What a fun meet! It’s such an honor to represent USA (I know that sounds cliché, but it really is true). It’s much easier to swim for a cause greater than yourself and I can’t think of a better cause than your country. The team was fantastic, I learned a lot from every swimmer, coach, and staff member. Team USA was buzzing with excitement the entire 10 days. Toronto did a great job hosting the games. Everything in the village was perfect — from the food to the people, and the stands were packed and energetic every session of the meet. I just pretended they were cheering for us instead of Canada 😉
I swam the 4x100m free relay in prelims, the 100m breaststroke, and the 4x100m medley relay. I was thrilled to go a best time and to win gold in the 100 breast… It was a goal I had all year and one that I worked hard to achieve. And nothing beats getting to swim on a relay for the USA. Swimming the medley relay and winning gold with Natalie Coughlin, Kelsi Worrell, and Allison Schmitt was definitely one of the highlights of the meet. I had a lot of dreams about swimming when I was young and this relay might have been better than any relay I could have imagined in those dreams. We all swam great, won gold for our country, and had a lot of fun and laughs along the way. I’ll call that a pretty great day.
A lot of people have been asking me to what do I attribute the success. Well, I would not be here without the help of a lot of people. Basically everyone is incredible… my coaches, teammates, family, friends, and all my supporters. I can’t thank everyone enough who has played a role in this journey so far (no matter how small or large). Every little piece of support and help matters and I feel it all the time. I’ll never be able to express the amount of gratitude I feel for all of you! Beyond the sappy emotional stuff, there are some hard facts. If you are interested, read on. If you don’t care, just go look at pictures!
First, I got a lot stronger this year – I worked hard in the weight room with a great strength coach and teammates that pushed me out of my comfort zone. Second, I worked with my coaches to learn new technique and improve my stroke efficiency. Lastly, I got a lot more comfortable with the entire process. I had more confidence in myself and more excitement about every small piece of the equation. To me, the process is what makes our sport beautiful.
Highlights of the meet… in no particular order 😉
- Breaking the Pan-American record and winning gold in the 4×100 medely relay with Nat, Kesli, and Schmitty.
- Finally seeing Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace in the hallway outside of doping control after my 100 breast and her 50 free (they were on the same night). I gave her a hug and congratulated her on her gold medal as she congratulated me on mine. Anna and I train together often and that moment of realizing all our hard work paid off was a special one.
- Rooming with Caitlin Leverenz, Allsion Schmitt, and Amanda Weir. Best room/suite mates ever 🙂
- Getting to wear USA on my cap and suit everyday! It never gets old!!
- Learning that only tourists pronounce Toronto with a hard “t”. If you want to fit in, you say “Torono”.
- Opening ceremonies! The venue was sold out and it was such a cool feeling getting to march in wearing USA with all my teammates.
- Getting to meet athletes from many different sports and many different countries. I met a lot of interesting people with great stories!
- And OF COURSE all our sweet nike gear from the USOC. Who doesn’t love swag?
I tried to limit highlights to 5 but there were too many great moments not to mention.. sorry for the novel! Below are some of my favorite pictures from the meet. Click here to view more.