Preparing to win gold at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro is going to take all that I’ve got, each and every day. I’m currently training six days a week, anywhere from 2-4 hours per day. I am fully committed and dedicated to outworking my competition in order to stand atop the podium in Rio with a gold medal around my neck and the Star Spangled Banner blaring from the speakers.
However, the road to gold is not a journey I can take alone. I need your support. Costs for training facilities, pool time, equipment, nutrition, housing and competition travel can add up to more than $40,000 per year. It is always a true honor to be able to represent my country, and I am so thankful that you want to help.
Donate today and help me chase my dreams of gold in 2016.
It’s been nice being able to ease back into the pool after my performance at World Championships this past summer. The past two months have been great and now it time to get back to work and prepare my body for the upcoming season. This past weekend I got the opportunity to dust the dust off the racing suits and see where I am in my training and compete in a local Oakland Live Wires Swim Meet. Although I didn’t break any records, it was nice to try out some different race strategies as well as a new type of shoulder driven freestyle. It was promising and I am ready for more training and getting into the racing season.
I had the great opportunity to participate as a counselor in 2 weeks of swim camp at Oakland University. We had 120 kids in the first session and 80 in the second session. The great thing about the camp is it isn’t geared towards getting the kids in better shape, but to correct their strokes to best suit them and be as efficient as possible. We worked on a different stroke every day of the camp, under water video review/analysis and coaching demonstrations. It was a lot of fun working with each kid and trying to push them out of their comfort zones. At the end of each camp session, I signed my Topps trading card and swim bag as well as a lot of picture taking, what a blast for all. Now it is time to focus on the Olympic games which are coming up fast and I have all of my campers support behind me.
Video: Olympic Gold Medalist Mark Gangloff Trains with Paralympians and Hopefuls
Last week our resident team got the great honor of training with Mark Gangloff. Having him here to train with us in the water and hear the great stories about his swimming life and comparing was an amazing 4 days of training. Watching him swim in the lane next to you is very intimidating but also makes you push yourself to the limit. This was a great time for him to be out here and us to train together. Mixing the two types of elite athletes is a great way to motivate each other. We are 9 days out from out meet today in Minnesota that is a selection meet for our Pan-American and Pan-Pacific teams. Now we are doing all of the fine tuning and getting ready to Race Out of Our Minds.
This past week was another hell week under my belt. I swam really well all week long in practice. It was one of those weeks where you are so warn out that I had nothing left in the tank by Wednesday. I swam through it and practice has been testing every aspect of my life, emotionally and physically. I also got to swim a short course yards meet as well Saturday and Sunday. I haven’t swam short course meet in about a year, so it was nice to switch it up a little. I placed first in the 50 free and the 100 back. So this up coming week is recovery then start our last 4 week training cycle before trials.
Last week was one of the hardest training weeks we have had here at the OTC so far. The way our training cycles work are 3 weeks with the intensity increasing every week with the last week super hard then the 4th week of recovery. The upcoming week is a recovery week. I hope this week goes by nice and slow.
This past weekend I got to participate in an amazing event at the Olympic Training Center called Reach the Peak. I normally never volunteer to do activities like this, But it was one of the best weekend’s so far here at the OTC. I learned a lot about all of my strength’s and obstacles within swimming. Also how to be persistent and how to make a plan to over come all of the bumps along the road to Podium Pain. We had one of the most amazing Olympic athletes speaker from the 1936 summer games. His name is Louis Zamperini. He was not only a Phenomenal athlete, but a World War II prisoner of war. His story was not only amazing and very emotional, it fit the theme of persistent’s of Reach the Peak. Reach the Peak was a weekend of great group activities, team building and fun. I got to bond with other athletes from other sports that I wouldn’t normally get to meet. So all in all it was a great experience and I would do it all over again.
On my return from worlds i got a whole week at the Olympic Training Center to relax and just think of everything but swimming. This past Wednesday was our first day of practice. We swim in the mornings, lift at 2pm and swim again at 3:30pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday we swim in the morning only. Tomorrow is my first whole week on this training schedule so far and it is super intense. Harder than any training I have ever done before. The body is already hurting, but I know the pain now turns into Hardware later in 2012!
Everyday the meet is getting closer. I am starting to rest and feeling pretty bad. The older I am getting the longer I am having to rest. I am trying to get my resting formula down. I am glad I feel bad now that way in 15 days I will feel great and ready to race. I finally got my flight information, and man is the day I leave a long day! I will get to do my fair share of lying that day.I am not looking forward to my 13 hour flight to Brazil. As the meet draws closer I am getting a little paranoid to stay healthy. I am ready to be in Brazil off the plane in the pool and Healthy! After that I will be ready to rest and take a deep breathe of confidence. A couple days more and I will be there and ready to Rock the worlds MIND!
Swimming this past weekend was quite an adventure. I swam 8 events over 3 days, and bettered 5 of my own American records. It was a great meet because I got to swim tired and see just how far I could push this 20 year-old body. The swim meet helped give me a guage on how my body will perform, just by swimming as fast as I did with being as tired as I am.
As Brazil approaches, in just 37 days, I can’t stop thinking about how fast I am going to swim. Just this week, I received a few items that I will wear to respresent the United States in Brazil. 37 days also means interviews and press releases. I am scheduled to do an interview with NPR on the 10th of November. I am getting super excited to go to Chapel Hill for the interview as I have never done a radio interview before. I will post a blog when I know the air date incase you want to tune in and take a listen.
This week I will continue training and trying to zone in on this small window of opportunity to swim fast. Then comes rest in order for my body to recover before I step on the airplane and make my way to Brazil.
You may have noticed that we have added a “Donate” button. Funds raised will be used to help offset the expenses of my training. Please know that I could not have acheived or come as far as I have without the continuted help, support and encouragement from so many. Thank you!