My Trials Experience
by Andrew Saeta, 2008, 2012 & 2016 Olympic Trials
(Omaha, Nebraska, August 2016) Olympic Trials is unlike anything else. There are the lucky few who leave the meet with ear-to-ear grins. However, there are tons more who leave the meet disappointed, having missed the team by a spot or two or who swam poorly at the most exciting meet in the world. While I certainly fall into the latter category, I’m most definitely not disappointed. Because I had an out-of-this-world swim when qualifying for the meet, my entry team put me in a circle seeded heat in the 50 freestyle. I was in a heat surrounded by professional and collegiate swimmers. There were 3 Olympians in my heat. As I was getting ready to swim, I remember thinking to myself, “What on Earth am I doing in this heat with the big boys?”
I certainly didn’t feel like one of them. I was only swimming a few hours of week. It made realize how lucky I was to be there given my workout schedule. Needless to say, I got absolutely spanked in my heat. I was flanked on either side by one person who had made the Olympic team the night before and one person who was a zillion-time junior world record holder.
When I popped up after my dive and saw that I was already about two feet behind both of them, I knew this would probably be a rough race. I finished last in my heat, well above my entry time, but I didn’t even really care. If I look back to my first post, I had always said that the point of me training on top of working full time was to try and qualify for the meet. I achieved that goal and anything on top of that was just gravy. The meet is unlike any other I’ve been to. I got to see tons of friends I hadn’t seen since either the last Trials meet or college graduation, which made the meet worth it just for that.
USA Swimming really goes above and beyond in preparations for the meet. While there weren’t any world records broken at the meet (and hence no fire eruptions), the light show on the pool every night was spectacular in its own right. All in all, I’m just happy to have been able to attend. And sometimes in life, being part of and enjoying the moment is the most important thing of all.
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