Today one of my old swimmers qualified for the US Olympic Team. What a day!
After prelims this morning Aubrey and I were coming out of the Quest center when I saw Matt Grevers. I recruited Matt to attend Northwestern and I had the privilege to coach him during the 2003-04 season. After Aubrey, Matt and I had a little conversation and we were walking back to our car I told Aubrey Matt’s story.
Matt at the 2004 US Olympic Trials placed 7th in the finals of the 100 back, he did not swim very well but the main reason was because he was very nervous and he lost control of his race. He trained very well and I really thought that he had a chance to surprise everyone and get second. During the race in 2004 Matt lost control of what he was doing and for few strokes he swam with one shoulder under the lane line and at the end he placed a couple of times the shoulder above the lane line. When he came out of the water after the race he had huge marks in the front and back of his body. It was a very hard meet for both of us. I was more upset for him than anything else because to me it was a privilege to be able to be there as his coach. But today 4 years later he came out with great confidence and he defeated Ryan Lochte and Randall Ball in the last 10 meters of probably the fastest 100 back ever in the history of swimming. He never lost control of the race and he reached his dream of becoming an Olympian.
I just wanted to share this with all of you because I believe this is another example of how most of these great athletes had many bad races during their careers and I really believe that what defines them as great athletes is the strength, stamina and will power of standing up and NEVER GIVING UP ON THEIR DREAMS when things go wrong.
I had many conversations during these past 4 years with Matt about keeping his head up and believing that he could make it. Today his swim brought tears to my eyes.
Remember we can not always swim our best, the only thing we can do is work at a 100% every day, be honest with ourselves and enjoy that moment in time. I can assure you that even if things go wrong one day you will understand your swimming career and you will be OK.
Well I hope all this makes sense. Aubrey will be swimming the 100 back Time Trial tomorrow afternoon. I will keep you posted.