as his coach was over. It’s a very strange feeling to hand over the reins and go sit way up in the stands. 

While I was waiting for Spencer to swim, I watched the women’s 50 free and was impressed once again, by how few swimmers were improving on their best times. I had the urge to text Spencer and tell him once again that consistency was the plan. But, at this point, the race was all his. As Spencer was seeded 96th (out of 96), he was in the first heat. Here is the moment he was on the big screen! It was amazing to see an Excel cap up there!

And just like that, it was over. 23.26 which was a .07 add from his best. But, 7/100 of a second is consistent. I met Spencer almost immediately and we watched the rest of the heats. As he was 4th in the first heat, we already knew he was going to move up. The next 5 minutes were some of the very best in my coaching career. Every heat that passed, there were a couple of swimmers who were slower than 23.26. EVERY SINGLE heat. And that was when we knew something special was happening. When the final heat finished we were frantically pushing the refresh button over and over. We kept guessing how high he would finish. 85th? 60th?...

BOOM 46th place! When Spencer saw that he moved up an astonishing 50 spots at Olympic Trials, I remember thinking “This is as good as coaching gets.” 

So what’s next? 2024 is the next time Excel has a chance to send swimmers to Omaha. Hopefully Spencer will be there with a team around him. 

Both Spencer and I are so grateful for the community of swimmers and families that we have found in Excel and we both wish to extend our profound gratitude for you all!


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