Swimming at the Olympic Trials was such an exciting experience! I was beyond thrilled to be with my former teammates, coaches and closest friends at one of America’s fastest swim meets. To get to the Olympic Trials it took 10 months and more than 2.3 million yards of swimming. I challenged myself to make the trials again because I wanted to see if I was capable of balancing a full training schedule and my full-time internship. Less than one percent of all swimmers in the U.S. qualify for the trials and I’m proud to say I’ve raced in two.
Every day during warm ups and cool down (hot tub time as well!) I swam alongside swimming legends, such as Michael Phelps, Natalie Coughlin, Dara Torres and Allison Schmitt. Allison is a very close friend and former teammate of mine from the University of Georgia. She is poised to win several gold medals and could break world records.
During heats and commercial breaks my friends and I enjoyed snacking on the Wholesome Goodness Tuxedo trail mix, sour lemon and pineapple raisins, and cranberry granola bars. I thank the folks at Wholesome Goodness who so kindly provided me their snacks for the trials. My teammates devoured everything within a day! The Tuxedo trail mixes, which are loaded with dark chocolate chunks and dry roasted peanuts, were gone in a flash.
The facilities at the CenturyLink Center were impressive. The highlights were the massive 10-lane, 50-meter pool for competition and an eight-lane, 25-yard pool for athletes to warm up and cool down. Between races, a huge athlete lounge with four massive plasma screen TVs, video games, plush couches, laptops, a smoothie and snack bar, and even a massage area offering complimentary sports massages were available. Every 25 yards there was a check point with a U.S. Army soldier stationed to check the ID cards we had to wear around our necks.
The only time we were allowed to take it off was when we jumped in the pool. Talk about high security! One of my favorite aspects of the meet was that every night after finals all the swimmers and coaches congregated in a huge ball room where USA Swimming served an exceptional dinner giving the athletes and coaches time to relax and hang out.
This meet was definitely one of the most pressure-filled meets I’ve swam. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to hang out with my swim family and watch five of my former teammates make the U.S. Olympic team.
Be sure to keep an eye out for Allison Schmitt (200 free, 400 free, 4×100 free relay, 4×200 free relay), Kara Lyn Joyce( 50 free), Andrew Gemmell (1,500 free), Shannon Vreeland (4x200free), and Chris Colwill (diving).The 2016 Olympic Trials are rumored to be held in Madison Square Garden and if that turns out to be true you better believe I’ll be there ready to race!