This blog is not for the light-hearted or easily offended. If either one of those descriptions applies to you, i would suggest you start drinking before you read this blog. A sense of humor is suggested. If you don't have one that sucks for you … find one and get a life!
Last week, the US Olympic Trials began for swimming. Now you may (or may not) know that not only was I a swimmer all the way through college, but my kids all began as swimmers and Keely swam year round. What’s my point? I love swimming. Not necessarily the ACT of swimming (anymore) but the sport of swimming.
Keely is 22 so the kids that we knew through North Carolina swimming are basically 20-25 at this point. In other words, the perfect age to be in the Olympic trials. And they were, all over the place. I spent the time looking over the psych sheet and there were all sorts of kids that we knew. There were even kids there that I knew their parents as I had swam with them.
Keely and I warmed up for the “prime time” event by watching the NBC Sports Channel from 6:30 to 8:00, which was featuring the fastest heats from the prelims. By the time it was 8:00 and we switched over to NBC for the finals, we were psyched.
The first race was the Men’s 400 IM. Now I don’t know if you guys follow swimming or not (probably not) but only 2 people from the United States for each event make it to the Olympics. The United States, however, is stacked with good swimmers to in many cases we have the top 3 or 4 in the world so you could be the third best swimmer in the world, capable of getting the BRONZE medal, but not be allowed to go to the Olympics. You can see why some kids with dual citizenships go swim for their other country.
At any rate, it was time for the Men’s 400 IM and it was really the race of the night. Ryan Lochte, the defending world champion, had NEVER beaten Michael Phelps in this race. BUT … 4 years ago, after Beijing, Michael Phelps said he was never swimming the 400 IM ever again. (It’s a really tough race and many people consider it the most painful race in swimming). With the scratch deadline approaching 24 hours before the race, many people wondered if Michael Phelps would really swim it or scratch. He didn’t though. Scratch that is.
Prelims went fine and in the finals it would come down to three people. Ryan Lochte was basically a shoe in but Tyler Clary had missed the 2008 Olympics in BOTH his events by getting 3rd and he was ranked second in this event. The only problem was no one knew what Michael Phelps was capable of. The event started and it was really close. Michael was ahead in the fly, Ryan in the back, and by the time the breast started Ryan had pulled ahead.
We thought Tyler would pass Michael but Michael held him off and then it was freestyle. Now Michael Phelps is the fastest freestyler but who knows what kind of shape he was in? We were yelling and shouting and finally it’s over. Ryan and Michael are going to the Olympics. Then I hear Keely, and would for the rest of the night, “oh, poor Tyler Clary.” Can you imagine being so good but always being behind those two?
The next excitement for us was the men’s 400 free. There were two boys from NC that we knew in the finals and they were actually a part of the most exciting race either one of us had ever seen in person so we were ready to cheer. The race started and one of the boys, Charle Houchin, went out fast.
Keely: he’s going out pretty fast
Me: yeah, the announcers said he likes to do that
Keely: I hope he doesn’t die out there
Me: me too
Kevin: can you two stop talking?
Me: (ignoring him) I just think it’s better to negative split
Keely: here comes Peter Vanderkay (I love how we talk like we’re besties with them all)
Me: Well, Charlie is hanging pretty well
Keely: I always negative split. Why would a distance person not negative split?
Kevin: I can’t hear the announcer
Me: (ignoring him) That’s a problem, the other guy is gaining
Keely: Go Charlie
Me: I’m worried about these other two sneaking up here
Kevin: (turns up the volume to a deafening level)
Keely: oh no, they’re passing him
Me: oh no, he’s not going to make it
And then the race was over and Kevin got up and went into the kitchen.
Keely: poor Charlie
Keely: I hoped he’d make it
Me: I can’t hear you
Keely: why’s it so loud in here?
Keely: what did you say?
And then we burst out laughing because it was so damn loud in there and Kevin had left and it was deafening. Of course, Keely couldn’t get up and fix it as she is on crutches so I had to go on a SAR (search and rescue) for the remote. I turned it down finally and Kevin came back.
Me: why the hell was the TV so loud?
Kevin: I couldn’t hear the announcer
Kevin: you guys were talking too much
Keely: we know as much as them
And so there you are…never watch swimming with former swimmers. They’ll just analyze the situations to death.