Sunday, August 17, 2008

THANK YOU ALL - It has been amazing!

Hello from Beijing!

What a great place to be, The Games have been amazing, the people been unbelievable and most important this is an experience that I will never forget in my life.

Watching our Bolles swimmers perform the way they did at the FASTEST meet in the history of swimming has been very special and all of you back home should be proud of our team. Our Tradition is an amazing one but our Future is even more amazing. Being here and watching our swimmers swim with the determination, passion and without fear has been very inspirational. I know that there is no way I can pull a Dara Torres and come back and swim at my old level, I can’t probably make it 25 yards without having my heart rate at 320, but being here has really giving me an incredible burst of energy and desire to keep learning and coaching better every day. I hope you all feel the same way after watching such amazing races.

Personally it has been amazing to be here and be able to watch such fast meet, watch people warm up and get ready for the races, see some of my old teammates that now are coaches or some of my old coaches that still coach. Also I have seen 4 of my old swimmers that I had the privilege of coaching in college, one of them got a silver and two golds, amazing! Once in a lifetime experience.

If I don’t forget anyone I believe that we had 17 Bolles current swimmers, alumni or coaches participating at the 2008 Olympic Games. I can assure you that there are not many (if any) teams in the world with such a TRADITION and with such success at this level. It gives me Goosebumps just to think that I have the privilege of being involved in such an amazing organization which keeps producing greatness in our sport.

Here is a summary of what our current Bolles swimmers have done at the 29th Olympiad:

Our 2007-08 Bolles Swimmers have broken a total of 6 National records out of 8 events that they participated between the six of them:

Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or (Israel): Nimrod will be a freshman this new 2008-09 season at the University of Arizona. He swam an amazing 1:47.78 in the 200 Free that qualified him 15th for the semi-finals and then he swam a little slower 1:48.1 but still managed to place 15th. Also in the 100 Free he swam a 49.10 that is a personal best by over a full second. Nimrod broke both Senior National records at the Games.

Danielle Beaubrun (St. Lucia): Danielle swam an amazing race in the 100 Breaststroke with a new Senior National Record in 1:12.85 seconds. She had a huge 2.3 seconds improvement over her personal best. Danielle will be returning to Bolles for her Senior year. Danielle has had a hard time performing in the last big meets at a high level and to watch her swim the way she swam at the Olympics was something that I will never forget. I was so happy for her that she made me cry ;-).

Anna Vanderpool-Wallace (Bahamas): Anna had two great swim with two National records. She swam an impressive 55.61 in the 100 free, but I know she could had gone at least 0.5 seconds faster since she did not take a breath the first 30 meters and she paid it off at the end of the race. Her 50 Free was amazing, she swam a 25.40 and qualified 24th and after watching the way she swam the 50 I knew for sure that I was right about the 100. She looked amazing! Anna will be starting her freshman year at Auburn next week. Another thing that I want you to take note is that Anna right before the 50 Free race lost her goggles. She was going crazy and I could not believe that she did not have an extra pair in her bag. This is the Olympics (I was thinking) and I was trying not to get upset and at the same time I went around the pool deck trying to find a pair of goggles. We are talking 10 minutes before the 50 Free starts. Finally we got a pair from a swimmer from Romania and another pair from a swimmer from Singapore (I believe). Well things worked out for her and she swam well. Remember what I always tell you, when you are packing for a meet make sure that you pack extra of everything (suit, goggles, etc…) you never know what will happen.

Rodion Davelaar (Netherlands Antilles): Rodion did not swim a best time and I felt very bad for him. Everything that he did in practice showed us that he was ready to swim very fast. He had amazing start and his first 35 meters were great. He was going to go 23.4-5 but then he started to spin and he was not catching water which slowed him down a bunch. He swam a 24.21 which was 0.11 off his best time. Rodion will be a freshman at the University of Florida which will start today with freshman orientation. Rodion left yesterday from Beijing.

Ryan Arabejo (Philippines): Ryan did not have a very good 1500 Free. I could not believe what happened to him. It was the same day that Anna’s incident with her goggles but this was 10 minutes before we had Anna’s situation. Ryan suit just ripped and sure enough he did not have any other suit. I could not believe that he did not bring one or two suits as back ups. But the only thing I could do at that time was to find another suit. After talking with many countries we were out of luck. He uses a size 22 and it was too small to find a size for him at that time. Finally after trying a couple of full bodies he decided to swim with a size 24. I don’t want to give any excuses but I have no doubts that he was out mentally. Coach Jon has done an amazing job with Ryan’s training and Ryan was swimming unbelievable during training camp and during the days before the race here in Beijing. With all that he only swam two seconds off his best time which in such a long race it is nothing. Ryan is returning to Bolles for his Senior year.

Daniel Coakley (Philippines): Daniel swam the 50 Free and did a very good job. He swam a personal best with a time of 22.69. He also had amazing start and first 30 meters and then he started spinning a little. Another National record and very good swim for the first time at a meet like this. Daniel will be a freshman at Indian River Community College this next season.

As you can see we had great success with our Bolles swimmers at this games and most important is that they gained a huge experience that if they keep working and competing this way they will be very competitive at the next Olympic Games.

Here is a list of the Bolles alumni that swam at the Olympics:
George Bovell (Trinidad Tobago)
Nicholas Bovell (Trinidad Tobago)
Shaune Frazer (Cayman Islands)
Omar Pinzon (Colombia)
Anja Carmen (Slovakia)
Yi Ting Siow (Malasia)

Here is the list of the Coaches that have coached at Bolles or that were swimmers at Bolles and now are coaches:
Gregg Troy (U.S.A.)
Anthony Nesty (Suriname)

As you can see we had 17 swimmers and coaches that have ties at Bolles that have participated in the 29th Olympiad and you need to BE PROUD to be part of such a great TRADITION. Now let’s make sure that we keep it going. Let’s make sure that now we start thinking about the 2012 Olympic Games in London and that make our TRADITION even stronger.

All this would not happen without the hard work of all the swimmers, coaches, parents, teachers, and everyone involved in The Bolles School and The Bolles Sharks Swim Team. From Beijing I want to THANK YOU all for making this a reality. You should be proud of being part of the Bolles Family and I hope this Games have given you some inspiration to excel at the highest level in the pool and in the classroom.

I am about the get into the plane to get back home and take few days off with my wife and kids. I really miss them and I can’t wait to just play with them and relax for few days. I know that the season will start today for the club and I am sorry that I won’t be there.

Again, THANKS FOR ALL YOUR HARD WORK this past season and let’s have an even better 2008-09 season.




Aug 17, 2008

Hello all

What a day Aug 17, 2008 turned out to be!! Michael Phelps finished his Beijing Olympics assault with 8 Gold Medals and 7 WR's. To actually witness this historic feat with my own 2 eyes is amazing. Who would have thought another swimmer could actually top 7 Gold Medals and 7 WR's? Without a doubt in my mind this was the greatest sporting achievement of all time. Phelps not only destroyed the field, he added suspense with 2 of his swims. (400 free relay and 100 fly)

These Games made me believe in why I enjoy my job and the sport of swimming so much. Just watching all these athletes compete makes me want to compete once again. TBD? It makes me think about can I still do it? Ohhh...Dara you inspire so many people to think twice about retiring!! (She got the Silver in the 50 free by .01 (24.07))

To all the young swimmers out there, please BELIEVE you may one day be an Olympian. These Olympics should inspire you to work hard each day and BELIEVE IN THAT EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE. This experience has inspired myself to be the best coach I can be. It has been a great Honor to Coach for my Country. I have learned to much by being surrounded by the best. Being the youngest swim coach by far at these Games is something I take great pride in because my country and Sergio BELIEVED I should be there amongst the greats.

Well it is time to leave these Olympic Games and get back to a new season. I hope we will be ready to rock and roll come Monday Aug 18!!!!

PS: Another Reason why AUG 17 is so great is because its my Birthday. WOW, I was born the day won his 8th and final medal at the BEIJING 2008 Olympic Games.

I love you Tracey!!
I am coming home....


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

At 4:10 a.m., Anything Can Happen

Trap a bunch of sports enthusiasts in a room for 12 hours, starting at 5 p.m., and by the time 5 a.m. rolls around all you have is a veritable circus.

That's something I've discovered during these past five or six nights on this shift. It's not like working the graveyard shift at the TV station, which I did once upon a time. Sure, I've had my phone calls from Nightly News and MSNBC about this fact or that, but eventually the calls die down. I create spreadsheets, hit the free Starbucks in the commissary (which I've now been told I pronounce wrong because I put the accent on the SECOND syllable), and visit my best friend and Bolles alumn Casey Barrett, who writes for the Primetime show with Bob Costas, the one all of you watch at night when you see finals.

Anyhow, this is a short post and an invitation to check out this link. It's the "Beijing Welcomes You" song, which the whole room sang together, in Chinese, about 10 minutes ago. And yes, for 12 hours, these are the people that NBC counts on to provide the entire web of networks with the most accurate information for reporting on these Olympic Games.

The link:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Greetings From The NBC Research Room

If I didn't get up and look out my hotel room window I might never know I was in Beijing. But then there's the view…

Outside my window looms the Bird's Nest, that iconic tangle of intertwining beams that make up the shell of the main Olympic stadium. At its peak burns the Olympic torch. Down the road is the Water Cube, truly the temple of swimming. In the evenings the three thousand separate "bubbles" alternate colors, bleeding from pacific blue into seafoam green and then deep purple. Standing in my thirteenth floor room the thought sometimes occurs to me that perhaps alien ships have landed, because these structures are so "other." Or maybe it's more that these buildings give the sense of being alive. It is difficult to explain. I have to make sure to take in the view because I know there may never be another time in my life when I have a view like this.

Maybe that's why I write about it first. Let's lighten things and maybe talk about my Olympic experience, because it's different than the living history our swimmers and coaches are living inside the "Temple." My experience is one of observation, commentary, and context. That's my job. Sitting in a room with some dozen people or so, I don a pair of headsets and bring the swimming up on my computer screen. It's fun because even though I'm not on the scene I'm still behind the scenes. I listen to what the commentators say between the races. I watch them do several takes of any given story before the final cut is taped. During the racing I catch phrases and facts I've researched and supplied. But it is when the racing is over that my job really begins.

My Olympics is about being NBC's swimming expert for 12 hours a day. When the prelims end the phone starts to ring. Nightly News, the Today Show, MSNBC, you name it, they call, asking anything from "What time does Michael Phelps swim tomorrow" to "How many of the world records broken at these Olympics were broken by athletes not wearing the LZR?" This room is like one great game of Trivial Pursuit: The Olympic Edition. Sometimes the big-wigs at NBC call to ask my opinion of something. And that's when I really need to be good because depending on my answer, NBC may make changes to it's live Primetime coverage of the Games. Scary when you think about it.

After a few hours the questions end, typically by about 10:30. I grab a bite to eat in the commissary (a word which my wife told me I pronounce wrong because I place the accent on the first syllable! Oh I love being married!), a place where I've seen everyone from Tom Brokaw to Cullen Jones. The other morning there was a table packed with Secret Service agents prepping for President Bush's arrival. No, I didn't stick around. I needed sleep. At 5 a.m. or so, your body tells your mind what to do, not the other way around.

But beyond all the swimming and the Phelpsian hype, China, like the Bird's Nest and Water Cube, is something other. Not that my experience is emblematic of a typical vacation to Beijing. For one thing, we've had several days of blue skies, something I've been assured is a bit of phenomenon. And everywhere I go someone is there to help me, literally.

In the bathroom at my hotel's lobby there's a man who stands between the sinks waiting to put his hand in front of the faucet's electronic sensor, so you don't have to worry about making the water run yourself. Not like there's even a knob there to deal with. But that's what he does. People man the garbage cans making sure you put the recycling in the right bin. Put it in the wrong one and they fish it out. I found that out my first time throwing something out. That doesn't quite capture it, though.

One day I did have a few hours to myself and hopped on the subway. Other than a Canadian journalist I met, I was the only non-Chinese person in sight. I ventured to "The Pearl Market" where, despite the best intentions, I think I successfully haggled myself into buying some very nice looking fake pearls for my wife. It wasn't until I did some research, post purchase, that I learned I'd probably been duped. Though I'll let her do the teeth test to figure it out on her own.

During my venture I made my way to Tiananmen Square, which sits across the street from the Forbidden City. The Square was closed down and it was too late to get into the Forbidden City, so I just wandered the streets feeling abnormally tall. Two things I noticed: A lot of people smoke cigarettes here, but there's not one cigarette butt on the sidewalk; and babies don't wear diapers but instead have pajamas with a big crack in the bottom…I'll let you figure that out. It's different. But it's the same.

There is a little more than an hour left in my shift and work to be done. But I wanted to write something, even though I know this is long. If I don't get to provide another post then I'll see you stateside.

Be ready to swim!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

3:08.24!!!! USA USA USA

Hello all

"What a Great Day to be a Bolles Alum Where ever you Maybe!" I could not be more proud of these swimmers! They proved to the world that they belong in the Olympic Games. Nimrod making the semifinals was pure amazing. Dani dropping 2 sec was wowwowweiiii. All the other Bolles alum swam super. (Omar, Shaun, Anja, Ying Ting) WE CAN DO IT!!!

Watching the 400 Free Relay had to be the greatest race of all time!!! The fact that Jason Lezak reeled in the former 100 free WR holder was ssshockking. To feel the electricity of the pool brought goosebumps to my arms. With Sergio, Ryan, Rodion, Mike A., and Coach Pinky all sitting beside me thinking did this just happen!!!!! The top 5 teams broke the WR!!! With the Americans breaking it by 3.99 sec!! (That just blows my mind)

Each Session brings its own flair to swimming that it makes going to each session worth the price ticket people had to pay. The session today made the trip to Beijing well worth it.

On a side note, The president of the Philippines visited the pool yesterday to watch us practice. This marks the first time a Philippine president sets foot at a swimming competition. It was a great honor to talk swimming with her.

I love u Tracey

Till again...NO PAIN

First Day - 2 National Records for our Bolles swimmers

Hello All,

What a day for our Bolles swimmers. They swam like they have been here before and they did an excellent job.

First we had Nimrod swimming the 200 Free in the Prelims. He was going to have to swim the swim of his life to be able to get into the semifinals and that is exactly what he did. He swam an amazing 1:47.78 breaking his own Israeli National record by a full second and most important qualifying 15th and becoming a semifinalist at his first Olympic Games. He did an amazing race going out in control and behind everyone, his strategy was very good and right before the 100 he gradually increased his speed to have a very good third 50 which got him right in the top three at the 150 mark. His last 50 was amazing and he won his heat. In the same heat we had a Bolles alumnus, Shawn Fraser from the Cayman Islands, swimming with Nimrod. Shawn is a sophomore at the University of Florida and he also improved his best time even though he was not able to past to the semifinals. Here are Nimrod’s splits: 26.06 / 53.45 (27.39) / 1:20.78 (27.39) / 1:47.78 (27.00).

Also today we had Danielle Beaubrun swimming the Prelims of the 100 Breaststroke. Dani had an amazing swim dropping 2.29 seconds and breaking her own National Record. Dani swims for St. Lucia and she had few of her countrymen at the pool cheering for her. I was very happy for her since for Dani to come to the Olympics and on her first (and only) event to swim the way she swam is a great accomplishment. I have been telling her all along this season that if she keeps working the way she does that it will pay off in the future and sure enough today was the beginning of her future. Here are Dani’s splits: 34.50 / 1:12.85 (38.35).

Today it felt very good to be here on deck right next to our Bolles swimmers and watching their faces full of pride and satisfaction after competing in their first Olympics and having such great performances. To all of you back home I just want to tell you that if you keep working hard good things will happen to you like today for Nimrod and Dani.


Well have a beautiful day and I will write some more soon.

Miss you all.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Let the games begin!!!!

hey guys...
So first of all i want to express how amazing these games are, but at the same time when we got to the pool last night and watched the prelims i was slightly disappointed with the fact that it just seems like a regular swim meet when you watch it from the stands. However this morning was CRAZY, watching the finals of the 400 IM , the 400 free and the 4 x 100 relay i started to get that feeling that WOW i am actually here. Tonight we have the first bolles people swimming, Dani, Shaune and nimrod and we also have the first bahamaian swimming so its going to an exciting night. I really think that this meet is a great experiance because i think that before this it was impossible for anyone to comprehend how goes into the olympic games. They have people here that just stand around just in case you need help, i dropped my bag by accident and four people ran to help me pick it up. I think that its just crazy to be here. The opening ceremonies was quite an experiance, to be part of something so huge and something that everyone watches around the world was just amazing.
Everynight when i go to bed i just thank everyone that got me as far as i got in the past four years, All the coaches as Bolles as well as the coaches in the Bahamas, the bolles families that took me in and treated me as if i was one of their children, every bolles swimmers who whether they know it or not, pushed me everyday in practice mentally and physically, the bolles dorms moms and all my friends. SO i just wanted to take this oppourtunity to say thank you to everyone for you help along the way :) and i hope i will make bolles proud when its my turn to swim. !!!

Please believe, you dont know Sergio, yet!!!!!!

This has nothing to do with Jowan (this was the second we walked into the stadium)

Some people say they know Sergio, and I was also one of them. But after last night I really got to know him so much better. We had the best time in the world. The closer we got to the stadium for the opening ceremony the more fun we were having. But let me start from the beginning. There were some issues with the attire, but nothing to complicated. So were suppose the share a bus with Russia, but the Russian felt more like walking (still don’t know why). We got to the arena were all the delegations gather before they walk out. It was this huge arena and we had to sit all the way up top. You could see from up there how everybody was getting all excited, it was amazing, but a whole lot of waiting though. I saw something amazing in the arena, a Filipino with a whole lot of style. Miguel had the Kanye West shades on, it was a Kodak moment. The night really started when they called out “Netherlands Antilles”. When we got out of the arena I saw the longest line ever. There were these Chinese volunteers that we having the time of their life and pumping everybody up. I never have seen so many smiles in my lifestyle. Even though Sergio didn’t know Papiamento(My native Language) he a [art of the group like he lived on Curacao all his life. When it was finally time to experience what I’ve been dreaming about for years now Sergio called his wife and kids and was talking to them on the phone while walking into the stadium. That man is crazy. I don’t have any words to describe what I felt when I walked out there in front of the whole world. And when China finally walked out and to hear all the people go crazy, that moment right there made me realize how big the Olympics really is. All the fire works, lights and spirit in that stadium was AMAZING. That is all I can say, maybe because I don’t have a big vocabulary. So that’s why I have some pictures to explain better crazy last night was.

Friday, August 8, 2008

08-08-08 at 08:08 Everything will Start- Make a Wish!

Today 08-08-08 at 08:08 p.m. (close your eyes and make a wish) will start the Opening Ceremony of the 29th Olympiad and will be the beginning of what everyone thinks the best Olympic Games ever.

This whole experience is an amazing one. First I just want to let you know that I feel privilege to be here with our Bolles swimmers and in between so many amazing athletes. Also the Chinese people have done an amazing job organizing and making sure that everything goes smooth and that the athletes have the best situation possible to perform at the highest level.

For our Bolles expedition it has been an amazing journey. The Pre-Olympic Training Camp in the Philippines where we were treated very well was our first step. Ryan Arabejo’s mother and ant went out of their way every single day to make sure that we had first class treatment and that we enjoyed our stay in their country. I am amazed of how nice and everyone was to us while in Manila and while at the Trace College (training camp). From here I want to THANK Ryan’s family and especially his mother for everything they did for us. It was incredible experience and I sure hope that one day we can re-pay her when she comes to visit us in Jacksonville. The training went very well and I am very confident that it was the right choice for us and that now our swimmers are ready to do their best and really have a once in a life time experience here at the Games.

The Olympic Village and the swimming pool are top notch and it is an amazing sensation to see so many people from so many countries with the same passion everyday walking around, changing pins, taking pictures and getting ready for this moment in time that it is about to come for each one of these athletes.

Yesterday I had the chance to go with the Netherlands Antilles Delegation to the Flag Ceremony. It was a very nice ceremony and I was much honored to be there with Rodion and his country. It really made me feel special. There were 4 other countries at the ceremony and Israel was one of them. It was nice to see Nimrod and to see his smile knowing that finally he was going to become an Olympian. A lot of hard times these past few months for him but finally he is here and he has a chance to compete with the best in the world.

In few hours we will be departing the Olympic Village to go to the Opening Ceremony. Personally I am very excited to be part of such a big and important event. As an athlete I did not go to the Opening Ceremony in my hometown in Barcelona at the 92 Games and I am ready to enjoy and absorb as much as I can of this wonderful experience. I know that once I walk into the stadium I will get Goosebumps all over my body and who knows I may even cry ;-) I can’t wait to be next to Rodion and walk into what it is going to be the best Olympics Games ever. We will take a lot of pictures and we will make sure that we post them online for all of you to enjoy.

I will write again about the experience of the Opening Ceremony and I hope all of you are having a good break.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

It's about that time...

Hello all

With only 6 hrs until the opening ceremonies I am sitting here in the Internet cafe thinking, "My Dream is About too Come True." Who would have thought 2 years ago I would be on the verge of being at the Bird's Net at the Opening Ceremony representing my homeland? (On a side note Daniel is playing Video Games next too me!!)

These past couple of days have been very eventful. We were eating yesterday (of course free McDonald's) and the entire DREAM TEAM walked in. I got too meet Lebron, Jason Kidd, Melo and Kobe. One hour later, I see Ana Ivanovic and Nadal just walking around the village!!!!!

The pool itself is so amazing because everytime I walk in I can get free cookies!! haha jk It is a great honor to see the best of the best day in day out. You can't help, but be amazed to see your idols and great technique while they are swimming. One day we will try to take a pic of all the Bolles alum!!! (Nimrod, Brothaman, Anna, Dani, Daniel, Ryan, Gustavo, Yi Ting, Shaun, George, Omar etc)

Well swimming starts tomorrow!!!! Go Bolles!!!

PS: Ryan your it!!!! Ur the BEAN!!!

I love u Tracey


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Arrived in Beijing!

At last after waiting a year and a half and never ending hard practices, Beijing Olympics is about to start. We arrived here today and we went to swim in the Water Cube. It is amazing! It feels like you were inside a bubble! We swam inside and as always there is a lot of people in the swimming pool. I also saw my friends from South East Asia and I saw World Record Holder Laure Manadou! WOW! That is all I can say! We sat beside the Australian Team but Grant Hackett wasn't there. I also swam in a lane with Ryan Lochte. It was sweet but he is really wavy because we were both doing pace at that time. The Olympic Village is the best thing in the World! For all McDonald's lovers out there, it is for free here in Beijing! You can eat like a million Big Macs if you can. It is unlimited! We also saw the Bird's Nest and it is by far the best track stadium i've ever seen in my entire life. It is amazing! As of now, I'm still 10 days to go until my event so iI'm starting to feel that excitement and I'm also starting to feel good in the water. I'll try to get back before my race.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

President time....

Hello All

We went to see the President two days ago!!! It was great honor to me her. I wish we could have taken photos however for SECURITY reasons we were not allowed too. The palace was really beautiful.

Yesterday, we had a photo shoot with Arena (sorry TYR) for the Manila store and newspaper. It was so funny because all the guys had makeup on. Ryan looked the best because they put so much on he looked like a Geisha Girl. We laughed so hard!!!!!!!!!!! Ill try to get a pic up.

The swimmers are swimming pretty well. I am happy the way they are swimming. They are having fun and smiling everyday.

It was sad yesterday because the UF guys all left for Beijing.....


I love u Tracey