This is the first of many 'Olympic Experience' Entries!!! I must first tell you that the Olympics was the most amazing experience of my life. That being said, the Olympics was made possible by the other great experience of my summer, the US Olympic Trials. The most obvious way to tell you this story is to begin by telling you a bit about the Olympic Trials which was really the beginning of my dream come true.
I left Austin, Texas on June 27, 2008. I had absolutely no idea what was in store for the rest of the summer. What I did know was how hard I had worked to put myself in a position to do something special. I remembered all the early-morning practices I dragged myself out of bed for. I remembered all the times I passed on going out with friends to stay in and get rest for my next practice. Lastly, how could I forget all the cooking I did for myself to maintain a strict diet that I knew would put me in a better position nutritionally than any of my competitors. Olympic Trials was not a definite, but I can and will say that I did absolutely everything I could possibly have done to give myself the best opportunity to succeed. I knew I was going to have an unbelievable swim!
I arrived in Omaha, checked into the hotel and made my way to the pool. My intentions were to get in the water. Mother Nature had a different plan. Shortly after I arrived to the pool, a tornado hit Omaha and the outside of the Quest center had been damaged. The officials closed the pool for the remainder of the day. Oh well, everything happens for a reason. I returned to the hotel and swam in what looked like an eight yard pool, just to loosen up.
Leading up to the trials I had an incredible feeling within my body. I had continually progressed in my training, my diet and my racing the entire year leading up to the Trials. A few months earlier I swam in a meet in Austin and went all best times. I was riding the wave of confidence I got from that meet directly into Trials. My coach Eddie always tells me, "the hard work and sacrifice always pay off if you are willing to be patient and wait. We don't always know when it will happen but it always does." Something in my mind, something in my body told me this was it. I was ready to swim faster than I had ever swum before.
Four years earlier I missed making the 2004 Olympic team by one place. Since then, I was bound and determined not to let that ever happen again. Obviously if you are reading this blog you know the ending to this story. However, what you don't know is the detail, emotion and personal satisfaction that came along with the summer of my dreams. Stay tuned to the 'Olympic Experience' to read all the insight!