June 26, 2012
OMAHA, Neb. – Eight athletes competed on the first day of the Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb. where Seminoles were represented in four of the first five events. Both Mike Thomas, Tyler Ball (4:33.29), Jamie Barrett (4:59.07) and Julia Henkel (4:59.38) swam in the 400 IM, while John Jessell(4:02.73) and Derek Pridemore (3:59.90) competed in the 400 free.
Swimming in the women’s 100 fly was former Seminole CJ Hendry (1:02.09) and future Seminole Mary Elizabeth King (1:03.34). Hendry, King and Pridemore still have events left to swim, while Thomas, Ball, Barrett, Henkel and Jessell are finished for the meet.
Throughout the week, a couple of athletes will share their experiences at the biggest meet of their careers.
After the 100 fly, Hendry shares her experiences for her first race. She will also compete in the 50 and 100 free later in the week.
Blog Entry 1 – June 25 – Anything and Everything
My brain was on visual overload. There’s a lot to share and words just don’t do this event justice.
The pool is everything that I had imagined. Since the pools (warm-up/warm-down and comp pool) are built above ground, there are steps and ramps to access them. Each time we arrive and walk onto the pool the deck, the feeling is pretty surreal, it won’t ever get old.
The atmosphere is very big-time, a sort of organized chaos. There are a ton of people here. Despite the number of athletes, warm-up and warm down is crowded but manageable. There are TV’s everywhere so you always know what is going on in the competition pool including one huge wall TV by the warm-up/warm-down pool so you can watch the action too.
There is a large athlete lounge with couches, huge bean bag chairs, TVs, and a food area where we get our favorite things…FREE FOOD.
For the swimmers, there is a ready room area where the athletes get seated according to their heat. The room held 4 heats at a time. Only one heat was allowed behind the blocks at once. When the heat before was on their last 100, the next heat would be marched out and the heat after them would be seated in chairs off to the side until it was time for them to walk out. When your heat is next, you walk single file in order by what lane you’re racing in. There is a basket waiting for you to put your stuff in and within a minute or so, your heat is being called up on the blocks. While a heat is in the water, young volunteers march out as if they are in the military, grab the baskets with athletes’ belongings in them…another group of young volunteers are equipped with white towels and they wipe the starting blocks down so they are not slick for the next swimmer…and take them down behind the scenes when you pick up your stuff after your race. Along the way to pick your belongings, there is a red-carpet like media area that is lit up with cameras and lights where the celebrity swimmers are/will be interviewed.
Also checking in his thoughts was Ball after his 400 IM.
Day 1- June 25- Race Day
As I jumped into the warm up pool today with some of the world’s best swimmers such as Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps, I remembered I had earned my spot to swim at Olympic Trials. Before my race I knew I would have some nerves to shake off. Thinking this would be my biggest meet of my career. As I walked out and stood behind the blocks I knew everything was in place in to have a good meet.
Hearing my name being announced at Olympic Trials was almost as exciting as making it there. It took me a while to get going in the 400IM but ended up finishing strong and had something to keep my head up about.
Once every 4 years this meet comes around and I had the opportunity to swim in it. Going back to finals tonight I hope to soak in the atmosphere and I’m looking forward to what the rest of the meet brings.
Diving Trials Wrap-Up
The U.S. Diving Olympic Trials concluded on Sunday, but not before Katrina Young could make her debut in the finals in her first trials. Young finished 12th on the women’s 10- meter platform event. Nick Klein ended his Olympic Trials with an eighth place finish in the men’s 10-meter synchronized platform and Ariel Rittenhouse competed in the 3-meter springboard.